Jet Blue Debuts New Game Show
All that random trivia you've picked up from years of traveling is about to pay off. From Monday, June 18, to Friday, June 22, Jet Blue Getaways will be running five 15–minute online game shows a day for travel buffs. All you need to enter is a Skype account and a webcam. Contestants will be asked general travel trivia as well as questions about Jet Blue destinations. Winners will receive a three–night vacation package (including flight and hotel) to places like the Turks & Caicos, Bermuda, and Las Vegas.
Think you have what it takes? Sign up on the Get Away With It site, and good luck!
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Airlines Set Records for Being On-Time and Losing Fewer Bags
Complaints about airlines may be up, but one thing people can't get too mad about: on–time statistics. According to a new study from the Transportation Department, about 86% of flights arrived on time in April, and only 1.1% of flights were cancelled in the first quarter of 2012. What's the reason behind this surge in punctuality? According to USA Today, the mild winter coupled with the fact that many airlines have cut back on flights (opening up airspace) makes it easier to be on time. If you want more good news, fewer bags disappeared as well—only 2.6 out of 1,000 were lost or damaged, the lowest since 1987 (when the department started keeping records). There is a lot of negative press about airlines, so it's nice to have good news to report. And, honestly, I can't think of one person I know that has had a terrible flight delay this year (or had a bag lost for that matter). What about you? Has anyone actually been on one of the 14% of flights that were delayed, or has it been smooth sailing so far this year? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL The Five Busiest Airports in the U.S. 11 Surprisingly Lovable Airlines 4 Most Common Reasons Airlines Lose Luggage
Alaska Airlines to Passengers: Tag Your Own Bags
Alaska Airlines has begun to encourage its passengers to tag their own bags at check-in at Seattle Airport. It plans to roll out the service to other airports this summer. Alaska is the first airline to start self-tagging of luggage, after the government recently gave airlines the go-ahead to make the change. American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest have tested the same system since 2010 and may be the next airlines to ask passengers to tag their own bags at airports nationwide. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('c9cded60-97ab-44ad-a1ac-8443930f3c81'); Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Passengers will be encouraged to use kiosks to print their own luggage routing tags at the same time as they print their boarding passes. They stick the tags on their luggage. They then carry their bags over to an counter attendant, who will check the passenger's ID, scan the tag to confirm it's legit, and place the bag on a conveyor belt. (Regulations allow this process to be handled by a TSA screener, instead, so the procedure may vary a bit in the details as the program is expanded.) On the positive side, you now can make sure that the baggage tag has been printed correctly. No more accidentally having your bag stickered with the wrong airport code tag. In Europe and Canada, do-it-yourself passenger bag tagging is already common, and lines are not worse than in the United States. At some airports, kiosks can even scan passports to authenticate IDs, making counter agents unnecessary. On the downside, this may slow up the process, especially during holiday travel when many people who aren't practiced flying turn up at the airport. Some people may struggle with the new process. What's your view? Should the airlines follow in Alaska's footsteps and start self-tagging luggage? Or is it a bad idea? Vote in our poll, or leave a comment below. Thanks, and happy holiday weekend! SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Airlines Suspected of Fibbing About Seat Availability for Families (18 comments) MySeatFinder Fetches You a Better Seat Automatically Would You Fly More Frequently If Airplane Seats Were More Comfortable? (50+ comments)
6 Coolest New Theme Parks for This Summer
This summer's new theme-park attractions are throwing the average roller coaster for a loop. On Friday, Universal Studios Hollywood launches the Transformers ride, with motion-simulator vehicles inspired by the science fiction action film. Here's are some highlights about Transformers and other new theme park attractions. Transformers: The Ride 3D At Universal Studios in southern California, you enter the five-minute Transfomers Ride through the a cavern, then ride a vehicle past Autobots and Decepticons fighting each other on 3-D screens overlaid on robotic sets. The $100 million ride is, according to a first-person preview by the editor of Theme Park Insider, Robert Niles, "not just robots moving back and forth and side-to-side. Riding Transformers, you really get a sense of height, and the vertical scale of the figures battling each other." Its Niles's pick as the best ride in Southern California now available. One-day pass to Universal Studios: adults, $80; kids, $72. Cars Land Starting June 15 at Disneyland California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., you enter the new ride themed on the Cars series down a Route 66 through the town of Radiator Springs. Favorite characters, such as McQueen, Mater, Sally, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell make pit stops, or guest appearances, throughout—moving and talking just like in the movies. Kids can test their driving skills on Radiator Springs Racers. adults $87, kids $81. Skyrush Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pa., has a new ride that isn't for the faint of heart: Skyrush is a roller coaster that sends you plummeting 200 feet at 75 mph and includes five zero-G airtime hills. With an 80-degree descent, it has one of the steepest dips at an amusement park in the U.S., and it's the tallest and fastest coaster in the park itself. Skyrush's unique feature is inner/outer seating, with two floored seats bookended on each wing by floorless outer seats. Expect that to become the new industry standard. Adults $57, kids $36. TurtleTrek SeaWorld's outpost in Orlando opened a new ride in April that will appeal to some nature lovers: a first-of-its-kind, 360-degree domed theater that lets you see in 3-D what it's like to be an endangered sea turtle. Visitors to the 7-minute show face an enormous curved screen on which projectors display a computer-generated baby sea turtle named Nyah, and the standing audience will flinch as the baby avoids underwater dangers. SeaWorld admission is adults $82, kids aged 3-9 $74. Aquatica SeaWorld's San Antonio location has this month opened a water park Aquatica with a set of educational thrill rides; expect rafts sailing through grottos with stingrays and a "zero gravity" area that simulates weightlessness. Other new attractions include Sesame Street Bay of Play (opened in 2011), a three-acre space with educational activities for young children. adults, $60; kids 3-9, $50. Angry Birds A new ride themed on Angry Birds, the world's most popular popular smart phone game, opened at Särkänniemi Amusement Park in Tampere, Finland, on April 28. The 12 rides are aimed at young children. The highlight is a being pursued by one of the birds. Day pass to full park: adults, $44; kids, $35. VOTE NOW IN BUDGET TRAVEL'S READERS' CHOICE AWARDS Which Is Your Favorite Theme Park? Busch Gardens Williamsburg? Cedar Point? Disneyland? Dollywood? Six Flags Magic Mountain? Universal Studios Orlando? Walt Disney World? Vote in the Readers' Choice Awards by May 31, under the North American Destinations category. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 15 More Places Every Kid Should See Before 15 (120 comments) 5 U.S. Theme Parks Under $50 8 Record-Breaking Theme Park Thrills Should Rome Open a Romaland Theme Park? (10 comments)
Passengers On Virgin Atlantic Will Soon Be Able To Use Cell Phones In-Flight
How many times have you been forced cut off a phone call practically mid–sentence, or send a frantic "CallyouwhenIland!!" text, seconds before the airplane door closes? Thanks to Virgin Atlantic, that may be a thing of the past—in the not–too–distant future. Passengers traveling between New York and London on the airline's Airbus A330 will soon be able to use their cell phones to talk, text, and surf the web in–flight. It's a bit of news that's sure to delight business travelers and the occasional text–addicted teen…and dismay cranky travelers already fed up with crying babies and whirring engines. There is, of course, a catch: in–flight calls will cost £1 per minute (by current exchange rates, that's about $1.30). As usual, phones will need to remain off for takeoff and landing, and a headset will be required to make calls. And there might be a few bumps to smooth out as the new service is launched: according to Time's Techland blog, Virgin Atlantic estimates that limited bandwidth will allow only 10 calls to be made at a time. Even with a few small hiccups it's still pretty big news: after all, an airplane is one of the last places where you can feel disconnected from the outside world. And if Virgin Atlantic pioneers a trend, who knows? Perhaps Alec Baldwin and Josh Duhamel can stay on the right side of the law from now on. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Tests Show FAA Should Relax Rules About Electronics on Planes Are Airlines Cracking Down on "Airplane Mode?" 4 Best Travel Chargers to Throw in Your Bag