Sure, most of us are stuck at our cubes, offices, or living room couches creating websites all day. We know that some of our fellow webmonkeys have jobs that require travel, or at least have to fly to spend holidays with family.
Of course, ‘monkey travelers always have a computer with them, right? In the U.S. we’re familiar with removing our laptops from their secure holsters and placing them in a plastic tray for a ride over a conveyor belt. That may be changing.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced new laptop bag procedures. No longer are travelers required to remove their laptop, as long as the bag allows a clear view of the machine.
TSA employees “know what the inside of a computer should look like, and can recognize irregularities. This is why they need an unobstructed view as the item moves through the X-ray machine.”
Your current bag may work, especially if it’s just a protective sleeve. If you’re in the market for a new bag, expect to start seeing ones that claim to meet TSA requirements (TSA is not itself endorsing any bags).
How do you know if yours will pass? There needs to be nothing but bag material above and below the laptop when it’s laying flat in the bag. That means no zippers or clips. Also, no power adapter or other items in a pocket unless it’s to the side of the laptop.
Several of the styles that TSA says will work are sectioned bags that unfold. So, there will still be preparation, along with removing jackets and shoes, to get your stuff ready to be screened. At least you won’t have to remove your laptop from its bag, although you won’t get nearly the number of compliments on your laptop stickers.
Farecast, the airfare price prediction site for savvy travelers looking for the best deal, has finally moved beyond U.S. borders to offer predictions for those traveling to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.
Farecast’s new international price predictions are available for flights between major U.S cities and major cities in the new areas. Unfortunately if you’re going to or from smaller airports you’re still out of luck. But even though the coverage is still limited, at least Farecast has filled the most noticeable gap in its service and the company says it plans to continue expanding its coverage of international flights.
Of course even for those destinations where Farecast doesn’t offer predictions, you can still use the search engine features to compare prices. There’s even the option to compare Farecast’s results alongside those from other sites like Expedia, Hotwire and more.
Just in time to help out with those holiday travel plans, both Yapta and Tripit, two sites that offer a variety of ways the find the best deals and manage your itinerary, have both announced new features.
Yapta adds a Firefox plugin to its stable of tools, which joins the existing IE plugin and offers the same functionality — tracking flight prices and keeping an eye on your purchases. You can grab the new plugin from the Mozilla Add-ons site, and for more details on what Yapta can do, check out our earlier coverage.
One thing to keep in mind with Yapta is that some airlines will charge a fee for “processing” any potential refunds Yapta mind find for you. The amount varies somewhat, from the ridiculous, blatant rip-off fee of $100 to, in some cases, nothing. Depending on the amount of refund you might be eligible for, it may be worth it or it may not. Either way you’re unlikely to find out about price drops without Yapta.
Yapta, the airfare price tracking site we’ve looked at before, has rolled out a new e-mail alerts feature to notify you of changes in airfare price so you can potentially get a refund. The company already offers a browser plug-in (IE only) that helps you add airfare data to the site, but the new e-mail alerts feature is designed to keep you up-to-date after you buy your ticket.
The free service allows you to forward your airline confirmation email to Yapta which will then automatically alert you when your flight is available at a lower price and you are eligible for a travel voucher or cash refund.
How does that work you ask? Well Yapta is exploiting a little known clause in most airline price rules. This rule says that if you buy a ticket directly from an airline and the price drops afterward, you???re eligible for a refund. The airlines seem to make the voluntary offer on the basis that almost no one is aware of it, or has the time to actually track and take advantage of the offer.
Like the browser plug-in, Yapta’s new e-mail alert service is designed to give you the information you need and track prices for you so you can potentially receive your refund, without the hassle of actually looking up the price all the time.
Farecast, the airfare search site that predicts the best time to buy your tickets, has partnered with MSN to provide predictions for MSN Travel users. The front page of MSN Travel has been redesigned to accommodate the new widget which is featured just below the “top deals” from MSN’s Expedia.com.
The MSN Farecast widget is fully integrated into the main MSN Travel site though clicking through to search a destination will redirect you to Farecast’s own domain. However, despite the URL, the page retains the MSN Travel navigation bar and looks like it’s part of MSN.
Having saved a bundle of money of air travel this summer thanks to Farecast, I highly recommend it if you’re thinking about purchasing air tickets.