Travel Tech

Starwood’s chain looses your key, but its okay

Posted on Feb 5, 2014 | Comments Off on Starwood’s chain looses your key, but its okay


Starwood’s chain looses your key, but its okay they have introduced iPhone, Android devices are your room key in new Starwood hotels

The trial, which uses Starwood’s smartphone app and the low-power Bluetooth 4 wireless standard, will begin at Starwood’s chic urban Aloft hotels in Cupertino and Harlem by March.

If the pilot program is successful Starwood plans to roll out the technology to all of its Aloft and luxury W Hotel properties by the end of next year.

Guests will be able to skip the check-in queue at the front desk by checking in on the smartphone app before they reach the hotel.

The app receives a digital token which acts as a ‘virtual key’ to the room. On arrival at the hotel you head straight for your room and tap your smartphone to the lock (you can also use an ‘unlock’ gesture which mimics twisting a key).

“We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to “It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel.”

Starwood reckons it’s covered for any low-tech wrinkles which may cruel the advanced system. Guests can get a regular key if their smartphone is lost or its battery runs out.

Likewise, the battery-powered Bluetooth locks run independent of the hotel’s IT system so they won’t be affected in the event of a computer crash, and hotel staff receive an automatic alert whenever the battery in any lock needs replacing.

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Why Airports Are Tracking Your Smartphone Use While You Wait for Flights

Posted on Oct 2, 2013 | Comments Off on Why Airports Are Tracking Your Smartphone Use While You Wait for Flights

Kevin  / Flickr

More airports are monitoring data from passengers’ cell phones use as part of the quest to improve operations.

Looking to get ‘smart’ about how they manage passenger flow, the airports in Toronto and Copenhagen, among others, track the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals on passengers’ smartphones as they move throughout the airport.

The data is valuable to airports for its potential to help eliminate passenger traffic bottlenecks and determine staffing needs.

But it also offers value to passengers, the providers say. The input will help to shorten their wait times, for one thing. And in the cases of airports like Copenhagen, which offers an app it developed in concert with its tracking program, the data will give travelers useful information about their own trips. WIth advance notice that security waits are extra long, for instance, a flyer can make the decision to forego a pre-flight coffee in favor of hustling to get in line.

Perhaps most important to airports’ financial interests, the results of passenger tracking will reveal where and how airport customers spend money amid the multi-billion dollar industry of airport concessions.

The programs could even help determine where those dollars are spent, as concessions companies advertise promotions through the apps that they develop alongside tracking programs.

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Bob Geldof Space Tourist – I don’t like Moondays?

Posted on Sep 16, 2013 | Comments Off on Bob Geldof Space Tourist – I don’t like Moondays?

Sir Bob Geldof as the first rock astronaut

Space Expedition Corporation has confirmed the news that singer, philanthropist and Nobel Price nominee Sir Bob Geldof has secured a seat in one of their upcoming space flights, officially becoming an astronaut. He follows in the space steps of  Guy Laliberté, Canadian co-founder and the current CEO of Cirque du Soleil who went into space in September 2009.

Geldof said, “Being the first Irishman in space is not only a fantastic honor but pretty mind-blowing. The first rock astronaut space rat! Elvis may have left the building but Bob Geldof will have left the Planet! Wild! Who would have thought it would be possible in my lifetime.”

SXC Founder Michiel Mol added, “We are so proud to have Mr. Geldof aboard. He is an icon of social responsibility and in projects like Live Aid, he proved that entertainment and meaningfulness can be a great combination. We share that vision by offering our astronauts a life changing experience, while at the same time, we are changing the concept of sustainable airline transportation all together; namely outside the earth’s atmosphere.”

Mr. Geldof will be undertaking his first step of training in the space flight simulator based in the Netherlands on September 26th 2013.

From 2014 on, Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) will perform daily commercial flights into space. SXC offers participants a life-changing experience in viewing our planet Earth from 100 kilometers high. Plus, having been at that altitude, they can rightly be called astronauts. XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, California, USA, designed and built the Lynx spacecraft, which will perform the space flights. SXC is proud to be the launching customer of the Lynx, which comfortably takes off and lands like a normal airplane, from regular airports. The flexibility of the Lynx spacecraft enables operation from almost any commercial airport. The operation has sold over 250 tickets so far.

However, Geldorf hasn’t taken the opportunity provided by a rival space voyage company that is promising the dark side of the moon – then perhaps we have either a Pink Floyd cover or a new Boomtown Rats song that, in fact, he does like Moondays.

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Power Charging on the Go

Posted on Jun 15, 2013 | Comments Off on Power Charging on the Go

PocketCell Duo


For power charging on the Go.  The PocketCell™ Duo is an ultra-compact rechargeable battery bank, featuring an impressive capacity and dual USB power-ports that allow you to charge two tablet-PCs or two smartphones to full charge twice simultaneously.

Two built-in USB power ports combined with the critically acclaimed Magic Cable Trio—featuring an Apple-compliant tip, a micro and mini-USB tip—enable you to charge up to 10,000 USB-chargeable devices anytime, anywhere!

The Smart Charge feature intelligently detects the type of device the PocketCell™ Duo is connected to, and delivers the right amount of power to charge your device quickly and safely every time. The Innergie PocketCell™ Duo is equipped with a suite of protection features.  These features provide you with ease-of-mind while charging your devices wherever life takes you.

Well worth adding to your road warrior kit bag. SRP $89 USD

PocketCell Duo

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Airbus smart baggage tracks itself on plane trips

Posted on Jun 8, 2013 | Comments Off on Airbus smart baggage tracks itself on plane trips

Airbus luggage App


Airbus has developed a smart bag and accompanying iPhone app to reduce luggage stress while travelling.

The system, which Airbus is modestly referring to as “The reinvention of baggage”, contains sensors and an RFID chip which allow it to take care of tasks like weighing the contents of the suitcase automatically as well as communicating with the check-in system of various airlines.

Developed in partnership with mobile service provider T-Mobile and German luggage maker Rimowa, the Bag2Go system is still at the prototype stage but shows Airbus thinking beyond its traditional plane travel service provision.

According to the promotional video the app would be of use from the packing stage onwards, offering lists of restricted items and monitoring the weight of your bag’s contents. Scanning a QR code would sync your now-ready suitcase with your inventory and seal it for the journey.

Once you’ve checked your suitcase — or taken advantage of a door-to-door courier service — the app would keep you informed (well, for the parts of your journey where you’re allowed to be using electrical devices) of your bag’s progress and whether the case has been opened.

The idea is to reduce the stress associated with travel luggage, however the system does not describe any extra procedures for ensuring nothing terrible happens to your possessions beyond the fact they are being monitored. As a result, one potential scenario would have you sitting on a plane helplessly watching your bags make a round trip to a completely different country.
Speaking about the bag system, Airbus’s Chief Innovation Officer, Yann Barbaux told Australian Business Traveller that the bag is currently expected to cost only slightly more than its non-techy equivalent — somewhere in the region of a 20 percent price increase.


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Travel Tech: New Smartphone plans for Cruise Travellers

Posted on May 30, 2013 | Comments Off on Travel Tech: New Smartphone plans for Cruise Travellers


AT &T has launched new Smartphone plans for Cruise Travellers to help you keep in touch with family and friends while you’re on a cruise with a wireless service that’s now offered on many cruise ships worldwide. The joint venture with Wireless Maritime Services provides voice and data roaming services on select cruise ships, so you can use your wireless device (with compatible frequency) while roaming internationally at reasonable rates.

This service is automatically available on most cruise ships, so you don’t need an International Roaming feature on your account to use your device while on board the ship. A Wireless Travel Guide tool to verify that the service is available on your cruise ship, check your device for compatibility, and get the International Roaming Pay-Per-Use voice/data/messaging rates is available

AT&T announced three different Cruise Ship Package plans with cruise travelers in mind:

  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling: Includes 50 minutes for $30 per month
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling and Messaging: Offers 50 minutes of talk and 100 text/picture/video messages sent for $60 per month
  • AT&T Cruise Ship Calling, Messaging and Data: Includes 50 minutes, 100 messages sent and 100MB of data for $120 per month

A minimum one-month trial is required, which works well with the idea of “turn it on before you sail, turn it off after you’re done.” The new plan is currently limited to the ships of Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises and select Celebrity Cruises ships. See for list of ships and details.

On-ship networks operate only while in international waters. Docked at a pier, anyone with a smart phone can turn it on and access any available signal. Right about then would be a good time to have Boingo installed to pick among available signals and log in on one that works with your device at no additional charge.AT&T Cruise Ship package kicks in when users see “Cellular at Sea” displayed on your device.
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Glamping Travel Tech – FieldCandy Tents

Posted on May 27, 2013 | Comments Off on Glamping Travel Tech – FieldCandy Tents

Field Candy Tents


If you feel like a bit of Hipster Glamping check out FieldCandy.   An exciting new design-led brand of tents. They inject colour, creativity and fun into the camping space by offering a range of totally unexpected designs.

FieldCandy tents are fun, but they’re serious too. They keep you as dry in the rain and as snug in a gale as any conventional high performance tent. They use good old-fashioned cotton inner tent, you don’t get the condensation that comes as standard with most modern tents.

These classic  ‘A’ frame storm high performance tents are made in the UK. Based on the hardiest expedition tents on the market today, to stand up to extreme weather conditions.

If you want to blend in our stand out from the crowd there are plenty of designs to suit your mood. We picked this model for our next New Zealand holiday :-)



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The ultimate travel umbrella

Posted on May 26, 2013 | Comments Off on The ultimate travel umbrella

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 9.17.01 AM

One of the essential things to pack on any trip is a travel umbrella.

It’s about size, weight, coverage, durability, a reliable auto-open mechanism and easy close.

The ultimate travel umbrella may have arrived with the new Blunt XS Metro umbrella, armed with a tough radial tensioning system that keeps the 33-inch-diameter canopy from collapsing or flipping inside-out when challenged.

Reinforced patching at the tips keeps them from poking through at pressure points, the nice big auto-on button is handily flush against the shaft, and the two-stage collapse system is smooth and friendly.  And, the XS Metro is cute to boot — with wavy curves along the edge, instead of sharp points.

It comes in seven colors, from gumdrop blue, yellow or pink, to bold red, and if you must black.

At a thickish 14 inches long when collapsed, and weighing 13 ounces, this isn’t the sveltest model around, but it wasn’t built for drizzles, and may more than earn its keep when the going gets wet.

Blunt XS Metro umbrella is $49 at


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Burj Al Arab provides gold-plated iPads – but look, don’t keep

Posted on May 22, 2013 | Comments Off on Burj Al Arab provides gold-plated iPads – but look, don’t keep

Dubai hotel to provide guests with gold iPad

The 24-carat devices are worth £6,715 each

Guests at the self-proclaimed world’s most-luxurious hotel, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, are being bestowed with a new privilege on arrival – a gold-plated iPad

3:53PM BST 20 May 2013

As lesser hotels struggle to provide free wi-fi, guests at the Burj Al Arab, one the world’s tallest hotels, are being offered one of the 24-carat devices, worth £6,715, upon check-in.

While the “bling” equipment may be deemed a little showy for some tastes, the iPads are specially engraved with the name of the hotel and contain software that acts as a “virtual concierge”, offering information on the hotel’s many services which include private dining experiences and a butler.

The hotel said it had introduced the gold iPad, “the ultimate in luxury accessories”, as a way of making itself stand out from its competitors. It also frequently refers to itself as a “seven-star” property.

The limited edition iPad is designed by Gold & Co. Guests need to return it on checking out.

The hotel has also recently installed iMacs into all its suites – an item that can also be found in much cheaper hotels however, such as the Mama Shelter in Paris. (Read the Mama Shelter review here).

The addition will be welcomed by the kind of high-spending guests that frequent the hotel’s Royal Suite, a 8,395-square-ft room located on the 25th floor.

Inside are marble floors, mahogany furniture, Hermes toiletries, a private cinema and a rotating four-poster bed. Guests can also make use of a chauffeur-driver Rolls Royce or helicopter (at extra cost).

The Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai

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Flight Insights app to help finding best value flight

Posted on May 22, 2013 | Comments Off on Flight Insights app to help finding best value flight

Timely help for booking your flight

Flight path

How screen would look in a search for an LAX-to-New York fare. (

By Terry Gardner
May 21, 2013, 7:45 a.m.
A new tool from Danish travel site may help take away some of the stress of flight shopping by advising us when to buy an airline ticket. More than a simple price calendar, Momondo’s Flight Insights tool considers six essential factors that determine the price of a ticket for a particular flight search: number of days in advance, time of day, day of the week, seasonality, airport and airline.

Even if you are booking a last-minute ticket, this tool can help determine which airline normally has the lowest price fares for a particular route.

Momondo says more than 400 searches currently offer Flight Insights, including most flights from/to New York, London and Copenhagen. The tool is offered on routes between LAX and Chicago, New York, Honolulu, Las Vegas, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Cophenhagen, Stockholm and Tehran. Although flights from San Francisco and Chicago aren’t yet in the mix, Momondo is working hard to add more Flight Insights daily with the goal of eventually providing insights for every search.

Tested: On a roundtrip flight search from LAX to New York City roundtrip from July 3-7, Flight Insights showed Tuesday was the cheapest day to fly, and it was cheaper to land at La Guardia than at JFK. Although Sun Country Airlines had the cheapest average price, when I clicked the link for the airline graph, I discovered Delta had the second-lowest fares; Spirit had the most expensive. Flight Insights recommended purchasing this flight itinerary 55 days in advance.



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