Tag: Airworld

Passenger Rights Breakthrough: No More Tarmac Strandings

The federal government moved to beef up air passenger rights today, introducing substantial fines for airlines that leave travelers stuck on the tarmac for hours. The new rules mandate $27,500 fines for any instance where passengers are left stranded for more than two hours without food, or prevented from de-planing for more than three hours. It’s a big step, and hopefully it means the end of long-term strandings like this one.

19 Great ‘Up in the Air’ and Airworld Links

The movie is hitting theaters worldwide and generating Oscar buzz. Eva Holland rounds up some can't-miss links.

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Interview with Jason Reitman and Walter Kirn: ‘Up in the Air’

Michael Yessis asks the men behind the book and its movie adaptation about Airworld

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Milking the Mint for Frequent Flier Miles

The things some people will do for miles. The Wall Street Journal has the convoluted story of how some die-hard points collectors bought up more than $1 million in dollar coins from the U.S. Mint, taking advantage of a free shipping program in order to rack up miles on their credit cards. Said a government spokesman: “Is this illegal? No. Is it the right thing to do? No, it’s not what the program is intended to do.”

Travel Writing and the NYT’s ‘Notable Books of 2009’

The annual list is out, and some familiar travel writing names are on it: Geoff Dyer’s “Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi” and Orhan Pamuk’s “The Museum of Innocence” appear in the fiction section, while a few travel-related titles made the nonfiction list—Bill Streever’s “Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places,” Greg Grandin’s “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” and David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z” among them. (We interviewed Grann about his book earlier this year.)

In slightly less prestigious book-list news, Hudson Booksellers has also released its picks for the best books of 2009. Take a good look, frequent flyers—these are the titles that will be front and center in airport bookstores for the next while. (Via The Book Bench)

What’s To Be Done About Porn on Public Transit?

Forget about the Mealtime Seat-Recliner or the Armrest Hog—now there’s a new breed of bad seatmate to worry about: the Porn Watcher. This Washington Post story provides a couple of horror stories as it takes a look at the ways in-flight wireless, personal video devices and other technological advances have brought pornography into the public domain. The most shocking thing about the article? In two of the incidents described, the viewers in question left the audio on for all their co-passengers to hear—in my book, that’s unacceptable even if you’re listening to something as inoffensive as Kenny G.

Video You Must See: ‘Frequent Flyer’

London’s Heathrow: The Worst Airport in the World?

Poor Heathrow. It’s taken the title in a passenger poll for the second year in a row. Charles de Gaulle, LAX, Frankfurt and Miami rounded out the bottom five.

Alain de Botton: In Praise of Airline Food

In one of the dispatches resulting from his stint as Heathrow’s writer in residence, de Botton visits an airline food factory—and explains why he loves the much-maligned meals.

Naturally airline food is dismal when we compare it to what we’d get on the ground but this is to miss the point. The thrill of airline food lies in the interaction between the meal and the odd place in which one is eating it. Food that, if eaten in a kitchen, would have been banal or offensive, acquires a new taste in the presence of the clouds. With the in-flight tray, we make ourselves at home in an unhomely place: we appropriate the extraterrestrial skyscape with the help of a chilled bread roll and a plastic tray of potato salad.

‘Terminal Man’ Hits the 50-Flight Mark

‘Terminal Man’ Hits the 50-Flight Mark Photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr (Creative Commons)

And he still has a week to go. Judging by his latest blog post over at Wired, the 30-day airport challenge is starting to wear him down. Hang in there, Brendan!

The Best and Worst of the Airline Overnight Bags

The Best and Worst of the Airline Overnight Bags Photo by Andrea Peverali via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Andrea Peverali via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Terminal Man Brendan Ross is one week into his 30-day challenge, and so far he’s been keeping busy. In his latest post, Ross collects, examines and ranks the overnight toiletry bags—you know, the ones given out to passengers whose luggage has been lost—from seven different airlines. The big winner? Southwest.

Travel Movie Watch: ‘Up in the Air’

The first trailer for the much-anticipated adaptation is here. Check it out:

“Up in the Air” will be making a big, red-carpeted splash at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend. Beyond that, it goes into limited release Nov. 13 and—with a recent bump-up in the schedule—hits theaters nationwide on Nov. 25.

Wired’s Very Own Terminal Man

Instead of 24 hours in Airworld, Wired.com brings us ... 30 days in Airworld—in which one brave guinea pig flies every day and sleeps in the airport every night for a month. While blogging the experience, of course. Here are the details, including official challenge rules and ways the readers can get involved.

Airline Food Gets an Upgrade

You’ll still pay for it, of course. But with early attempts at for-purchase meals largely a bust, the airlines are trying again—bringing in known brand names (Ben & Jerry’s, for instance), celebrity chefs and more upscale options (fruit and cheese plate, anyone?) to replace the “soggy turkey sandwiches” we’ve all gotten to know so well.

So will passengers pay up for new, improved airline meals? I can’t speak for the rest of you, but they had me at “Cherry Garcia.”

What Makes a Great Airplane Read?

What Makes a Great Airplane Read? Photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I have a confession: Last week, I enjoyed the greatest airplane reading of my life. I’ve never been much of an on-board reader—for a long time, I was one of those passengers who was asleep before take-off, and who needs a good book when you have the gift of in-flight unconsciousness? But lately I haven’t been able to drop off to sleep the way I used to, and I’ve become a restless, impatient flier.

Enter—don’t laugh—the Twilight saga. Over four days, the bestselling teen-vampire-romance novels got me through 17 hours of flying time, two hefty ground delays and one long scheduled layover. They also got me thinking about ideal airplane books. What factors have me reading straight through until landing, oblivious to the hours passing? And why do some titles leave me fidgeting in my seat after the first hour?

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Hands Off That Seatback Pocket

Here’s another twist in the increasingly weird air travel experience: The Federal Aviation Administration has apparently banned passengers from placing personal items in the seatback pockets—and most of the major airlines are just as confused as we are. Joe Sharkey has the story.

Interview With Rose Hamid: Flight Attendant, Hijab Wearer

Interview With Rose Hamid: Flight Attendant, Hijab Wearer Photo courtesy of Rose Hamid

How does she navigate the tensions between her profession and her faith in a post-9/11 world? Andrea Cooper learns more.

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Heathrow Gets its First Writer in Residence

Heathrow Gets its First Writer in Residence Photo by James Cridland via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by James Cridland via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Literally. All this week, Alain de Botton—the author of “The Art of Travel”—will be sitting at a desk in the middle of Heathrow’s new Terminal Five, typing away. The end result of the stint? “A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary,” a short book that will hit shelves in September.

The project has taken some heat because de Botton is being sponsored by the airport authority, but he maintains he’s been given complete editorial freedom to explore the airport in its best and worst moments. “There are not many industries where you find 20 people camped on your doorstep, like plane and trainspotters, to find out how it works,” he told the Guardian. “You will not find people doing that outside Tesco, saying ‘look at that chicken tikka arriving.’ People are fascinated by this and I share that fascination.”

As do we. Rob Verger recently spent 24 hours at JFK and blogged about the experience for World Hum.

Welcome to Seoul’s ‘Air City’

Welcome to Seoul’s ‘Air City’ Photo by hyku via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by hyku via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Plans are in the works to build an “air city” on the grounds at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, USA Today reports. The complex, aimed at grabbing a bigger share of in-transit passengers in the region, could apparently include apartments, studios and runways for in-house fashion designers, a theme park, a marina and a clinic designed for medical tourists. Anyone else smell a sequel to The Terminal?

Airline Crew Crash Pads: The ‘World’s Largest Illegal Housing Network’?

Senators questioned airline executives yesterday about the living conditions of some pilots and other airline workers, who often live in crash pads around the country. Some context: In another Washington Post story this week, crash pads were characterized as the “world’s largest illegal housing network.”