A Guide To In-Flight Wi-Fi And Power Outlets

BrentDPayne, Flickr

In-flight internet access is on the up and up. Thanks to a list compiled by Lifehacker, it’s now easy to get a glimpse of just how much progress has been made over the past few years. It looks like AirTran and Virgin America are the best bets for in-flight Wi-Fi, while United Airlines is the worst. According to the company’s website, only 59 of the airline’s 700+ planes have Wi-Fi.

We did a little more digging to find out exactly where airline Wi-Fi stands (prices are for domestic flights), and here’s what we came up with:

*These fleets are serviced by Gogo Inflight Internet. Frequent fliers will want to consider buying a Gogo pass, which can cover all flights in a day or month. Since the majority of airlines use Gogo, one pass could cover multiple legs of a trip — even if different airlines are used.

It is also important to note that even if the airplane you’re flying has Wi-Fi, every seat may not have access to a power outlet. No airline has yet ensured outlets at each seat, but Seat Guru has documented where the power outlets are in each type of aircraft. Additionally, you’ll want to check and make sure you have the right adaptor, or you might find it difficult to get some work done at 10,000 feet.

Three Airport Travel Apps That Work, Save Time, Make Flying Fun

Jane Starz/Flickr

Airport travel apps for smart phones and tablets are must-have items for some air travelers, much like that phone itself. But it is easy to get over-apped and have three different sources texting the fact that we have landed, that the flight is running late or that it is time to check in. Choosing the best ones can be more difficult than using them. Here are some tested, but not necessarily popular, airport apps that can save time and make flying fun.

Seat Alerts – Airplane Seat Monitoring and Alerting By ExpertFlyer.com is a must-have for anyone who has ever booked the last seat on a flight or been stuck in the middle with no way out. Monitoring flight information the user inputs, Seat Alerts sounds off if/when aisle or window seats open up on that flight. The free version gets one seat alert at a time. Multiple alerts are available for purchase. Seat maps also include recently updated SeatGuru seat ratings. Seats may not open up, but it’s worth trying.

Airports by TravelNerd By NerdWallet
Airports puts all the information on the 70 most popular airports in one easy-to-use app. Other apps have basic terminal maps and real-time flight tracking but this one adds much more detail and has information on ground transportation, airport parking options (with coupons), Wi-Fi availability and pricing, airport restaurant, shop and lounge hours and locations along with an Offline mode that works without a signal.My TSA By Transportation Security Administration
This airport travel app might have been one that app freaks took a look at before and dismissed as useless, like the Terrorist Threat Level app. Updated recently though, this one has TSA PreCheck information in the dashboard so a tap on the icon shows what checkpoints and airlines are serviced. Users can also check approximate wait times at TSA security checkpoints, search an extensive list of items that will (and won’t) make it through the checkpoint and have the ability to provide immediate feedback to TSA concerning their checkpoint experience.

Once out of the airport, getting around is easy too when armed with the right travel apps, as we see in this video:

Travel Apps to Get You Where You're Going

Updated SeatGuru Brings New Features, Recommendations

seatguruSeatGuru has been providing unbiased seat information to air travelers, removing some of the mystery when selecting an airline seat, for over ten years. Tapping a rich library of flier reviews and tips, SeatGuru has hundreds of airline seat maps covering nearly 100 airlines, enabling travelers to find the best seats before they fly. Now, SeatGuru has a new look, better layout and more content in addition to a new Guru Factor rating system.

The new easier-to-use site builds on that content and was designed with features to elevate the user experience including live flight shopping via TripAdvisor’s flight comparison engine, user provided photos.

Unique to SeatGuru, the new “Guru Factor” promises detailed seat comfort and onboard amenity information along with an overall recommendation of either “Love it,” “Like it,” or “Live with it” for your selected flight itinerary.

The Guru Factor considers the type of seat, seat pitch, width and recline, in-flight entertainment options, onboard amenities and TripAdvisor customer satisfaction ratings for airlines.”The new SeatGuru will give millions of flyers even more useful insight to help them plan and have the best flight experience possible,” said Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights and SeatGuru. “Access to our comprehensive seat and airline amenity information, new flight shopping functionality, purchase options, and trustworthy advice from fellow travelers will be infinitely valuable for those planning their next flight.”

SeatGuru’s re-launched site is up right now. Coming up, SeatGuru’s iPhone app will have the new seat map design, improved navigation and travelers can create a profile then submit comments and photos of their seat in real time.

How to Choose an Airline Seat



[Photo credit- Flickr user ATIS547]

10 Tips For International Business Travel

International business travel is a different animal when compared to a quick domestic trip. Flying for extended periods of time alone presents its own unique challenges for those who have not done it before. Still, international business travel does not have to be the grueling sort of ordeal that first-timers anticipate by following a few simple guidelines.

For our purposes here, we assume a) you do not have a huge corporate travel department taking care of the details for you, b) you care how much elements of the trip cost and c) can accept a seat in coach.

  • Booking airfare- Book air far in advance for the best seat selection. Keep on top of fares by registering flights with AirFareWatchdog (before buying) and Yapta (after). If the price goes down later, a refund or credit for future travel may be possible. Also, reduce travel stress by insisting on a minimum of 2 hours between connections, especially on the return flight to the U.S. If the arrival airport is not your final destination, you’ll need time to recheck luggage and go through security screening again.
  • Periodically check reservations- Once flights are booked and seats assigned, return to the airline website to get a feel for how flights are filling up. You may wish to pay more closer to travel day for an aisle seat. SeatGuru can help with this. Also, be sure reservations have frequent flyer numbers on them to get credit for long flights. Be extra safe by saving boarding passes as proof later that you were on the flight.
  • Know what documentation is required- In addition to a valid U.S passport that expires a minimum of 6 months after your international travel, you may need to satisfy other entry requirements. The U.S Department of State‘s Smart Traveler Program offers all the information needed to enter and experience any given country in the world. Registering travel plans with Smart Traveler brings travel alerts and background information in advance of travel too.
  • Explore communication options in advance- Molding options on a cellphone plan to fit where your destination can make using your cellphone abroad a viable option. On extended trips a new sim card to match your destination might work best, but simply customizing options can work well too. Adding an international data plan, for example, will let you use smartphone apps that can be invaluable navigating foreign soil. Another option is to “Cheat On Your Cellphone Service With Tep Wireless.”
  • Fly in a day in advance of important meetings- Have some plans in place but have International business travelthe flexibility to spend the first day overseas adjusting to the time difference and getting used to new surroundings. If everything goes well, you may be able to hit the ground running. If a few parts of your travel plan don’t come off as anticipated, all is not lost, just a bit behind schedule.
  • Start focusing on getting plenty of rest and eating right several days before the flight- Unless you’re headed to Canada from New York, most international travel translates to some long flights. Sure, maybe we can’t “bank” sleep but starting a long flight with a full tank of rest is always a good idea. Also see: “How To Deal With Jetlag.”
  • Consider the allowed personal carry-on item your “flight bag”- and have everything that might be needed during the flight in it. Having at hand, under the seat in front of you, is huge and a must-do for all international flights. Also, finish packing (at least preliminarily) a week in advance. That offers the opportunity to be sure critical items are packed and allows time to source those items not packed first time around.
  • Enjoy the experience that international flights can offer in and of itself- Flight attendants or other passengers have wonderful stories to tell that can add a richness to our travels. Engage the world with smartphone apps like HipGeo and FourSquare to share your experience and record your journey step by step. Bringing along the new app TagWhat is almost like having a personal travel guide along for the ride.
  • Know a little of the language- While you’re apt to kick yourself for not knowing more once on the ground, basic words and phrasing is a must. Questions like “How much?” and “Can you help me?” go a long way, along with: “Please,” “Excuse me” and “Thank You.” A smartphone app for translating languages is a good idea.
  • Money matters- Like language, have a good idea of how the local currency converts to dollars, not that you can do anything about that but just so you will have an idea of value and maybe not pay the equivalent of $10 for a Coke. Onanda’s Currency app for iPhone is a good one to have handy. Use a credit card that will work internationally (not all will) and does not charge an extra fee for doing so. Be sure to notify card companies when you will out of the country too, otherwise they may shut you down, thinking your card has been stolen.

There are plenty of other tips for international business travel, including Gadling’s International Travel Tips In 100 Words Or Less, but these have helped me quite a bit and some were hard lessons to learn.

One more: do not forget a power converter. I spent the good part of a day in Venice on my first international business trip, looking for a device that would allow me to stick my U.S. plug into the odd-sized electrical outlets in our hotel. Since the only Italian words I knew were from working at the Olive Garden decades ago, I walked around the city with a hand written note from the hotel desk clerk to help. I assume that note said, “This man wants a power converter,” but it might have said, “Laugh at this silly American,” because most people I presented it to did.

[Flickr image via || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||]

SeatGuru adds search by flight number and route

The ever-awesome SeatGuru.com just made life for travelers a whole lot easier. In the past, you’d need to look up your plane type before heading to SeatGuru – but now you can simply enter your flight number or route, and the Guru will instantly present the seat map for your flight.

If you have never used SeatGuru, you’ve probably been stuck in a less-than-desirable seat in the past (or on an airline without pre-assigned seating). The site displays 706 graphical seat maps for 98 different airlines – and each map also provides feedback on the quality of the seat, whether there are downsides (or upsides) to a specific seat and what kind of amenities are available, including the location of power outlets, bassinets and more.

So, next time you are able to pick a seat on your flight, head on over to SeatGuru for their expert advise on the best seat for your trip.