Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio March
By Sarah J.F. Braley
Online Data Vault... Laptop Lanes
A Web-based service puts critical travel information in a
In touch on the road. Oakland, Calif.-based
Lonely Planet Publications, known for its budget-minded destination
guides, has teamed up with the Australian communications company
eKit.com to offer eKno (www.ekno.lonelyplanet.com; 800-707-0031), a
package of electronic services for travelers.
At first glance, it looks like just another Web-based
calling-card service, offering budget international calls from more
than 40 countries, easy-access voice messaging (via the Internet or
a phone) and travel information. One of eKno's free services,
however, is the most attractive and convenient: the travel vault.
Instead of carrying photocopies of traveler's checks, itineraries,
passports and credit card details, this information can be stored
securely online, accessible only with a "passphrase" that you
choose. EKno promises, "Once you've created a passphrase, not even
we can get at it."
If a traveler has no access to the Web at his destination, he
still can access the information saved in his travel vault. When
inputting the details, users check a box saying they want to be
able to open the vault by phoning customer service. A traveler can
call the customer service number for the country he is in, and eKno
will tell him what he wants to know or will fax the information.
Upon returning home, eKno e-mails a reminder that the passphrase
should be changed because it was provided over the phone.
For gymphobes. Those who do not like to head to
a hotel's health center to exercise now can work up a sweat in
their rooms. San Jose, Calif.-based On Command is offering a
30-minute fitness program from Pittsburgh-based Body Effort to be
shown on in-room televisions. The private gym class costs $5.99 and
is available at 300 hotels with the On Command entertainment
Scrabble, please. The new 236-room Serrano
Hotel in San Francisco makes sure guests with play time have plenty
to play with. Checkers, puzzles, Monopoly and more are available in
the lobby. Also, guest rooms have an honor bar for games, stocked
with pastimes to purchase and games for in-room use. More
entertainment choices are available through room service.
Not so stuck in the airport. When delays
happen, several airports have made it easier to get work done, even
for those not carrying a computer. Laptop Lanes (www.laptoplane.com)
are 40-square-foot workstations with lockable doors (better than
your cubicle at work). The service costs 38 cents per minute and
includes printing, faxing, domestic long-distance calls and
Internet usage. Those with computers in hand who have an Ethernet
card can log on at T-1 speed and print in color to the concierge
station. Laptop Lanes currently are open at the following airports:
Chicago's O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Denver, Detroit
Wayne County Metropolitan, Hartsfield Atlanta, Philadelphia,
Phoenix Sky Harbor, Seattle Tacoma and Tampa. The service is
coming soon to Dallas/Fort Worth, Raleigh Durham, and New York
City's JFK and LaGuardia airports.
Apple warning. Traveling with an Apple iBook
that has an AirPort networking card? The manufacturer has sent out
an alert that the card might interfere with the avionics of a
plane. Apple suggests switching off the networking card in the
control panel before flying.
Has it landed yet? Those who like to check the
status of an arriving passenger's flight should log onto the Flight
Tracker at Trip.com (www.trip.com). Choose the airline, type in the flight
number, and select the graphical display. Up comes a map showing
the exact geographical location of the plane, as well as its air
speed, compass heading and altitude.
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