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Please Arrive 15 Minutes Before Departure. Really!

The Cranky Flier blog followed in our footsteps as he recently visited the domestic terminal in Auckland New Zealand and met the future of air travel.  Like him, we were amazed when we saw how calm and orderly this busy terminal was, and how by installing so many kiosks, they allow for a speedy and hassle free check in.

How would you like arriving just 15-minutes prior to departure at the airport. Imagine that!  It is possible because Air New Zealand has installed three large round banks of kiosks where all of the work of check-in happens.

Arriving up at the machine, he puts a little RFID reader on a designated spot atop the screen, and it reads all of his info, welcoming him by name.

It asked him if he wants to take the scheduled flight, or perhaps leave a little earlier. After assigning him a seat, the kiosk tells him politely to put his bags on the conveyor belt, and be on his way. Voila!  Check in’s done, he’s walking to his departure gate, and by God it was all done in less than 15 minutes.

Couples Can Now Cuddle All the Way to NZ

extended-seat-on-air-new-zealand2It’s a long way down, down to New Zealand.  For the vast majority of the air travelers, it’s a tough slog, having to sit in upright coach seats can be tough after the 12th hour. Fortunately, Air New Zealand has come up with a great way to make that long trip a little nicer.

They have introducéd a new amenity, allowing two passengers to share a third seat, horizontally, so that a couple or a family can share the space lying flat. It’s  an ingenius plan, that in some ways discriminates against solo travelers. But for those traveling, like Noah’s Ark, in twos, well you’re in luck

They only require that flyers pay 25% additional for that valuable real estate. The Guardian UK added more details:

“Developed in-house by the airline’s designers and engineers, the 22 “Skycouches” will take up the first 11 rows in the economy cabin of the carrier’s new Boeing 777-300 planes, and will be formed out of three economy seats abreast that fold out to create a lie-flat space (complete with full size pillows) stretching right up to the seats in front.”

‘Passengers With High Body Mass’ Pay Extra

Does anyone need another reason to lose weight? Besides the health benefits, now Air France is cracking down on passengers who weigh too much.  The Examiner took a look at this situation in its health section.

But in typical French fashion, they are putting it delicately. “Passengers with high body mass” is how they describe the fatties they are now going to require to pay for two seats.

They do offer a 25% discount for that required second seat, however, making it just a little bit more affordable.

One area of wiggle room is provided, however. It the plane isn’t totally full, obese passengers can get a refund for that second seat. Oh, and they don’t charge taxes and surcharges on it either.

As if to make it tougher, the airline states that just because you’ve purchased a second seat, you still only get one meal.

But nobody has to pay any extra for airport parking, even if you’re the heaviest man or woman in the world. Reserve now and save on your next flight.

Tips for Anyone Superbowl-bound

Here are some tips for anyone lucky enough to be making the pilgrimage to Florida to attend the Superbowl in February. They come to us via ASTA, the travel agent’s organization.

“Every year, we hear reports of sports fans whose travel plans were ruined by a questionable organization with an offer that sounded too good to be true,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “Following some simple advice and asking a few questions can help ensure that fans’ Super Bowl dreams won’t end in heartache.”

1. Check the tickets. Make sure you get them in hand before you get on the plane.

2. Plan wisely: book with an official tour operator, not a shady outfit, check to see that they are ASTA members.

3. Read the fine print. Get it all in writing before you go.

4. Reserve airport parking before you leave. Hey, it’s one of the best ways to guarantee the lowest parking rate!

Now There’s a Better Place to File Airline Complaints

Got a beef about an airline? Now you have an even better forum in which to display your disgust and register an official complaint to try and get some action. In the Atlanta Constitution, the USTA is said to have launched a redesigned version of the website airconsumer.gov, which has a direct linkto the agency’s web form for filing complaints about service, safety, security or disability and discrimination.

How many of these complaints are sent in? Well, Delta had a total of 95 complaints out of its nearly 5.3 million passengers who boarded their planes that month.  Doesn’t seem like much but it’s the industry high.

Airtran beat its bigger brother out with just 15 complaints in a month.

You wonder, though, just how many more complaints there were which never got emailed in. How many just remained grudges…and come time to travel again, you’ll be sure that person would choose a different airline.

Traveling soon yourself?  Find airport parking at our site and make it all just that much easier.