Airlines & Air Travel

Plane Spotting, Caribbean-Style

Ah, to be on a beach in the Caribbean. The sun. The sand. The clear blue waters. The roar of airplanes. The smell of engine fuel. The danger of jet blasts.

There can be a fine line between a travel experience that’s cool and one that is perilous. At Mahó beach, on the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten’s, that line is about 12 meters wide. That’s the distance between the vacationers on the beach and the start of the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport.

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Infographic: When You Should Book Your Next Vacation

How far in advance should you book a vacation to get the best deal?

The content-aggregating website Buzzfeed recently teamed up with analysts at the metasearch travel booking engine Kayak to research that very question. They put their findings in a cool infographic — check it out after the jump.

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5 Cool Airport Bars

Most airport bars are exactly what you’d expect: a rather dull-looking spot in between terminals where you can wet your whistle during a layover. But every so often, a bar, pub or alcohol-serving restaurant will go above and beyond merely meeting the needs of the travel-weary by supplying a truly special experience to make your trip that much better.

That’s the case with these five cool airport bars. While you can find decent watering holes in most of the world’s airports, these five provide a truly transcend the experience for downing a beverage before or during your air travel itinerary.

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The Best Wheeled Carry-On Bags

Spot Cool Stuff never checks our luggage if we can avoid doing so. Like most frequent fliers, we travel with a wheeled bag that will fit through the airport security x-ray and into an airplane’s overhead compartment. Unlike most frequent fliers, we also run a travel review blog and are fanatical about travel gear. So we’ve spent a lot of time researching the best wheeled carry-on bags. A lot of time. From conception, through research and writing, this post has been 11 months in the making.

Why so long? Partly because the market is flooded with rollaboard luggage options. But mostly because no single wheeled carry-on stood out to us as being absolutely better than all the others. As with so many products, the “best” option depends on what an individual consumer is looking for.

Given that, we focused on the best wheeled carry-on bag in five different categories. Factors we considered in making our selection included build quality, value for the price, looks, weight, cargo capacity (while staying under the 22-inch maximum height requirements that many airlines set for carry-on luggage) and bag features.

Read on. Or click on the category that appeals to you most:

Best Organizational System Wheeled Carry-On
Best Compression (and Expandable) Wheeled Carry-On
Best Hard Side Wheeled Carry-On
Best Lightweight Wheeled Carry-On
Best Wheeled Carry-On For Laptops

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The Best Airports in America — For Finding a Date?!

Your flight’s been delayed and you’re stuck at the airport. What should you do? You could go shopping at the terminal’s over-priced stores. Or play more Angry Birds on your iPad. Or download yet another novel onto your Kindle.

Or, you could go looking for romance.

That last option is the premise behind MeetAtTheAirport, a new dating website dedicated to finding love — or, at least a person to flirt with — before, after or between flights.

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Use Your Klout to Access American Airlines’ Lounges

American Airlines is very much not on our list of the world’s coolest airlines. But with more promotions like this (and a better in-air product) they could certainly work themselves there:

For a limited time, American Airlines is giving away — for free, no strings attached — a pass to their Admirals Club business class lounge to anyone who is influential on Twitter.

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Geneva’s International International Airport

Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland. But fly into Geneva airport and you might not actually enter Switzerland when you leave the terminal. That’s because the airport is located along the border of France. The runways are all within Swiss territory (barely, see the photo below). But the main terminal building has a “French side” and a “Swiss side.” The airport facilities exist in both countries and, in some cases, are bisected by the border!

I’ve heard of international airports but that’s ridiculous.

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The World’s Coolest Airlines

Back in the heyday of airline travel, flying was fun. It was a reason to dress up. It was a glamorous experience, something to look forward to.

These days, passengers on short flights are satisfied if they get so much as a free bag of pretzels. Long haul passengers are satisfied if they avoid getting deep vein thrombosis. And everyone ranks going through airport security up there with going to the dentist.

Fortunately, there are a handful of carriers that still inject some enjoyment into commercial airplane travel. In this post we feature the 10 airlines with superlative cool-factor — 5 global airlines, 4 regional airlines and some possibilities for which airline could land the 10th spot (since we couldn’t decide on one). Factors we considered in making our selections included quality of service, selection of amenities, cabin ambiance, frequent flier benefits and the overall travel experience an airline provides.

Thanks to all our Twitter followers and Facebook fans who helped with this post by sharing with us their opinions on which airline they thought should be named the world’s coolest.

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