Tag: Travel Tech

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Here's Why United Is Handing Out Frequent Flyer Miles To Hackers

July 20, 2015 at 8:41 AM | by | ()

There are a lot of ways to earn frequent flyer miles: through credit cards, shopping portals, or just the old-fashioned way of, well, frequently flying. Now United has introduced a new opportunity to score them — but you're going to need to be very familiar with navigating your way around computer systems.

As NBC News, reports, United is awarding millions of frequent flyer miles to hackers that uncover potential security problems and other issues in the airline's web systems. Basically, if you can discover hiccups across their web security, you will be handsomely awarded. We can feel the sand between our toes already!

United launched the program shortly before the recent tech glitch that grounded thousands of flights, so apparently it came too late to help on that front. But the carrier recently confirmed that it has paid out a pair of awards worth one million miles. (Unfortunately they did not release the identities of these folks, so no chance of buddying up to them in hopes of tagging along on some of their travels. Or getting some IT help.) These were just two big time miles distributions; it sounds like a bunch of smaller rewards were handed out as well.

As of now United seems to be one of the few carriers officially recognizing this type of program (others wouldn't comment to NBC News), but we can bet that this may become a way in which airlines make themselves aware of web vulnerabilities. As for us? We’re off to Barnes and Noble in hopes of picking up Hacking for Dummies. And some Fodor's guides, just in case.

[Photo: United]

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Better Than a Tinder Date: KLM's New App Will Actually Learn Your Preferences

July 16, 2015 at 9:20 AM | by | ()

Clear out your phones of all those old selfies and lunch snapshots, because it’s time to make room to download a new airline app. The folks at KLM have been working overtime to upgrade and improve their offerings, and a refreshed app is now available for download — in both iOS and Android flavors.

The new interface and graphics are crisp and clean — we like what we see. As for the content: the app tries to predict what you're looking for at each step in your journey, and adjusts its opening screen accordingly. KLM officials say that the app will learn individual preferences the more you use it, all the better to offer customized promotions and things like that.

In addition, there’s now a more simplified booking tool, one click check-in, quicker payment options, and even a slick way to switch and swap your seats. (And since the app remembers preferences if you selected an aisle seat for this flight chances are that it will offer a similar selection on a future flight — it just gets you.) Of course there’s integration with Apple Watch as well, so frequent flyer status, check-in reminders, and flight information can always be right on your wrist.

The new app might not be a complete travel and airline concierge as of yet, but it’s getting there. So if you’re a big KLM flyer be sure to check this one out, and use it often. The more you swipe, click, and tap that more it’ll know about you and your travels — just don't get too creepy, KLM, or we'll probably share a little less.

[Photo: KLM / iTunes]

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Qantas Introduces Virtual Reality Tour of Hamilton Island

Where: Australia
July 6, 2015 at 10:05 AM | by | ()

For those of us in the Nifty Fifty in Australia's Hamilton Island is a world away. But thanks to some creative technology — and clever marketing — it might soon feel a bit closer.

A partnership between Qantas, Hamilton Island, and Samsung has resulted in a new virtual reality experience that allows would-be visitors to check out the island remotely. Still images of the landscape and the ocean can certainly sell the destination on their own, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to also have a 360-degree view of things from the air, land, and sea.

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6 Tips for Using Apple Watch on Your Next Flight

June 30, 2015 at 7:10 PM | by | ()

Apple Watch debuted just two months ago, but from the get-go 10 airlines were ready for the gadget's launch, enabling their mobile apps to work with the flick of a wrist. Yet while having your boarding pass basically imprinted on your body is a technological marvel, using Apple Watch to check in for your flight and board the plane is not as easy as we hoped it would be. Here are some tips on using Apple Watch for your next flight.

1. CHECK-IN ON YOUR IPHONE FIRST
Air France was one of the first airlines to update their app to work with Apple Watch and indeed, the app works like a dream. This contributor could pull up my boarding pass, bar code and all. However, like most functions on the Apple Watch, the app is tied to your iPhone via Bluetooth. So you must log-in to the app on your iPhone first, check-in there and then your watch app will be updated with your flight info and boarding pass.

2. SAVE YOUR PASS TO PASSBOOK
This sounds obvious, but when I arrived at CDG to check-in for a flight, I consulted my watch to show my boarding pass. Except I stupidly went through the Air France app instead of my Passbook. The Air France app was logged out, probably because my phone was in airplane mode (I was trying to save on my international roaming costs), which turns off the Bluetooth connection. Flustered and afraid of making people behind me wait, I pulled out my iPhone and showed my mobile boarding pass at the ticket desk. If only I had pulled up Passbook first.

3. HAVE A BACKUP PASS READY, JUST IN CASE
Whether it's on your iPhone or a paper pass, have it somewhere close-by in case you encounter an airport employee who's not ready to deal with your early tech adopter-ness. This is especially true for customs. The agents stamping my passport needed to see the boarding pass with my name on it. With the Watch, you have to hold out your wrist at an awkward angle and then scroll through the different parts of the pass. It's far easier to carry a paper pass or show your mobile pass, especially when you don't speak the local language. In America, TSA checkpoints should be able to accept your Watch scans, even if you might have to loosen the Watch to get it in front of the scanner.

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This Is the World's First Airport to Use Apple Watch Behind the Scenes

June 25, 2015 at 1:00 AM | by | ()

Once the Apple Watch made its debut on the wrists of travelers, it was inevitable that things like gate information, flight updates, and other flight-related frills would all make an appearance via one airline app or another. But now it’s an airport that is going all-in with Apple's latest tech toy.

Per Airport World, this month Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) became the first airport in the world to start using the Apple Watch behind the scenes. The airport has connected the watch to its existing operations and information system, so now the watch can immediately offer duty managers real-time updates . Push notifications and alerts to staff are designed to keep everything on schedule and running according to plan: whether it comes to flight delays or airplanes fighting over a gate, every need-to-know issue will be delivered to a wrist so that it can be dealt with. Hopefully this will keep decision-makers in the know — and benefit all travelers as a result.

SITA, the airport management system that pushes these updates through an app it developed specially for YQB, is also in use at 150 airports in almost 50 countries. So it might not be long before other staffers in other airports are using Apple Watch like walkie-talkies. The next time you see an airport worker bee busily checking his or her wrist, know that they might be sending instructions — not emojis.

[Photo: Apple]

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GOL and Gogo (Finally) Bring Brazil In-Flight WiFi

Where: Brazil
June 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

Good news from the folks at Gogo: They’re taking their in-flight WiFi technology south of the border — like, way south.

Gogo is teaming up with GOL, a budget Brazilian airline, to install its next generation service — known as 2Ku — across the entire fleet. This is the first time in-flight broadband has been made available aboard a Brazilian airline, so we can only imagine this news will be very well received. In fact, not only will this bring in-flight WiFi, but there will also be the ability to access Gogo Vision and Gogo TV from each and every seat.

The only bummer? Things aren’t quite ready for launch, and the current timetable suggests this partnership will be up (in the air) and running in mid-2016. But while GOL guests are about a year away from in-flight web surfing, they can definitely start dreaming about the speeds: Gogo is promising peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft, which is about 20 times the bandwidth offered through its first-generation technology in the United States. Vroom!

[Photo: Gogo]

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This Live-Streaming Service Brings Virtual Tourism to the Next Level

June 22, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | ()

Remember weather cams? Those were, like, so Web 1.0.

Meet Georama, 2015’s answer to live-on-location web streaming. If Periscope had a travel-focused cousin, it would probably look a lot like Georama, a platform that this month demonstrated its usefulness by offering a four-hour (!) real-time tour around Michigan’s Mackinac Island. The excursion, which featured a pro host (Tom Daldin of PBS’s “Under the Radar Michigan”) and interactive Q&A with viewers at home, was billed as the first live-streamed tour of its kind in North America — and only the second in the world. You can check out the archived video of the tour here.

Georama was tapped to produce the tour by the state tourism initiative Pure Michigan, and the live, long (very long) virtual exploration demonstrated the potential for technology like this to bring unfiltered, organic-feeling tours (read: not slickly produced promo vids) to web browsers around the world. And evidently, prospective tourists are biting — or rather, clicking. According to Pure Michigan, the Mackinac Island tour was watched by 3,000 viewers from every continent but Antarctica (penguins have dicey Wi-Fi, you know) and elicited about 845 interactions — i.e. questions to the host posed live by Georama users. The company, which hosted the tour on a Michigan.org microsite, seems to be promoting its wearable camera-based service primarily to tourist orgs, educational institutions and other similar entities, and it definitely seems like a pretty robust version of the virtual tour.

We’re intrigued to see who takes advantage of it next. In the meanwhile, tell us in the comments: If you could take a lengthy, live Q&A-filled virtual tour of any locale, where would it be?

[Image: Video capture via Pure Michigan]

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Exclusive: Vimeo Shows Us Its New Video App That Can Make Your Travels Look SO PRETTY

June 18, 2015 at 9:20 AM | by | ()

An overwhelming amount of apps already exist that allow people to share their lives via short, easy-to-edit videos: from six seconds on Vine to 15 seconds on Instagram to whatever YouTube’s limit is these days. Periscope even offers real-time broadcasting for people all over the world to watch.

Now here comes Vimeo, the online video platform that’s like YouTube’s cooler, but lesser utilized, but more cultured, but kind of unappreciated frenemy. (We all have one in our life.) Vimeo has been around since 2004, but on March 18, 2014 they announced their acquisition of Cameo, a video creation app that lets users edit, create and share cinematic-style videos.

TBH: we’ve never used Cameo before, largely because we didn’t know it existed. Thus, we don’t have a firsthand opinion on its prior performance or what the differences really are. But today, they’re re-launching it and promise it’s an “all-new” version.

Vimeo exclusively shared the below video with Jaunted. It’s a little something something Vimeo user Matty Brown created on this “all-new” Cameo. His video is an homage to Canada – check it out below, then meet us back here.

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Periscope While You Parasail (And Other Ways to Rock This Trendy App When Traveling)

June 16, 2015 at 4:05 PM | by | ()

This short video, made by Skyscanner, shows how simple and effective it is to share your journeys with other users on Periscope.

Most savvy social media users know about Periscope by now, but if you’re one of the unfamiliar it’s basically this: a smartphone app that allows you to live-stream whatever you freaking want. It sounds simple (and it is) yet it’s so addictive.

Like most successful social media applications, it allows real-time engagement between users. Viewers can essentially ‘like’ whatever they are watching (multiple times!) and interact with the broadcaster.

After experiencing its ease, we wondered: How this app might benefit travelers? That’s a rhetorical question, because there are seemingly endless scenarios where Periscope can come in handy. We just felt compelled to spotlight a couple of our favorite Periscope methods here, in case you’re curious.

Peep our Periscope proposals below:

Periscope While You Parasail

We just figured we’d keep that alliteration thing going. We’re done now.

Periscope is perfect (we couldn’t help it) for when you’re on extreme adventures (like parasailing). Giving viewers a firsthand account of novel experiences is a treat for everyone involved. You think you’re the only person who would enjoy experiencing a zip line through a rainforest? Wrong. You could easily rack up hundreds of viewers by broadcasting something unconventional like that live.

(We can sort of guarantee you lots of viewers, because this writer was a recent periscope participant for a broadcast called “Two Gays, A Blonde and a Brunette Eat Lunch” and we seriously got like 80 viewers just by eating Brussels sprouts.)

Just make sure you properly protect your phone when engaging in any X Games-style activities.

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Here's How easyJet Wants to Use Drones and 3D Printers for Airplane Maintenance

June 12, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | ()

Drones: What are they good for? Spying on neighbors, mostly. Also for maiming Enrique Iglesias.

But now it looks like drones may have a new purpose: helping to maintain airplanes. And their accomplice in this task? The 3D printer.

Per Bloomberg, low cost carrier easyJet just announced they'll embrace some innovative technological approaches to help keep passengers and planes safe. The plan is for drones to check out planes on the ground as part of regular inspections and maintenance. If you think about it, it makes good sense—another eye on things from above certainly can’t hurt.

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JetBlue Teams Up With Amazon For More In-Flight Streaming

May 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

Just last month we were celebrating the greatness that is JetBlue and their version of in-flight WiFi — or as they like to call it, Fly-Fi. The basic Fly-Fi plans are free, and it seems like that’s going to continue for the forseeable future. But what if you’re looking for a little more bandwidth? Like, say, enough to catch up on a little television?

According to Yahoo Finance, JetBlue has you covered through a new partnership with Amazon. Amazon Prime subscribers will now have free access to Amazon Prime's library of TV shows, movies and other videos. Subscribers won't have to pay for the premium Fly-Fi Plus service that is typically required for streaming vids. (They'll also have access to Amazon's music streaming service, e-books, apps and more.) JetBlue is already known for their complimentary access to plenty of live television channels, but seriously — when it comes to in-flight entertainment, the more the merrier, right?!

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10 Airlines Already Up and Running With Apple Watch

April 29, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | ()

The Apple Watch has arrived, and airlines across the globe have been quick to update apps and software to take advantage of all the new features. Here's ten airlines already up and running with the latest and greatest in fashion technology:

Delta
· Fly Delta for Apple Watch allows you to keep track of your time to departure and arrival, as well as gate and baggage carousel information
· Any eBoarding passes that you save to Passbook will automatically be available on Apple Watch, so just scan your wrist at that gate and go

American Airlines
· Version 4.0.0 is here, and that brings support for Apple Watch
· Sounds like you need to swipe "Keep Me Logged In" on your phone, and then your wrist will show you everything from updates on upcoming trips and check-in to connecting gate and baggage claim information

British Airways
· Your Apple Watch won't skip a beat when crossing the pond, as scheduled departure times, flight status, and weather at your destination are just a few of the features
· Gate change information should also update in real-time, so just check your watch every once in a while while waiting in line for an airport snack to stay up-to-date.

United Airlines
· United calls out a lot of perks and features, but they don't specifically make mention of all the Apple Watch goodies
· Check reservations and flight status right from the face of your watch

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