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

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

New white taxi lanes at NAIA

WTMP Shutters 195
A white taxi in Manila
On July 18th, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) began allowing "regular" white taxis to pick up passengers in the arrivals area.

The measure, considered long overdue by locals and international travellers to the Phillippines alike, is an attempt to reduce long lines for authorized taxi at the country's busiest airport.

"While yellow airport taxis are readily available in the NAIA arrival area, commuters prefer the regular taxis with a flag down rate of P30, resulting in long lines in the departure area, the only area where they were previously allowed. Airport taxis have a higher flag down rate of P70". [source]

The change was made by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)'s new general manager, Ed Monreal. Monreal's objective is:

" give the passengers the wide option and at the same time address the insufficiency of cabs to accommodate and ferry the number of passengers that need them." [source]

Exempt from the accreditation process required of other airport transportation operators, the regular white taxis will use new designated lanes at all four NAIA terminals. Meters must be used, and passengers are to be given a slip with the taxi plate number, the driver's name, the operator's name and a hotline number.

Related resources
NAIA allows regular taxis to pick up passengers in arrival area -
Regular taxis could soon be allowed to pick up airport passengers, says chief - Coconuts Manila
Taxi prices drop in Manila... or do they? - IHateTaxis
Manila's latest colorum taxi scam - IHateTaxis
10 Things to Know About Using Taxis in Manila - Badladz (dated, but still highly relevant!)
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) transportation guide
Updates since the above story was written:
LTFRB suspends processing of new Uber, Grab, Uhop applications - Rappler
A nation of criminals? - The Phillipine Star, CTalk (opinion)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Up, up and away with Uber in China

Now you can call Uber to take a balloon ride over Shanghai
Uber in China is breaking any moulds it has created for itself elsewhere. Now 60 cities strong, Uber is stepping things up to compete with its biggest rival, Didi Chuxing.

Since being blocked from China's popular WeChat (an even bigger deal than Facebook here in the West), Uber has had to get creative. As "all in one" apps are how the market works in China, Uber has responded by reinventing its ride-hailing app to be so much more, including:
  • UberLIFE - connecting users to nearby sporting and entertainment
  • Uber + Travel - unique destination-specific transportation options
  • UberPASS - multi-city ride pass
  • Uber Boat - the next generation of boat-hailing (already in Istanbul)
  • Uber Balloon - yup, you guessed it, hot air balloon rides!
This isn't the first time Uber has gotten creative (think the Uber service for helicopters in New York City). We doubt it will be the last.

Related resources
You Can Get Hot Air Balloon Rides Through Uber Now</> - Time
Uber positions its China app as more than a ride-hailing service - TechCrunch
Hey Uber, Welcome To China - TechCrunch
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants - IHateTaxis
Shanghai Pudong International Airport Airport (PVG) transportation guide
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport Airport (SHA) transportation guide
Get cooking on your layover: Asia

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit and the impact on travel - News stories

Let's face it, no one knows what the impact of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union. The referendum result is only 2 days old, and no one really thought it would happen. But here we are.

There are more questions than answers at this point, but here are some highlights of travel related commentary on the Brexit.

Brits abroad

First, a few surprising stories of a number of immediate travel-related impacts, not all of which will necessarily continue:
Speculation is the name of the game, with a range of reactions, which we'll organize loosely within the UK, in the EU, in British Overseas Territories, within the British Commonwealth and around the globe.  Here is a sampling:

Impact of Brexit on Travel - reactions in the United Kingdom

The potential impacts on travel Brits are enormous. The stories coming out of the UK are both alarming and alarmist, but there will be real impacts on the freedom of movement of both British citizens and expats.

Impact of Brexit on Travel - reactions in Ireland

Ireland (as in the Republic of Ireland, a sovereign state that is a member of the EU - as opposed to Northern Island, which is part of the UK) is facing numerous implications, including several that will ultimately impact travel.

Impact of Brexit on Travel - reactions in the European Union

Reactions and concerns vary among other European Union member countries.

Impact of Brexit on Travel - reactions in British Overseas Territories

Speculation is rampant in and about Gibraltar, the tiny British Overseas Territory (think "Rock of Gibraltar", bordering southern Spain). Residents here voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.

Impact of Brexit on Travel - reactions in the British Commonwealth

Speculation is also taking place in the 53 countries in the British Commonwealth as to the impact of the Brexit. It's early days, but a few highlights...

Impact of Brexit on Travel -  reactions around the globe

Reactions are mixed around the globe, from airline stocks in the USA dropping 9-11% to enthusiasm for travel bargains in both the UK and the EU.
More perspectives will emerge in the weeks ahead. We are particularly looking forward to perspectives by travel bloggers, so stay tuned for a follow-up post soon.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

I was scammed by an Uber driver

Let we get accused of only focusing on scams by unscrupulous taxi drivers, here is a new category of travel cautions: scams by Uber drivers.

It's hardly surprising. Despite the best designed systems, there are unscrupulous people out there in the big, bad world, and some of them drive for a living. Some drive taxis, some drive for Uber - heck, some even drive for both!

While both environments are also home to plenty of honest and kind drivers, the stories of scams persist - and we share them, so that you can be aware and protect yourself.

I Was Victim of an Increasingly-Popular Uber Scam - Angelina Travels
"The good thing about Uber is that both drivers and passengers are rated at the end of the ride to help weed out 'bad apples'. We all know how important maintaining a good rating is, and I always make sure I rate honestly and accurately to encourage good service... Sadly, it looks like I’ve encountered a bad apple 2 days ago when my husband and I rode home from Newark airport. It was 1:30 in the morning.. [read the rest of the story on Angelina Travels]

Please Help - I think an Uber driver is trying to scam me - dinosaurenthusiast on Reddit
"Some friends and I went out to a bar, had 1-2 drinks, then got an Uber home. The next morning, I got an email from uber saying I was being charged a cleaning fee for an incident during our ride. I immediately submitted a complaint, saying there were no liquids or cigarettes with us in the vehicle, so I could not imagine what they could possibly charge several hundred dollars for. Two days later, they finally responded with photo "evidence" saying we vomited all over the back seat and door. This is absolutely false... [read the rest of the story on Reddit]. (Read more on the Uber Vomit Scam).

I got Scammed by an Uber Driver in Los Angeles going to the Airport - Points Summary
"I took an Uber to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) for my trip to San Pedro Sula, Hondruas. It was late at night around 9:30pm and I told him I was leaving out of Delta Terminal 5. When the Uber driver took me to the “Arrivals Levels”, I knew I was going to be scammed. Why would he choose to go to the arrivals level other than the departures level? Because he knew that every flight on Earth was arriving at 9pm and that we would be stuck in traffic going from Terminal 1 to 5..." [read the rest of the story on Points Summary]

Related resources
Uber fraud: Scammer takes the ride, victim gets the bill - CSO Online
The Uber tip dilemma - IHateTaxis
Why we shelved Uber updates - IHateTaxis
Uber provides the taxi industry a good kick in the pants - IHateTaxis

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources

Deserves to be pick-pocketed
This guy is definitely a target - are you?
creative commons image waldopepper on Flickr
Are you a target for mugging? You might be surprised.

Trust us, you don't want to lose your money, credit cards, identification, camera or anything while you travel. So read on...
Here we share stories from seasoned travellers who have been duped and robbed -- along with 10 resources to help keep you and your valuables safe.

Lessons learned from Being Mugged Abroad - Yvonne Ivanescu
Just because you've travelled a long time with no major problems doesn't make you less vulnerable, it can make you more so. Here's a telling story from ThePlanetD:
Last month I celebrated the one year anniversary of an event that made a significant impact on my life and molded me into a more savvy, independent and conscientious traveler. In July 2012, I was mugged by thee individuals on a sunny afternoon while I was walking around in Valparaiso, located around 2 hours away from Santiago de Chile. After the event, I recounted my story to numerous eager ears only to be welcomed with blank expressions coupled with snide remarks that my actions had made me an easy target... [read what Yvonne learned].

After 62 Countries in 5 Years, We Were Robbed - Jeremy
Jeremy and Angie  have been travelling the world for years, and thought they had escaped the thieves, but, alas, it happened to them too. Here's their story from Living the Dream:
After 550+ days of travel since 2008, being gone for almost a whole year on this trip, and visiting hundreds of cities in 62 countries, our day finally happened in Puno, Peru. And we nearly lost everything. As we were in the bus station getting ready to leave for Cusco, I looked down and noticed something odd.  My bag containing a computer, expensive SLR, camera gear, passports, and emergency money was nowhere to be found. It didn’t take long to figure out what happened and we soon determined that we were victims to one of the oldest techniques in the book: the diversion... [read what Jeremy learned].

How NOT to Get Mugged on the Paris Metro (By an 8-Year-Old) - Down the Wrabbit Hole
The woman behind the wrabbit has travelled a lot, and thought herself pretty savvy, until she was outsmarted by a little kid. Here's her story from Down the Wrabbit Hole:
My story goes back to my Europe 2010 trip. I was with my 23 junior high students, 10 parent chaperones, and our fearless Explorica tour guide - and a partridge in a pear tree.  Or so it seemed.  Navigating that massive group through the streets of Paris without losing anyone had already proven to be a challenge, but not impossible.  Now we were headed for the underground Metro system, moving from the Eiffel Tower to our restaurant for dinner... [read what this traveller in Paris learned].

So... if it happened to them, it can happen to you!

Here are 10 resources to help protect yourself:
Grzimekhaus, Zoo Frankfurt: beware of pickpockets
Warning in the Frankfurt Zoo
creative commons image sunixzs on Flickr
  1. How to avoid being mugged - WikiHow
  2. Theft by pickpockets in Naples, Rome, Florence and Milan, Italy - Bella-Toscana (GREAT RESOURCE)
  3. Outsmarting thieves and pickpockets in Europe - Rick Steves
  4. Tips for Not Getting Mugged in South America - Going Nomadic
  5. Surefire Ways to Get Mugged on Vacation - HuffPost Travel
  6. Anti Theft Travel Gear: 6 Ways To Keep Your Valuables Secure - IndieTraveller
  7. Top 5 Anti-Theft Travel Bags for Women - Travel Fashion Girl
  8. Make A Secret Pocket In Your Pants! - The Expert Vagabond
  9. The Dummy’s Guide to Packing a Theft-Proof Backpack - Packsmiths
  10. Seven Ways to Keep Your Stuff Safe When You Fly - Independent Traveler

Related resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels! - IHateTaxis
Dealing with touts - IHateTaxis
Airport arrival advice - IHateTaxis
The world-wide bad reputation of Bogota taxis - IHateTaxis

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Zhukovsky, Moscow's 4th airport opens

Open for business, but no flights yet at Moscow Zhukovsky Airport
Earlier this year, we captured the mess that is transportation to Moscow's 3 major airports with an illustration by Andy, a Russian resident in Moscow has HOW many airports?!?.

Well, Andy's life just got a little more complicated.

On May 30th, Moscow's fourth international airport, "Zhukovsky", opened for business.

The newest, Moscow Zhukovsky Ramenskoye International Airport (ZIA), is located in the town of Zhukovsky, on the outskirts of Moscow (in Moscow Oblast, to be precise).

Precise? Well, maybe not, as most of the airport is actually located in the town of Ramenskoye. Perhaps the former aviation research, testing and cargo facility (it once a test site for Soviet Buran Spacecraft) had worn out the city's moniker.

But with a slice of the airport located in Zhukovsky, a town named to honour Russia's pioneer of modern aerodynamics research, Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky, how could they not rename it?

Names aside, Zhukovsky Airport was planned to relieve mounting pressure on Moscow's existing airports, which has since eased (25 airlines pulled out of Moscow last year):
Moscow Zhukovsky International Airport is intended to serve low-cost airlines. Few have signed up so far, but Air Kyrgyzstan and SCAT will commence service next month. Cities with flights to ZIA will initially include Aktau, Aktobe, Astana, Bishkek, Osh and Shymkent.

Unfortunately, no transportation infrastructure exists or is planned, so if you find ZIA on your flight itinerary, be warned. All Moscow airports share an IATA city code, MOW, so be sure you know which airports(s) you are flying through.

If you happen to be lucky enough to attend the biennial MAKS Airshow, long hosted by the Ramenskoye Airport, perhaps you can manage to take a flight into ZIA to check it out firsthand.

But still, please, don't ask Andy for a ride.

Resources from
Moscow has HOW many airports?!?
Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) transportation options and guide
Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) transportation options and guide
Moscow Vnukovo Airport (VKO) transportation options and guide
Moscow Zhukovsky Ramenskoye International Airport (ZIA) transportation options and guide
Moscow Layover Ideas & Things to Do in Moscow

Related resources
New Moscow airport's take off stalled by vanishing passengers - Reuters
Zhukovsky Airport to Serve First Flight in June - Russian Aviation Insider
Fourth international airport opens in Moscow
An Aeroflot Nightmare: How I Got Placed Under Virtual Arrest in Moscow
Airport nightmare: Russians seize concertmaster’s violin
Hundreds Miss Sheremetyevo Flights Because of Road Work
STUCK: The meaning of the city’s traffic nightmare - New Yorker
Getting around Moscow by metro and public transport