Travel Technology

New App Will Tell You If Your Plane Will Crash

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Technology is a beautiful thing. It enables me to do what I love for a living every day. iPhone apps are also a lovely thing. They enable all kinds of things, from an on-demand car service, to other on-demand “services.”

CNN had a story today about a new iPhone app which will tell you the chances of your plane crashing. “Am I Going Down?” is available in the iTunes store for 99 cents.

When you use the app you enter your origin, destination, airline, and aircraft, and it will tell you the probability of you “going down.”

So, you want to fly British Airways on a 747 from New York to London?

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Could Electronics Soon Be Banned From Flights?

Phone

There have been quite a few news headlines lately about how al-Qaida is apparently planning five attacks on commercial airlines flying to Europe around Christmas.

I have several flights to/from Europe around the holidays, so when my mom heard the news today she instantly sprung into “scared” mode. My response whenever these kinds of threats are discovered is to say that I’m ultimately happier knowing about the threats which have been uncovered, as opposed to the countless number of threats we don’t know about. After all, what you don’t know about can’t hurt you… until it does.

Anyway, I’m not an intelligence expert so won’t chime in further there. Instead I’ll just share what’s apparently being considered as a possible preventive measure.

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Gogo Introduces Global Unlimited Plan

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As I’ve said many times before, I’m a big fan of in-flight internet. I don’t actually remember how transcons worked in the days before Gogo.

I have a Gogo Unlimited plan for $44.95 per month, which is well worth the money to me. I believe the cost is now $59.95 per month, though they’ve grandfathered in people with old pricing plans. While it’s certainly not cheap, it’s a bargain compared to what they’re charging nowadays for individual flight passes, which can often be ~$25.

Anyway, I just received the following email from Gogo:

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New AT&T Passport Plan For International Travel

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Staying connected while abroad is something I really struggle with. Generally speaking I don’t sign up for a phone plan when abroad, so simply use hotel wifi and hotspots to stay connected, and then use Google Voice and Skype to make phone calls. It generally works for me, though now that I often spend weeks at a time abroad, I really do need a better solution.

Earlier in the year the T-Mobile Simple Choice International Plan really innovated connectivity for frequent international travelers. As part of that plan, consumers can get unlimited international data and texting in 122 countries at no extra charge and flat-rate calls for just $0.20 a minute. Equally awesome is how simple the plan is (as the name suggests). There is no need to get a special plan or activate it when traveling. You just turn on your phone when you’re abroad and it works.

Naturally I’ve been extremely tempted to switch to T-Mobile, though still haven’t pulled the trigger. I currently use AT&T, and was ready to dump them in favor of T-Mobile. The only problem is that 90% of the people I ask about T-Mobile look at me in pure horror because of how bad their coverage apparently is in the US (to those of you with T-Mobile, is it true?).

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Earn Mobile Bonuses From Your Computer

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Many travel related companies now offer incentives or promotions for booking travel using your smartphone.

— Through November 16, Club Carlson will give you 3000 bonus points for booking via their app.
— Ben reports that HotelUpgrade will get you special perks, including on corporate and AAA rates, but only if you book via their app.
— Hilton and SPG often offer bonus points during their promotions for booking via the app.
— National gives 75 bonus points towards their One Two Free promo
— etc.

The reason for this requirement is fairly simple – these companies want to change your behavior. They want you to think of them and launch their app when you are making last minute plans from the road. It is a very lucrative market and they want to be a fingertip away. And they are willing to buy their way into your thought process.

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Review: United’s Streaming In-Flight Entertainment

Entertainment tab for accessing streaming IFE

We flew United recently for a long weekend trip to visit the grandparents. The flight there was completely uneventful, but the trip home was on one of the A320s that has the new onboard streaming IFE.

I’ve had mixed feelings about the move to replace screens with content that you can stream to your personal device. On one hand, the tech geek in me loves the concept — it’s just flat out cool. Of course it also saves weight, and weight is fuel, and fuel is money so the airlines like it. I get that too.

But I’m also fearful that this is just another “nickel and dime” opportunity for the airlines. I’m not a fan of having to pay for something (entertainment) that I used to get for free. And what happens to those without devices or those who can’t figure out how to get them to work?

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T-Mobile Adds Free Gogo Inflight Texting

Earlier in the year, T-Mobile announced a bit of a game changer with their Simple Choice International Plan. Through this, you’d receive unlimited texting and data in 122 countries worldwide, which is really amazing for the frequent international traveler.

It looks like they’re adding yet another feature which travelers should love. As of September 17, 2014. T-Mobile will be offering free in-flight texting thanks to a new partnership with Gogo:

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Singapore Airlines Inflight Wifi

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I just flew Singapore Airlines business class from Frankfurt to New York JFK, and had an absolutely amazing flight. It was my first longhaul flight in Singapore Airlines business class in about five years, and I felt like I was in first class. I’ll cover that in more detail in a separate post, though.

This flight was also unique for me since it was my first Singapore Airlines flight with inflight wifi. Their inflight wifi provider is OnAir, and Singapore is apparently progressively installing wifi throughout their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER fleet.

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Review: T-Mobile Simple Choice International Plan

T-Mobile Freedom Plan

One of the things I really struggle with is how to stay connected on the road. On my recent trip to Beijing the internet at the hotel was essentially unusable, which severely impacted my ability to stay connected, and threw off my schedule by several days.

T-Mobile recently released their Simple Choice plan, which is targeted towards international travelers. The idea is that your phone just “works” upon arrival in a new country, which is certainly compelling.

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British Airways Inflight Wifi On 747

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I flew British Airways first class from New York to London last night, and before I even share my thoughts on the flight, I wanted to share the part of the journey that caught me by total surprise – my flight had wifi!

I had no clue that British Airways had wifi on any of their longhaul planes, and as it turns out I really lucked out.

Apparently British Airways is trialing wifi on a single 747-400 aircraft.

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