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Space Travel / Space Tourism / Virgin / Virgin Galactic / Spaceships / Travel News / Travel Tech / MHV / Ansari X Prize / Science Travel / Richard Branson / Rocket Science / New Mexico Travel / Spaceport America / → All Tags
How about Paris for the weekend, or a two-week trip around Southeast Asia? Forget itthat's so 2014, so terrestrial. Should Virgin Galactic have their way, 2015 will be the year you book a vacation of suborbital space travel, or perhaps a supersonic 45-minute flight from California to London.
This month SpaceShipTwo completed her 54th test flight, improving the odds that next year will indeed be the one to finally kick off space tourism. In fact, Virgin Galactic has already begun the big move from Mojave, CA to Las Cruces, NM, the latter being home to Spaceport America and, hopefully soon, flights to space full of paying passengers (6, to be specific, plus 2 pilots).
Seeing as the US treats spaceship technology with something of the same intense secrecy as defense technology, much of what Virgin Galactic's been up to out in their hangar in the California desert is hush-hush top secret. The 10th Anniversary of their Ansari X Prize win however opened up a small window for us to peek behind those massive doors. Here's what we can tell (and show!) you:
Travel Tech / WiFi / In-Flight WiFi / Gogo / TMobile / Train Travel / Amtrak / ICE / DeutscheBahn / On-Track WiFi / → All Tags
Did you know that today, October 29, is National Cat Day? Well it's also International Internet Day, which is a perfect coincidence if we don't say so ourselves. On this day in 1969, the first electronic message was sent over ARPANET. It's this network that developed into the internet we know and use today, no matter where we are traveling in the world.
Travel Tech / Windowless Planes / Technology / Airplanes / Travel News / Bad Ideas / Virtual Balcony / → All Tags
"It's too bright! Close the window, please." - your annoying seatmate
Despite recent reports that "windowless planes" are the wave of the future, air travelers have a love-hate relationship with airplane windows and turning the whole fuselage into a portal to view the sky around you just will not fly (pardon the pun).
You can thank British firm CPI (Centre for Progress Innovation) for the concept and, while it's a fun daydream, there is no way a plane with screens in place of windows will be happening in our lifetime. Here's why:
A few early-stage concepts for what the future of airplane design might look like within the next decade has been making the rounds through the media recently. Three companies in particular, Paris-based Technicon Design, England's Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), and Boston's Spike Aerospace, have emerged at the forefront of the research, and they clearly agree on one thing: Airplanes of the future won't have windows.
You can click on the company links above for more specific details on their individual projects, but the bottom line is that removing windows from fuselages will (eventually) be cheaper and more environmentally friendly due to reduced weight. According to CPI, airplanes without windows are lighter than airplanes with windows, and "for every 1% reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75%. If you save weight, you save fuel. And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost."
Travel Tech / Apple Pay / Disney / Disneyland / Disney World / Apple / iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus / Family Travel / → All Tags
Blah blah blah Apple Pay. Although it seems like the new mode of payment is all anyone can talk about this week, the attention is for good reason. Apple Pay is hopefully the first step towards a future we've always envisioned for travelers, a future served by universal payment.
Granted, Apple Pay has a long long way to go before we can hold up our phone to pay for bus fare in Hong Kong one day, and do the same to pay the bill at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Denmark the next, but the growing ubiquity of iPhones and iPads means this native Apple app has serious potential, not to mention that many other countries have already eclipsed the US in contactless payment technology.
Last week, the airline industry descended upon Seattle for the North American side of the 2014 Aircraft Interiors Expo, a conference that focuses on the future of passenger experience and interior cabin design.
Not only are related issues discussed, but private companies present their products to the airlines, aimed at inventing and improving the future of air travel.
Here's some takeaways from the conference:
Travel Tech / Money / Apple / iPhone / iPhone 6 / Apple Pay / Currency / Shopping Travel / → All Tags
Apple Pay is the hot topic of conversations this week, as Apple releases their "credit card killer" for easier, and more secure payments. So far it's only available to Americans, for use in the United States, but as this is only the beginning of Apple Pay we can see an expanded future ahead. So, how to get started?
First off, you must be in possession of an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3 or iPad Air 3 running iOS 8.1, and you must enable passcode lock and, for the iPhone, Touch ID (fingerprint recognition). It's extra layers of security.
For help with setting it up, check out AppleInsider, which we did and then immediately headed out to Walgreens to purchase a few mini travel toiletries.
Apple Pay performed beautifully. When the cashier totaled up our purchases, our Passbook Apple Pay screen switched itself to prompt us to place our finger for Touch ID. When our print cleared, the phone vibrated and chimed, and displayed a small record of the transaction including store name and location.
Tourism / Travel Tech / Segways / Tours / Travel Tips / Lists / Tourists / Fort Lauderdale Travel / → All Tags
Segways. Where there's a tourist hotspot city center, there's likely to be a Segway tour or two of it. Sometimes you're onboard, and sometimes you're not, but whatever your opinion of Segway tours, it's clear to see that they're here to stay.
We recently hopped on a Segway tour in Ft Lauderdale, Florida for something a little different, and we'd be lying if we said Segways didn't come with a list of pros and cons. If you've ever debated on taking a tour or even turned your nose up to strapping on a helmet and quietly scooting around, this is for you:
In-Flight WiFi / United / United Airlines / WiFi / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / Airlines / Airline News / → All Tags
Good news for United flyers, as the airline is bringing its WiFi capabilities to even more planes. Now the cramped legroom and narrow cabins of all those United Express regional jets will be slightly improved, since they're next to have the switch flipped on in-flight WiFi.
Installations will start sooner rather than later, and the fleet is expected to be finished at some point next summer. All in all they’re looking to install the wires, cables, and antennas on over 200 planes. WiFi of course will be a great option, but the up in the air connectivity should also work for their snazzy streaming service too—check out our thoughts on that.
In-Flight Entertainment / United / United Airlines / Airline / Airplanes / In-Flight WiFi / iPad / Travel Tech / → All Tags
Just about a year ago, Virgin Australia launched their cool new wireless BYO-device entertainment system. It was thought that this would be the wave of the future, as more travelers armed themselves with iPads.
Now we're excited to announce United has begun testing a similar system on this side of the Pacific. On a recent flight from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, we were lucky to score a plane equipped with beta-test of this technology.
As a regular passenger, we received an email from United two days before departure, with the info that we'd be on a plane with this system. The email was similar to their webpage explanation, and it detailed how we could trial the entertainment choices by streaming them to our own iPad, iPhone, or laptop. By simply downloading the free application from the Apple App store, we would be able to enjoy hours of movies and television shows from gate to gate.
In-Flight Meals / British Airways / In-Flight Entertainment / Food Travel / Travel Tech / → All Tags
British Airways is on a roll with tweaking entertainment for their flights. First, there was the 7-hour train trip through Norway that occupies some space in the in-flight entertainment channel line-up, which was soon joined by the cute animal-focused Paws & Relax channel.
And who can forget the mood blanket thing? (We kid--it was actually totally forgettable).
This month, the news from BA announces the launch of the "Sound Bite" menu, which pairs audio entertainment with what's on your meal tray:
Travel Tech / IND / Airports / Airport News / Robots / Indianapolis Travel / → All Tags
If you've never made it to or through the airport over in Indianapolis, then you're missing out on one of the USA's top airports—seriously.
Travelers at IND now have an extra amenity in the form of a robot, who has just begun roaming around the terminal and using its interactive abilities to answer questions.
The thing is called "Double Robot"—guess there was no money left in the budget for a clever name like "IndyBot"—and it’s topped off with an iPad. Instead of employing a physical human being to walk around, the robot is equipped with a video link to an actual person, ready to assist you.