. SIT BACK AND RELAX IN NEW SEATS | Meetings & Conventions


Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio May 2002 Current Issue

On Travel

By Sarah J.F. Braley


Continental makes flying overseas more comfortable... Kodak puts kiosks in hotels

Lean back and say, “Aaaaah.” Passengers flying business class overseas on Continental Airlines are in for a treat. Last month, the carrier began installing new, specially engineered seats in its BusinessFirst cabins on all Boeing 777s flying transatlantic and transpacific routes.

The new recliners are 22 inches wide between armrests and push back to 170 degrees to provide six-and-a-half feet of sleeping space. Electronic controls adjust the seat to preset upright, cradle and sleep positions; other buttons control the lumbar support and leg and footrests.

Also new are privacy hoods, two-level reading lights, more storage space for personal items and power outlets for laptops. Installation is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Print it. Travelers with digital cameras soon will be able to print out high-quality photographs at some hotels. Starting this month, Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak is deploying kiosks in hotel lobbies, following successful test-marketing runs at several resorts. The machines take all image-storage media, including CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Sony Memory Sticks, PCMCIA cards and CDs.

Security alerts. Northstar Travel Media (M&C’s parent) has launched a new online system integrating Weissmann Travel Reports with a new destination intelligence system from Miami-based IntelGo. The service (www.weissmann.com) provides travel agent subscribers with real-time news briefs that might affect a traveler’s itinerary. Agents will be able to register travelers to receive e-mail destination alerts before, during and after their trips on such topics as health, security, entry requirements and political events.

An expanded package integrates the service into an agency’s PNR (passenger name record) system, allowing companies to track employees while they travel as well as to generate destination reports. In an emergency, a firm will be able to compile a quick report on employee location, hotel and more.

Crossing wires. Two top wireless companies have formed an alliance, making Web access while traveling a little easier. Subscribers to the connectivity services offered by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based iPass Inc. (www.ipass.com) can now log on using the wireless and wired outlets run by Wayport Inc. of Austin, Texas (www.wayport.net), a provider of high-speed wireless and wired Internet services. Wayport is the Internet provider in more than 450 hotels, including Four Seasons, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Sheraton, Doubletree and Embassy Suites; in nine airports, and 13 Laptop Lane business centers in seven airports.

The miles-and-miles-high club. True road warriors who save up 10 million frequent-flyer miles will be able to take advantage of suborbital flights that will be available supposedly by 2004 as an award from US Airways and Arlington, Va.-based Space Adventures Ltd. Reserving a seat and paying for it yourself earns you 250,000 miles.

Other space-related awards include earning 5,000 to 75,000 miles or spending up to 275,000 miles and $8,000 on a Shuttle Launch vacation package, a trip to Russia for a ride on a zero-gravity flight, or the Edge of Space trip to Moscow for a ride in a MiG-25 Foxbat jet fighter.

Hazards of the job. While flying, take your mind off your own trip by reading about a flight attendant’s life on board complete with a major robbery, lots of passenger shenanigans, crew slip-ups and fear-of-flying freak-outs. New from St. Martin’s Press is Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant’s Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet, by Elliott Hester (www.planeinsanity.com; www.stmartins.com). After 16 years in the business, Hester is still an attendant for a major U.S. airline.

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