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Cruise Travel / Cunard / Queen Mary 2 / Transatlantic Travel / Inmarsat / Travel Tech / WiFi / At-Sea WiFi / Ships / Travel Tips / Viking River Cruises / → All Tags
At-sea WiFI is a beautiful thing, but this beauty doesn’t come without a price tag. Cruise ships around the world have offered connectivity from sea to shining sea for several years thanks to Inmarsat’s satellites buzzing about in space, and yet the cost of using even one hour of internet is shocking and, dare we say it, turning travelers away from oceangoing vacations.
There is hope, however; onboard a recent transatlantic voyage of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, we hooked onto an internet signal every day, at all hours, from all over the ship, despite our location of “somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean,” and came away with scores of ideas on how to keep those WiFi costs down while still logging on:
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We have been there and you probably have been too, as there’s that situation when it’s time to go and you can’t find the gate agent. Well one airline wants to ensure it’s aware of the gate agents’ location at all times, as they’re hooking them up to a little bit of a tracking device.
Japan Airlines is teaming up with Nomura Research Institute to show off what they can do with an iBeacon and a smart watch. The test run is already underway, as they’re trying things out over at Tokyo-Haneda within Domestic Terminal 1.
Have you seen any of these HappyOrNot Machines in your travels? Apparently these little feedback kiosks have been kicking around at airports across the globe, as well as everywhere else from pizza places to other retail locations.
It’s all part of the plan to gather thoughts and opinions regarding the airport experience, as officials look to improve upon the traveler experience. There’s usually a question, and then some simple smiley faces—or sad faces—and corresponding colors to share your feelings.
We’ve all been there: you’re running around town all day, making phone calls, sending emails, taking full advantage of the mobility smartphones have given us. But with more features and ever-larger screens comes ever-decreasing battery life, and sooner rather than later you’re looking at a thin red sliver that’s left of what was a fully-charged device just hours ago.
Seeking refuge in a coffee shop, a hotel lobby, or crouching next to a random socket is one option, but this taxi we rode in Tokyo recently will literally keep you on the move, offering free charging for both iPhone and Android with a little Lichtenstein pop art-inspired imagery to go along with the despair you feel when “Please connect your charger” appears on your screen.
Those flying aboard JetBlue just might have an easier experience to look forward to, as the carrier is now in process of rolling out automatic check-in. That’s right—soon there'll be no need to line up at the airport or deal with things online in advance, as JetBlue will already have you sorted.
This update started last week, and boarding passes are now sent to passengers around 24 hours in advance of the flight. Printing them out the old fashioned way is an option, or travelers can certainly download a mobile boarding pass. This will certainly come in handy when you’re not near WiFi or a computer, or are rushing to the airport and concerned you’ll miss the deadline for check-in before your flight.
This week, EasyJet launched a service via its mobile app that will text customers step-by-step instructions throughout the process of boarding a flight. Using sensors placed throughout the airport, the app detects where a passenger is and sends call to action type information via text message.
For example, when a passenger approaches the boarding gate, they will receive a text message advising them to take out their boarding pass and, where appropriate, passport. The thought behind the service is that it will help reduce wait time caused by disorganized passengers.
We’ve seen electronic boarding passes and other unique ways to hop aboard your flight, and now Air France is adding their version of some newfangled technology to the boarding process.
The carrier’s new boarding business is all about near field communication—or NFC—as they’re partnering up with a local mobile provider to get the technology up and running. Basically passengers using Orange mobile smartphones will be able to touch here, tap there, and wave their device in order to make their way through the airport.
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From New York City to Atlanta, some of the busiest airports in the world are finally flipping the switch on complimentary WiFi. It's better late than never, and we’re glad airports are finally getting the message. Now that complimentary connections are continuing to expand, its time to welcome's yet another major airport to the club.
Leave your credit card digits in your wallet, as Frankfurt Airport is now offering unlimited free WiFi to passengers 24 hours a day. Previously WiFi was limited to 60 minutes, but now you’re free to continue your time wasting—or work emails—until it's time to board that flight.
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WiFi is scheduled to arrive is set to arrive at Nok Air sooner than later, and it sounds like Thaicom are the folks behind the in-flight Ku-band technology. Installations are moving quickly, and the system could be up and running as soon as this July or August. The plans are to start with six planes as soon as possible, and after that they’ll move into installations for 30 more.
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The creative and clever award has to go to the officials over at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, as they’ve taken something useless and turned it into something useful. We all know that payphones have now become part of history, but that does leave banks of telephones that need to be turned into something else.
That’s where the airport comes into things, as they’ve taken the pay phone spaces and turned them into charging stations for all your mobile devices. All in all three pay phone spots have been transformed at the airport, and that means less need to crouch on the floor trying to find an outlet over here or over there.
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to travelers who've shelled out for Global Entry, but a better option is quickly gaining popularity at major US airports...and it's free to use.
The automated passport kiosk allows travelers arriving from international lights to quickly enter their details, snap a photo, receive a stamp, and continue on their merry way into baggage claim; this is as opposed to waiting in a long line to see an agent for the usual passport review and stamp.
We first experienced the smooth and snappy process back in October, and fell in love with it. It seems that airports and fellow flyers echo our feelings, as over 10 airports have added the machines, with more to come:
We’ve been enjoying the wonders of in-flight WiFi for a few years now, but unfortunately those travelers doing their thing in the skies above Europe have not had the same pleasure. Thankfully it looks like things are about to change, as there are plans to flip the switch on some new—and speedy—in-flight connectivity across the pond.
Inmarsat is the company behind the new travel technology, and it sounds like their aiming to have things up and running by the end of 2016. Connections will have speeds in the 4G range, so things should be improved when compared to what we have here at home. All in all setting up the network should cost around $550 million, and that includes new satellites, new towers, and other bits and pieces related to the transmission process.