Another Boeing 787 Dreamliner Has a Battery Problem

Getty Images

Getty Images

Japan Airlines grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft today “after detecting smoke or gases that may have come from faults with the main battery,” according to the BBC.

Last year, all 787s were grounded for three months, CBS reports, after a “fire in a lithium ion battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport. That was followed nine days later by another battery incident that forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787.Today’s battery problem was noticed during scheduled maintenance. No passengers were on board the plane at the time.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “The lithium-ion battery system was found to ‘venting’ gas while the plane sat at Narita …

By 2016, the Chinese Will Spend More on Business Travel than Americans

Busy street in Hong Kong, China. (Purposely blurred with camera slow shutter speed.)

As China grows, so does how much the country’s inhabitants travel, especially when it comes to business travel.

While the United States has lead the pack in terms of spending on business travel, Americans are about to be overtaken by the Chinese: by 2016 China will have the world’s largest business travel market, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

What does that mean?

For one, China will have to grow its airports. Several airports already have had to double or triple their capacity, and over the next decade China is planning to build about 100 new airports. Because of the growth in travel within China, next year Beijing Capital International Airport is to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world’s busiest airport.

Secondly, other surrounding countries like Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong can expect to benefit, as 95 percent of the travel will stay within Asia.

As business travel grows in China, the rest of the world will have to watch and see how the country deals with it. As Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA, told the Los Angeles Times, “the real question is can they keep up with the demand.”

And the Chinese better work on managing their business travel stress.

Is This The Death Of The College Visit?

YouVisit.com

Would you enroll at a university without ever setting foot on campus? A new website, YouVisit.com, is making it easier to scope out colleges by offering virtual guides and professional photos for hundreds of campuses. Prospective students and their parents can scope out everything from the college green to the inside of dining halls — and they don’t have to pay a penny for the service (or, for that matter, travel expenses). It’s kind of like other armchair travel websites, except aimed at aspiring freshman.

Will the website completely replace college visits? Not likely. There’s just something missing from the tours that one can only get when actually on campus. But it might make the process of choosing a college a whole lot more affordable. The website can certainly make it easier for prospective students to narrow down their choices. Right now, 400 campuses in the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America are online — so if you’ve been dreaming of getting a degree overseas, here’s your chance to take a look.

[via Los Angeles Times]

Spirit Airlines Ditches Toll-Free Customer Service Line

Famous for its no-frills approach (and for being the first airline to charge for carry-on bags), Spirit Airlines has decided it no longer needs a toll-free customer service line, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. In lieu of a 1-800 number, Spirit quietly replaced all its phone numbers with 801 area codes, which correspond with a geographic area in Utah.

The change won’t affect most mobile customers, who typically have unlimited long-distance calling plans. But according to the L.A. Times, people dialing Spirit from a landline could incur fees up to 18 cents per minute, depending on the phone plan. Let’s just hope Spirit doesn’t have long wait times for speaking with customer service reps, or else fees could start adding up quickly.

“Our new numbers are allowing us to keep our costs low, which we in turn continue to pass along to our customers by way of the ultra-low fares they have come to know and love,” airline spokeswoman Misty Pinson told the news outlet. Although the toll-charge number doesn’t seem like it will hit most wallets, when coupled with the airline’s 71 other passenger fees, the price of a “low cost” flight just keeps getting higher and higher.

[Via Skift]

[Photo credit: Flickr user ​Clemson]

Extra Travel Fees Here To Stay, Like It Or Not

Extra Travel Fees

Extra travel fees bring customization options that can make for a more pleasant air, hotel, land or sea experience. Also called “user fees,” those who value the option they provide are relatively happy to pay. After all, these are not mandatory fees but options. Still, just the dollar amount makes experts wonder, “What’s next?”

Airline fees should add up to $36.1 billion in 2012, according to a recent study from IdeaWorksCompany reported in the Los Angeles Times. That includes extra travel fees for checked baggage, Internet use, food, drinks, premium seating, quick boarding and more. Up more than 10% over 2011, online travel agencies and airlines have figured out how to position buying options in the booking process. Out of convenience, passengers make online buying decisions to save time at the airport.”They are understanding how to raise and lower fees to maximize overall revenue and how to better position items in the booking path to drive better sales,” said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorksCompany in the Los Angeles Times report.

While there are no hard numbers on cruise line extra travel fees, those can add up too, as travelers choose premium dining options, tours ashore and onboard extras to customize their travel experience.

Sure, we don’t have to check luggage, enjoy a drink on board or use the Internet in the air. It is a choice travelers make, an optional travel expense.

Air travelers can choose to carry on their luggage, take any seat they get, enjoy whatever is included with the flight and not spend one penny more on extra travel fees. Cruise travelers can indeed sail and spend nothing more than the price of the cruise.

But do we really want to?

Apparently not, as extra fees are becoming so commonplace that they are rarely questioned or even complained about. Optional user fees are designed to charge those who want the service and let others save the charge as we see in this video:


[Photo Credit: Flickr user mroach]