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Flights

Are You Enlightened or a Control Freak? What Your Airplane Seat Choice Says About You

By Leah Ginsberg for Yahoo! Travel

Are you an aisle or a window? (Thinkstock)

Choosing your seat on an airplane is a big deal. People obsessively check SeatGuru.com before picking a seat or even pay more for a certain position on the plane. Why? “It’s a rare opportunity to have some control over your environment when traveling,” explains psychologist and University of Washington professor Jonathan Bricker, Ph.D. “That’s very significant for the traveler.” Indeed – ask people whether they’re an aisle or window person, and they don’t hesitate to answer. (In case you’re wondering, based on Expedia.com customers who indicated a seat preference, 55 percent prefer a window seat and 45 percent prefer an aisle seat.) So Yahoo Travel researched, asked the experts, and picked the brains of frequent fliers to find out what your seat choice says about you.

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New York City’s JFK Airport just received a major upgrade — for some travelers flying Air France, anyway. The airline’s new lounge, fully renovated in Terminal 1, is reserved for customers flying in first and business classes as well as for Flying Blue Elite Plus members. And it’s arguably one of the chicest ways to relax and unwind prior to takeoff these days. Here’s what we love.

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airplane - Flickr-Franco Folini copy

With several airlines changing the way you earn miles — namely basing mileage on how much you spend for a ticket rather than how far you fly — you’ll want to make the most of what you do accumulate. Even if you don’t have enough points to redeem free award flights, there are many ways to reap the benefits of your hard-earned miles, onboard and off.

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Qatar Airways Business Class

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.

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Flickr Steven Byles AirAsia 2

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.)

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jetblue-plane-bill abbott

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.

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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.

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620x400_iStock_EyeMaskUnder-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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Quietbubble

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.

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jetblue-plane-bill abbott

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.

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seat-back pocket - labels - christine wei

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:

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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:

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