This 10-Foot-Tall Robocop Sculpture Belongs To Detroit Now

RoboCop from PishPosh.tv on Vimeo.

Kickstarter campaigns can bring a lot of ideas to life these days. In the case of some determined Robocop fans in Detroit, Kickstarter has brought a 10-foot tall bronze Robocop sculpture to the city. Though the exact final location of the statue has yet to be determined, this will soon be a permanent Detroit fixture. And once it has found its forever home in Detroit, Robocop fans will undoubtedly begin making plans to visit it. The construction of this project is still underway. The above video shows the current status of the Detroit Robocop.

How Can Airline Websites Improve?

I recently visited the mobile website for midwest-based Sun Country Airlines, where I could check a flight status, view schedules or check my itinerary. Basically everything except what I came to do: book a flight. The confusing, unattractive, user-unfriendly design of airline websites is a common complaint of travelers, and a problem that the designers at Fi (Fantasy Interactive) have attempted to solve.

Their mock website and accompanying video highlights high-quality images, visual details such as weather temperatures, street maps and city sights, and a seamless, all-in-one-screen experience from flight booking to seat selection to flight status. Their design makes the airline more than a transportation company. It makes them a travel authority, tour guide and most importantly, a source of inspiration.

This wasn’t the first attempt at an airline website overhaul. In 2009, user interface designer Dustin Curtis published an open letter to American Airlines on his website, along with his idea of a website redesign. This was followed up by an anonymous response from one of AA’s designers, who was then fired for his message to Mr. Curtis. Funny enough, his vision of a new AA.com is pretty similar to what the airline unveiled this year with their new logo, with large images, links to deals and news and an overall streamlined look.

For something completely different, check out Anna Kovecses’ minimalist and vaguely retro design for American, along with a user-generated blog community where you might leave travel tips for frequent flyer miles.Delta relaunched its site last year with features including a travel “wallet” to store receipts to make their site more “customized” to travelers. Swedish designer Erik Linden’s gorgeous layout for a new Lufthansa site can be found online, but a visit to the German airline’s official site shows the same old crowded page. JetBlue.com has been consistently appealing and easy to use, touting the “jetting” experience rather than just a seat. Travel industry news site Skift has a nifty slideshow comparing booking sites now and from their early days. (The major innovation seems to be images over hyperlinks and text.)

One thing many of these designs have in common is suggestion and inspiration. Airlines seem to assume that most of us go to their website with a firm destination in mind, burying their route map deep in a sub-menu for us to hunt down. Yet if we are to be loyal to one brand or try to use frequent flyer miles, a map of their flights is the first destination. My husband is trying to make “million miler” status with American, and tries to book with them as much as possible, maximizing the distance and number of miles. While I can search for destinations from JFK, and even sort my number of miles, it’s harder to figure out what international destinations (such as Seoul) are served from another departure city. Shouldn’t the goal be for the airline to be one you want to return to, rather than a site you quit using out of frustration?

What matters to you in using an airline’s booking site?

10 Ways To Be A Terrible Airbnb Guest

Most people by now have heard of Airbnb and as the awareness of the site spreads, so does the use of it. Airbnb provides affordable and interesting accommodations that are a nice alternative to hotels when traveling, especially if you like to meet locals when you’re in a new city. But Airbnb guests are sometimes a nightmare for Airbnb hosts, as is documented on AirbnbHell.

Here are 10 ways you can be a terrible Airbnb guest (Of course, avoid doing these things to be a good guest).

1. Use the site to commit a crime
This might seem like it goes without saying, but it doesn’t. When a host opens up their home to a complete stranger, no amount of verifications Airbnb gives a host to make them feel safe changes the fact that the host is putting him or herself, family and personal possessions in a vulnerable position. Airbnb had to change their entire approach to host safety after a woman had her apartment ransacked in San Francisco when she rented it out via the site. Other hosts have had to deal with identity theft, drug addicts, prostitution and ruined personal possessions, among other things. Dear criminals, Airbnb is not the best outlet for your intended crime. You will be tracked, you will be caught and you will receive the most terrible karma ever for taking advantage of someone who gave you the benefit of the doubt. 2. Cross personal boundaries
You have to have decent discernment and social skills to be a good Airbnb guest or host. One Airbnb host wrote about her bad experiences with guests for CNN and detailed a guest showing her porn he had made with his girlfriend. Know what might be considered offensive to a host and don’t cross personal boundaries without clear and enthusiastic consent.

3. Ask for a discount
Airbnb hosts have already thought through their pricing carefully and are charging you, in most cases, far less than a hotel would. Don’t push your hosts to give you an even better deal than they’re offering. If you want to pay less, find a listing that charges less.

4. Try to get your “money’s worth”
You’re already getting your money’s worth when you use Airbnb. You’re getting affordable accommodations, local insight and breakfast. Don’t push your hosts for additional food, drinks, rides or anything else unless offered. And remember, even when extras are offered to you, you don’t have to say yes to everything offered. Understand that hosts are doing all that they can to be kind to you and make you feel comfortable, but that they also have lives and jobs to balance while hosting you.

5. Leave a mess
Some Airbnb listings include cleaning fees and some don’t. Either way, don’t be a slob. You’re in another person’s home and you should treat it as such. The best guests wash their dishes, keep their things contained to the room they’re renting, clean up messes they happen to make and put the towels and sheets they used in a pile before leaving.

6. Argue about politics/religion/etc.
I believe it’s polite to not talk about potentially controversial issues in any sort of loaded way before making sure you’re in agreement with the other person. Some Airbnb hosts make their political and religious views clear on their profiles or in their homes. If you are staying with someone who has different beliefs than you do, respect that you are in their home. Avoid conversation on those topics if conversation is going to mean an argument.

7. Use things that aren’t yours to use
Most Airbnb hosts make it clear in the rules section of their listing what you can use and what you can’t. For the things that aren’t so clear, common courtesy should tell you when you need to ask permission before using something in another person’s home. You don’t need to ask permission to get a glass of water. You should ask permission before opening a bottle of wine. You don’t need to ask permission to take a shower. You should ask permission before playing one of the host’s instruments. It should be obvious.

8. Make yourself too at home
Airbnb hosts want you to feel comfortable, not take over their home. The rules regarding this tip are a bit different depending on whether you’re renting an entire place or just a room. But if you’re renting just a room, don’t monopolize the rest of the home. Don’t take naps on the couch, invite your friends over, turn the kitchen table into your personal office, perform a seance or redecorate the place. The home is not yours, you’re just staying in it.

9. Complain unjustly
If you have a serious problem with the space you’re renting through Airbnb, you should talk to the host about it. You deserve to have clean sheets and towels, for instance, and you should address this with your host if you don’t. But don’t complain to your hosts (or in your review) if the neighbors are throwing a party, if you rented a room with a loft bed but are suddenly afraid of heights or if you don’t like cooking with the appliances and other kitchen equipment in the house. Know the difference between a warranted complaint and a petty complaint.

10. Expect hosts to change their lives for you
In case this isn’t clear to you already, it’s not appropriate to expect your Airbnb host to wake up at 5 a.m. to let you in, take you around town, wake up before you in the mornings, be available all day long for conversation, watch your pet while you’re out all day every day (unless a rate for dog-sitting is agreed upon beforehand), do your laundry for you (although if you ask nicely when they are already doing laundry, they might say yes) or drive you to the airport upon departure. Have some manners and understand that you should be grateful for any extraordinary efforts a host makes to accommodate you and reciprocal in generosity when possible.

Airbnb Requires Passports From Users; Blocks Iranians

Does Anyone Still Talk On Airplanes?

When I get on an airplane, I hope that my over-the-ear headphones will send the same message to strangers beside me that I hope they send to strangers on the subways or streets of New York City: I don’t want to chitchat. This isn’t meant to be taken personally — it’s a decision I make before I ever lay eyes on the passengers seated beside me. Plane rides have always been meditative for me. I prefer to zone out with the help of a good album or, if the screen before me is working (which it wasn’t on one of my most recent flights), pass the time with a movie. While I’ve never had a bad conversation with strangers that manage to strike up conversation with me during the no-electronics portions of a ride, I would have always chosen to not have any conversation at all, had I been given a choice. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.

A recent Velvet Escape piece discussed the declining social nature of planes. Perhaps the in-flight media available is satiating enough for us. Perhaps the internet has us feeling so intertwined with the rest of the globe that we aren’t as interested in strangers. Perhaps our lives are becoming so saturated with talk and work and we relish time alone more than ever before. The Velvet Escape piece asks this question and I ask it, too: when was the last time you had a memorable conversation (good or bad) with someone beside you on a plane?Airline Passengers Fight Over Reclining Seat

Millennial Business Travelers Are Rejecting Corporate Travel Policies

Millennial business travelers don’t care much for corporate travel policies, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek published today. Company-designed travel booking methods don’t seem to be clicking with the young professionals, who happen to make up the largest chunk of traveling employees for most companies. Since these workers are already spending so much time away from home and typically working in positions that are highly lucrative for companies, like sales, many companies seem hesitant to simply stop reimbursing employees for self-booked travel.

Part of the problem appears to be that internal booking systems aren’t “fun.” They don’t offer rewards or social interaction like many public booking sites or apps do. To address this growing problem while hopefully appeasing the millennial traveler, some companies are working toward developing more engaging and rewarding internal platforms for booking corporate reservations.Millennials in the Workplace: Taught to Try But Not Succeed