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Flying business class on the world’s top-rated long-haul airlines (think Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad…) isn’t exactly an inexpensive proposition. Round-trip flights on any of these airlines to their respective home airports in Asia can run you more than $8,000. An economy-class ticket on these same flights can run you between $1000, with a good sale, to $1500 — significantly less. So why the markup?
The answer isn’t so cut-and-dry. You can’t just add up the cost of the extra amenities offered in business class and come up with a concrete value comparison. For example, what’s the exact dollar value difference of flying in a basic economy class seat versus a business class, lie-flat bed? Is it $300? Perhaps $400? Exactly how much is your comfort worth?
I recently had the somewhat outrageous opportunity to fly halfway around the world — and almost immediately back — in order to assess the value of comfort in flight. Qatar Airways, one of Star Trax’s 5-star-rated airlines, hosted me on a trip that lasted just 33 hours: 13 in the air in each direction between New York and Doha, Qatar, plus seven in the Doha airport.
If this sounds ridiculous… well, it was. But the airline’s point was clear: Even the most seemingly uncomfortable travel circumstances can be made entirely, lavishly comfortable with a (simple?) upgrade. As for what it’s all worth? Here’s an attempt at a breakdown.
If Southeast Asia is on your travel bucket list, early next year might just be the time to do it. Malaysia-based AirAsia is releasing a pass on January 15, 2015 that will let travelers take unlimited flights to 10 select destinations in Southeast Asia for one month. Here’s the kicker: It’s only $148, excluding airport taxes. (Our minds were blown, too.)
Must all good things come to an end? We used to think that JetBlue could do no wrong, but two recent announcements will be robbing passengers of our favorite perks of flying with the airline: free checked bags and spacious legroom.
Space travel. Bitcoin payments. Suites on airplanes. Some trends just keeping popping up on our news feeds time and time again. Some of these are fantastic and others… not so much. But for better or worse, here are nine that we think are here to stay.
1. Wearable tech.
Now that Apple’s in the game, wearable tech seems more and more like a part of the future — and not just as an ugly fashion trend. While we all love to hate Google Glass, travel brands are already responding to the Apple Watch unveiled in September. For example, Starwood’s new SPG app, which will let guests unlock rooms with their iPhone, is already designed to be Apple Watch-compatible. Of course, at nearly $349 dollars, Apple Watch isn’t a casual purchase, and we bet there will be some software and hardware challenges to overcome. Plus, it needs to be paired with an iPhone, though brands like Samsung are attempting to market what’s essentially a mini-smartphone to wear on your wrist.
2. Space voyages.
Despite the unfortunate Virgin Galactic crash at the end of last month, space travel is going to happen. The brand’s CEO shared that the company is continuing full steam and will “have a new spaceship that’s going to be ready in a few months” (as investigations into the crash continue). Having recently received massive funds from NASA, Boeing is also working on developing passenger aircraft for space. And it’s not just planes we’re talking about here. A Beijing-based company called Space Vision is developing a “high-tech balloon” powered by helium to bring tourists into space, and a Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation, is aiming to operate an elevator into space by 2050.
Under-eye circles, desert-like skin, and chapped lips are the telltale signs of the dreaded condition known as “flight face.” Luckily, with the right products (some splurgy, but worth every penny), and the correct application, you can actually step off the plane feeling human — and even refreshed. Here, your guide to treating a redeye like an in-flight spa. Read more
We’ve all heard the familiar adage it’s the journey that matters, not the destination — at least when it comes to crazy travel stories. With all of the globetrotting that the staff here at ShermansTravel does throughout the year, we certainly have more than our fair share of hilarious (and somewhat awful) tales. So we thought we’d share the best (and the worst) with our readers to keep in mind the next time you take off in an aluminum tube full of strangers.
Here at ShermansTravel, we jump at the chance to make traveling less stressful — even fun. From a tool to de-clutter electronics to a simple water hack, here are five surprising accessories that create a better away-from-home experience.
After the category three Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas region on September 14 — bringing harsh winds, floods, and structural damage to Baja California — airlines and hotels are finally on the rebound. Los Cabos International Airport finally reopened on October 3, with public transportation and cruise ports also back in operation. While travel lodgings are still somewhat limited, travelers might find some great deals if they’re flexible and willing to do a bit of research.
The future of noise-canceling devices may lie in a…bubble?
Silentium, a technology company specializing in noise-reduction products, has developed new technology called the Quiet Bubble that would create an invisible barrier to drown out the noise for a “personal quiet zone” around your head.
We thought these airfare deals were too good to pass up, even if there’s only just one day left to book. They expire tomorrow, October 8.
Years ago, I’d read somewhere that if you’re ever stuck in the middle seat on the plane, the best way to claim your armrest space was to keep everything you’d possibly need in the seat-back pocket. This way, you can avoid relinquishing your space when you reach down under the seat in front of you.
So I spent the next few flights perfecting my ideal pocket set-up. And, like any true travel nerd, I still get a little thrill seeing all of my seat pocket items all assembled before the flight. And whether you’re protecting your armrest space or just trying to stay comfortable and organized, scrunching and stretching down under the seat in front of you is no fun — especially if the seat is reclined. Here’s the setup that lets me access everything I’ll possibly need during a flight — and all within arm’s reach:
It’s been a few weeks since several inflight fights over reclining have erupted in quick succession. While travelers have indignantly called out airlines for creating more and more miserable experiences, it’ become clear from airlines’ lack of response that airplane seats aren’t getting any roomier any time soon. Which has us wondering: What “rights” does a ticket-holder have on an airplane when it comes to the space in front of and behind you? It doesn’t seem as clear-cut as the fact that everyone should have the right to an armrest, the storage space in the bin above your seat, and a month-old copy of the inflight magazine (“should” being the operative word here).
Legroom, you could argue, is one of the biggest factors that determine your comfort level during the flight. Tom, weighing in on the anti-reclining side today, puts it this way: ”Stretching on a long-haul gives you the same pleasurable feeling as the moment your tongue touches an ice cream cone on the hottest day of the year.” Here, he and a pro-reclining editor hash it out:
Spirit raises fees yet again. (Photo: Thinkstock)
The budget airline Spirit already gets plenty of grief from passengers about their carry-on bag fees.
And yet, they are hiking up the fares yet again. The airline is raising their checked bag fees by $2 for flights in between Dec. 18 and Jan. 5 in an effort to encourage customers to “pack a bit lighter.”
Don’t even think about packing the presents. (Image: Spirit.com)
Spirit’s bag fees currently range from $20 to as much as $100 depending on when you book.
The Spirit business model is a bare-bones one. They start with an incredibly cheap fare and then charge customers for carry-ons, checked bags and in-flight snacks and drinks.
The airline calls it the “bare fare.”
“Our fares are fully unbundled. No ‘free’ bag. No ‘free’ drink. Other airlines bake those options right into their ticket price. We don’t. A ticket with us gets you and a personal item from A to B,” they explain on their website.
If you’re flying Spirit this year you might want to think about shipping those holiday presents sooner rather than later.
Temperatures aren’t the only things dropping in fall and winter: Airlines are lowering their fares, too. If you plan on traveling in the coming months, snag one of these six deals before they’re gone.
1. Japan: 20% off plus a free stopover
Take your pick of six Japanese cities and get a complimentary stopover in Hong Kong when booking roundtrip flights from the U.S. on Cathay Pacific. Even better, in this Japan Fare Sale, rates with this first-rated airline has already been cut by 20 percent. $1,122 gets you flights from New York City’s JFK to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Okinawa, then Okinawa back to JFK. The same set-up between LAX, Hong Kong, and Osaka will cost you around $1,021. The offer is good for travel through December 9 and must be booked by September 30.
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