Love or hate Uber, they have a way of making the news around the country almost daily. Now comes this story from Pennsylvania where Uber is making progress.

Uber

The State Public Utility Commission voted 4-1 to allow Uber X to serve most of the state except Philadelphia and a few counties. Uber’s Black and SUV drivers have had limo licenses for the past couple years so they are not affected.

This is a huge win for Uber. As I have said in Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

Yeah I know, we are becoming increasingly expectant of Wi-Fi availability, at least on domestic flights. Well, not entirely. Are you listening, United? But I digress.

This article reminded me of this Wi-Fi survey sponsored by Honeywell. In their second annual survey, Honeywell tells us that about two-thirds of passengers look for Wi-Fi when selecting a flight. The article slightly misstates that almost 30% will change flights to standby to have better Wi-Fi. The survey actually said that 29% would be willing to fly standby only if the Wi-Fi was as fast as they had at home.

Based on my experience over the past few years with Wi-Fi – and admittedly I am a big fan of GoGo Inflight – these results seem quite extreme. As always, the devil lies in the details. Respondents to the survey were passengers in the U.S. who had used Wi-Fi at least once during the past year. In other words, it is limited to those who have a strong desire for Wi-Fi while flying.

It looks like the article’s young journalism major author took the press release bait from Honeywell but didn’t follow through with any research. Not mentioned in the article is that the sponsor of the survey was actually Honeywell Aerospace. In fact Honeywell is a primary source of equipment for inflight Wi-Fi. Obviously they benefit greatly as more passengers desire fast broadband Wi-Fi when flying. Nevertheless, it is entertaining to not only read the survey results but compare them with last year’s results.

Disclosure: I have a Honeywell Wi-Fi controlled thermostat that I absolutely love. I adjust the temp when I go away, then reset the temp when I arrive back at the airport. Love it!

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

With nearly everyone owning a smartphone today, this is a fun time to take a look at ringtones, specifically those related to travel. There are hundreds of choices out there, something for nearly everyone’s taste in music.

So where do you find a list of candidates? Well, they are all over the internet but the best selections may come from Skyscanner, SongFacts, and YouTube. From the old (On the Road Again, Willie Nelson) to the very old (New York, New York, Frank Sinatra) to the more contemporary (Lincoln Highway Dub, Sublime), it is hard not to find travel music for everyone.

Maybe you want a new ringtone just for your Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

Six months ago, AT&T announced plans to develop a 4G network for inflight wi-fi service. Along with partner Honeywell, they expected it to be in service next year. Today AT&T announced that they are abandoning their plans according to the Wall Street Journal and Skift .

AT&T

No comment directly from GoGo as of yet though their shareholders seemed happy as today’s GoGo stock price ended higher. Obviously this is good news for them, not so good for air travelers because GoGo operates a slower 3G network.

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

SkyscannerWith a blend of today’s technology and H.G. Wells imagination, Skyscanner prepared a report on what they see as the future of travel. Not so sure that Apple’s Siri or Google Glass will be a central part of the travel universe in another decade but it is hard to disagree that Big Data will play a much more important role. Indeed IATA has been working toward this goal for years. Formal regs should be out by next year.

But really, will travel planning and booking be “seamless” in the next decade? T’would be nice if they are correct but that seems doubtful. Of course technology will be much improved in the next ten years but getting to the point where each of us has our own perfect personal Digital Travel Buddy on our wrists is a reach. But if they are correct, this holographic gizmo will know everything about our likes and dislikes, and only plan perfect travel for us. Traveling internationally? No problem, your Wrist Buddy will translate everything you are told.

Supersonic air travel? It is possible since it is being worked on right now. Read More…

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SPG-LogoThe promise is finally a reality. This week, Starwood began allowing the use of smartphones to gain entry into some of their hotel rooms. The keyless service is being introduced at three of their brands: Aloft, Elements, and W. The process is simple – just download their app, create a SPG account if you don’t have one, and register your phone.

Before getting too excited, it is available at only ten properties initially. Even by the end of next year, it will only be operating in 150 hotels. Why did these choose these properties? Because they are marketed to a high-tech kind of consumer with the first two very much marketed to Millennials.

The Good: It’s opt-in, meaning they are not forcing anyone to do it. Obviously those without smartphones will appreciate this but others might as well. For example, some guests may prefer to carry around a key card while jogging, in the gym, or at the pool.

Read More…

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When I was young child, there was no such thing as wheeled luggage. Instead, I remember large heavy suitcases that my father had to drag to and fro. That began to change around 40 years ago with a brilliant idea: Why not put wheels on these bags so they are easier to move around? It was not until later, 1987 to be exact, when a Northwest pilot put two wheels on a carry-on bag. First popular with flight crews, it gradually became mainstream after he founded a company many travelers know today as Travelpro.

There have been many evolutionary tweaks over the past quarter century with improvements in material and smartly designed pockets but none have been as revolutionary as what we are seeing recently. For example, there is “world’s first smart, connected carry-on” called Bluesmart, a carry-on size suitcase controlled via app through your smartphone. Of the many features to this bag, the most beneficial are probably the ability to lock and unlock your bag, track it, and weigh it but my favorite is a built-in battery charger for your phone. Others will appreciate the 4-wheel spinner’s built-in GPS to always know where your luggage is located.

Bluesmart

Bluesmart claims this carry-on is airline-compatible with a size of 21.5″ x 14″ x 9″. That will meet most airline regulations (not most regional jets, however) but I do not know if the measurements are only the bag size or if they include everything from the top of the handle to the bottom of the wheels. Your choice of colors, as long as it is black.

Bluesmart is not the only innovator out there. Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

I had high hopes for Apple Pay. I love the convenience and security of not having to worry about carrying around a load of credit cards and the system – along with Google Wallet – are more secure than the cards we are using today. Last week I talked about my disastrous experience trying to use Apple Pay for travel, including two hotels that had no idea what I was talking about. Well, it looks like it won’t be getting any better anytime soon.

As they do very frequently, SmartBrief asked their readers a polling question: Has your hotel adopted the Apple Pay system? The responses say it all.

Apple Pay

Over three-quarters of the respondents said Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 5 Comments

RiteAid CVS Apple PayLast week I wrote about Apple Pay for travel. While it was a general failure for travel, I was pleased to say it worked very well at domestic merchants like McDonald’s and Starbucks. I can also add the drugstore chain Walgreens to the positive list.

Speaking of drugstores, Walgreens competitors CVS and Rite Aid decided they don’t want Apple Pay. No specific reason was given but this article notes that both companies are supporting a rival system known as Merchants Customer Exchange (MCX).

Visiting the MCX website may offer some clues why they are dumping Apple Pay. MCX is a merchant-owned checkout system. In other words, these companies see it as a way to avoid paying fees to Apple and others. The MCX system is actually going to be a downloadable app called CurrentC, available for both Apple and Android. According to the website, it is currently in private testing but is expected to be available to the public next year. No specific date is available.

Like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, this will be a Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

Quite a few years ago now, I needed a new cellphone but I didn’t want an iPhone. Sure, my husband had one as did all of our kids, but I wanted something different. Two hours later I returned home. With an iPhone. Since then I have added updated models, an iPad, and a Mac Air so I guess I am kind of iHooked.

iPhone 6

Everyone has different features they most like about the new iPhone 6 but for me, one of them was the long awaited Apple Pay. As I said in a previous post, this has the potential to be a real game breaker for processing purchases. Would it really be possible to Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

This article reminded me of the recent Wi-Fi survey sponsored by Honeywell. In their second annual survey, Honeywell tells us that about two-thirds of passengers look for Wi-Fi when selecting a flight. The article slightly misstates that almost 30% will change flights to standby to have better Wi-Fi. The survey actually said that 29% would be willing to fly standby only if the Wi-Fi was as fast as they had at home.

Based on my experience over the past few years with Wi-Fi – and admittedly I am a big fan of Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

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