Thursday, 13 October 2016

WiFox: Free Airport WiFi

On the balance of things, last week was a pretty good week for travelers in search of airport connectivity.

On the downside, we are hearing reports of some airports cutting back on free WiFi. Whaaattt? It's apparently true, according to articles in both Travel+Leisure and Travel Weekly. Are they crazy? If airports haven't learnt anything about what passengers want, they are totally missing the point of the "passenger experience" (PaxEx) movement.

On the upside, WiFox has got travelers everywhere talking! WiFox is a continually updated interactive global map of free airport WiFi spots. WiFox features both free airport WiFi information and restricted-access airport WiFi, complete with passwords.

You can follow @foxnomad on Twitter
We can all thank Anil Polat, the techie, blogger and world traveller (aka Robin Hood hacker) who created the app.

A digital nomad who has been living on the road for the past 5 years, Anil has clearly thought of everything:
  • A low price for the iPhone and Android apps makes WiFox affordable for all 
  • The WiFox website version is free - perfect for travelers
  • An offline version of WiFox can be easily downloaded prior to travel, giving you the information when you most need it
  • Users are encouraged to submit passwords to WiFox when they discover restricted-access airport WiFi during their travels

Giveaway: enter to win 1 of 20 promo codes for a free copy of the WiFox App (ends at midnight on October 16)!

Isn't life grand?

Our suggestion for airport authorities who are worried about the annoying their rent-paying tenants who are offering WiFi access to their customers only - and wish to keep it that way:
Wake up and smell the virtual roses: implement, bring back or keep FREE AIRPORT WIFI for all airport visitors.

Related resources
WiFox App Provides WiFi Passwords for Airports Around the World - Hole in the Donut
Find Free Airport Wi-Fi With This Interactive Map - Life Hacker
WiFox App - FoxNomad
@foxnomad - follow Anil Polat on Twitter
#WiFox - check out the hashtag on Twitter

Suggested reading
Brexit and the impact on travel - travel bloggers
Brexit and the impact on travel - new stories
Airport Beacons 2.0
Airports of the Future - New Perspectives
What is a Data Driven Airport?

Haunted Attractions

Do you plan to visit a haunted house this Halloween?
Just in time for Halloween, the Haunted Attraction Association (yes, there is such a thing) and USA Today's 10Best Local Experts collaborated to create the Top 10 Haunted Attraction Awards.  The resulting Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the USA were recently named.

Here's that list, along with a bit more information on each, and a few other ideas while you are in the area... [continue reading on our Layover Ideas blog].

Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on

Related resources
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Friday, 7 October 2016

Beware the Barnacle

Barnacle Macro
Barnacles (creative commons image callony on Flickr)
No, we are not referring to the above, but a new kind of "barnacle" that has been hitting the news this week in the world of parking enforcement. We'll let some media excerpts tell the story...

"Returning to your car to find a ticket tucked under the wiper sucks. So imagine how you’d feel finding a six square foot block of yellow plastic splayed across your windshield, rendering it impossible to see a thing." WIRED

"It's called The Barnacle. No, it's not the pesky sea creature you find stuck to the bottoms of boats. It's a contraption only humans could create. The Barnacle takes your standard, old parking ticket infraction to a whole new level." CBC Radio

"The Barnacle is certainly strange, but
anything is better than getting booted."
"Using two industrial-grade suction cups, the Barnacle mounts to a car's windshield, which unlike a boot, allows the car to be towed. The Barnacle comes with a screen to let the parking offender know why it was installed, and a credit card reader, so they can pay to have it removed. If the offender tries to drive off, an alarm will sound." Road and Track

"Personally, I think The Barnacle is the perfect punishment for a parking criminal. It’s bright, yellow, and obnoxious. Everyone who passes by will know you've done wrong. Also, good luck getting it off or ignoring it!" Daily Buzz

The Barnacle website
@ThisIsBarnacle on Twitter
Don't worry, there are no plans to deploy the devices at airports, and that's not really the target market.

At this point, the Barnacle is being piloted in two USA cities - Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Who knows if the parking officials in your city are paying attention...

Related stories on the Barnacle
This New Form of Parking Enforcement Sucks. Like, Actually Sucks - Wired
This Weird Windshield Blocker Could Replace the Parking Boot - Road and Track
New Barnacle “Parking Ticket” Covers Entire Windshield, Won’t Come Off - The Daily Buzz
Got a stack of tickets in your glovebox? You may find a Barnacle stuck to your car - Road Show by CNET
Forget the wheel clamp, security firm reveals stick on 'Barnacle' that blocks the entire windscreen - Daily Mail
The Barnacle: A new kind of parking ticket coming to a windshield near you? - CBC Radio (audio and video links)

More stories and resources from IHateTaxis
Ray the Parking Robot Valet
Brexit and the impact on travel - travel bloggers
Brexit and the impact on travel - new stories
Airport Beacons 2.0
Airports of the Future - New Perspectives
What is a Data Driven Airport?

Monday, 3 October 2016

Lily Airlines Fine Dining

Crew add an authentic touch
The reasons weren't clear right away, leaving the residents of Wuhan, China to wonder why a rusting, derelict Boeing 737 appeared on a busy street in their city.

Among the rumours in the city of 11 million, capital of the Hubei Province in central China, were an open-to-the-public flight simulator, or a restaurant (what, no hotel or nightclub rumours?).

It turns out the restaurant rumour was true, and the grounded airliner has opened for business.

Guests 'board' the Lily Airways Restaurant via a gangway and are served by staff sporting airline-themed uniforms. Rest assured, no standard airline fare is served onboard: the fine-dining menu is prepared by western chefs.

The aircraft was acquired from bankrupt Batavia Air. an Indonesian company, by a Chinese business man, Li Yang , for 35 million Yuan. The plane was partly dismantled, towed and reassembled on-site.

The bonus? There is actually a flight simulator in the cockpit, for those who are willing to fork out the extra cash.

For more photos, check out these news pieces:
Now that’s going to cause some serious traffic jams! A passenger PLANE appears in the middle of busy road in China - Daily Mail
First look inside China’s £4 million fine-dining restaurant converted from a retired Boeing 737 - Jet Line Marvel
This Restaurant Is Inside a Boeing 737 - Food and Wine
LOOK: Restaurant opens inside a Boeing 737 in downtown Wuhan - Shanghaist
Photos: China Unveils Its First Restaurant Inside an Airplane - China Aviation Daily
Airplane restaurant opens in Wuhan - China Daily

Related resources
Review: The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs - One Mile at a Time
The Burning Man 747 - IHateTaxis Blog
Awe-inspiring homes and buildings made out of old airplanes - Gizmodo
Top 10 Ways To Recycle Airplanes - The Very Best Top 10
10 Odd Uses for Airplanes - Wacky Archives
Fine Dining In a Converted DC-10. Plus - Ask The Pilot

More from IHateTaxis
What I learned from my taxi driver
Brexit and the impact on travel - Travel bloggers
Mugging: are you a target?
Famous Fare: Nimoy Drives JFK
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Brexit and the impact on travel - Travel bloggers

Have 3 months really passed since the Brexit vote?
At the time the Brexit decision was a done deal, we did a high level capture of predictions on what the UK's move out of the EU could mean for travel. Since then, we have been watching, and listening.

What interests us most is what travel bloggers have to say about the subject. Here's a sampling:

Day after Brexit on Paros
Pamela Munro Travel Blog

Recent posts...

The UK Is OK Thanks! - Adventures of a Digital Nomad
Brexit and the Future - Roaming Ryan
Lifestyle: What does Brexit mean for us? - Strangeness and Charm
Almost Dutch - Expat Live With a Double Buggy
Does Brexit Effect Your European Health Card? - A Backpacker's Tale
Summer Recap, Brexit Blues and Going Back to University - The Culture Map
Staycation & Style in the Great British Countryside - Hey Dip Your Toes In

Less recent, but still thought provoking... 

Brexit and the Traveler: Europe Just Got Even More Interesting - Rick Steves
Why We Need Travel More Than Ever - This Battered Suitcase
What Does Brexit Mean for Accessible Travel? - Barrier Free Travels
Reflections on Brexit - The Last Ditch
Brexit: Why Brexit won’t happen - The Flaneur
What happens to expats after Brexit? - Sage & Simple
What will be the impact of brexit on travel? - Amanda's Wanderlust
What Does Brexit Mean for Travellers? - Twins That Travel
What does Brexit mean for Brits travelling abroad? - My Funky Travel
Brexit: How will this impact the travel and tourism industry - Life as a Butterfly
Brexit: How much should Politics Impact Travel? - Soul Travel Blog
Getting Dumped By Your Homeland - Chucking Roosters
20 Reasons To Move To New Zealand If You’re Pissed Off At The Brexit - Anita Hendrieka Travel Blog
We could all do with a holiday (Brits Abroad) - The Mum Blog
7 Reasons Leaving the EU Will Affect Travel Loving Families - The Family Freestylers

Have you seen the Patrick Stewart sketch?

On a lighter note...

'Brexit: the Musical' is coming to London - TimeOut
Patrick Stewart sketch: what has the ECHR ever done for us? (video) - The Guardian

Related stories

Opera boss gives up UK citizenship over Brexit - Truelinked Blog
Planning your next Euro Trip? Here’s what you need to know - SandeepaChetan's Travel Blog
Scotland after Brexit (an October event in Edinburgh) - Nordic Horizons

May we suggest...
Airport Beacons 2.0
Airports of the Future - New Perspectives
What is a Data Driven Airport?
The Burning Man 747
Famous fare: Nimoy drives JFK

Friday, 23 September 2016

Luxury Layover: London.

Afternoon tea at the historic Maison Bertaux in SoHo
Wikicommons image
Do you crave a day of luxury in London? Or perhaps a whole weekend?

There are lots of possibilities. We've sourced the following to give you some ideas. ... [read more].

Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on

Related resources
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Airport Beacons 2.0

You've heard of Bluetooth, but what are AltBeacon, iBeacon and Eddystone? They are all part of what is called proximity technology, and they are working hard to make your airport experience less painful and more connected. But just what are beacons and how they impact your travel experience?

You could call Steve Statler a beaconologist. Formerly of Qualcomm, Steve was part of the team responsible Gimbal, one of the industry's leading Bluetooth beacons.

Steve's new book, Beacon Technologies: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Beacosystem, is creating buzz and interest in the transportation technology community, so we thought we'd bring you some highlights.

Our digital and physical worlds collide - beacons

We’re witnessing the collision of our digital and physical worlds at the airport terminal as Bluetooth beacons begin to change customer experiences at venues around the globe. So what are the implications for airports? By Steve Statler, author of ‘Beacon Technologies: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Beacosystem’ [read the full article on Air Transport IT Review].

Beacons at San Diego International Airport

San Diego International Airport has over a long period of time worked to integrate the infrastructure into the airport and has deployed 300 beacons around the campus, highlighting different areas for deployment; check-ins, retail, parking... [read and listen to the interview on Proxbook].

Beacon pioneers "light up the way" - Hong Kong Airport, Miami Airport, Nice Airport

Beacons are lighting up the way for better airport operations and passenger experiences, as a building block in the Internet of Things. Many airlines and airports have been forging ahead with SITA to harness the potential... [read the full article on Air Transport IT Review].

10 Airports Using Beacons to Take Passenger Experience to the Next Level - Bologna Airport, Hamad Airport, Hong Kong Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Miami Airport, Mumbai Chhatrapati Airport, New York JFK Airport, Nice Airport, San Francisco Airport, Tokyo Haneda Airport

Given the huge promise of iBeacon technology, leading airports across the globe have already invested in the technology. We have compiled a list of 10 airports that are leveraging iBeacon technology in order to deliver enhanced passenger experiences and improve operational efficiency... [read the full article on Beaconstac].

More from Steve Statler on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Beacosystem

The book

The book trailer

The website

The podcast

Related resources
Unacast Writes About Beacon Networks in the Definitive Book on Proximity - Unacast
Beacons, Beacons, Everywhere: Airports - RadiumONE
Aeroporti di Roma CEO turns focus to self-service, beacons and mobile wayfinding - Future Travel Experience
Chiltern Railways to pilot Bluetooth beacon mobile payments - The Drum
Airports and Airlines Using Beacon Tech to Send Location-Based Messages to Travelers - Samsung Insights
Beacon Technology will transform how we travel through airports - Skift

Resources from IHateTaxis
The Burning Man 747 - IHateTaxis blog
Brexit and the impact on travel: news stories - IHateTaxis blog
Ray the Parking Robot Valet (at Dusseldorf Airport) - IHateTaxis blog
Heathrow's Slick New Transport Screens - IHateTaxis blog

Friday, 9 September 2016

Airports of the Future - new perspectives

Heathrow's hub airport of the future design concept by Grimshaw
How will the airport of the future differ from today's leading edge airport? In what ways can airport leaders look at the passenger experience (PaxEx) they provide to meet the needs of tomorrow's traveller? Here are some fresh new perspectives:

5 things air transport stakeholders must do now to avoid missing out on huge industry transformation opportunities

At Future Travel Experience Europe 2016 in Amsterdam, hundreds of the most pioneering passenger experience-focused minds came together to share their plans and visions for the end-to-end travel experience of 2025. As part of FTE’s strategy to drive positive industry change, here we highlight five of the key conclusions from the event and suggest potential ways forward... [read the full article on Future Travel Experience].


The Future of Airports - Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports

When I think of my own personal journey, it began while talking with someone who ran an airport. I was working for an airline and asked how they viewed customer relationships. He said: “We see airlines as suppliers of our customers.” That was when I personally realized that attitudes and approaches had to change; and I decided to move into airports [read the full interview on Air Transport IT Review].

Preparing for the airport terminal of the future - Future Travel Experience

"Driven by an increase in automation, commercialisation and the importance of ‘sense of place’, in addition to evolving passenger demands, airport terminal design has been changing. It will continue to do so as technology developments, especially in relation to passenger processing, shape how terminals look now and how they will differ in the future. To provide insight into the key factors impacting terminal design and to explore the latest developments in this space, FTE spoke to American Airlines’ Managing Director of Real Estate, Katherine Goudreau; LaGuardia Gateway Partners’ CEO, Stewart Steeves; SOM Director, Derek Moore; UNStudio Founder and Principal Architect, Ben van Berkel; and Merchant Aviation’s CEO, Kiran Merchant... [read the full article on Future Travel Experience].

Related resources
From Robots to Augmented Reality: Envisioning YVR of the Future - Apex
The Airport of the Future Is Coming, But It’s Still Not Here - Skift
Heathrow selects Grimshaw to design ‘hub airport of the future’ concept - Future Travel Experience
The Airport Of The Future Isn’t An Airport: It’s A City (and you don't need to be a passenger to visit) - Popular Science

Resources from IHateTaxis
What is a data driven airport? - IHateTaxis blog
Heathrow's sleek new transport screens - IHateTaxis blog
A few thoughts on Frankfurt Airport - IHateTaxis blog
Mamava lactation pods - LayoverIdeas blog

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Burning Man 747

Burning Man's 747 night club
Burning Man 2016 - Image copyright Apex
Every year, the build Black Rock City Airport from scratch. Every year it comes alive with Burning Man participants. And every year it vanishes without a trace. It's all in keeping with the Burning Man principles.

And, no, you can't fly on a jet to Burning Man. Think Cessnas. Yet, this year, there was a 747 on the ground.

Burning Man PaxEx: An Ephemeral Airport and a Boeing 747 Nightclub - by Jordan Yerman

From its humble beginnings on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, Burning Man has become a global destination for artists, dreamers, doers and those who want to spend a week in the desert with a makeshift pop-up community of over 70,000. The playa, where Burning Man takes place, is officially known as Black Rock City, and it (and its airport) only spring into structured existence during the festival, taking place this year from August 28 to September 5, 2016 [read the full article on Apex].

Appearing to rise out of the desert, the 747 art project
begins to be assembled in Black Rock City

 Black Rock Metropolis’s Largest Artwork Automotive: Transformed 747 Lands at Burning Man

A temporary metropolis for tens of thousands built annually in Nevada’s remote Black Rock Desert, the Burning Man festival is famous for its extreme architecture and creative art cars, the latter now including a transformed Boeing 747. The carved-out jumbo jet invites people to hop on board for speakers, parties and other events. It is being towed around the dusty playa by a surprisingly small service vehicle, a bit like one might see on the tarmac at an airport... [read the full article, with pictures, on Globotimes].

The 747 Project was powered by volunteers (IndiGoGo)

How The Journey Began: Drawings in the Dust - The 747 Project IndiGoGo page

The story of the project began in 2009 when Ken Feldman first sketched a 747 with the top cut off in the dust of the Playa while camping with Robot Heart.  “This” said Ken, “would be the craziest art car of all time!”  So crazy that he put the idea aside... In 2014, returning from Burning Man, he shared his long dormant 747 idea with Will Lundy, who told him about the Mojave Airport where a fleet of 747s lay grounded at the boneyard...   He shared the idea with his old camp mate Jon Teo, who grabbed him by the shoulders and said “Let's do this!"... [read the rest of the story on the project's IndiGoGo page].
Burning Man from the air
Related resources
Black Rock City Municipal Airport Website - the 2016 airport site
Burning Man - the official website
Revolution against 'rich parasites' at utopian Burning Man Festival as 'hooligans' attack luxury camp - The Telegraph
Temple burn brings Burning Man events to a close - Reno Gazette-Journal
Burning Man's loving engine powered by wealth, privilege - USA Today
Dust to dust: mourning the dead at Burning Man - The Guardian

For your reading pleasure
Brexit and the impact on travel: news stories - IHateTaxis
The 420 from PDX - IHateTaxis
Famous Fare: Nimoy drives JFK - IHateTaxis
What I learned from my taxi driver - IHateTaxis

Saturday, 20 August 2016

What is a data driven airport?

There's lots of talk these days about the "data driven airport", so we thought we'd bring together some resources that tells the story...

It’s all about the data

The more devices passengers carry, the more opportunities airports have to capture their data and put it to good use, improving operations or the passenger experience or both. Five out of seven data sources have become priorities for airport investment, according to the Airport IT Trends Survey:
aircraft movement, business transactions, passengers, baggage operations and resource management... [read the full article on Air Transport IT Review].

Denver's Data Driven Airport

Denver International Airport is mid-way through a five-year strategic program that’s harnessing intelligence and data analytics to improve performance. Robert Kastelitz, Denver’s Senior Vice-President of Technologies and CIO, talks about the airport’s digital strategy... [read the full article on Air Transport IT Review].

It’s in the design – Master System Integration (at Baku, Dublin, Livingstone and São Paulo airports)

With terminal and airport construction booming, it's vital to think about technology at the outset. Enter master system integration, as deployed at Brazil's São Paulo's Guarulhos (GRU) Airport, Livingstone's Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (Zambia) and the airports of Azerbaijan-Baku and Dublin... [read the full article on Air Transport IT Review].

Related resources
Data-Driven Screening Accelerates Airport Security - Max Skalatsky on LinkedIn
Data-driven Insights and Understanding Take Flight at Sea-Tac Airport - Tableau Software (YouTube)
A Big Data Driven Model for Taxi Drivers’ Airport Pick-up Decisions in New York City - Research Gate

More from our blog
Brexit and the impact on travel: news stories - IHateTaxis blog
Why we shelved Uber updates - IHateTaxis blog
Ray the Parking Robot Valet (at Dusseldorf Airport) - IHateTaxis blog
Heathrow's Slick New Transport Screens - IHateTaxis blog