Travel innovations in development
March 3, 2008 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of any innovations currently in development within the travel industry that could rock the world of a business traveler?

Innovations could fall in the categories of airline, aircraft, security, hotel, car, mobile computing, etc. I'm editing a magazine article on the topic, but want to be sure to include some great ideas that haven't yet hit the marketplace.
posted by NancyB to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
I know some airlines are adding in-flight internet, but I don't remember specifics.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:21 PM on March 3, 2008

Hotels: investing in a) "greening" their operations and b) using technology for mass customization, e.g., pretend remembering of guest preferences enabled by computer profiles.
F&B: tableside credit card processing (to avoid theft-fright, time sink, and irritant) and touch screen menu ordering process
Travel search engines: a) consolidating (like Sidestep and Kayak) and b) going towards mobile technology, including sending info (and inducements, e.g., coupons) to mobile phones during the trip. All this is going to increase price competitiveness for airlines, hotels. Also allegedy moving from travellers providing free reviews to social networks for grownups.
Airlines: in-flight internet, RFID tags on luggage
Airports: charging stations for gadgets (replacing pay phones)
posted by carmicha at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2008

Oh... and

Rental Cars: (The following is being tested in some markets, but it has huge potential impact on travellers) Automatically charging $10 for gas when the milage is less than 50 or 75 (depends on company)... and the only way to avoid it is to show a receipt demonstrating that gas was purchased. This is to counter the problem of renters not filling up the tank because the arrow is still on "full." Also in some markets, renting I-pass (or other) toll-paying transponders for a fixed per-day price ($13 in Houston, think) so the renter can avoid the slow or higher priced lanes. And GPS units, of course. Also in some markets, checking in by machine (e.g., Alamo at BWI) which is allowed now that licenses are using bar codes.

BTW, in Europe there are now nearly free car rentals (1 euro/day). The catch? the car is wrapped in advertising and the renter must drive it a certain number of miles each day to ensure sufficient exposure.
posted by carmicha at 2:43 PM on March 3, 2008

As a business traveler, here's what I like or am looking forward to
- iPod (now, with video and wider screen!)
- in-flight internet
- power at seat for cattle class
- electronic books with reasonable prices (amazon kindle)
- gps
- online checkin for airlines
- being able to change seat assignment from kiosk at checkin
- smaller noise-cancelling headphones

What I'm really looking forward to is full-immersion virtual reality so I don't have to travel to do business! :)
posted by elmay at 5:48 PM on March 3, 2008

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