Travel Technology

Incredible Deal On A Portable iPhone Charger

portable-charger

Keeping electronic devices charged while on the road can be a challenge. Admittedly I’m a bit OCD, but I always make an effort to charge my electronic devices when I’m near an outlet, even when they’re almost full. You never know when you’ll need them, especially when you’re traveling (which for me is true now more than ever before, given all the US Airways A321s I’m stuck flying on transcons, which don’t have power ports).

Anyway, at the moment there’s an incredible deal on a portable charger, just in time for the holidays. This is perfect if you have an iPhone, iPad, etc. Specifically, the Gatcepot 15000mAh power bank with two outlets is presently on sale for $11.19, while the normal cost is apparently $59.99. If you’d prefer one in black rather than gold, that’s available for $12.99.

Technology is advancing quickly, as just last year I wrote about a great limited time sale on a similar charger that was marked down to $21.99, and that only had 13000mAh. So this one is almost half the price and will last you more charges. This should be good for at least five or six iPhone charges on one battery.

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10 Free Gogo Wifi Passes With The Amex Business Platinum Card

Inflight-wifi

As I’ve written about in the past, at the moment there’s a huge sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points after completing minimum spend on The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

Not only does the card have a fantastic sign-up bonus, but it has a lot of perks that make it a keeper long term. These perks include a $200 annual airline fee credit (before you pay your second year’s annual fee you can receive two of those), access to Boingo hotspots, 10 Gogo passes, access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, access to Delta SkyClubs, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex Centurion Lounge, a Global Entry fee credit, and Gold elite status in Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest/Marriott Rewards.

The biggest perk of all, however, is that you get a 50% refund when you redeem your points through the “Pay With Points” option, which is an opportunity to get two cents of value per Amex point. You can even pool all your Amex points and redeem them this way, making this a way to increase the value of all your Amex points.

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Flying This Week? Get An Hour Of Free Inflight Wifi Thanks To T-Mobile

free-t-mobile-gogo-wifi

If you’re like millions of other Americans and traveling by air this week, T-Mobile has a special treat for you. Through Saturday, November 26, 2016, T-Mobile is offering everyone an hour of free Gogo wifi on their smartphone per flight.

To take advantage of this, just connect to the Gogo network in your smartphone browser on your next flight, and you should be able to automatically connect. This only works on airlines that offer Gogo wifi, so won’t work on airlines like JetBlue, Southwest, etc. (though JetBlue offers everyone free wifi).

T-Mobile always offers their customers an hour of free Gogo wifi per flight, as well as free messaging for the entire flight, which is an awesome feature.

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My Favorite In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Are On Sale

bose-quietcomfort-20

Good noise cancelling headphones are a must for any frequent flyer. Airports and airplanes are noisy places, so being able to block out that noise as much as possible helps me (slightly) maintain my sanity.

In my case, I actually have two pairs of headphones — the Bose QuietComfort 35 over-ear headphones, and the Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones. Why do I have both sets of headphones?

— I prefer over-ear headphones for when I’m on planes and/or watching TV shows while sitting around
— I prefer in-ear headphones for when I’m moving around, either at the gym, walking around a city, at an airport, etc.; they also easily fit in your pocket, so are much more portable

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Is The iPhone 7 Camera A Game-Changer For Travelers?

iphone-7

Even though my “job” wouldn’t exist without technology, I’m not tech savvy in the least. I like having some tech gadgets, though I’m not someone who needs the latest or greatest technology. For example. I’m perfectly happy with my MacBook Air and iPhone 6, and I don’t even really pay attention to Apple’s latest technology. So while there’s a lot of buzz when they release a new product, I usually learn the details of the new products months after they’re released.

Typically I start getting interested in new technology when my current technology stop working. I have a MacBook Air that I’ve used for thousands of hours that still works great (perhaps I should get the battery replaced sometime), and I also have an iPhone 6 that I love.

I figured I’d upgrade my iPhone the next time my phone broke or when it stopped working well, but I’m sort of intrigued by the iPhone 7, and am considering upgrading early.

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British Airways, Iberia, And Aer Lingus Are Adding Wifi On Shorthaul Flights

British-Airways-A320

In May of this year, IAG (the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus) signed a deal with Gogo to install their 2Ku satellite technology on 137 longhaul planes. This includes up to 118 British Airways, 15 Iberia, and four Aer Lingus planes.

I had long criticized British Airways for their lack of wifi on longhaul flights, given that most other airlines had at least announced the intention to install such a service, even if it hadn’t been done. IAG expects to complete the installation of wifi on 137 planes by 2019, though that schedule is always subject to change.

Well, it looks like IAG is going all out, because they’ve just announced that wifi is coming to shorthaul planes as well.

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Gogo Raises The Cost Of Their All-Day Wifi Passes

gogo-cost

I have a Gogo monthly wifi pass, which I find to be worthwhile given how often I travel domestically. While I don’t love the quality of Gogo wifi, it’s still the only way to stay connected on most American flights (though for better or worse, American will apparently be changing wifi providers in the future).

However, for those who don’t have a monthly Gogo wifi pass, the best value for getting Gogo wifi is to buy an all-day pass, which up until now has cost $16 per 24 hours.

The catch is that you need to purchase the pass before you get on your flight to get that pricing, because if you buy wifi onboard it will typically be significantly more expensive (as you can see below).

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The New Business Travel Tool Is Here, But Is It Any Good?

Sheraton-Grand-Dubai-Suite

Earlier this year I wrote a post about Upside, a new travel tool that aims to disrupt the business travel market by incentivizing travelers to choose options that save their companies money.

One Mile at a Time readers become automatic VIPs, get access to the Beta, and a guaranteed $300 in gift cards for every international trip booked in 2016, which can be a potentially very good deal.

The Upside Beta is now available to those who pre-registered over the summer (if you enroll in the VIP program through OMAAT you should receive an email this week with instructions as to how to create your account), so I thought I’d take the program for a spin and see how the technology measures up.

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A Hotel That Offers All Guests A Portable Wi-Fi Device

The Mira Hotel Wi-Fi Buddy

Hello from Hong Kong, where I’m currently staying at The Mira Hotel, a member of Design Hotels (one of the latest Starwood partners, though this particular hotel isn’t part of the marketing partnership yet).

I checked in this afternoon and can immediately say that this is one of the best city hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Design Hotels is comprised of “a handpicked portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels” and the combination of design and functionality at The Mira is key.

Every detail has been considered and meticulously implemented to make the stay as seamless as possible. Along with this attention to detail came what could very well be the best hotel amenity ever. Here in Hong Kong many hotels seem to provide free Android phones for their guests under the name Handy. These provide unlimited data and free local calls, which is a brilliant amenity. As someone who has never used an Android, I found it a little hard to use and would have preferred to use my iPhone. It definitely came in “Handy” when I needed to navigate and make some calls, though. 😉

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ANA Is Offering Free Wifi On Select Flights… With Restrictions

ANA-First-Class

I’m someone who really values inflight wifi, though even among airlines that offer it, there’s huge variance in terms of pricing and quality.

Generally my preference is when airlines offer a wifi plan without data caps that you have to pay for. Why?

— When airlines offer free wifi (like Emirates), it tends to be outrageously slow
— When airlines charge based on data usage, it tends to be outrageously expensive, to the point that it’s not worth using (like the case of someone who had a ~$1,200 wifi bill on Singapore Airlines)

So I like something in the middle, like when airlines charge ~$20 for unlimited data over 24 hours. Airlines with such plans include American, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, United, and many more.

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Air France & KLM Will Finally Offer Inflight Wifi

Air-France-Business-Class-777 - 16

As I’ve explained before, inflight wifi is one of the amenities I value most on planes. Being able to stay connected with the world while flying around the world is pretty awesome, and I find that I always land more relaxed if I’ve been able to catch up on work and email on my flight, rather than landing to a big list of things to do.

Earlier in the year I flew Air France’s new business class from Paris to Toronto, and had a great flight. Air France is really investing in their premium product, with great new reverse herringbone seats in business class. As I concluded in my review:

“I just wish Air France had wifi on their planes. If they offered wifi on the planes with their new business class, it might just be my favorite transatlantic business class product.”

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T-Mobile Offering Free 4G LTE In Europe & South America For The Rest Of 2016!

t-mobile-4g-lte

I made the switch from AT&T to T-Mobile back in June, and couldn’t be happier about it. I pay less than half as much as I did before, and I get unlimited international data, can finally tether my phone (I had one of those grandfathered unlimited plans with AT&T that didn’t allow it), and get an hour of free Gogo wifi on every eligible flight.

On top of these published perks, T-Mobile often has limited time promotions to delight customers. In the decade I was with AT&T, I don’t remember them ever doing a single thing to go above and beyond. For example, over the summer T-Mobile offered unlimited high speed 4G LTE data in Europe for their Simple Choice plan customers, rather than the standard 2G speeds.

Well, T-Mobile has just announced an “Endless Summer” promotion, as T-Mobile Simple Choice plan customers will get free 4G LTE speeds in Europe and South America for the rest of 2016. T-Mobile customers will automatically receive 4G LTE speeds in the following countries:

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Is This The Best Option For International Data?

Skyroam

There’s no doubt that staying connected while traveling abroad has gotten exponentially easier in the last few years. While options for local SIM cards and rentable My-Fi devices have expanded, U.S.-based cellular carriers have started offering competitive packages that allow you to use your phone as you would in the States, affordably.

Ben’s a fan of T-Mobile. Tiffany prefers her Google-Fi.

As for me, I’m a Sprint customer, and have been pretty delighted with Sprint’s international travel packages this past year. With Sprint’s Open World plan (which is free), voice and texting in the entirety of the Americas – North and South – is free, and 1GB of high-speed data is included (with overages charged at $30 per GB, billed in KB increments). In most of Europe, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia, calls are just $0.20 per minute, texts are free, and high-speed data is billed at $30 per gig, in KB increments.

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Blacklane: An Alternative To Uber & Pricey Hotel Cars

blacklane

We’re on record here at OMAAT as preferring to avoid taxis, as our rides nearly always end up being highly entertaining, and not particularly efficient. When public transportation isn’t reasonably available, our defaults are Uber, Lyft, and even hotel cars — probably like many of you.

Hotel cars can be expensive, and of course Uber and Lyft have their problems as well. There are some alternative companies, however, including Blacklane, which specializes in airport transfers (though they provide other car services as well). Blacklane promotes itself as a “global professional driver service,” not a ridesharing provider or transportation app. They utilize licensed and regulated drivers throughout their network of 200+ cities.

I used Blacklane for the first time this week, and I think it’s a service that will be useful to many of you, so figured I’d share my experience and the details.

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