Reports are emerging in various media that as American Airlines moves closer to the conclusion of its reorganization in bankruptcy court, it might also be moving closer to a merger plan with US Airways, urged in that direction by its pilots.
Air Travel News
© Vitalina Rybakova / iStock.com.
Ice on a plane’s wings is a scary predicament for both pilots and passengers. De-icing is time consuming, and you’re often left wondering: Did the ice re-form while waiting for takeoff? To address this issue and related scenarios, Harvard engineers have developed a new technology that keeps any metal surface free of ice and frost. Surfaces treated with the nanostructured material called SLIPS (Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces) easily shed water drops, condensation and frost. To boot, the coating is nontoxic and anticorrosive. Other possible applications: roofs, power lines, outdoor signs and wind turbines. And perhaps, finally, an end to tongues getting stuck on cold metal signposts.
© Artiga Photo / Corbis.
Nine out of 10 airlines said they plan to sell tickets via smartphones by 2015, establishing mobile as a mainstream distribution channel for airlines, according to SITA’s Airline IT Trends Survey 2012. By 2015, most airlines plan to have core services available via mobile, such as flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification and ancillary services, followed closely by customer complaint handling and missing baggage management. In addition, nine out of 10 airlines said they are investing in social media over the next three years. Four out of 10 promote flights via social media already, and almost 90 percent said they plan to do so by 2015.
You may already check in for a flight on a kiosk, but one day you’re likely to use a self-boarding machine that checks boarding passes at the gate. At least 17 airlines in Europe and Asia use self-boarding machines, and several U.S. carriers—including Delta, United and American—have tested the devices, according to the International Air Transport Association. Besides cutting labor costs, proponents say the devices leave agents more time to upgrade passengers, police the size of carry-on bags and sell seats with more legroom. One agent can purportedly monitor more than one self-boarding gate.
The bad guys are out there, so how do you avoid being scammed? Check Scam Detector (scam-detector.com), which details, updates and adds scams in various categories, including travel, financial, social networking, auto and online auctions. Scam Detector also has free apps for mobile devices. A sample travel scam: In Malaysia someone might put a cell phone in your pocket or bag. It rings, you take it out and someone accuses you of stealing it. Most local police are familiar with the scam, but they may actually extort money from you to let you go. Sigh. You just can’t be too paranoid.
Bettman / Corbis.
Manufacturers collaborate on a Concorde successorAfter more than 25 years of supersonic passenger transportation, the Concorde was retired in 2003, primarily because it became commercially unviable. But Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream are reportedly collaborating with NASA scientists to design a successor aircraft. The “Son of Concorde” would be capable of flying from London to Sydney in four hours and would not create a loud sonic boom, which happens when a plane travels faster than the speed of sound. Instead, the new plane would create a noise “closer to a puff or plop.” Even if the new technology is deemed successful, the aircraft wouldn’t be commercially available until at least 2030.
In new of hotel openings and rebrandings this month, leading business hotels in Washington D.C. and Providence, R.I. will be taking on new identities; both Dubai and Manila get two new luxury properties with familiar brands; Four Seasons cuts the ribbon on its newest China location; and a W Hotel debuts in Thailand.
The next major improvement coming at London’s busy Heathrow Airport is the debut of its new $4 billion Terminal 2, scheduled for 2014. Airport officials last week announced which carriers will be operating out of the facility, and what will happen to Terminal 1.
The Transportation Security Administration has opened up a PreCheck expedited screening lane at another Florida airport, and Congress has sent to the White House legislation that would make life a little easier for passengers flying into the country from some foreign airports.
A new survey of corporate chief financial officers by American Express finds relative optimism about business travel budgets next year, as most expect both the U.S. economy and their own companies’ bottom lines to show improvement.
In route news from U.S. carriers, Virgin America will add transcontinental service to Newark this spring; JetBlue will take on US Airways in a key East Coast business market; US Airways announces new service to South America starting in May; Spirit Airlines identifies more new routes; Delta will expand capacity on a key London route; and American is set to upgrade DFW-Sao Paulo service.