Archive for May, 2013

Not quite ready for prime time

Posted on: May 31st, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Does a mini solar-powered electrical socket that you can take wherever you go sound like the solution to your power problems?

That’s basically what the Window Socket is.  This portable charger sticks to a pane of glass and charges from the sun’s energy, becoming an electrical outlet wherever you may need one.   It sounds excellent right?  It can be almost impossible to find an outlet in an airport, and hotels always seem to be a few short.  But there may be a reason it isn’t yet an essential in every traveler’s bag.

The downside is that the Window Socket has a long charge time – at least five hours – which makes it easy for someone on the go to forget. It also uses a standard European plug (not such a big deal), but only delivers at 1000mAh, so most appliances that you plug into the wall wouldn’t run.  However, that’s much higher than required for any USB socket.

All in all the Window Socket sounds like a pretty excellent device, but it might not be quite ready to solve all of our traveling power woes.

Read more at www.economist.com

Youth Interest In Aviation Careers Holds Promise

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Sadly the number of working pilots is currently on the decline, and we may be facing AMT shortages in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t reasons to remain optimistic about young people interested in careers in aviation.

All over the country, there are tons of opportunities for kids to get interested in aviation careers, especially as summer approaches.

One such event was the “Wing Design Challenge” sponsored by NASA/Kentucky, The University of Kentucky Dept of Engineering, and the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education.  Twenty-five teams participated in the challenge where they design and build a wing, which is then judged and flight tested.

With great events like these going on, there’s no reason to feel that youth aren’t interested in aviation!

Read more at aopa.org/community

Limited Options for Airline Check-In

Posted on: May 29th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

In 2009 low-cost Irish airline Ryanair removed its check-in desks in favor of baggage drop desks in hopes of shortening lines by moving the entire check-in process online.  Now its British competitor, EasyJet has done the same, encouraging all its passengers to check in online and either print their boarding pass before arriving at the airport, or download it onto a smartphone.

Though many airlines have offered online check in to their passengers for several years, only Easyjet and Ryanair are pioneers in doing away with check-in desks altogether.  Will this only be a trend for low-cost airlines, or will major airlines be following suit?

And will they be more likely to follow in Ryanair’s footsteps and charge passengers outlandish fees for forgetting to print out their boarding passes before arriving to the airport?

Read more at www.nytimes.com

FAA will keep contract towers open through Sept. 30

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

In March the Federal Aviation Administration announced that many air traffic control towers throughout the country would have to be closed  in June due to federal spending cuts.

The FAA has now issued a statement that they will continue to fund contract control towers all over the nation through the end of September, which is the end of the fiscal year for the federal government.

This is in part thanks to the Reducing Flight Delays Act which is allowing the FAA to end employee furloughs at least through the 30th of September.

Read more at www.dallasnews.com


A few of your favourite fees

Posted on: May 27th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Anyone who flies frequently knows there are some pretty ridiculous airline fees out there, but some are a bit more irksome than others. According to J.D Power & Associates’ 2012 North American Airline Satisfaction Study, passengers find baggage fees are the least reasonable, with only 28% of the flyers surveyed saying they thought they were reasonable.   However, there are many fees that travelers are more than willing to pay.  70% of those surveyed were perfectly happy to fork over extra cash if it meant they got priority boarding, and close to 65% were happy to pay to upgrade their tickets to business or first class.

(Of course, when you fly charter, you get a pass on all these fees while enjoying the added convenience of flying when and where you want to.)

Why does it matter? The 2013 study is due out soon, and it will show us just how complacent travelers have become when it comes to extra airline fees.  And it will determine whether or not that will lead to even more fees from airlines in the future.

Read more at www.economist.com

How to Pack a Suitcase for Business Travel

Posted on: May 19th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

The rising cost of ticket changes

Posted on: May 19th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

US Airways and United Airlines both recently increased their change fee for non-refundable tickets.  The fee rose from $150 to $200 for domestic flights.  Delta Air Lines is expected to do the same in the near future.  Southwest, however, still has no traditional change fees, though the company has recently changed its policy to include fees to passengers who do not cancel their flights in advance.

Read more at www.economist.com


I’ll have what I ordered

Posted on: May 18th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Many airlines allow you to choose from several different in-flight meals, but Air Baltic is changing things up by allowing passengers to completely customize the meals they will enjoy on board.  Passengers will select their desired main, side, beverage and dessert and the in-flight caterer customizes each tray before loading it onto the plane at the airport.

Read more at www.economist.com

Friendly, Maybe Lucky, Skies

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Have you ever taken a flight and hoped to catch the attention of the looker in 36F?  Now you can! Passengers on Virgin America flights can now send each other snacks, beverages, or meals along with a message that will display across the seat-back screen.  Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, seems to be hoping more people will become members of the mile high club on his planes.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

Secret lands of nod

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

If you’ve traveled enough you’ve had the experience of trying (and perhaps failing) to stay awake, despite having already checked out of your hotel and hours still to go until you catch your flight.  Where can you go to get a few extra hours of sleep?!

Read more at www.economist.com