Once upon a time, flying was luxurious. We’re well past that reality; flying to a destination has become very utilitarian, with crowded seating, slapdash meals, stale air and long waits. There can be no question that most travelers view flying as a necessary evil that separates them from the thrill of time away.
But this week the Interwebs were buzzing about signs that some airlines are moving towards a better flyer experience. The BBC’s Sean O’Neill reports on the move towards greater comfort in the skies. O’Neill focuses on the rollout of the new Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s – innovative new aircrafts that have better ventilation systems, more seat room and offer a quieter ride.
One aspect of flying that can exacerbate the ordeal is the seemingly simple process of getting on the plane. But, as you know, that is a tense exercise filled with unmoving queues of passengers, loud sighs and errant elbows. However, there may be a solution on the horizon – USA Today’s Nancy Trejos reports on one company’s idea to make the airplane aisle wider. The Side-Slip Seat slides away from the plane’s aisle and can make that walkway as wide as 43 inches (they’re 19 inches currently), something that could ease those boarding and deplaning traffic jams.
And at CNN, Lauren Said-Moorhouse writes that, while the airlines have skimped on a lot of things, the luxury item that is wine has not been one of them. The airlines purchase several million gallons of wine each year and pay an extraordinary amount of attention making sure those vintages still taste good at altitude – some of the world’s greatest wines actually don’t taste right when you’re at 35,000 feet. Which can make it tricky for the sommeliers of the skies to keep oenophile passengers comfortable.
For travelers, certain countries have great reputations, and some have terrible reputations – elective travel to countries like Iraq is pretty low. Now, the Reputation Institute has taken a look at which countries have the best reputations. Canada is rated No. 1. Why does it matter? Consider this – the Institute says that a five point improvement for the USA would equal a $14.6 billion increase in tourism impact.
Travelers beware! The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney reports on a low-tech threat to people as they move through and around airports – pickpockets.
Beijing is one of the most vital cities in the world, but all those people can make getting around difficult. Especially by car. At CNNGO, Mitch Moxley reports that increased gridlock has led to a renaissance of a great Beijing tradition – bicycling around the city. Moxley offers five great bike routes through Beijing.
And here’s a little proof that social media can improve your travel experience – Virgin America launched a contest this week that gives discounts to travelers who snap photos on Instagram while in-flight. The first 1,000 passengers to upload their photos and share them to Twitter received a a 30% discount code for a Virgin flight via Twitter DM. Everyone else just had their photos live-streamed to the NASDAQ videoboard in New York’s Times Square.