Stuck in an airport line? Spread the word!

By Kate Appleton
October 3, 2012

Hundreds of customers pass through national airports on an hourly basis and, as of today, the online travel agency is putting them to work. The cool new application OrbitzTLC Traveler Update allows travelers to access and share real-time information from a laptop or from a mobile device at (Note that you don't have to be a customer to view the information or even to submit an update.)

Posts, tagged with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down icon, can alert travelers to which security lines to avoid, which local highways are clogged, which taxi station is speediest, which flights are delayed and which are calling for bumped passengers…what isn't there to sound off about lately?

There are dedicated pages for more than 40 major U.S. airports, each with the just-launched traveler updates as well as traffic information from Yahoo, Google maps, security wait times as averaged monthly by the TSA, delays reported by the FAA, and tips on weather, parking, and where to find WiFi access.

Travelers' comments are fed through a spam filter to weed out the vulgar or irrelevant, but Orbitz has no way of verifying that a user is, in fact, at the airport that they are posting about. Like many other sites relying on user-generated content, Orbitz counts on users to rate tips for their quality and plans to offer discounts on future bookings to the most frequent and highest-ranked Traveler Update contributors.

One more perk: if you've signed up for Orbitz's travel alerts, you'll now automatically be receiving these traveler updates, too.

Related: Sign Up For Those Flight Alerts

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Travel Tips

How accurate is the weather forecast?

Take The Weather Channel, for instance. How reliable is it? Well, it correctly predicts rainfall and temperatures about three out of four times.** All the other major weather companies and the National Weather Service are about as accurate for forecasts predicting rainfall and temperatures roughly 24 to 48 hours in advance. The statistic comes from Eric Floehr. He should know, because his company, ForecastWatch, calculates how accurate forecasts are and sells the data to meteorologists and other companies. In your hometown, meteorologists may be more or less accurate than the national average, given the stability of your local conditions. You can use, a website for consumers instead of companies, to plug in your Zip Code and see how accurate the top weather companies and the National Weather Service are at predicting your local weather. **According to an e-mail exchange with Eric Floehr, "Obviously there are a lot of caveats to that statement. For example, what exactly does "correctly" mean? But I think that's more detail than your readers really care about." Photo by Nicholas T. See more of his photos on his Flickr profile page.

Travel Tips

Macau's Vegas-style makeover continues

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Travel Tips

A better way to find hotel deals

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Travel Tips

Has your wine spoiled? This resort knows

Imagine toting your Chateau Petrus Pomerol on a weekend trip without ever popping its cork. You might do this if you were visiting the Crystal Springs resort in Vernon, N.J., 47 miles from New York City. The resort owns a unique device that can test if a wine is pristine. Since 2006, guests have brought wines for free testing. Chemists at the University of California at Davis--the Harvard of enology--invented the machine with funding from the resort. The machine can test if oxygen has leaked past the cork and allowed the wine to become vinegary. The machine uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy--the technology behind MRI scans at hospitals--to test the level of acetic acids in your wine. It's a bad sign when the machine finds a lot of acetic acid. Guests staying at the resort can test one bottle for free, says a spokeswoman for the hotel. To test more than one bottle, guests pay a fee of 10 percent of the value of the wine, with a minimum $50 charge. That's the same fee you'll pay if you're not a guest of the resort but you drop by anyway and request that one of your bottles be tested. Some studies estimate that one in eight bottles of premium wines (meaning wines costing $8 or more) are spoiled. The machine has not been subjected to rigorous independent testing, and it may not be foolproof. High levels of acetic acid or only one of the many possible signs and causes of damage to wine. Learn more about the machine and the resort by calling Crystal Springs at 973/827-5996. Photograph by Linda B. (the Wine Diva), titled "Corkhenge", via Flickr & Creative Commons Related: Check out these articles on wine and travel.