Holiday airport celebrations

There are a number of things to look forward to travel-wise this holiday season, holiday airport celebrations being one of them. This blog takes a look at what airlines and airports are cooking up to spread some holiday cheer in the coming weeks ahead.

HMS Host is one of the first airport restaurateurs to jump in to the holiday airports celebrations game. The company is spreading holiday cheer by surprising travelers as part of the HMSHost Holly Jolly Holiday Takeover program, already underway starting December 1st and running until December 8th.

Holiday airport celebrations will be taking place at three of the country’s busiest airports. Travelers at airports will be invited to spin a prize wheel to see if they are naughty or nice. They will receive corresponding gifts from the HMSHost Holiday Elves (read our blog on last year’s holiday airport celebrations to learn more and know what to expect).

HMS Host gets in to the holiday airport celebrations spirit

HMS Host gets in to the holiday airport celebrations spirit

There are a few other ways to to participate in the holiday airport celebrations cheer. You can share a photo of yourself on Twitter during your travels and tag @HMSHost with #HMSHostElf #Contest (see left). This will enter you in to the contest for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. You can learn more about the official rules and details here. You can also participate in an HMSHost and Coca-Cola text-emoji-to-win promotion to again win an Amazon gift card. You can make a purchase at a participating HMSHost airport/motorway location to get a receipt with a store code on it. Then, simply text the store code with a snowflake emoji if in the U.S. or a snowman emoji if in Canada to 30364. Read more about the official rules here. Even if you can’t make it to the airport to witness the holiday airport celebrations first-hand, you can still enter this competition daily by going to the link provided.

HMS Host Holiday Airport Celebrations

HMS Host Holiday Airport Celebrations

Other Holiday Airport Celebrations

  1. Heathrow Airport (LHR) has put out an adorable holiday video on YouTube with the theme of “coming home”. It highlights various parts of the airport journey through the eyes of stuffed animal bears with a surprise twist at the end.Did any else find this pretty depressing and also not showing Heathrow Airport in a particularly good light? I mean, these bears really struggled to make their way through the airport and made us all feel stressed, confused, anxious, and tired as they made their way to baggage claim. While we think the ad was a good first step in airport advertisement and did bring across the holiday airport celebrations spirit, I’m not sure it left anyone with a good feeling about LHR!
  2. Thanks to Munich Airport (MUC) for also getting in to the holiday airport celebrations spirit with a Christmas market. Already underway (it opened 19 November) and running through 30 December, 11AM-9PM, Munich Airport Center offers 50 market stands offering food, drink, and crafts for travelers to purchase. This is the 18th year of this annual MUC event. MUC features 300 real Christmas trees and a 15-meter-high giant tree at the center of a winter wonderland, including the Christmas market and an ice skating rink. You can read more about it here.

Airlines With Holiday Offerings

lufthansa-teddy-bear-500x333Lufthansa – at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt First Class Lounge and Terminal, passengers will be served a gorgeous holiday meal. It consists of roasted duck with caramelized red cabbage, potato cranberry-dumplings and goose liver Figaro. On top of that, all LH lounges will serve sweet pastries, roasted almonds and cookies. In the air, Lufthansa will be displaying decorated wreaths and offering small chocolate gifts for all passengers. Starting December 12, children flying on Lufthansa will receive small teddy bears. Thanks to Harriet Baskas for bringing this one to our attention here.

Let us know if you come across any holiday airport celebrations by leaving us a comment below!

Airline luggage tracking goes viral

One of the recent trends in the travel industry has quite possibly been an over-zealousness is investing in airline luggage tracking solutions. This trend has been a long time in the making, and we think there’s finally been an inflection point in the adoption curve leading to widespread implementations globally of new and innovative airline luggage tracking technology.

A potential reason as to why now is the time for airlines to begin widespread adoption of airline luggage tracking technology is due to the advances of the necessary and difficult precursor technology of self-service check-in. Automating the check-in and bag drop process is the first step in a long line of foundational advances necessary for comprehensive airline luggage tracking processes. Finally airports and airlines have adopted automated self-service check-in and bag drop counters in earnest, being the harbinger to a wave of technological and process transformation around the entire luggage management experience (both customer facing and internal to airports and airlines).

For example, Adelaide Airport recently has pledged to install new SITA self-service check-in and back drop kiosks. One of the reasons this is becoming easier for airlines is due to the standardization and growth of product offerings  by 3rd parties in the domain. SITA offers a product called AirportPulse, which is an airport operations technology, AirportPulse, that the Adelaide Airport has recently adopted. AirportPulse includes a business intelligence portal that offers end-to-end airport visibility at strategic and operational levels. According to Marisa Garcia (aka @designerjet), “It gathers data from all common-use infrastructure to analyze, report and benchmark passenger movements, and reports on relevant activities to help the airport better manage shared resources.” Technologies like these are necessary to lay a networked foundation of sensors, networks, analytics, and reporting that can work in tandem. Think internet of things for airports.

And the next frontier has shown to be airline luggage tracking. If you recall tripchi accurately predicted in early 2014 the need for this technology and the relative ease of implementation (if an airport or airline was willing to make the investment). We even participated in a hackathon to create a smart beacon solution called FlyBeacon for airlines to adopt.

Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon in Cambridge

Airline luggage tracking solutions go viral: Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon

Companies like SITA has developers software suites like BagJourney that includes airline luggage tracking status updates vian API, delivered to many data clients like smartphone and tablet apps used by operations staff and consumers alike. Add in to the mix cheap and smart bag tags using RFID and it’s a match made in heaven. And it’s finally taking off.

Just doing a quick Google search for airline luggage tracking reveals that the tops airlines have already made investments in this technology, and making the information available to customers via their websites:

  • United. Here’s an example of what the online tracking application looks like:
    United - Airline luggage tracking

    United – Airline luggage tracking

  • Delta. Delta has again gone one step above its competitors as RFID will replace bar-code manual scanning as mentioned above. It handles 120 million bags annually, and this solution will ensure that the bags are tracked at a 99.9% success rate. You can read more about Delta’s airline luggage tracking solution here.
  • American also offers a similar online tracking solution as United.

We can’t wait to see what the future of technology offers airlines and airports alike to leapfrog the passenger and internal operations experience ahead. Keep an eye out this holiday season for new airline luggage tracking systems rolling out at an airport near you.

Worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we wanted to give you some insight around the worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel, as well as the worst airports. This is a follow-on to the Thanksgiving travel wrap we gave last week as part of our newsletter.

We found some great data around both worst airports and worst airlines for Thanksgiving travel to share. Let’s start with the airlines. Read more

Thanksgiving travel 2016 – tripchi newsletter

Thanksgiving travel 2016 – November edition

It’s apparently November but nobody told that to Mother Nature, who is still treating us like it’s the end of summer (at least from our vantage point in Colorado). With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away and Christmas right around the corner, the busy holiday travel season is upon us. Have you booked your flights for Thanksgiving travel 2016?

If you haven’t, don’t – you might as well wait until the last minute at this point. The busiest travel days this year will be the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving, as well as the Wednesday before. The lightest day will be Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, so consider flying in that morning, especially if you still haven’t gotten your Thanksgiving travel 2016 flights.

In fact, the tipping point for finding cheap Thanksgiving travel 2016 flights has already passed. According to CheapOair – “Most searches will be done on the 11th and 12th, but most people will commit on the 13th.” Combined with the fact that airlines evaluate inventory with an eye towards lowering fares 10-14 days in advance, the 13th becomes a critical day. Aw, shucks.

On the demand side, airlines are expecting a 2.5% increase in Thanksgiving travel 2016 passenger traffic. To account for this on the supply side, airlines are taking measures to up capacity and the number of flights to meet this increase in demand. Sources say that airlines are, on average, adding 74,000 seats each day during the Thanksgiving travel 2016 period. It”s anticipated that more than 27.3 million travelers (a Thanksgiving travel record) will fly U.S. airlines worldwide from 18-29 November this year. This figure is up 2.5 from last year. Adding 55,000 daily passengers as compared to last year, airlines expect to be carrying 2.27 million travelers on average daily. This anticipated increase is below the purportedly additional 74,000 airline seats per day. So, while Thanksgiving travel 2016 will be, and continues to be, a nightmare, at least you will be able to get where you need to go with the added capacity.

And, you’ll be able to do it in a cost effective way this year. The average cost of a Thanksgiving travel 2016 round-trip flight this year is $409, following a historic 9.6% decline in fares earlier in the year. We covered this as part of our fare wars blog a while back.

Thanksgiving travel 2016 is not the busiest day of the year for air travel

Thanksgiving travel 2016 is not the busiest day of the year for air travel

Another interesting and lesser known fact is that the Thanksgiving travel rush isn’t even the busiest day for air travel in the year. Contrary to popular belief, the busiest travel day of the year is not actually the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – it’s actually August 7 (at least in 2015). But, the Sunday after Thanksgiving does come in at number 2, according to Quartz.com. In general, the July-August is busier than November-December.

As you’re going through your Thanksgiving travel 2016 journey, keep the tripchi airport app in mind. If you’re looking for a #layovertip or dining or shopping options during that long(er) layover, of course you can bring up the tripchi airport app and find a listing of what’s around you based on your flight time and the Concourse you’re leaving from. If you’re passing through any of the airports we cover, we’d love to get your feedback! Find these tips and more on the tripchi airport app.

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Airport food trucks and mobile dining

Foodies of all shapes and sizes will enjoy this week’s tripchi airport app blog on airport food trucks and other forms of airport mobile dining. Spurred to research this topic by the recent HMS Host Press Release on airport food trucks, we’ll take a look at the best airport dining options that are in a mobile format.

Airport food trucks - courtesy of HMS Host

Airport food trucks – courtesy of HMS Host

The food truck craze that swept North America in the last 10 years is also now taking hold in the aviation industry. Thanks to forward thinking airport restaurateurs like HMS Host, property management companies, and airport authorities too, an airport dining revolution is taking place right in front of our eyes.

The HMS Host press release highlighted why airport food trucks/mobile dining ventures are attractive to the airport restaurateur. The logic goes like this: if an airport restaurateur can distribute airport food trucks strategically throughout all gates, and not just in the concourse hub/mall areas, more people will find accessible food options and spend more money. The other attractive selling point to the business owner is the ability to be mobile and move from gate to gate, possible as flights arrive and people get off the plane feeling hungry (this idea of course may not be approved by the airport authority and therefore may not be viable).

Besides just the obvious short-term profit-driven reasons why airport food trucks are a good idea, companies like HMS Host also see these channels of food delivery the key to a broader innovation strategy. For HMS Host, that includes mobile app integration with Grab and Kallpod, including airport delivery services. Kudos to Grab to doing what tripchi could not do (point of sale integration).

As such, HMS Host has been on the forefront of innovation around the concept of airport food trucks. In fact, the company recently launched several airport food trucks and carts.

  • E Komo Mai Wagon at Honolulu International Airport
  • Wiki Wiki Wagon at Maui International Airport

Both of these mobile dining options offer locally oriented specialties fused nicely with global tastes. You can check out some Hawaiian BBQ chicken tacos with crunchy slaw as well as other tasty snacks.

Wiki Wiki HNL - airport food trucks example - courtesy of HMS Host

Wiki Wiki HNL – airport food trucks example – courtesy of HMS Host

Here’s a few more airport food trucks that we like:

  • Chicago O’Hare’s Mobile Ala Cart
  • Memphis International Airport’s Food Cycle. This option is mobile to the extreme because it actually delivers food to travelers at their gates.
  • Tampa International Airport’s food truck initiative in the cell-phone waiting lot. This airport program started in 2012, and the schedule for which airport food trucks will be by when are located on the Tampa airport Facebook page.
  •  San Francisco International Airport’s allows three airport food trucks outside of Terminal 1 every Thursday. Don’t forget that tripchi covers SFO in the tripchi airport app.
  • Long Beach Airport’s “Truck’n Tuesday” has a different group of airport food trucks every week.
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport’s daily food cart serves hots dogs and bratwurst.
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Twist of Spice food trailer has been serving wraps, paninis and Mexican food in the cellphone lot since 2013. tripchi covers SFO in the tripchi airport app.

Some airport officials at SFO commented that they only make $300/month with an airport food trucks operation, and that the primary driver to airport food truck introduction was to improve the passenger experience. Whatever the motive, profit #paxex improvement, tripchi is glad this trend is taking airports by storm. Someday soon, airport delivery services will be ubiquitous – airport food trucks are the first step towards that inevitability.

Airport Halloween 2016 Spooktacular

This week’s blog takes a look at the celebrations across the world focused on making the airport Halloween 2016 experience one to remember.

First of all, it’s not only airports that get in to the spooky spirit this time of year – airlines like to celebrate as well with discounts, scary updates to their websites, and often unique airport Halloween 2016 passenger experiences. For example, Scoot Airlines, one of the Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs) in Asia, is running a 50% off promotion Just enter the discount code “SCARY” when you checkout on their website.

Scoot gets in the Airport Halloween 2016 spirit

Scoot gets in the Airport Halloween 2016 spirit

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Traveling Around Brazil

CJ Traveling Around Brazil - in the plane

CJ Traveling Around Brazil – in the plane

I spent the last two weeks traveling around Brazil, and I thought it would be fun to roll up my journey as well as some travel hacks I observed while there. You might have already seen my blog on flying to Rio on the Dreamliner, but did you check out what happened next?

Here’s the road-map of my least epic adventure traveling around Brazil:

  1. Oct 15-16: Exploring Santa Teresa – Day 1 – read it here
  2. Oct 16-17: Rio in 2 Days – Ipanema, Corcovado, and Sugar Loaf – read it here
  3. Oct 17-20: Iguazu Falls – 3 Days in Paradise – read it here
  4. Oct 18: Paraguay from Brazil via Iguaçu – read it here
  5. Oct 19: Iguaçu National Park in Brazil – read it here
  6. Oct 20-21: Sao Paulo in a Day – #layovertips – read it here
  7. Oct 21-22: Manaus daytripping in Brazil – read it here
  8. Oct 22: Amazonian adventure – read it here
  9. Oct 23: Amazon Gero Tours – Into the Jungle – read it here
  10. Oct 24: Off the grid in the Amazon – read it here

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Flying to Rio on the Dreamliner

Recently, I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Brazil with some friends and got to do so flying to Rio on the Dreamliner.

Here was my itinerary for Friday, October 7th (2016):

  • DEN-IAH 310PM-626PM UA1874 (787 Dreamliner)
  • IAH-GIG 930PM-925AM UA129 (flying to Rio on the Dreamliner)

My visa and passport came via FedEx overnight from Travisa the morning of October 7th, just in time to make my 310PM flight out of DEN so that I’d be flying to Rio on the Dreamliner. See more about that Visa process here.

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October Airport Restaurant Month 2016

HMSHost Airport Restaurant Month

HMSHost Airport Restaurant Month

This week we’ll be covering October Airport Restaurant Month returning to an airport near you. Last week we wrote about the DEN Oktoberfest beer tent coming back to the airport, and this week’s October Airport Restaurant Month blog extends the foodie theme one step further. This year’s October Airport Restaurant Month will also be at DEN, in case you’re looking for another #layovertip after you check out the beer tent. You can follow the conversation on Twitter through the hashtag #AirportRestaurantMonth, and participate in person October 1 – 31 this year.

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DEN Beer Garden – it’s back!

DEN Airport logo - DEN beer gardenJust in time for the Great American Beer Festival AND Oktoberfest, DEN Airport unveils it’s annual tradition – the DEN Beer Garden! For the third year, from September 30 – October 10, 2016, you will be able gain admission for $10. In exchange, you will get get a souvenir glass and 10 2oz samples (Beer Flights) from a variety of Colorado breweries at the DEN beer garden.

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