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5 posts from August 2009

August 18, 2009

Travel Smart: Avoid Getting Sick on the Plane


By: Ilana Reichert

Nothing kills the buzz of your trip faster than a coughing fit brought on by a bug you caught on the plane. With so many people traveling together in a confined space, sharing the same air, it’s inevitable that the plane can feel like an airborne petri dish. And with swine flu now rearing its ugly head around the world, travelers have the additional fear of contracting the contagious disease.

Beat Swine Flu on the Plane

AirlinePassengers_s Back in April, Joe Biden remarked that neither he nor his family members would be getting on a plane or any other confined space for fear of catching swine flu. But the reality is that you can avoid catching the disease by following some precautions.

 First of all, stay calm. The air on a plane is not as bad as many people believe. Fresh air is constantly circulated into the plane, in addition to the air that is already there before takeoff. And though 50 percent of the air is recirculated, it goes through special filters each time. It’s not an ideal situation—especially on long international flights—but nor is it hopeless. As long as the plane’s ventilation system is working properly, your exposure to disease through the air is reduced.

To further minimize your risk, there are a few key actions that you can take:

 • Hand hygiene really works. Dr. Mark Gendreau, senior staff physician and vice chairman of emergency medicine at Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts told, “Sanitize your hands before eating, drinking and after retrieving something from the overhead bin or returning from the restroom, and you have just cut your chances of getting infected by at least 40 percent.”

Swine flu, says Gendreau, is spread when people cough or sneeze—the droplets bearing germs travel a few feet, contaminating any people or objects within that distance. So your chair, your foldout table, and your armrests are all potential germ carriers. By washing your hands constantly—either with soap and water or with hand sanitizer—you are significantly reducing the risk of becoming contaminated by the germs that made their way to objects that you touch. Be sure to wash right, though—hand washing is only effective if your scrub your hands with soap or hand sanitizer (with an alcohol content of at least 50%) for a minimum of fifteen seconds.

 • Ventilation is important. The good news is that your plane most likely has a ventilation system in place already, which operates as long as the plane is in the air. (Long delays on the ground are another story!) But you can contribute to the ventilation you get by pointing the air conditioning vent above your seat to blow across the front of your face, so that any incoming germs will meet this wall of air and dissipate.

Surgical masks, which are popular in the Far East for the purpose of protection against germs, might seem like an overreaction but are a good idea if know you are traveling to a country that has been hard-hit with swine flu. You may feel silly wearing one, but it will protect your mouth from airborne particles.

Protect Yourself From Blood Clots

Those long hours in a stationary position on the plane can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be fatal if it is left untreated.

 Here are some steps to prevent DVT:

• Make sure to drink a lot of water, and cut down on alcohol and caffeine. The plane air is dry, which causes you to dehydrate much more easily than you would otherwise, and this dehydration puts you at greater risk for blood clots.

• Get up from your seat every hour or so just to walk around. While sitting, flex your feet so that your calf muscles are working, which creates blood flow in the legs.

• Pregnant women or others who may be at risk for DVT should consider wearing elastic support stockings during the flight.

 If after your flight you experience pain or swelling in your leg, call a health care provider immediately. If the pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, the situation is all the more serious and requires emergency medical attention.

 Paying attention to your health during the long hours on the plane is an investment of time and effort that will pay off in the long run.

August 16, 2009 A New Way for the UK to Search for Aeroplane Trips


By Tom Botts for Hudson Crossing.

TravelZoo property has quietly launched a UK version of their meta search site. For curious US users, simply click on the flag in the upper right hand corner. UK users are redirected automatically.

The site features the same functionality as the US based version but offers different OTA partners including TerminalA and Ebookers.

In addition, Fly has managed to include numerous low-cost carriers including easyJet, Flybe, Wizz and SkyEurope - many if which have often declined to participate in broad distribution plays in the past. Alas, no word on the biggest hold-out, RyanAir.

The meta-search march continues....

August 06, 2009

The Best iPhone Travel App is Now Also The Best Selling One

Apologies in advance for the amount of glee in this post... Yesterday, WorldMate got a great review on TechCrunch titled "WorldMate a Must Have iPhone App for Road Warriors". To celebrate we provided free activation codes which ran out within 20 minutes (the App Store only allows a developer to issue 50 of those), so we agreed to drop the price for 24 hours.

It looks like the dam has broken! Urged on by an onslaught of Tweets, Diggs and comments, iPhone users got it instantly - here's something which provides concrete value, saves them time and stress.  The results followed within 12 hours:


We're proud to be #1!  But we also realize our work is far from done. Our iPhone product, while being the best travel app for the iPhone, is still not on par with what we have on other platforms, especially BlackBerry. We pledge to continue working on making it even better - filling some key product gaps suggested by some users, as well as implementing some of our own ideas!

Onwards and Upwards!

August 05, 2009

TechCrunch Reviews WorldMate for iPhone - And We're Celebrating By Dropping the Price to $0.99 Until Midnight


Earlier this morning the leading technology blog TechCrunch posted a review of WorldMate on the iPhone  calling WorldMate "A Must-Have iPhone App for Road Warriors".

We were so happy about it we decided to give readers free Gold subscriptions. Guess what - the requests went through the roof, depleting the number of codes we can issue on the iTunes App Store. And as the review was posted in the morning European time - TechCrunch' US audience felt they got the bum deal. We can't issue more codes - but we can do something else, so for the next 24 hours:

WorldMate Gold on iPhone is $0.99. Yes - that is $0.99 . This price will be in place until midnight PST. Get it here: WorldMate Gold on the App Store.

And if you happened to buy WorldMate Gold for $0.99 this morning before we dropped the price - send us an email at . We can't refund you (only Apple can do that) but we'll try to find a creative way to compensate.



August 03, 2009

New York Air Market Continues to Heat Up: American Offering Double Miles

By Tom Botts for Hudson Crossing.

The highly competitive market in New York continues to just get hotter. Today, American launched a new promotion offering New Yorkers double AAdvantage frequent flyer miles for the rest of the year. On all routes, all fares, worldwide.

This is clearly a response to a similar offer that Delta made a few weeks ago for which was broader in some respects (you don't have to live in NY) but also more targeted because you need to be a Delta American Express card holder.

What is interesting is that American felt the only place they needed to match the offer was the NYC market. The New York area has increasingly become a battle ground between Delta, Continental and American. AA and DL (especially DL) have added extensive new flights from JFK, AA has opened a new terminal at JFK. Continental continues to operate the largest operation of any of the carriers, albeit over at Newark - NY's third airport even though it is in New Jersey. (Which simply allows Delta to claim more flights from New York meaning the state rather than the metropolitan area - funny, they dont make the same claim in Cincinnati where the airport (CVG) is actually in Kentucky!) But we digress.

Complicating the story is Continental's impending move from the Skyteam Alliance (of which Delta is part of) to the Star Alliance which has not had a strong New York presence. Many NY travelers split their loyalty between Delta and Continental and credit their miles on both into one program. This is about to change as consumers will no longer be able to credit CO flights to DL and vice-versa. This change, set to happen this fall, raises the stakes for both carriers to hold on to the other's travelers.

Oh, and if you want those double miles on AA, go here and register....