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You’ve always talked about it, but now you’ve finally done it: you booked your dream vacation. You’ve spent months planning, orchestrating every miniscule detail, but as you touch down, it hits you: you have no way of getting from the airport to your hotel. You have no nearby friends or relatives to fetch you, and taking a taxi means putting a serious dent in your budget. Is your getaway over before it even started? Not to worry. A new feature within the GateGuru app, compatible with Apple and Android devices, ensures a smooth, easy ride.
The company’s partnership with the Avis-Budget Group is a big step in fulfilling GateGuru’s mission to reinvent travel. The latest version of the app, released in October, assists travelers in booking last-minute car rentals. Best of all, working directly with a single rental company allows GateGuru to offer the lowest available pricing. Users can get between 5 and 25 percent knocked off the price, with discounts increasing the closer the reservation is made to the day of travel. The company’s chief executive and co-founder Dan Gellert said the initiative was a result of, “thinking through the current airport rental car experience.”
At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man who incessantly starts every sentence with, “kids today,” I’d like to discuss kids today. Specifically, how kids pass the time while flying. I should preface all of this with the disclaimer that I am not a parent. There’s a reason that we have Paul Eisenberg cover family travel for us: he knows what he’s talking about. That said, I’m an observant traveler. Lately, I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about how kids kill time on long flights. Young children (and, by proxy, their parents) get lambasted for disturbing everyone on flights, so keeping them occupied is critical. Flying with kids is not a new concept, but devices like iPads, smartphones, and LeapPads are. So, are today’s kid-friendly entertainment options better than they were [wait for it] when I was a kid?
I decided to compare some of my favorite in-flight activities with what the kids are doing today. What’s better? What’s easier? What’s most beneficial for everyone sitting near all of these tiny travelers? There’s absolutely nothing scientific to this. It’s not a study. There’s no control group. It’s just me. You might disagree. That’s what comments and Twitter are for. Sound off whether you agree with me or think that I’m a nimrod (kids still call people nimrods, right?). Let’s get to it. Read more
Recently rated the most tech-friendly airline, Delta Airlines continued its tech trend by installing six cameras in a suitcase to show us exactly what journey our luggage goes on when we check it. Although the video leaves some to be desired (no TSA screening area photography allowed, for example, and the outdoor shots are at night), it’s no doubt interesting to see the journey that the bag makes, especially as it rides through a maze of conveyer belts reminiscent of the airport scenes in Toy Story 2 (which turn out to be pretty accurately portrayed, animated dolls aside).
PCWorld recently published a list of the “Top 20 Airports for Tech Travelers,” marking the first time such a comprehensive analysis of domestic airport and airline technology has been published. Research for the piece involved canvassing the 40 busiest U.S. airports and a staggering 3,300 gates to identify the industry’s ultimate tech-friendly winners (and losers). Rankings were based on accessibility to electrical outlets, USB ports, and charging stations, as well as on airport Wi-Fi quality and cell reception. PCWorld also looked at individual domestic airlines for their own tech-friendly rankings, based on technological offerings at their gates, in their planes, and on their websites. Read more
Dutch airline KLM – know for its forward-thinking techie tools and campaigns – has announced the launch of a new “meet and seat” program, set to roll out in early 2012. One of the first (if not only) airline-hosted matchmaking services, the new campaign is designed to use social media tools to find a seatmate. As it could very well turn into a search for, quite simply, a mate, we expect this new service to bolster attempts at in-flight dating. While nothing says awkward like trying out your pickup lines with everyone in rows 23 to 25 within earshot, the new service does have some potential. Read more
There’s no doubt that the iPad has helped revolutionize travel, delivering unsurpassed convenience and a wealth of at-your-fingertips information to travelers on the move. Hotels, cruise lines, airlines, and restaurants have been quick to jump on the tech-trendsetter bandwagon by offering iPads as loaners for patron use, or even as stand-in tour guides, sommeliers, and more. But very few have the budget or broad-mindedness to offer complimentary iPads in every single guestroom. That’s why we’re so impressed by the recent announcement of Belgium’s Hotel Heritage to do just that. The high-end Relais & Chateaux property, set in the heart of the historic city of Bruges, is in fact the first hotel on the European continent to provide an iPad2 in each and every one of its 24 luxury guestrooms. Read more
Another win for in-flight entertainment: American Airlines is adding streaming video to an additional 400 planes by the end of 2012, and more than 90 of those machines will already have that capability by the end of this year.
The nifty technology lets passengers stream movies and TV shows to their own laptops during the flight via WiFi (no additional charge for Internet, but you do have to pony up for each TV show and movie downloaded) and is currently only available on 15 767-200 aircraft, which primarily connect JFK to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Most of the world may still lack the infrastructure necessary to make electric cars a viable option for everyday use, but you can test drive the cars of the future during your next hotel stay. Satisfy your need for speed at La Réserve Genève with one of five Tesla Roadsters. These eco-vehicles may lack the “vroom vroom” of a traditional sports car (the electric nature makes them totally silent) but they still go from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds, making them the world’s fastest electric sports cars. Guests can rent a Roadster by the day for about $984 or book a two-night Tesla Break package for about $2,294. www.lareserve.ch
Even if that number is foreign to you (guilty as charged), we’ve rounded up some in-the-sky Wi-Fi news in belated honor of the holiday, which we can only presume the rest of the world celebrated February 8, 2011.
Free Delta Wi-Fi Code: Score free in-flight Wi-Fi on Delta all month long with code DIETCOKEGOGO (a one-time, 24-hour connection usually costs $12.95). The airline uses Gogo for cruising altitude connections, so rumor has it that the code could work on other Gogo-enabled planes. We haven’t flown anywhere in the last three days, so report back if you’ve tested this out.
Using my laptop in-flight is a precarious affair. My black MacBook fits on the tray table, but the screen is so close to the seatback that I’m convinced any sudden movements will result in total computer destruction.
I’ve considered investing in a more compact tool, such as a tablet or MacBook Air, but Virgin America might have concocted a better solution: Free Google Chromebook rentals. Now through September 30, Virgin America and Google are partnering to lend up to 20 passengers per flight a Chromebook to toy with while at cruising altitude.
The promotion touts Google’s nifty new computer, which ditches a traditional operating system in favor of apps and cloud computing. We’ve got to say, it boasts some pretty slick features: The Samsung version Virgin America is lending boots in about 8 seconds, automatically updates all apps, and is small enough to rest on a tray table – with room to spare for a Diet Coke and a pretzel pack.
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