Delta to expand Wi-Fi service
Delta Air Lines is expanding its onboard Wi-Fi service to its long-haul international planes.
Beginning next year, Delta plans to install wireless Internet on more than 150 aircraft used for international flights. Delta already installed Wi-Fi on its fleet of about 500 domestic mainline planes.
When the long-haul planes are fitted with the technology by 2015, Delta will have about 1,000 planes equipped with Wi-Fi, or nearly every aircraft in the fleet with the exception of some small regional planes used for short flights.
Many boosting vacation spending
Despite a still uncertain economy in the United States and abroad, many travelers worldwide are planning to spend more on their vacations this year than last year, with Chinese vacationers expected to be the biggest spenders of all.
Of the 5,000 travelers surveyed around the world, 70 percent said they plan to spend the same or more on vacation travel in 2012 than last year, according to a report commissioned by Wyndham Hotel Group.
In countries with burgeoning economies, more travelers are planning to surpass last year’s travel budget. In China, for example, 58 percent of travelers surveyed said they planned to spend more this year.
When they hit the road, travelers from around the world have different spending priorities.
The survey found that U.S. and Chinese travelers plan to use the extra money they spend this year to take longer vacations. Travelers from Britain said dining was a top priority for their vacation, while Brazilian vacationers put shopping at the top of their lists.
And it seems theme parks are a universal pleasure: The survey found that 43 percent of all travelers said the vacation they aspire to take includes a visit to a theme park.
A retro-themed family-friendly hotel is planned for the Universal Orlando Resort complex, which already has theme parks, an entertainment and shopping area and three hotels.
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort, announced last week, will add a total of 1,800 new units: 900 family suites and 900 standard rooms. The resort will be built on 37 acres adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
While rates and a specific opening date were not announced, the hotel is expected to open in 2014. Cabana Bay will be the least expensive of all the hotels at Universal. .
Seemed like a good idea at the time …
A British Airways effort to improve customer service by letting airline employees look up passenger photos and other information on the Web is ruffling feathers among privacy advocates.
Over the last year, British Airways equipped airline employees with Apple iPad tablets to search data on passengers such as previous travel arrangements, food preferences and even Google images. The airline says the Know Me program was directed primarily to better serve VIP passengers.
“We’re essentially trying to re-create the feeling of recognition you get in a favorite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers,” Joe Boswell, a British Airways spokesman, told a London newspaper.
Privacy advocates weren’t buying it.
“Since when has buying a flight ticket meant giving your airline permission to start hunting for information about you on the Internet?” asked Nick Pickles, director of the London privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch.
No word yet on whether British Airways plans to modify the program to address the privacy concerns.
Monument to remain closed
Repairs to the Washington Monument will require massive scaffolding to be built around the 555-foot obelisk and may keep it closed into 2014 after it was damaged by an earthquake last year, the National Park Service said.
A damage assessment by engineers who inspected the stone structure by rappelling from the top last September found scaffolding is necessary to provide workers access to the top of the monument, said park service spokeswoman Carol Johnson. The monument usually has about 700,000 visitors a year who take turns riding an elevator or climbing stairs to the top.
Construction of the monument took from 1848 through 1884.
The completed monument was the world’s tallest structure until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was built.