Tag: Travel News

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What's the Deal with British Airways' 'Mood Blanket' Thing

July 1, 2014 at 8:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

Don’t expect to be cuddling up with the latest in in-flight blanket technology anytime soon, but the folks over at British Airways are testing out a new wool blend in the cabin—complete with embedded electronics.

Basically it’s a mood ring but in blanket form, as the thing has tiny little LEDs inside of it that change colors to blue or red depending on someone’s feelings. Travelers wear some kind of band thing on their heads, and then their feelings and what not are transmitted to the blanket over Bluetooth. Blankets that are blue reflect cool and comfortable travelers, and those that change to a shade of crimson indicate that there might be some stress going on—or that they need a refill on their drink.

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Breaking: Why You're Going to Notice More Airport Security, And Probably Very Soon

June 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

Yesterday morning ABC News popped a story about a recent White House meeting - recent in the sense that it happened last week - in which top-level intelligence officials raised alarms about new threats to aiport security and airline security. Very short version: terrorists who have dug into Syria are reportedly working on a new generation of undetectable bombs, and so you will probably be feeling new security precautions both domestically and overseas. Happy Monday!

ABC got at least one source to worry "[this threat] is different and more disturbing than past aviation plots." Another talked about "creative" new bomb designs. The outlet also aired interviews on Sunday - which are embedded below, and included one with President Barack Obama - that were arguably even scarier.

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The Multiple Personalities of Air France's New Business Class Seat

Where: France
June 30, 2014 at 8:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

Air France realizes that passenger load fluctuates, and since their product is perishable (once a plane takes off, those unsold seats are lost revenue) , they’re hit the chalkboard to brainstorm creative solutions for maximizing passenger comfort while still flying full planes.

The result are new business class cabins across their long-haul fleet, with the unique ability to change up the cabin class when premium travel slows. These seats can be switched into economy class seats, ideal for periods like the summer when tourist and budget traveler numbers to Europe are high and the expense accounts are more likely to stay home.

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The Future of Air Traffic Control is Apparently Super, Super Creepy

June 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last March we posted a very neat little video tracing the paths of the roughly 30,000 flights that enter, leave, and just generally hang around European airspace on a summer day. It began in the early morning with the planes coming across the Atlantic, and then as the day wore on it developed into well-managed chaos. The emphasis here is on "well-managed": the visualization was produced by Britain's NATS, the country's biggest provider of air traffic control, and the organization responsible for keeping all those planes from colliding. They weren't exactly bragging, but they weren't exactly not bragging.

Then about three months ago NATS posted a new video. This one is all about the future and it is - bluntly - creepy as all hell. It's supposed to be a futuristic look at how commercial "air traffic control" is inevitably going to be subsumed by commercial "air traffic management," which is both a real airline industry thing and something that is actually kind of interesting for travel geeks.

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Judge Rules Flying is a Right, Not a Privilege for Americans

June 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

From increased fees to the elimination of in-flight meals, the evolution of the U.S. airline industry has indeed rained down frustration on American travelers. That side of the coin is looking dim for future travelers, especially with the recent news that Congress is now in bed with the TSA.

But a ruling by a Federal judge yesterday showed that good things can still happen within the airline industry when it comes to the treatment of its passengers. The case concerned the U.S. Government's no-fly list, calling it unconstitutional because it does not 1) give people on the list a chance to contest their inclusion upon it or 2) properly notify them of being added to the list. Taking it one step further in her justification, the judge ruled that these inadequate and unfair procedures have denied many Americans their right to travel.

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250 New Emoji to Include More Airplanes, More Travel Icons

June 24, 2014 at 4:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

Rejoice, for the day of new emoji is here! Released this month, some 250 more teeny, tiny characters will be added to the Unicode 7.0.0 standard. In order to use these new emoji, keep an eye out for software updates from Apple, Google, Microsoft and the like.

In addition to more work icons (like "back of envelope" and "clamshell mobile phone") and weather ("cloud with tornado!"), the slew of fresh emoji will include a barrage of updated transportation and travel icons. Here's what to expect:

· Up-pointing airplane
· up-pointing small airplane
· small airplane
· northeast-pointing airplane
· airplane departure
· airplane arriving
· passenger ship
· diesel locomotive
· bellhop bell
· sleeping accommodation
· desert island
· national park
· beach with umbrella
· snow-capped mountain

We know it's not every day you take a diesel locomotive from a national park to a snow-capped mountain, but now you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that, should that day ever arrive, you'll be able to adequately illustrate it in a text message or tweet, thanks to the new emoji. View the entire list over at emojipedia.

Now, how about a cheese or taco emoji, or some additional country flags?

[Screencap: Jaunted]

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The Six Awesomest Details of Universal Studios' Brand New Diagon Alley

June 23, 2014 at 5:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Perhaps you've heard rumors about interactive wands and a fire-breathing dragon. It's true—both of these wonders are found in Diagon Alley, but they're not what caused us to gasp in awe this week, during early previews of this new area of the theme park. Here's what did:

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Google Earth Airport Snapshots as Art? Yeah, Okay, Sure.

June 20, 2014 at 1:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Yesterday CNN published an article in its Travel silo, under its "CNN Style" brand, cross-posted from its Wired sister publication, about airport tarmacs. That doesn't have anything to do with the content of the story itself, it's just something that we found odd and thought we'd bring to your attention. It's just not a travel news combination that you see every day. You're welcome.

In any case: meet Lauren O'Neil. The Brooklyn-based designer finds pictures of airport runways on Google Earth, crops and colors and adjusts them until they become something approaching art, and then posts them on her Tumblr page. If you're an airport geek - or an art geek, we suppose - you should already have clicked on that link and be looking at the photos. Go do it, and then come back to learn about the rest of the CNN article. Seriously.

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Finally! Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter Announces Opening Date

June 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

July 8. That's the date heard 'round Florida, nay the world, as Universal Studios Orlando announced it this morning as the public grand opening of the new Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, part of UO's Islands of Adventure theme park.

Four years ago when The Wizarding World first debuted the Hogsmeade portion, eager fans of the Harry Potter series happily waited in lines up to 8 hours long in order to be among the first inside Ollivander's Wand Shop, Honeyduke's Sweets, The Owl Post and, of course, first to experience rides like the Dragon Challenge roller coaster and the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" cinematic journey through Hogwarts.

Now, Diagon Alley promises to double the size of "Harry Potter-land" with new rides, new shops, new eateries, and a freaking Hogwarts Express train to traverse the distance between Hogsmeade (Scotland) and Diagon Alley (London).

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Egypt Tourism Hits Back with New Tourist Tax

Where: Egypt
June 18, 2014 at 9:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

The situation over in Egypt may be much improved, but that doesn’t mean that the tourists have flooded right back into the Valley of the Kings and beyond.

Unfortunately, Egypt just added another reason to stay away; it’s going to cost you a little bit more to visit, as the country is adding on something which pretty much can be summarized as a tourist tax. Those departing the country now face a fee of around $25, but don’t worry about paying up at the airport. The amount will be added into your airfare and ticket purchase, so you'll likely not even realize the extra bit of cash.

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First Impressions of JetBlue Mint, Now Flying Coast-to-Coast

June 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM | by | Comments (0)

After many months of coy reveals and growing anticipation, JetBlue's first premium seats have hit the skies. Named Mint, the cabin is now available on flights between JFK and LAX, and coming to JFK-SFO in October.

Ahead of the inaugural flight yesterday, JetBlue hosted a trial run on the ground at JFK. For this, we sent a JetBlue flyer who'd never seen the seats before and had an "empty slate" for first impressions.

There's a new plane on the tarmac at New York-JFK Airport, and it's shiny inside as well as out. We're talking about the brand-spankin-new Airbus A321s coming to JetBlue, and their "Mint" cabin of fully flat leather seating. The first of them, appropriately named It’s Mint to Be, is one of the 11 Mint-configured A321s due to be delivered to JetBlue in 2014.

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PEOPLExpress' First Flight Deals Go Out on Facebook

June 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM | by | Comments (0)

In case you missed the news, know that PEOPLExpress is heading into the skies above the nifty fifty once again, and tickets for the new low-cost carrier are definitely budget-friendly. If you don't completely trust a brand new airline enough to give them your vacation money, we understand, which is why following them and their deals on social media is a solid idea.

PEOPLExpress is already busy doing their thing over on Facebook, and you can head over there to see what they’re up to. Unfortunately, we don’t see any current promotions, contests, or other deals right now—but there is a good-looking picture of their plane in its white and green livery. The other day, however, their Facebook page teased a $40 discount, so long as those who wanted to book called into the 844-4FLYPEX number and mentioned it. No idea if they’ll do this again, but it might be worth it to keep an eye out.

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