Once upon a time, air travel was elegant and cool. Maybe even comfortable. Those days are long gone, and getting on an airplane is fraught with inconvenience and tension. But wait! Maybe the better-than-miserable in-flight experience is making a comeback! The key is technology.

At USA Today, Harriet Baskas writes that the Airline Passenger Experience Association is looking at creating a more entertaining in-flight experience. The key is near-future and already-here technological advances that airlines can use to deliver a better, more plugged-in passenger experience. The Wall Street Journal’s San Schechner has one example – high-end French Airlines OpenSkies is providing passengers with pre-loaded iPads.

Speaking of how technology shapes the way we explore the world, Google is bringing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef into your living room. The Barrier Reef is definitely something worth traveling halfway around the world for; it’s hard to believe how beautiful the underwater world can be. But a lot of people will never have the chance to see it, whether it’s because they’ll never travel to Australia, or because they simply don’t scuba dive. But here’s a solution – Henry Budd at The Daily Telegraph reports that Google Streetview now let’s you explore underwater when you’re Down Under.  You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of Finding Nemo, hanging out with sea turtles under the waves.

But for now, travel still has its little imperfections. Take, for example, the Centers for Disease Control’s recent failing grade for Holland America’s cruise ship ms Veendam. CNN’s Todd Sperry has the oogy details of the CDC’s surprise inspection:

“inspectors found brown liquid dripping on clean dishes, refrigerators out of order, improper installation of anti-entrapment drain covers in pools posing a possible danger to swimmers, faulty dishwashers that managers allegedly failed to do anything about until inspectors arrived and water from a broken ice machine leaking onto the pool deck.”

Ick.

Another pesky inconvenience is that those airplane windows don’t roll down. That became an Internet meme after presidential candidate Mitt Romney joked about the locked-in-place windows; apparently, the folks at Yahoo took him seriously. They put on their physics caps and explain why windows on planes need to stay firmly sealed.

Travelers to Europe might have a hard time taking a deep breath. A new study by the European Environment Agency found that air quality across the EU is not good. In fact, the report shows that the poor air quality reduces the life of European residents by an average of two years.

And the air quality in Switzerland failed to get a boost this week; Expat Health’s Bryony Ashcroft reports that Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would’ve banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

This summer’s London Olympics were considered a success on many levels. But the final numbers are now in, and it’s fair to say that as a travel happening, the Olympics were a disappointment.

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About The Author

John Miller is president of ScribeWise. He is an avid traveler and web-surfing junkie. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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