New alternatives to room keys, the future of hotel accommodation, Austrian Airlines returns to Baghdad and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Hotels explore new ways to unlock doors
In an attempt to improve customer service and reduce the amount of time it takes to check in, some hotels chains are adopting alternate forms of room keys, the Wall Street Journal reports. New alternatives to standard keys include Hyatt guests using loyalty cards as permanent keys and Hilton Worldwide guests using their cell phones to unlock doors. Most new methods are still in testing phases in select hotels, but the chains are hoping to expand their use soon.
Travelodge looks into future sleep improvement
While some hotel chains are exploring ways to improve guests' experience immediately, Travelodge is looking into the future. The budget hotel chain has invested funds to hire a "futurologist" to conduct an "engineering-based" study into how technology may change hotel accommodation by 2030, the Telegraph reports.
Among the more interesting hypotheses of the study: Inception-like dream control, the ability to learn new languages in our sleep and "remote virtual love-making" to allow guests to "connect with their partner" while away from home, complete with lenses "to change the image of their partner" without the other person knowing. Apparently, the honeymoon suite is getting a complete makeover in the future.
Austrian Airlines returns to Baghdad
After a 21-year hiatus, the European airline landed in the Iraqi capital yesterday to become the first major Western carrier to resume flights to Baghdad, the Associated Press reports. Adding to the six weekly flights it's been flying to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, Austrian will head to Baghdad three times a week, with flights costing about $1,200. Multiple airlines cancelled plans to return to Baghdad in the past, and Stockholm-based Nordic Airways ran brief service in 2009 before losing its operating licence a month later. It will be interesting to see whether Austrian Air will get enough business to continue service.
The mega re-tweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"LOL so there Delta RT @AmericanAir gr8 news! #Military personnel will soon B allowed up 2 5 pieces of baggage at no charge w/ AA. #travel"
-@izatrini. After being on the receiving end of public outrage for charging US soldiers a $200 excess baggage fee for a fourth bag, Delta airlines announced it would pay back each of the soldiers (who would have been reimbursed by the army anyway) and change its baggage policy to allow soldiers to carry a fourth bag free of charge. Meanwhile, American Airlines one-upped Delta by changing its policy to allow five bags. #TruePatriotism
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