Three New Technologies to Make Travel Easier

I recently came across a post on the Travel + Leisure blog by social media editor Joshua Pramis that focused on technological advances that could make our lives as travelers easier than ever.
These aren’t necessarily apps you can just download to your phone; they’re actual tools that can be implemented by everyone to speed things up for us in every way, from baggage check to hotel check-in.
First is an application from Unisys that allows you to print your baggage tags at home, basically eliminating one of the most stressful and time-consuming parts of getting to your gate at the airport. They’re testing the implementation at Billund Airport in Denmark; passengers simply print their baggage tags, then leave their luggage at a special drop-off point at the airport.
The second technology is mobile, but this time it’s starting with the BlackBerry. Developed by SITA, it allows at-a-glance airport information to anyone who touches their phone to a special device at the airport. The blog post mentions updated flight information and access to parking garages, passenger lounges and the boarding area. This one sounds like it has potential, but I’m waiting to see it implemented on a more widespread basis.
The final technology — another huge step for impatient travelers who hate lines — is an online hotel check-in from NCR that allows you to bypass any line at the hotel and go straight to a kiosk and pick up your room key with no delay. (It’s the flipside of the hotel-lobby kiosks that let you print your boarding passes!) This actually is beyond the testing phase and already being implemented at many hotels, including one I stayed at in Vegas.
Vegas is actually the ideal spot for kiosks like this; with so many conferences and large events happening in the city, and so many people checking into the hotels at once, these kiosks really speed things up for the expert travelers who don’t need to fumble for their ID and credit cards at the front desk.
Considering that some airlines are finding new ways every day to make travel more difficult and cumbersome, these little technological advances are a great step in the right direction.
Photo credit: rwozimek (Flickr, Creative Commons)
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