Would you pay $35K for 1 year of unlimited biz class flights from NY to London or Paris?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

La Compagnie airline

French boutique air carrier, La Compagnie, is betting frequent international business travelers will.  While the most airborne corporate flyers may scoop up these unlimited passes as the deal of the century,  others may be better off scouring for more traditional deals.

According to a CNBC report, the airline is looking to collect $350,000 in revenue on the idea that $673 a week is a great deal for New York-area travelers making numerous round-trip flights to London or Paris, which can easily cost in the thousands of dollars.

As part of the CNBC interview, La Compagnie CEO, Frantz Yvelin said $35,000 for unlimited travel is an offer too good for some frequent flyers to pass up.

“The demand is there,” he said. “When we started our load factor [the percentage of seats filled on a plane] was 30 percent. These days we are oscillating between 70 percent and 90 percent load factor.”

Read the full story and watch the video interview here.

ExpertFlyer’s Summer Getaway Must-Takes

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

You’ve probably already started stockpiling your summer vacation staples: bikinis, sandals and blow up pool toys, but have you thought about some of these not-so-usual vacation take-alongs?

froggelzOuchless eye gear
Frogglez Goggles are a pain-free option to traditional swim goggles. They sport a unique headband that doesn’t squish your eyes and ears or yank out your little one’s hair. In addition to swimming and snorkeling, the company says they’re also tested for scuba diving, speed skating and jet skiing. Offered in both children and adult sizes, Frogglez are available at madebymydad.com and amazon.com for about $20.

 

CoolBag


Secure your stuff and save your seat by the pool
Don’t you hate it when you’re lying out on your beach chair under the red hot sun and all you want to do is go jump in the water, but you don’t want to leave your bag unattended? Well, the “CoolBag” may be the covert vault you’ve been looking for. The CoolBag is a practical, attractive and roomy tote with a secret weapon that guards against theft – a heavy duty locking system, which is built into the bag’s handle and can be attached to a chair or lounge, so you can walk away from your belongings AND save your seat by the pool without fear of theft. Priced at about $123, the CoolBag can store all of your beach and sporting essentials, and the bottom of the bag serves as an insulated cooler to keep your drinks and other perishables nice and chilly. For more info visit: CoolBag.com.

 

ReliefBandRelief for motion sickness is on your wrist
ReliefBand is a wearable drug-free treatment of nausea associated with morning and motion sickness. The first in a new breed of over the counter devices, Reliefband uses accurately programmed pulses with highly specific waveform, frequency, and intensity to stimulate the median nerve on the underside of the wrist. This activity, known as neuromodulation, uses the body’s natural neural pathways to block the waves of nausea produced by the stomach when you’re traveling by plane, train, auto, boat – even rollercoaster! Priced at $89.99, ReliefBand is available at www.reliefband.com.

 

Hotlogic Mini


Lunchbox with a brain
Summer’s the time to get outdoors and have some fun. Most of us will fill up a cooler with our favorite snacks and bevvies, but what if you want to eat a HOT healthy meal when you’re on the go? A new gadget called the Hot Logic Mini is the world’s first portable mini oven that cooks meals from scratch, reheats leftovers or frozen dinners, and keeps food piping hot for hours. Available at hotlogicmini.com, prices start at $39.95.

 

RobocoppSafety sound grenade
ROBOCOPP, the world’s smallest SOS alarm, works like a sound grenade; pull the pin to release an alarm as loud as an ambulance and you’ll deter criminals or repel aggressive wildlife. Legal on airplanes, this safety device is a great traveling companion. Priced at about $20, the product may be purchased at robocopp.com.

“Bleisure” travel helps business travelers balance time away from family

More and more business travelers are tacking on personal vacation time to business trips. Just ask the Road Warriorette, a popular travel blogger and frequent business traveler. According to Sarah, women, in particular, are using “bleisure” travel as a way to balance time away from family by bringing them along. Listen to our podcast with Sarah to hear the entire interview.

How do you define ‘bleisure’ travel?
I see bleisure travel as any time you add some kind of fun component to a business trip. Whether it’s time tacked on at the end, at the beginning, or just a few hours of fun in the middle of meetings. People will often bring loved ones on their work trips and spend any off time with them. That counts too!

Is bleisure travel really a new trend? Haven’t people been doing this for quite some time?
I don’t think it’s a new trend, but it is certainly being talked about more. There are all kinds of reasons why someone would want to take a bleisure trip, to spend time with family or loved ones while you would otherwise be gone, to take loved ones to see really cool places, or to save money while still doing fun travel. Also, as women make up a higher and higher percentage of business travelers they seem to be looking for ways to balance being gone on a regular basis and seeing their families. As long as you can have good boundaries, bleisure trips are a great way to do that. Not that men didn’t necessarily do that before, but most of the questions I get about how to successfully combine business and leisure trips are from women.

What’s new and different about the way business travelers are blending personal vacation time?
People have realized that they can travel for almost free using points, and so are finding ways to stretch their dollar even farther.

What are the dos and don’ts for folks new to bleisure travel?
Most importantly, DO make sure you are following any travel and expense guidelines your company has set up. This is not something you want to get fired over!

Also, if you are taking family with you during the work part of your trip make sure you have really good boundaries. Otherwise you may get distracted or feel like you are missing out while you’re working, but on a business trip your priority is work. My husband used to come with me on work trips pretty regularly, but once our son was born it got too hard. I always felt like I should be back at the hotel room helping with the baby, and it was difficult to concentrate especially when I was entertaining clients at night. Now they meet me after the work part and everyone is happier!

What are the smartest cost-saving strategies for bleisure travel?
You can use points and miles to pay for almost anything–hotel, airfare, car rental, even restaurants. If you are strategic and plan ahead you can sign up for a credit card with a large bonus and get a ton of points that can pay for a substantial portion of your trip.

Are their unique advantages or best practices for domestic vs. international trips?
International trips are amazing, and if you can combine a fun trip with a work trip internationally more power to you. The issue is that it takes a lot of planning, and with a three year old, twin babies, and a full time job I just don’t have the mental capacity to handle that right now!

Are their specific tips for credit card and air/hotel loyalty program perks when tacking on personal vacation to business trips?
Remember that you still get all of your status perks on personal trips, not just on the work portion. For example, I have status with Hilton and if an upgrade is available I will get it regardless of if I’m paying with my credit card or points.

Anything else you’d like to add?
As long as you follow your company guidelines, do as much bleisure traveling as possible! It’s amazing to be able to see different places, while saving money.

Editor of L.A. Travel Magazine Recommends Unique Experiences in the City of Angels

This month’s One-on-One features an insider’s guide to all that’s great in Los Angeles. We caught up with the editor-in-chief of L.A. Travel Magazine, Jennifer McLaughlin, to get her short list of places to visit for celeb sightings, luxury getaways, art, culture and more.

Tell us about L.A. Travel and what’s coming up in your next issue? Los Angeles Travel Magazine is a quarterly publication the focuses on the travel and lifestyle. Our tagline is “Inspiring Angelenos to Travel Near and Far”. Our next issue is Endless Summer debuting in July. We will be focusing on health and wellness, food and wine and our ever popular Staycation Guide.

Los Angeles is known first and foremost for its abundance of A-list celebrities.  How do starry-eyed visitors get their celebrity fix? The Hollywood area is a pretty safe bet for celebrity spotting. There are more specific locations like the Ivy, the W Hollywood, and the 4 Seasons that are a pretty safe bet for a run in. The TMZ tour if you are looking for a guided route to celebrity hotspots.

Even the typical residents of L.A. offer an eyeful – where are the best places to go for interesting people-watching opportunities? Restaurants like Pump and Sur by Lisa Vanderpump, The Grove and the Beverly Center always offer great people watching. Santa Monica and Malibu are also great options.

For art and culture enthusiasts, what do you consider an ideal mix of attractions? We have amazing art museums but I suggest getting out to the different neighborhoods and trying the different food, Visit our resident Concierge, Sarah Dandashy from Askaconcierge.tv she is the top concierge in LA and works out of the London West Hollywood. She is a great resource for all attractions, culture and hotspots in the city. Our website www.latravelmagazine.com also offers the latest and greatest in our LA City Guide section.

For visitors that have never been to L.A., what are the not-to-be-missed sights and experiences in your city? There are so many it is hard to pick just a few but here goes! The Malibu Wine Safari, Melrose Avenue, Universal City Walk, West Hollywood, Venice Beach, Marina Del Rey and the Sunset Strip. A few things not to miss: Dinner at PUMP Restaurant, Cocktails at The Nice Guy, for nightlife visit Le Jardin or The Abbey.

If cost is no consequence, what should the ultimate luxury vacation in L.A. be comprised of? Rent a private estate in Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Hills, Dine at Barton G. where every dish is comprised of a crazy presentation, shop on Rodeo and mingle with the who’s who at Hotel Bel-Air.

Many of our readers are business travelers. Do you recommend any short-trips or attractions that business travelers with limited time can partake of? Vegas is always a good idea for a quick trip, especially because the average time here should be no more than three days. Other quick destinations we love from LA include Napa, Carmel, San Diego, Laguna Beach and internationally speaking when we have limited time one of our favorite quick getaways is the Four Seasons Punta Mita. It is a short flight away and 3-4 days is plenty of time to revitalize and refresh.

Any interesting events or celebrations coming up throughout the year that folks should know about or plan to check out? We actually have our Taste of the World event coming up on June 26th. This is an event where food and wine connoisseurs come together for a worldly chef competition. It is an afternoon of internationally inspired food from Southern California’s most prominent chefs. Guests sample all of their creative dishes and then vote for their favorite at the end of the evening. While all the sampling is going on live International performances take place from Brazilian Samba to Flamenco and more! For more info on the event visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-taste-of-the-world-tickets-25494509765.

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New Airport Social App Aims to Help Traveling and Socially Predisposed Millennials Connect

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

According to a 2015 study of Millennial and Gen X travel habits by Hipmunk, 53% of Millennial and 37% of Gen X travelers are looking to socially connect with fellow passengers.

Ment airport social appMent, a new airport-based social app, is jumping on this opportunity by connecting like-minded travelers in real-time, and thereby, changing the airport experience for young travelers.

Millennials are just five years shy of entering their peak traveling, earning and spending years, yet airports haven’t prepared for the onslaught, according to the Boston Consulting Group. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, says a 2014 study by Deloitte. Hotels and travel companies are shifting their mentality to capture this emerging generation by creating social lobbies, valued-added amenities and free wifi throughout their properties.

“Airports weren’t designed with people in mind, we were a second thought,” said Rebecca Lima, CEO & Founder of Ment. “I’ve spent countless hours in airports, probably more time than I do at home and I’ve seen how people get through those frequently intolerable airport stays. We are conditioned to socially disconnect from everything and that never sat well with me. That’s why I created Ment: to connect people back to people.”

Millennials are naturally hyper connected and interested in socially connecting to people they are drawn to. Ment offers that unique experience that the younger generation craves. “There is something magical about meeting people while traveling without underlying romantic innuendos that other apps project,” said Lima.

Ment is incredibly easy to use. The user checks in to their departure or layover at the airport and the app takes care of the rest. The app displays a live feed of other Ment users in your airport. Once the user has found someone they’re interested in connecting with, they can chat via the app. Within a matter of minutes, Ment users can connect and meet up.

Launching in early July for iPhone, Lima hopes that Ment will change the status quo of airports. Her goal with Ment is to make air travel social. “My vision is that one day people will actually enjoy their airport experience because of Ment.”

“Best Travel Website” makes planning a trip incredibly easy

TripCreator.com, named the best travel website by the Web Marketing Association, is a travel planner that makes organizing a trip incredibly easy.

TripCreator.com CEO, Hilmar Halldorsson, talks with ExpertFlyer about his company and its knack for creating the perfect itinerary.

Using complex algorithms, the site suggests a whole itinerary for the user that includes accommodations, activities, places to see and transportation.

When generating an itinerary TripCreator checks all items for availability, distance between items and hundreds of other factors so that the itinerary makes perfect sense and is ready to be booked. The user can edit his plan to perfection using an intuitive user interface and when ready he can book every item in the plan in a single checkout.

Don’t know where to go on your next vacation? No problem – Let Flykt.com decide for you

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

ExpertFlyer chats with Ricardo Camarinha, CEO and founding partner of Flykt.com, a new travel site that’s aiming to compete with Expedia and Priceline with an algorithm that turns destination search on its head.  

Biometrics Technology Promises to End Long Lines at the Airport and Increase Personalization

This month’s One-on-One features an interview with Joey Pritikin,VP of Marketing and Product Management at Tascent, a leading maker of biometrics technology. Pritikin discusses the company’s recently published whitepaper, “A New Golden Age for Air Travel,” which, in part, details how iris recognition and other biometrics can expedite security checkpoints and make flying an enjoyable and personalized experience again.

Tascent recently published a white paper that explores the potential of biometrics technology as a way for the airline industry to make air travel enjoyable again. What exactly is biometrics technology?
Biometrics is the use of unique human characteristics to establish and verify individual identity. Typical biometric modalities include fingerprint, face, voice, and iris recognition, each of which has its own benefits. As consumers, with the introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone and a variety of other emerging technologies, we are becoming familiar with the way biometrics can provide enhanced convenience for access control or mCommerce. We see this as a watershed moment for the biometrics industry, to be followed by increasing use of varying biometric modalities in ways that increase efficiency, personalization, and security. Tascent, with many of our industry peers, sees iris recognition in particular as an ideal biometric for many applications as it is very fast, accurate, stable, and non-invasive. When implemented in the right way, it can also be very intuitive and well suited to a wide variety of commercial applications. Continue reading →

Reverse auction site for vacation rentals shakes up sharing economy

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

The home share and peer to peer vacation rental market has risen to mainstream stature as of late. Now there’s a new option, Tansler.com. The site promises to disrupt the vacation rental market by simplifying the booking process and trimming inefficiency by allowing renters to bid for properties that they like at a price they can afford.

Watch our interview with Tansler CEO, Jeremy Bernard, to learn more about the company and how the process works to benefit both hosts and guests.