Tag: business travel

Future PlaneResearchers at MIT say they have come up with designs for a new generation of passenger aircraft that could use as much as 70 percent less fuel than today’s airliners.

MIT said that its designs for a so-called “N+3″ airplane–meaning three generations beyond today’s airplanes–could leverage new technologies like advanced airframe configurations and propulsion systems and could deliver the 70 percent fuel savings by around 2035.

Instead of using a single fuselage cylinder, MIT engineers used two partial cylinders placed side by side to create a wider structure whose cross-section resembles two bubbles joined together. They also moved the engines from the usual wing-mounted locations to the rear of the fuselage. Unlike the engines on most transport aircraft that take in the high-speed, undisturbed air flow, the engines take in slower moving air that is present in the wake of the fuselage. Known as the Boundary Layer Ingestion (BLI), this technique allows the engines to use less fuel for the same amount of thrust, although the design has several practical drawbacks, such as creating more engine stress.

Planes built with the MIT designs will likely be as much as 10 percent slower, but that time loss could be offset by quicker loading and unloading due to the planes’ wider bodies.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Wondering where the summer travel deals are?  This article from FOXNews.com explains everything you need to know about the current travel environment and how to navigate it.
  • The USAToday reports that you should expect to see higher fares and packed flights.  According to the U.S. Travel Association, leisure travel is expected to rise 2%; business travel, 2.5%; and international travel into the U.S., 3% this year.  This pent-up customer demand is driving fares up following a grim 2009, in which belt-tightening occurred across all travel segments, including corporate and vacation travel.
  • Losing luggage is one thing, but when an airline loses your dog, that’s a whole other story.  It’s even worse when the airline lies to you about losing your dog.  But that’s just what Delta did to a Canadian couple who was returning home from a Mexican vacation.  Despite the fact that the dog is still missing in action, everything has a happy ending.  After all, the airline offered to refund the couple the $200 in fees he had paid to fly his pet – as a credit toward a future flight on Delta.

The USA Today reports that the TSA plans to install 150 security machines at airport checkpoints that enable screeners to see under passengers’ clothes.

The installation will vastly expand the use of the controversial body scanners, which can reveal hidden bombs and knives. But the devices have been labeled as intrusive by some lawmakers. The House of Representatives in June overwhelmingly passed a measure that would restrict their use by the TSA to passengers flagged by other types of screening, such as metal detectors. The measure is pending in the Senate.

The $100,000 scanners shoot low-intensity X-rays that penetrate clothing, bounce off a person’s skin and create images that show solid objects as dark areas. The TSA machines have privacy additions to create images that look like etchings. Screeners view them on a monitor in a locked room near a checkpoint and delete them immediately after viewing.

Although the machines use X-rays, a 2003 report by the National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements, which Congress created to develop radiation guidelines, said people can safely be scanned by the machines up to 2,500 times a year.

The TSA has been testing scanners since early 2007, mostly on passengers who set off a metal-detector alarm and are taken aside for additional screening. The new scanners will be installed beginning early next year and will be used in place of metal detectors at checkpoints.

Passengers may choose to avoid the scanners and be screened by a metal detector, but those who do will be pulled aside for a pat-down.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Delta Air Lines has completed the integration of its frequent flier program with that of its subsidiary, Northwest Airlines.  The combined program has more than 70 million members.  The Chicago Tribune also reports that that about half of the old Northwest Airlines planes that will get Delta’s colors have been repainted, and the rest will be finished by mid-2010.
  • Fortune Magazine offers a good read about “Making business travel fun and easy.”
  • Late-night host Conan O’Brien was banned from Newark Airport after the comic took a swipe at the Garden State’s largest city.  “The mayor of Newark, N.J., wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark,” O’Brien cracked last week.  Only Newark Mayor Cory Booker wasn’t laughing.  In a YouTube video, Booker blasts “The Tonight Show” host and informs O’Brien that he isn’t welcome at the city’s bustling airport.  “Try JFK, buddy,” Booker said.  Booker must have seen a swell in traffic to his website because, more recently, he’s released another YouTube video where he “extends” O’Brien’s ban to all of New Jersey.  (I wonder if we’ll see a third video where the good mayor extends the ban to the entire tri-state region?)