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Passports / Airports / Airport News / Lists / ORD / DFW / JFK / MIA / Airport Security / Travel Tech / Global Entry / → All Tags
Word to the wise: automated immigration kiosks are the new hotness. These machines process the passports of US & Canadian citizens in a matter of seconds (minutes, if there's a line), and we foresee it one day pushing the Global Entry program to the curb. Oh, and it's free.
How to use the kiosks:
Simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
Who's got them:
As far as we know, there are four US airports with immigration kiosks up and running for holders of US passports. They are:
Now that passengers on domestic US flights are keeping their power on during takeoff and landing (and everything in between), the question becomes when will other countries make the same ruling? Well, we have one answer: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will make gate-to-gate gadget use on European flights possible beginning the end of this month.
The news comes this morning from the EASA in Cologne, Germany. The exact wording is quite plain:
Travel Tech / Airline News / Airlines / FAA / Travel Gadgets / JetBlue / Delta / United / American Airlines / Alaska Airlines / → All Tags
It's been nearly two weeks since the Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive allowing air travelers to use personal electronic devices (PEDs) from gate-to-gate, without the wait for the airplane to reach 10,000 feet. Already there's a photo contest and funny flight attendant story, but the freedom is limited to airlines with FAA approval.
The new directive went into effect on November 1, and airlines have been quick to send in their applications. Before keeping that smartphone/tablet/camera switched on, know if you're even allowed to by checking out which airlines even have the go-ahead from the FAA:
Travel Tech / Technology / ViewTag / Airline News / Baggage / Travel Gear / → All Tags
We’ve seen a few different versions and variants on the electronic luggage tags this year, as carriers like British Airways and Qantas have been testing, trying, and taking things to the next level. Now it’s time for another option from which to choose, one that we may see in the near future if it can find an airline to take it on.
The folks over at Vanguard ID have introduced what they’re calling the world's first battery free permanent RFID luggage tag, and even better is that this sucker has a changeable display. The ViewTag also features near-field communication, which allows information to be beamed right over to your cell phone. This means you will be able to track the bag's progress as it makes its way through the twists and turns of the checked baggage system.
Google / Google Street View / Google Maps / Britain Travel / LGW / Travel Technology / Travel Tech / London Travel / → All Tags
It's been only a couple of years since Google Maps made the leap into airports, mapping the inside of - depending on what kind of a day we're having - either our favorite or absolutely least favorite places in the world. Since then the Mountain View kids have not only expanded their airport offerings, but have even gone inside actual airplanes 'waiting' on the tarmac. What's left to do?
Do more and go bigger, obviously. TechCrunch reports that Gatwick Airport has become the newest location to receive Google's 360 degree panoramic Street View treatment. The UK airport - the second busiest in the country - is now apparently open to virtual touring. It only required stitching together 2,000 overlapping photos, matching the results to the airport's actual layout, and uploading everything. Piece of cake.
In-Flight WiFi / Gogo / Row 44 / Airlines / Airline News / Travel Tech / → All Tags
At this point, you’ve probably heard that you can leave some electronics switched on during takeoff and landing as long as you’re doing so in airplane mode. JetBlue and Delta are the first carriers to start implementing the new relaxed rules and regulations, but there’s probably one thing that you still won’t be able to do below 10,000-feet—use the in-flight WiFi.
Carriers like American Airlines, Delta, Virgin America, United, and US Airways all utilize Gogo to get their in-flight Internet, and that’s a problem for those looking to connect on the ground. The way Gogo does its thing is based upon sending its magical WiFi signal to airplanes at cruising altitude rather than those hanging out on the ground or climbing into the skies. Gogo is looking into changing that, but for now that means you need to look elsewhere if you want to stay truly connected from takeoff to touch-down.
Airport Security / Travel Tech / Global Entry / TSA / JFK / Airports / Airport News / Passports / → All Tags
Pardon the slightly blurry photo, but we're beside ourselves with excitement.
Those new self-service passport processing kiosks slowly appearing at US airports to speed the re-entry process for US citizens are a godsend, and we can finally say so from experience. Already the machines are installed at Chicago-O'Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth Airports, but encountering them ourselves at New York-JFK last week was an eye-opening surprise. It knocked our usual 40 minute wait time down to an impressive 40 seconds.
Located in Terminal 4, whose passport control area often erupts into airport hell after the arrival of foreign A380s, the 40 new kiosks were turned on October 15 to welcome travelers holding US passports...for free!
How do you use it? Well, simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
Here at home we’re waiting to see if we will finally be able to utilize electronic doodads during all aspects of the flight, as we’re just too connected to flip things off even if for just a few minutes. Obviously we’re not the only ones that love our mobile devices, and now it looks like another country is thinking about allowing the opportunity to listen to music, watch a movie, or actually get work done during take-off and landing.
Down in Australia their air safety group, CASA, is keeping an eye on what’s going on in the United States. They’re pretty curious about the safety of using gadgets during all aspects of the flight, and it sounds like they’re thinking about allowing passengers to keep things switched to on. Specifically this would affect domestic flights down under like those taking to the skies aboard Qantas or Virgin Australia.
This month features a step forward for British Airways and their latest idea, as the carrier is starting to test out their new electronic baggage tags. We’ve mentioned these before, as British Airways tries to streamline the process just like their buddies over at Qantas (they have those handy dandy Q-Tags).
The British Airways recipe is a little bit different, but the theme kind of remains the same. Instead of utilizing paper baggage tags, now passengers get an electronic tag that contains a little screen that can be changed up depending on where they’re heading. Think of it as a really small e-reader—complete with e-ink—that can display different barcodes and different destinations. Let’s just hope hackers—or friends pulling pranks—can’t get into these suckers, as a quick change of the letters might just send your bag on vacation without you.
Animals / Augmented Reality / Travel Technology / Travel Tech / Zoo Travel / Green Travel / Cute Travel / Japan / Japan Travel / → All Tags
As is well known and widely acknowledged, Japan is a land of crazy. The plain assertion doesn't really require any proof, but if it did there are entire websites devoted to the insanity that pervades the Land of the Rising Sun. Even their zoos and aquariums are batshit, allowing you to do everything from shake hands with otters to watch Santa Claus play with dolphins.
Somewhere in between shaking otters hands and Santa Claud on a dolphin, there's this very cute bit of travel advertising from Japan's Sunshine Aquarium. The tourist attraction is kind of a hike from the nearest station, and aquarium officials wanted to make sure people could find it. The solution? An augmented reality app where penguins guide tourists along the right path. Because Japan, of course.
WiFi / Travel Tech / Israel Travel / Tourists / → All Tags
The days of hopping between coffee shops and other WiFi hotspots are becoming fewer and fewer, as yet another country is beaming out Internet waves to tourists and locals alike.
Last month, Tel Aviv flipped the switch for free-for-all-WiFi to ensure everyone can stay connected. Whether they’re strolling the beach or checking out a little history, the city clearly understands visitors need to document visits instantly—through social media of course.
In total, the plan is to install around 80 or so hotspots, and the good news is that most of them are already up and running. If all goes accordingly, another 20 or so should be up and running in the next couple of months.
Travel News / Airport News / DFW / Immigration / Travel Tech / Passports / US Travel / → All Tags
At the beginning of summer, the US Government launched a new way to speed through immigration at Chicago O'Hare. Self-service kiosks eliminating the need to wait in long lines for a passport stamp. Even in the midst of an embarrassing government shutdown, someone was at work long enough to declare they were a huge success, expediting their expansion.
The trial in Chicago went so well, the next airport to see the technology is Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 60% of arriving passengers cleared customs in 15 minutes or less, and 85% of the rest of travelers making their way through in no more than 30 minutes. The Texas hub will now be the next to see improved waiting times.