With an indoor slide, an outdoor swimming pool, a butterfly sanctuary, and free cinema 24/7, Singapore’s Changi Airport is sometimes marketed as its own destination. Part of the reason is customer feedback, in the form of 1.8 million clicks/month. Another excellent idea: The complimentary whisky tasting bar with more than 100 brands. And the gardens: 5 themed ones, with more than 150 gardeners keeping it green.

Skypicker LogoSkypicker promises to deliver airfares that are 50 to 90% lower than published fares.  How do they do it? “Skypicker’s unique technology is based on data collection and a proprietary algorithm that matches low-cost carrier routes with those of major airlines to create new, unique routes leading to significantly cheaper fares.”

And it includes a trip completion guarantee: If flight segment is cancelled or delayed, resulting in a missed leg, Skypicker’s multi-lingual customer service representatives will locate and book a new flight segment for the traveler, or issue a refund. Sounds like it’s worth checking out.



Real-life Jetmen

November 23, 2015 | Leave a Comment

This video is so amazing I had to include it: Armed with unguarded ambition and the vision to push boundaries beyond the unthinkable, Jetman Dubai and Emirates A380 take to the skies of Dubai for an exceptional formation flight. (You might want to turn the sound down before playing.)

Helen Maguire, Dave Cooney, and Laurie McAndish King (RT) Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Helen Maguire, Dave Cooney, and Laurie McAndish King (RT) Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Find out why flying from San Francisco to Dublin, Ireland is easier than ever. I visit with Dave Cooney and Helen Maguire about Aer Lingus’ new daily nonstop service from SFO to DUB, comfy lie-flat seats in business class, vacation packages, and an expedited reentry arrangement with U.S. Customs.

While the daily nonstop service and lie-flat seats are impressive, I personally am not likely to take advantage of the added convenience they offer…

But I’m all over the expedited reentry,

SmartLuggageHere’s a link to Peter Greenberg’s article on the soon-to-come smart luggage: “Last year, Airbus introduced the prototype of Bag2Go, a suitcase enabled with an RFID chip. The technology works with airport and airline baggage systems to track your luggage.”

Greenberg also mentions the Bluesmart “suitcase that you can lock and unlock … using your smartphone. An integrated sensor weighs the bag, and an alert will go off if you wander too far from your bag. Oh, and it has a built-in battery charger.”

JauntedFind more travel news here on Jaunted.com, from an announcement about United’s new signature scent (Apparently they’re going to be spritzing the jet bridge, walkway, and the United Club with a scent they’re calling Landing) to Beacon’s new All-You-Can-Fly service between Boston, New York, Nantucket, and The Hamptons.

RefreshHere’s CNN’s list of 9 apps every business traveler needs. It includes such entries as the handy Mynd Calendar, a free iPhone app that syncs with real-time traffic data to calculate drive times. Also on the list: the very scary Refresh, also free, which pulls info from various social media sites to provide tidbits about colleagues, such as whether they recently took a big trip or bought a new car.

Carryon-SafetyThis Mike Adams (“the Health Ranger”) video is described as “a 100% foolproof solution to stop the TSA from stealing your valuables.”  I post it with some caveats: Most TSA agents are probably honest, and the techniques shown would slow down—but not stop—a determined thief. Nevertheless, this could be helpful information for securing your carry-ons.

June 11, 2014

PracticalNomadFrom Ed Hasbrouk, The Practical Nomad: “Today I filed formal objections to U.S. Department of of Transportation’s tentative decision to approve a proposal from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to replace publicly-disclosed tariffs of airfares with “personalized” airline ticket prices…. For example, DOT proposes to require airline to “offer” tickets to anonymous customers. But airlines would be allowed to make that offer, and the price of anonymity, as high as they like.”

Read the rest of Ed’s post here.  And respond here: “Go to Regulations.gov to tell DOT that you oppose “IATA Resolution 787” and endorse my objections. You can submit comments to DOT through Wednesday, 11 June 2014.”

Question: Will I ever be able to get a frequent-flier ticket again?

Answer: Probably. But it takes work, so we have secrets to share.

Read the rest of Catharine Hamm’s Los Angeles Times article with a few pointers for points-accumulating frequent fliers.

And speaking of used suitcases, if you’re flying on a small airline (Vim Airlines? Malmo Aviation? Sata Air? Anyone?) and need to check on missing baggage, you’ll probably find the appropriate link on this Airline Baggage Links site from Travelport.

TheJourneyToursI recently met Hank Vicencio, of The Journey Tours, and want to help spread the word about what they’re doing—donating travel booking commissions to independent charitable organizations.

The Journey Tours was developed to provide an avenue for individuals to book their business and personal travel at discount rates and help others at the same time. You will find our rates highly competitive with all other on-line booking agents, airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies.”

“The Journey Tours has linked with Montrose Travel … one of America’s Top 50 Travel Management Companies, with over 150 employees, 700 independent contractors and $135 million in gross sales.”

EdHasbrouckBay Area-based travel and security expert Edward Hasbrouck was recently quoted in a New York Times article about the fact that the Transportation Security Administration “is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information.”

What? It gets worse.


From CondĂ© Nast Traveler: “2013 is a year for change in the airline industry. Now, you could argue that nearly every year is a “year for change,” but 2013 is only half over and already it’s brought fresh uniforms, frequent flyer program updates, entirely new airports and terminals, and—our focus for today—the rebranding of several airlines including American Airlines, Fiji Airways/Air Pacific, Avianca/TACA, Germanwings and we’re probably forgetting a few more.” Check out the infographic showing how 17 major airlines have reinvented their look over the decades.

The World Bank has published a new working paper (PDF) that shows how passengers in premium airline classes create more of the C02 that leads to global warming. Read the article by Tim Fernholz on Quartz. Does this mean those of us who can’t afford first class tickets can now feel a teeny bit less guilty about air travel? Probably not.

“We all know what happened when the volcano in Iceland erupted and resulted in utter chaos in the aviation world. We also saw how some airlines and aviation authorities around the world struggled to cope with servicing the customers, while others used the latest social media tools to engage and update them.

“At SimpliFlying, we saw a paradigm shift in the way airlines handle crises management, in the age of social media. Instead of writing an article on it, we put together an info-graphic, that details the five key steps for managing crises, in the wake of the volcanic eruption. Both a PDF version, and a PPT version are available for download and printing. An Apple Keynote version will be available soon.

A testament to the power of YouTube:

“A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with United Airlines. United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight. Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation. The manager responded, “Good luck with that one, pal.”


October 10, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Thanks to Gayle Keck for this link to FlyersRights.org and the suggestion about adding their hotline (877-359-3776 or 877-flyers6) to your cell phone speed dial if you’re flying anywhere soon. Call if an airline is treating you poorly, and FlyersRights can sometimes help resolve things. If you’re stuck on the tarmac, they can get pizza and water delivered—or help get you off and onto another flight.

Travel humor

September 6, 2009 | 4 Comments

Thanks to Dick Jordan for forwarding this—undocumented—travel humor, supposedly offered by an airline ticket agent who works in Washington, D.C.:

1. I had a congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a congressman’s staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ”I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.”

Laurie McAndish King’s article about quirky and helpful websites for travelers originally appeared in Examiner.com in April:

Travel fares are temptingly low these days, but all travel is not equal. Here are some websites to help you find the best seats and meals, avoid dangerous destinations, stay healthy, comply with travel regulations, get through airport lines more quickly, purchase travel insurance, and more.

  • Airlinemeals.net is the “world’s first website about nothing but airline food,” which is currently displaying “more than 17,000 photos from more than 520 different airlines. Monthly, we receive 300 new meal pictures.” There are also photos of what the airline crew eats, food from airline lounges, and behind-the-scenes photos from airline caterers.

Laurie McAndish King’s article below about online sources for travel information originally ran on Examiner.com in April:

One “benefit” of the current worldwide economic crisis is the super-low airfares we’re seeing lately. Cruise lines, too, have some amazing specials. In both cases, the bulk of the owners’ costs — building and owning the planes or ships, or having already committed to a cruise on a particular vessel at a particular time, are already “sunk.” That means the owners need to sell space at whatever price they can get — in some cases, they’re even selling at rates that are lower than their actual costs — in order to recoup at least a little of their investments.

Here are some websites to help you find the best travel deals:

Airfare Watchdog is another site that lets you sign up to receive emailed information about air fares.

“The airlines lower airfares every day without advertising them. Our team of fare experts tells you about these “hidden” fare reductions and alert you to $0 “blooper” fares and other air fare bargains that you might otherwise miss. And we provide straight talk about finding low air fares on the Web. Airfarewatchdog.com is the only fare listing site that shows fares on all airlines, even Southwest.”


April 17, 2009 | Leave a Comment

I haven’t used Yapta airfare and hotel price tracking, but it sure looks good. Here’s what they say about their service:

Yapta is intended to help you get a handle on fluctuating travel prices so that you know when to “buy low.” Yapta conducts daily price checks on the specific flights and hotels that you choose, and alerts you when prices drop or when they fall within your budget. Yapta also alerts you when you can use your frequent flier miles to book award seats on the flights of your choice.

April 1, 2009
12:00 am

From American Airlines:

Share a Tip, Win a Trip. Time for another Milestones sweepstakes and this year there are even more cities to share about and even more miles to win! One first-place winner will fly away with 275,000 AAdvantage® miles — that’s enough for two people to fly First Class to practically any American Airlines destination worldwide — and 10 second-place winners will pick up 1,000 AAdvantage miles each. Plus the more tips you share the more likely you are to win. Winners will be announced on or around May 15, 2009 so check back soon! What are you waiting for?”

Etihad Airways

October 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment

From a 10/20/08 Travmedia.com press release:

“Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is launching a new first and business class inflight magazine. Etihad Airways carries more than 6.5 million passengers annually.

“I am seeking articles and contacts for luxury travel, luxury goods and products, and relevant stories especially from the Middle East. Any other press releases, interviewees etc which are relevant to a high end lifestyle, business and travel magazine would be most welcome.

“This is intended to be an ongoing request and there is no deadline.”

Contact Mike MacEacheran, Editor, ITP Publishing
mike.maceacheran AT itp.com

keep looking »
  • Receive Travel Writers News updates via email

  • Upcoming Events

    March 2019
    M T W T F S S
  • Available in August, 2017

    I'm thrilled that it's getting rave reviews! Order your copy of Your Crocodile has Arrived from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.  
  • Winner of 4 Literary Awards in 2017

    Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!Order your copy of Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.
  • Get Occasional Updates

    You can also sign up for my personal Laurie McAndish King mailing list for occasional updates about readings and events.