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WHAT WILL CHANGE IN AIR TRAVEL IN 2014

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WHAT WILL CHANGE IN AIR TRAVEL IN 2014 !

Smaller seats, fee rises and Wi-Fi? Find out what we can expect this year in air travel.

2013 is now behind us but who could have foreseen the three-month grounding of the entire Boeing 787 fleet in the beginning of last year.  Only 16 days into 2013 and 50 787s worldwide were grounded following a battery fire on a Japan Air Lines 787 and a near-fire occurred days later on an ANA 787 flight.

Further at the end of 2013, who could of predicted the ordeal behind American Airlines and US Airways merger in December.  After negotiating a settlement to a surprise lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice (which sought to block the merger) they created what is widely now regarded as the world's largest airline.

 

So what can we predict for this year? Experts believe in comparison to 2013, 2014 should be relatively quiet. But that does not mean it will not be fascinating. Hereunder a list of the major players in the year ahead.

 

Security improvement:  TSA expands their PreCheck program

The EZ-Pass-style express lanes at airport checkpoints are so popular that TSA will expand the program to more than 100 airports in 2014.  More passengers in the United States will be able to apply as it is now open to anyone who can pay  $85 for a 5 year membership.  TSA Pre-Check allows passengers to keep shoes and jackets on, laptops and 3-ounce liquids packed and even pockets filled -- just like before the "9/11" days.

 

Everyone will have Inflight Wi-Fi 
The majority of the large airlines are already offering Wi-Fi.  Even JetBlue and Southwest have recently rolled out their Wi-Fi access too.  In 2014 travelers can expect to see airlines competing to offer the same broadband experience you get on the ground, with the ability to download large files and watch video offerings.  Airlines will also be installing more power outlets so passengers battery won’t drain.  Now that passengers will get more opportunities to connect with the Internet while in-flight, it will be at a cost, as airlines continue to seek more profits from ancillary fees.

 

The seat squeeze gets worse

More and more airlines are adding new 'slimline' seats.  United and Alaska already have them.  These new seats offer the same seat pitch but less width. Airlines can then squeeze in more passengers and generate additional revenue, clearly a way to make more money.

But there's some industry backlash from the shift. According to a NBC report, Boeing has been manufacturing 17-inch seats, while Airbus is calling for a standard of 18 inches for long-haul flights. In the meantime, British design firm Seymourpowell is trying to make everyone happy with its new "Morph" seat idea, which enables airlines to adjust individual seats within a row to small and large sizes.

 

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Transatlantic budget airlines make a comeback with lower airfares

Now that transatlantic fares higher than they’ve been in years, a new breed of cut-rate carriers is back on the scene.  For example Norwegian Air Shuttle and an Icelandic contender Wow Airlines. Their secret is to use more fuel-efficient planes, which they claim will let them charge significantly less than mainstream carriers.

 

Do-it-yourself bag tags
It is common use that travelers today check-in for their flights via smartphone (viaAirline Flight Check-in Travel App for example) or on the web at home.   Now the technology to be able to print out and attach your own bag tags at home, is available.  This means another step that can be eliminated at the airport.  IATA is pushing for widespread acceptance.  Airlines Iberia and Lufthansa are already experimenting. However in the U.S. concerns about baggage security and other hang-ups are slowing the progress.

 

Ancillary costs continue
Just like last year ancillary costs will continue to proliferate in 2014, especially since airlines will be rolling out more products that consumers might be willing to pay for. It's also likely that a number of fees will rise in 2014 such as ticket change fees, on-board purchases and baggage fees being the big ones.

 
 
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