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The Newest Instagram Update Seriously Inspires Wanderlust

July 1, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

Who doesn't love an Instagram update? Every time the app releases a refresh, it comes with some surprise new features to improve functionality and, oftentimes, enhance its uses for travel. In the past, we've seen the introduction of smoother filters, people tagging, emoji hashtags (!), layouts, and improved geotagging. This week, the update introduced a new Explore page, with trending Tags and Places, and "more powerful search" that makes it easier to find people, places, and tags.

The key word here is "places," as Instagram now allows users to search for and explore a geotag. The Explore page obviously is an instigator of wanderlust (browse at your own risk!) and has an excellent "remote beaches" category live now. Come other seasons, we expect to see something like "autumn road trips" or "from the slopes features.

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One Country Has Completely Rejected Luggage Fees

Where: India
June 29, 2015 at 2:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

What's worse than decreasing legroom? What sucks more than have a short flight delay? The answer: paying extra for luggage.

Most U.S. airlines now charge for checked luggage, and at least four airlines already charge for carry-ons-- three of those are U.S. airlines: Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier. The fourth is Iceland's Wow Air, that of the unbelievable $99 airfares to Europe.

Low-cost airlines highly fond of extra fees in other regions of the world are understandably jealous of all the extra revenue streaming in from baggage charges. Most recently, Southeast Asian airlines considered beginning their own carry-on fees. For now, at least, one country is putting its foot down and saying no: India.

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Virgin Cruises to Set Sail in 2020 from Miami

June 23, 2015 at 12:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

We knew it was coming but today, Captain Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Cruises have announced Port Miami as the home for their very first Virgin Cruise Ship, which will set sail in 2020. Yeah, you'll have to wait five years before you can take this Virgin out to the high seas.

Straight from the Virgin.com blog, here's what Virgin Cruises is planning:

Virgin Cruises has selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020 and has signed a binding letter of intent with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for three new mid-size ships.

Virgin Cruises’ three new mid-size ships, of about 110,000 gross tons each, are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests. There will also be 1,150 crew on board to look after the guests and deliver the Virgin service. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date.

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Who's Serving Rosé in the Sky (and Other Travel News)

June 23, 2015 at 11:17 AM | by | Comments (0)

With summer officially in swing, we no longer feel the need to hide our rosé drinking problem obsession. (Even though it's possible to drink rosé all year long, the blush pink wine is typically meant for summertime.)

While rosé is popular at restaurants and bars all over right now, we were quite surprised when we found a Cotes de Provence Rosé on the business class wine list aboard Air France, as usually airlines just offer white or red, but never in between. Paired with the rich butter cookies, it made for an excellent pre-meal treat. (However, if you're looking for rosé champagne, you'll have to fly Qatar business class for that.)

We'll have more on the rest of business class meal, and the flight, later this week but for now, sip on these travel news tidbits compiled by Conde Nast Traveler:

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You Can Now 'Pinch and Swipe' on Virgin America (and Other Travel News)

June 18, 2015 at 12:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

Do you remember when Virgin America first launched in 2007, with their game-changing Red in-flight entertainment system? We do because, well, we were there.

Fast forward eight years and Virgin America is now showing off a crazy-cool update to Red. Here's the official word from their blog.

Taking off on three of our aircraft this month, we are launching new, higher resolution, capacitive touch monitors as well as a new Red Beta platform built on Android-based software that allows us to make faster improvements in the short-term to our in-flight entertainment platform – and in the long-term, will make it possible for us to further connect, personalize and expand Red in entirely new ways.

Let's break that down for you: You'll be able pinch and swipe on the seatback TV, much like you do on your tablets or phones; you'll also get three times more content (including Seasons 1 and 2 of "Orange is the New Black, priced at $5 for four episodes); and some really cool features like expanded Google Maps, retro video games such as Pac-Man and surround sound simulation from Dysonic, which allows passengers with any sort of headphone to hear a "surround sound" effect from the comfort of their seat.

Virgin is also excited about this new platform because they think it be easier to innovate the system even further. We're not even sure how much further they can take this. But that's probably why we're not working on Red.

We'll be on the lookout for the new Red system on our next Virgin America flight but if you get a chance to try it out, let us know what you think

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Spectacular Failure: TSA Agents Miss 95% of Fake Explosives, People Finally Getting Fired

June 4, 2015 at 2:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

The short version of this story - and if you follow travel politics at all you've already heard about it - is that the acting administrator for TSA has been reassigned after ABC News revealed that TSA screeners flunked 67 out of 70 trial runs where investigators tried to smuggle fake explosives through airport security. That's about a 5% success rate. The investigation more broadly concluded that TSA had made zero significant improvements since a 2009 review, which had itself pointed out enormous flaws.

To give you a sense of what the public reaction has been like, CNN published an article by a pilot yesterday asking "Is TSA security a complete failure?" and it was probably one of the kindest things written about the fiasco. The responses write themselves: if TSA agents are not making us any safer, why have we spent the last 14 years going through nonsense lines, pat-downs, scans, secondary scans, explosives sniffers, backroom questioning, etc. etc?

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Zac Posen to Upgrade Delta's Flight Attendant Uniforms

April 30, 2015 at 5:21 PM | by | Comments (0)

A photo posted by @zac_posen on



Vivienne Westwood, move over. You aren't the only fashion designer doing flight attendant uniforms.

Conde Nast Traveler reports that Zac Posen will design new uniform looks for both the flight attendants and the in-airport personnel.

"I always wanted to work with an airline," Posen told Condé Nast Traveler. "It combines a lot of different skills of mine, and Delta has been a leader, and I hope to make them look stylish."

Sadly, it will take until 2018 for passengers to spy the high fashion in-flight but we do like how Posen and Delta are asking Delta employees what they'd like to see from their uniforms. CNT reports that some suggestions offered at the formal announcement of the Posen partnership today included "The 'WOW' Factor!", "empowered," "classy and stylish," and "A lot of Red!" We say, "ALL OF THE ABOVE."

[Photo: @Zac_Posen/Instagram]

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What's The Best Way To Help Nepal Right Now?

Where: Nepal
April 30, 2015 at 4:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

After Saturday's devastating earthquake, many people here in the U.S. want to help those in Nepal, but they aren't sure where to start.

If your instinct is to get on the next flight to Kathmandu, that might not be the best plan. Even if you have the time and resources needed to head to Nepal, food, lodging and volunteer coordination may be lacking, making some well-intentioned travelers more of a burden than a help.

But, that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of organized volunteer opportunities in Nepal in the future. Habitat for Humanity is already planning a longer-term response that will assist affected communities with permanent housing solutions.

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How Facebook's New 'Safety Check' is Aiding Travelers Following the Nepal Earthquake

April 25, 2015 at 10:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

I was boarding a plane when it happened, the Nepal Earthquake, that is.

I wasn't in Kathmandu. I was in Abu Dhabi, readying for a 15-hour flight back to the U.S., but I knew that one of my good friends was in Nepal and had been traveling around some of the areas most effected by the 7.8 earthquake and its aftershocks. How bad was this really? Was he safe?

While initial reports of the earthquake's magnitude rolled down my Twitter stream, a Facebook notification appeared just before the crew made the announcement for electronic devices to be turned off for take off. That notification, a green exclamation point icon, instantly shared that my friend had used the social network to "mark himself safe." I sighed with relief and turned off my device, beginning the long flight less anxious with the knowledge that he had reached out, somehow, to share his status.

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Hawaii is Thinking About Riding a Ferry Again

April 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Remember way back to when the Hawaii Superferry was doing its thing, as it took tourists and locals alike across a quick stretch of the Pacific? Well things did not really work out too well, and that last we heard the ferry was sent off to an early retirement over in Virginia—far, far from the islands of Hawaii.

Well now it looks like the state government in paradise is thinking about a little ferry fun once again, as there is discussion about starting up a more affordable way to get between the islands without taking to the skies. Officials like what they have seen over in Washington State, and they have given the go ahead for the Department of Transportation to study how things could shake out. This time there seems to be more of a focus on passengers only rather than cars too.

One of the concerns is that residents just can’t afford the airfare to hop between the islands, and that’s especially the case when multiplying things for a family of four—or more. So there’s certainly a lot to look at here, and by no means will you be taking a traditional ferry between Oahu and Maui anytime soon. However, we’ll see where this goes, and of course will keep you posted.

[Photo: billsoPHOTO]

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How to Get Tickets to the One World Trade Center Observatory

April 7, 2015 at 1:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Add May 29 to your iCal. That's the date the One World Trade Center's observatory opens to the public, for 100th-story views from the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

Entry won't be cheap, at $32 for adults 13-64 and $26 for children 6-12 (children under 5 are free), but it is significantly more affordable than tickets for the Burj Khalifa's Observatory, which run $55 for adults during peak visitation hours.

The very first batch of tickets will go on sale tomorrow, April 8, at 10am EST. Of course complimentary admission is extended to family members of those killed on 9/11, and to the rescue and recovery workers who worked at the site in the months following the tragedy.

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Boeing's New 'Sleep Support System' May Provide Comfort in Economy

April 6, 2015 at 1:53 PM | by | Comments (0)

You know that moment when you're deep into a long-distance journey and you just cannot get comfortable enough to sleep? And you'd do just about, or pay just about anything for some sort of bed, or sleep support for even a few hours of life-rewewing sleep? Well, Boeing may have a little something for you.

GeekWire touches on the company's newest patent (issued March 24), one which would "solve the common problem of trying to sleep hunched over to the side or straight up." The solution? An all-too-simple addition of a "backpack-like" device which snaps into your seat and provides a front support for a passenger's head and chest, to allow for a forward leaning sleeping position.

Naturally it has a super fun name, too: "Transport Vehicle Upright Sleep Support System."

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