Future Of Airline Travel?

The Travel World Championship

Needless to say, our family flew a lot. Now, I continue to travel as a travel writer and photographer on assignment and have been on several airlines, ranging from great to pooras both a professional and leisure passenger, the changes of late have come quickly and noticeably. Deciding to weigh out the story, I turned to friend and colleague Kimberly Lord Stewart, who was a flight attendant for Pan Am, as well as current flight attendant for United Airlines Heidi Hill-Greer. I was fortunate to play a part of the glory days of airline travel as a Pan Am flight attendant, relates Stewart, Regardless of whether passengers were in first class, business or economy, Pan Am put service first. In an era where flight attendants were issued white gloves versus the era of today where they are issued handcuffs, the industry has certainly changed. However, some of the inconvenient changes have been made for overall safety and health issues, as Hill-Greer relates: While it seems that getting rid of those small pillows and blankets onboard was a part of lowering service standards, it had more to do with sanitary issues. Those were done away with after H1N1 became and epidemic a few years back. Airplane food was the butt of many jokes for poor-quality economy class fare, while First Class enjoyed everything from steak to caviar. Now, most airlines only offer a meal-for-purchase snackbox on most domestic flights in Economy Class. Why was this? Hill-Greer offers more insight: Post 9/11 meal service on domestic flights were basically cut not only to the cost cutting for the airlines but also so that the crew could be more vigilant of the passengers rather than so focused on an actual cabin service. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/future-of-airline-travel

Space Adventures, Ltd., caters to space tourists (multimillionaire Dennis Tito was their first customer ) by buying space on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Right now, the cost of a seat is $52 million. A price tag like that restricts space travel to "the 1 percent of the 1 percent," Tyson said, to which Shelley replied, "you've got to start somewhere." And NASA actually paid more than $52 million per astronaut, other panelists pointed out. The space agency currently pays about $70 million per seat to fly American astronauts on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft , under its latest deal with Russia's Federal Space Agency. Still, it will be a while before a family who goes to Disneyland for vacation can save up enough to go take a vacation in space, Shelley admitted. Then there's the issue of the carbon footprint from allowing rich people to take a joyride in space. "We've got to pollute for a little while before people invest in a product that doesn't pollute," Shelley said. (Though the idea wasn't too popular with the audience.) Would You Sign Up for a Years-Long Space Mission? For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.space.com/25181-private-space-travel-risk-cost-debate.html

Private Space Travel Is Worth the Risk, If Done Right, Experts Say

There exist a few benchmark travel-related competitions per se (mostly for cocktail hour bragging rights), that include: the Circumnavigators Club, founded in 1902, for folks that have circled the globe in one trip. There's the self-proclaimed "most traveled people" category of folks who have supposedly stepped foot in more places than anyone else. And there is even a club for tourists who have visited at least 100 countries (aka the Century Club who somehow count 321 "countries") -- and yes airports and toes do count!? The real deal? In 1989, there was a one-off race around the world on public transport called the Human Race (full disclosure my partner and I won that event in 17 days). Of course, since the turn of the century we have had CBS's reality TV show The Amazing Race to enjoy -- the ultimate reality game show with cash and prizes for those carefully cast participants who are lucky enough to complete an array of prearranged stunts. (It is fun, but is it real? I think not). For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-d-chalmers/the-travel-world-champion_b_4990599.html

Travel warning issued for Mali

Mali held peaceful presidential and legislative elections in the summer and fall of 2013, with high voter turnout and minimal reports of conflict, launching a substantial improvement in what had been a tenuously fluid political situation during the transition. Despite these positive events, substantial concerns remain regarding the security situation throughout Mali. Extremist and militant elements, including al Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and other groups continue to be present in northern Mali, although they have been mostly dislodged from major population centers, including Gao and Timbuktu. In January 2014, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the militant leader responsible for the attack on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, declared his continued intention to attack France and her allies for the ongoing military intervention in northern Mali. The security situation in the north remains fluid as evidenced by multiple rocket attacks near Gao and the February 17, 2014 launching of three rockets near Timbuktu airport. Terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention. Affiliates of AQIM claimed responsibility for the November 2, 2013 abductions and murder of two French journalists in Kidal, and violent incidents involving suicide bombings, explosives, and land mines in various locations in the north continue to occur. On December 14, 2013 a suicide car bomb killed two Senegalese U.N. peacekeepers and destroyed the only operating bank in Kidal. A MUJAO leader recently claimed credit for the February 8, 2014 abduction of four International Red Cross Committee members and another NGO aid worker who were driving between Gao and Kidal. On February 26, 2014, two aid workers were seriously injured when they struck a mine as they drove from Kidal to the airport. Additionally, periodic public demonstrations continue to occur throughout Mali; these have largely been peaceful, if sometimes of a confrontational nature in northern locations and at university locations in the south. Most organizations that temporarily suspended operations in Mali, or withdrew some family members and/or staff following the spring 2012 coup and counter coup, have now recommenced operations and allowed family members and staff to return, but continue to exercise caution and impose varying levels of security restrictions. The U.S. Embassy, which allowed dependents to return on July 18, 2013, continues to operate normally. The Embassy will continue to monitor the security situation closely, and will update U.S. citizens via Security or Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens posted on the Embassy's website . The U.S. Embassy has instructed Embassy employees and their family members to be cautious when traveling within Bamako and to authorized locations outside of Bamako, generally in the southern parts of the country. It encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure personal safety. U.S. citizens throughout Mali should develop personal contingency plans and travel on main roads. Malian security forces are regularly updating security safeguards, including checkpoints and other controls on movement in Bamako and around the country. A United Nations peacekeeping mission has also been deployed in Mali and is programmed to have more than 12,000 personnel in Mali when fully operational. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nola.com/travel/index.ssf/2014/03/travel_warning_issued_for_mali.html

Detroit Metro Airport program helps children with autism ease into air travel

We wanted to give people a way to talk to someone with autism, she said. According to autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 88 American children are identified as being on the autism spectrum. It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the country, with annual diagnosis up between 10% and 17%. The disorder affects more than 2 million Americans and tens of millions worldwide. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.freep.com/article/20140322/NEWS02/303200212/Detroit-Metro-Airport-autism