Archive for the ‘flights’ Category

Seat Guru provides great airline seat info and diagrams

Sunday, July 8th, 2007 is a simple and clever site that provides seat information for most of the aircraft on almost all the major airlines. Clicking your airline and then the type of plane you’ll be on will get you detailed diagrams showing “good” seats and other important information.

Many airlines now allow you to select seats and print boarding passes online, and this is a great way to take care of business before you get to the airports. Preprinted boarding passes often get you to the gate much faster if you have only carry on luggage. When I’m travelling alone I tend to pack light and just lug my luggage around to avoid the hassle and delays of checking my bags. I can then print up my pass and avoid the ticketing lines and head straight for the gate.

With the family this does not seem to be worth the trouble of keeping track of all the bags during flight transfers so we generally print the boarding passes but then check the luggage at the airport.

Flight Explorer for excellent up to the minute travel data

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Flight Explorer is an excellent website for up to the minute flight and airport information. They report regularly on CNN and have some great free tools that show air traffic, weather delays, WIFI hotspot list, and more. Here’s the link to their TRAVEL section:

Airport to avoid? Nah

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Smarter Travel’s got comments on USA Today’s “blacklist” of airports that statistically suffer from more delays, crowding, and other things you’d want to avoid. Also, the white list that seems to be smaller airports that would be hard to factor into your trip.

I’m not convinced this approach makes much sense. Factors outside of the airports control are the main things affecting flight delays and I’d rather shave off a few hours of flying than have a slightly “nicer” airport experience. Also, the larger airports offer more restaurants, lounges, and sky clubs which are often the best way to make a long flight delay the least stressful.

Obviously large hub airports are going to have more troubles, but they also are going to offer you the more desirable routing. Sure, all other things equal you may want to choose the whitelisted airports at Oakland, Houston (Hobby), San Jose, Dallas (Love Field), and St. Louis, but good luck finding good, inexpensive routes through those airports if you are not headed in or out of those particular destinations.

Tracking Germs on Flights

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Purdue University (USA) has been working on a system that will track contaminants using mathematical models and sensors on aircraft. The idea is to isolate/locate infectious or dangerous chemicals and identify the passenger who could potentially cause problems.

In addition to the great value of stemming the movement of contagious viruses or explosives, this type of approach has a potentially troublesome downside in terms of privacy since the Government screening agency is going to be secretly collecting critical information from law abiding citizens. However as with most of these things you need to balance the benefits with the costs.