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take travel back
share your travel story
THE MANIFESTO

This isn’t about going back to the glory days of travel. This is about going forward. Using our best insights and ideas to usher in faster, smarter, more enjoyable ways to get places.

+

FILTER STORIES BY
  • Sea/ 4
    Sea
  • Mass Transit/ 17
    Mass Transit
  • Foot/ 7
    Foot
  • Car/ 10
    Car
  • Bike/ 5
    Bike
  • Big Ideas/ 42
    Big Ideas
  • Air/ 41
    Air
  • all/ 94
Air Car Foot Mass Transit Sea

Epic journey! First, a 1 hour plane delay leaving Seattle meant I was going to miss my connection from Amsterdam to Helsinki & thus miss a 3-day trip to St Petersburg. I was due to arrive in Helsinki in the morning and depart for St Petersburg in the evening, but there were no more flights available that day to Amsterdam out of Seattle on Delta. Pleading with Delta got me an out of network flight on Finnair to rescue the trip. (Thank you thank you) But the change meant my food prefs were missed (allergies to egg & dairy), making me one very hungry girl by the time I got to Amsterdam. +

submitted by
Michelle Miller

Big Ideas

Design portable, easy to install and uninstall seats. E.g. say 60% of seats are booked, the airline could uninstall 40% of seats on the plane before flight takes off. 

Benefits:

1) Save energy: 40% less weight from seats will save gasoline usage. 
2) More space for passengers: The empty space from 40% seats will provide passengers space to stretch during the flight time. 
3) Build a great reputation for airlines: Gaining eco-friendly reputation from save energy; gaining customer focus reputation by providing a more comfortable flight experiences to customers; gaining innovation reputation by applying this new idea.

 

submitted by
Vicky Garay

Big Ideas

Commercial aircraft seating needs to have more support for the lower section of your back. During a flight that is longer than 2 hours it becomes extremely uncomfortable to be sitting straight up as it puts pressure on your back. If there was extra cushioning where your lower back meets the seat, there would be less need to recline the seat because you can now sit comfortably without constantly moving to get more comfortable (a problem for me). The seat cushioning should get bigger as it gets closer to the lower part of your back because there is more stress in that area when sitting. This option shouldn’t be for only business class but for the entire plane. By increasing the slight angle of a persons recline, they are less likely to recline the seat afterwards.

submitted by
Justin

Big Ideas

Idea: $20 charge to recline your seat on an airplane. $10 credit if you choose not to recline. Also $10 credit if someone reclines on you.

submitted by
Craighton

Air

A few years back a friend and I stumbled upon the greatest vacation innovation in the history of great vacation innovations: “The Re-Acclimation Layover.” After a week in Cabo San Lucas doing all sorts of collegiate spring break type activities in the sun, we were understandably worn out. We arrived in Mexico City to catch our connection back to Seattle, but were informed at the gate that some unlucky people on our flight would have to be “bumped.” At this point, we were both too worn out to argue and felt genuinely sorry for the stressed out mother/daughter pair likely to lose their spots, so we volunteered to be bumped in exchange for the airline’s offer of overnight accommodation. The airline placed us in a very nice nearby hotel, where we received a plethora of food and drink vouchers to be used for restaurants, bars, and room service in the large hotel (in addition to other perks). So needless to say, we lived (and lounged) like kings in a Mexico City hotel for about 24 hours before catching our flight home to rainy Seattle the following afternoon. +

submitted by
Eliot Olson

Big Ideas

Create a research based airline that partners with companies that need focus groups, user testing and the like. Consumers could get a reduction in price, while the sponsoring companies would get the information that they’re after. Consumers would be choosing to take the research airline, avoiding the problem of pressuring people. The testers would/could feel productive while flying – that they’re putting their time to good use. One could potentially choose a flight based on destination as well as product test: “Hmm…let’s see, I need to go to NYC, and they’ve got three tests/groups to choose from: the next version of Windows; new form factors from Coke; and a new app from Gilt. I’m a fashion oriented person, so I’ll take the flight to NYC and the user testing for Gilt, plus $75 off my flight!”

submitted by
Stacey Fischer

Big Ideas

Train Travel: Design a train car that has a small siting/sleeping/freshen-up compartment (with view windows, of course) in the front of the car, and a personal vehicle “garage” in the rear of the car. The private compartment would be sized and available for only the traveler/family or traveler/companions. This privacy would provide a more relaxed and comfortable travel experience. By traveling with thier vehicle, the traveler will have ready transportation at their destination or the ability to complete their trip to a location the does not have direct train service. They may even use this type of travel for only a specific portion of their trip (say, crossing the wide State of Texas, or for night time travel).

submitted by
Lee Baker

Air

Travel is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get!

submitted by
Bob

Big Ideas

Travel is such a significant part of life, that major travel plans should be a nice experience overall. There’s nothing more frustrating than having flight problems or delays which are often inevitable. It would be a great thing to bring customers a truly unique and thankful experience. It could be something simple like a GENUINE thank you note from an employee, especially if someone was having a truly bad experience. It’s little things like that, that make will make someone’s day.

submitted by
Wade Fasano

Air

Where are the handicap spots on an airplane? I have two brothers in wheelchairs specifically designed for them, like a fingerprint. From the headrests supporting their heads, the bipap machine secured to the back, down to the seat cushion. They’re either in their wheelchair or bed, those are their options. Is it fair to ask that an airplane have a removable chair(s) to accommodate these types of passengers? Or is it too much hassle for them to have the option to fly like the rest of us?

submitted by
Emily Lukken

Big Ideas

Board the window seat passengers first, then the middle row, then the aisle. This would avoid the awkward “that is my seat” point that forces the two other passengers, already settled in their seats, to get up and maneuver around to allow the window passenger to their seat. It seems simple enough to just adjust the boarding groups accordingly to speed up the boarding process and reduce the aisle congestion.

submitted by
Emily Lukken

Big Ideas

Economy Sleeper. Cost is double the Coach, but less than Business, and you get to sleep horizontally on a bunk bed featuring: Horizontal seatbelt, luggage compartment (at the bottom) personal light, sheer privacy pull-down screen, fold-out table (contains feet), entertainment TV screen. 12 beds fit in the space for 24 seats. Instead of service, you get clean sheets/blanket and a pillow. No more waking up your neighbor to go to the loo!

submitted by
Fumi Watanabe

Big Ideas

For those who’s main mode of transportation is a bike, or travel cross country by bike it is nice to be able to take with you when you take the city bus. You mount it on the front of the bus, get where you need to go and then hope back on your bus and ride off. I ride public transit for a total of 2 hours a day and have been finding it difficult to bike to work due to roads that are not so bike friendly. I also have a hard time finding time getting into the gym.

Imagine instead of sitting in a plane or train seat for a 1-3 flight you could sit on your own bike as a seat. The bike would be locked into place and acted a stationary bike, where you can, break a sweat, bike along other biker/ health conscious individuals. When you aren’t biking, you can stretch or rest in a designated stretching or seating area. When you arrive to your final destination by plane or train, you simply unlock your bike from stationary mode and ride off to your destination.

submitted by
Kevin Do

Air
Screen-Shot-2013-04-15-at-9.16.34-PM1

True or false?

You board a plane from the left because it’s the traditional side from which to mount a horse.

That’s also why it’s correct to drive on the left side of the road (i.e. if you meet another horse it passes on your right so you can defend yourself with your sword.)

Same with ships- left side always docks – hence port side.

submitted by
Nick

Big Ideas

Long flights are a fact of life, especially international travel. Make life easier for those with hours between connections: install more relaxation stations for the weary traveler. 

submitted by
Maureen Salahshoor

Big Ideas

I know! Pump the cabin full of sleeping gas* and everyone can stop ‘n’ snooze. Just stop. Take a nap. Don’t fuss with your devices and I won’t fuss with mine. Buckle up and breathe in…and then breathe out. Repeat. After a time, welcome to your final (or “for now”) destination. [A few asides: I can get from one end of the U.S. to the other for under $500; it costs $40 to take a cab to the airport in my town -- and it takes forever on public transportation. Air travel is incredible (i>heart<physics) and cheap, in my opinion. Lastly, I really empathize w/ TSA staff: All that noise (beep and clatter) along with those hideous uniforms, too. Uh. What a nightmare. I am sure they work for peanuts. Give them a break.] * Or laughing gas and if so, revisit the above scenario.

submitted by
O’lady

Big Ideas

Problem: Rows of seats on an airline are placed closely together to get as many seats on the plane as possible, but this makes it difficult to get in and out of these tightly-spaced rows because, in addition to there not being much headroom, there isn’t much space front to back between the rows of seats either. You end up having to attempt to walk sideways due to the tightly-spaced rows, while also remaining in a seated position and hunched over slightly because the seats in front of you are leaning back slightly and there isn’t much headroom either—quite a feat for even a contortionist! It’s very awkward.

Solution: Seats that fold up for exiting or entering your seat. Even a few inches gained front-to-back would make a big difference in getting in and out of tightly-spaced rows of seats.

submitted by
Stefan McIntosh

Air

This past weekend I flew on a domestic flight to California. Being spring break season, there were a lot of families with small children on the same flight. I was sitting in front of a particularly inquisitive boy about the age of five or six. He kept asking a question a second. It sounded a bit like this: “When are we going to move? Why is the wing moving? Is it going to break off? (when we were taking off) EVERYONE HOLD ON!!! (when we were breaking through a cloud layer) What is going on? What are we flying through? Are those clouds? Whooooooooa. (during cruise) How fast are we going? How long until we get there? (during landing) WHY ARE THOSE THINGS MOVING ON THE WING?!?! AHHHHHH LOOK!!! (while taxiing to our gate, pointing at an A380) Look at that a two story airplane wow! Dad look wow!” +

submitted by
Diane Lee

Mass Transit
Armenia_NightTrain_670

Soviet era old-stock first-class Tbilisi-Yerevan train compartment. Yes, there are *still* some unique travel adventures to be found, but I’m finding it’s necessary to push further and further afield to find them…

submitted by
Troy Litten

Big Ideas

Parents do not want to be the pariahs of air travel! Contrary to the beliefs of all of the non-parent passengers who roll their eyes, sigh heavily, and act more like a toddler than the actual toddlers, parents also do not want to have their baby crying during the flight, or their toddler bursting into a temper tantrum. In fact, most parents go through many unseen preparations to be sure their child won’t be the reason why everyone on the plane hates them. +

submitted by
Bambi Chavez

Air Mass Transit

Holy !@#$ the seats are getting sooooo small and tight. Guy next to me, slim build, when we both sit back our shoulders touch!!! But hey, 9 hours in a can and you’re in a whole new world…but dang! I need more space on public transit for my legs!

 

 

submitted by
Allison M.

Air Bike Car Mass Transit Sea

When was magic lost from travel? And how do we get it back? I still consider traveling to be exciting and adventurous- even if it’s just a short domestic flight or a quick ferry ride. Regardless of the trip, it’s still an escape from day to day life, and I still love the idea of ‘going places.’ We’ve gone so far out of our way focusing on ‘ease of travel’, speediness through airport lines, ensuring quick bag pick up at the carousel, and online ticketing- that we’ve lost the magic of travel.

The ‘magic’… remember that? +

submitted by
Sallyann Corn

Air
Screen-Shot-2013-04-03-at-9.53.22-PM

LIGHTING : COLOUR : TEXTILES
Over years of flying I have come to appreciate the use of good quality textiles in airliner cabins. It’s amazing how using better quality materials and aesthetically pleasing textiles can improve ones overall flying experience. I also believe that having good non intrusive lighting and a relaxing colour palette can help reduce some of the tensions of flying.

The examples above show two modern airliner cabins, which one would you rather be in for 10 hours?

submitted by
Benjamin Custance

Big Ideas

I use travel as a conduit to my final destination. In fact, it’s not just a destination, it’s a purpose. It’s visiting loved ones. It’s attending my sister’s graduation. It’s having a college friends reunion, closing that business deal, backpacking through Europe, a wedding, the thrill of an island getaway. What if travel didn’t distract from that final purpose, but embraced it? Customize the door-to-door experience to enhance your overall purpose. +

submitted by
Diane Lee

Big Ideas
Middle seat freebies

A simple idea for airlines: How bout a little compensation for the agony of having to endure a middle seat? Something as small as a free movie could leave a great lasting impression. 

submitted by
David Wykes

Big Ideas

Problem: Rows of seats are placed close together to get as many seats on the plane as possible, but this makes it difficult to get in and out of these tightly spaced rows because, in addition to not being much headroom, there isn’t much space front to back between the seats either.

Solution: Seats that fold up for exiting or loading. Even a few inches would make a big difference in getting in or out of a tightly spaced row of seats.

submitted by
Stefan McIntosh

Big Ideas
photo

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more these type of signs that reward passengers who don’t need to use overhead bin space with priority boarding.

Over the holidays many airlines encouraged travelers to “check-in” their luggage at the gate for free giving them the same priority boarding privileges. Interestingly enough, the flights that I ended up being on didn’t even remotely leverage all their overhead stowage capacity. This leaves me wondering; other than trying to avoid delays due to slow boarding when passengers need to check-in their bags once on board, what’s the business model here? +

submitted by
Philipp

Air

Why do they still show a no smoking sign next to the seatbelt sign above your seat, as lighter and matchbox are not allowed in the aircraft? :)

submitted by
Jaineel

Air
HelloKitty

Recently I was traveling from Taipei to Tokyo and before boarding realized that my flight was the EVA Hello Kitty flight! I am not a huge Hello Kitty follower, but it was fun to be on a flight that was completely different than any flight experience I have had. Everything was Hello Kitty from the lounge, livery, music, artwork, pillows, food and the toilet paper.  For me I realized creating a differentiated experience goes a long way even if it is Hello Kitty!

submitted by
Jenny Ruegamer

Big Ideas
Tushar

Even today I remember my way back home to New Delhi from Bangalore. I was too tired and struggled to sleep. The agony was the fact that every time I was about to sleep, my head would slip and rest on the woman’s shoulder sitting next to me. It was an embarrassing situation, but I was helpless.
From that day I thought if someone designed head rests like arm rests the advantages would be:

1) You will have your own confined space inspite of using public transport.
2) You can sleep better.
3) Women would especially prefer such transport systems, so that no one can impeach their space.

submitted by
Tushar Jain

Big Ideas

Recently I was traveling with my family on vacation. A major point of pain with twin 6 year olds is the security line. We queued up in a line that went outside the winding seat belt maze of agony and waited. When we were about halfway through the line the a TSA agent appeared and started to tell the people lining up that this line was at “110% of capacity” while the one just a 5 minute walk away was at 15% Capacity. We passed about 55 screens on the way to security announcing flight arrivals and departures. It seems the TSA could leverage some of these screens to notify passengers of security checkpoint capacity.

submitted by
Matt

Air

Having a connection time of 35 minutes is cutting it close, but I figured that the airline knew what they were doing when they scheduled that connection on a recent domestic flight so I went ahead and booked it. In my mind, the plane was going to pull up to a gate and my connecting plane would be two doors down. That was not the case. +

submitted by
Ching

Big Ideas

Exterior cameras on planes with digital feeds. I love looking at the world going past, but only a fraction of passengers get the privilege. Place some digital cameras on the skin or in the window bays at different angles for all passengers to enjoy on their electronic devices. If security is an issue, cut the feed off within a few minutes of landing. Don’t forget to point them up for night flights and cloud veiwing.

submitted by
Jeff

Big Ideas
security line massage

A suggestion for the TSA: Having to take off your shoes at airport security is annoying, inconvenient and often embarrassing. We at the TSA understand this and to make up for it we’ve developed a Security Line Massage Pad to add a bit of spring back to your step as you navigate pre-flight screening. Simply Walk over the pad to enjoy a gentle massage and a light deodorizing mist to freshen up. Have a nice flight!

 

submitted by
David Wykes &
Cameron Campbell

Big Ideas

Three ideas:

1. Design a new seatbelt buckle. If the airline is STILL explaining how to use your seatbelt after 40 years there is something wrong with it!

2. Pre order food: Domestic flights don’t serve full meals, I can live with that. I have been on 6 hour flights and they have run out of food before they get to me. If you could pre-order food, the airline would have a better idea what to bring on board and I wouldn’t have to eat liquorice for dinner.

3. Put all of the audio controls with the TV. Having them uncovered in the arm rest means you can accidentally adjust the volume or channel. Or your neighbour is asleep on them. If the TV’s worked, that would be nice too.

submitted by
Tracy Bright

Big Ideas

Having traveled a lot, I understand how much the resources of time and money put into even the simplest travel, begs for a better experience that what we have today. Demand more service from a service industry. Without a huge structural or costly overhaul on how these companies can improve one’s own experience, what solutions might there be for one to improve someone else’s experience? I don’t enjoy being the jerk who takes 10 minutes finding a place for my overly-stuffed backpack that’s too big to fit under my seat, but too small to take up space in-an already space limited overhead compartment & not worth spending $$$ checking in. If there was some way I could tell that the guy sitting two seats back had space under his seat and was willing to let me store it there, I’d happily do the same for the mother of two who could use the space under my seat for her diaper bag. +

submitted by
Anouk M.

Big Ideas

Traveling across Atlantic one way equals one year of driving a car in emissions for each person. I’ve traveled a lot recently and noticed that a lot of times half or more of the seats in the airplane are empty, which means that the flight is less profitable for the airline and worse for the environment.

That made me think about the amazingly complicated structure of communications and systems that was supporting my flight. I started to wonder if there could be a possibility to add more flexibility to this static structure? Could we create a service or a system where flights are booked flexibly and the dates are arranged based on the demand people flying? Would such a choice of a collective value over personal bring more responsibility to our transportation choices? +

submitted by
Maria Zenkevich

Big Ideas

Why do they board airplanes front to back? Terrible system; they should reverse this. As a first class passenger I’d prefer a different boarding time then the rest of the plane, more convenient and less time that I have to spend on the plane while people bump me with their bags. Also, someone should develop an app that shows you all the restaurant/bar options near your gate or on the way to your gate from security checkpoint. I spend way too much time wandering around instead knowing exactly where I want to go before I get on my flight.

submitted by
Gabriella

Big Ideas

Three ideas to trigger air industry:

1) speed travel time, should be short, time is money


2) more leg space


3) cheaper rates


submitted by
Dilil Jewani

Big Ideas

It’s bewildering to see so many of my fellow travelers sulking about in dark airport corners just to siphon off a red-eyes worth of cell phone charge. These travel-perfect devices require very little in way of raw electricity to remain functional for the duration of a typical flight, yet we are still relegated to cautiously steal from the airport grid. Where is portable technology more ubiquitous than the airport? And why does getting a charge have to be so creepy? There must be auxiliary ways to capture residual energy amongst the comings and goings of a busy airport! +

submitted by
Ben Mabry

Big Ideas

Airport travel is stressful even while waiting in the terminal for your flight to board. Replacing those ugly, connected, uncomfortable, doctors waiting room like chairs with beautiful, colorful, wooden rockers would go a long way towards soothing a travelers weary soul. Rocking in a chair lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, promotes circulation (especially important after a day of sitting on planes), and relaxes the body. And it’s fun!

submitted by
Linda Gill

Big Ideas

How about a section of the plane for familes specifically? Flying with a 2 year old is challange enough, then to sit next to a non-child friendly person who keeps giving you and your child dirty looks adds even more stress. I m happy to sit with other families where we can commiserate together, and give other passengers without kids a break. Maybe this section even has child friendly space, games and videos in the future.

submitted by
Kara

Big Ideas

I would prefer more room for my legs and knees on long flights. An alternative is to offer the splitting the cost of leaving the center seat empty with the passenger on the window or aisle during booking or checkin. More room for knees, elbows, perhaps even shoulders.

 

submitted by
Lee

Big Ideas

Redesign hotel rooms to be more functional.

submitted by
Peri

Big Ideas

Every year, I fly back to Atlanta, GA to visit my parents for the Chinese New Year. Often times, I book myself the red-eye flight from Seattle to Atlanta. I think it would be great for the airline to provide better red-eye flight experience. Like lie flat seats, premium economy seats with larger leg room (I am 6’3), so that the red-eye flight wouldn’t be that much of a red-eye experience… in Europe, they have the sleeper train services to cater traveler who travel over night. Maybe it would be a great idea for the air travel as well.

submitted by
Kyle Chao

Air
IMG_7130

I just recently got back from a trip down to Mammoth Lakes, CA. My flight to my destination was fine but it was my flight experience on my way home back to Seattle, that deserved two thumbs up and reminded me that travel really can be an exiting experience. It all started with an Alaskan Airlines representative that was able to get me home by 6 PM rather than 1 AM and I wasn’t charged a cent! Now that is what I call service! Then on my connecting flight from LAX to Seattle I entered the 737, expecting the usual… cramming bags, shuffling and cranky people. To my surprise I entered the Boeing 737 to the new Sky Interior!!! My first reaction was WOW, is this really a 737!? I felt like everyone was breathing lightly, smiling even. I no longer felt like a sardine, but like a human being in a beautifully crafted space that was inviting and comfortable. All in all, my experience on traveling back home to Seattle was one that took me by surprise. It really made me believe that beauty and wonder can still be apart of the passenger experience, even on economy flights! What a great day of travel!

submitted by
Katie Ryan

Big Ideas

I would suggest airlines offer more service and bigger more comfortable seats.
Take out some of the extra seats and make the aisles wider. I would suggest a first class only airline instead of first class and economy combined on one plane; there are many people who would pay extra for this feature if the service and experience created a WOW factor.

LISTEN UP: AIRLINE SERVICE IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. IF YOU DON’T GIVE IT, ANOTHER AIRLINE WILL.

submitted by
Ronald Reeker

Big Ideas

I am new to traveling long distances in the air, my wife is from New Zealand, and I am from the states. But making the trip between LAX and Auckland, some design issues really stood out to me that fixed would minimize frustration, and increase the comfort level of passengers. First a seat designed with armrests that could be pushed straight down between the cushions, instead of swiveling up between the backs of the seats. Also, quiet closing hinges in the kitchen areas of plane, on the overhead compartment doors, and the bathroom stalls. Nothing like waking up to the loud snapping a popping of hinges before my meal is served.

submitted by
Steven Tanner

Air Foot Mass Transit
machu-picchu

A friend and I decide our next vacation was going to be LESS about Corona’s on a beach and more about “centering” and quieting our minds. We set off to Cusco Peru to work in an orphanage and live with a host family for 10 days.

Little did I know I would have very little control over what would be instore for us for the next 10 days. Upon arrival at the Lima airport we had a 3 hour layover, from 2am to 5am. During this time, all of my possessions were stolen. A brand new SLR that was going to capture all of the magnificent moments and stories. Toys, hats, an ipod normal designer paraphernalia that accompany a young flash packer from the states. We spent some time at the police station, filing paperwork etc…oh did I mention the bag also contained my passport and id. Needless to say, we made our flight to Cusco. I had the clothes on my back, the contacts in my eyes, and all I wanted to do was turn around and go home. Unfortunately I could not share or borrow clothes from my petite female cohort. However we managed to share contacts, From the moment I arrived in Cusco, we were met with a warm sentiment and shared loss. They understood what had happen, but equally were aware this was extremely common. +

submitted by
Marc Reisen

Big Ideas

One of the most under-designed aspects of air travel is the TSA check point—and specifically the plastic bins clunking up the joint. Many travelers struggle with how many bins they’ll need to get all their belongings through the x-ray machines. And, the bins have to be restocked from the other side by TSA agents. Since they’re all the same size now, bins should be built into the x-ray system itself, spaced to allow bags. No more loose bins! This would free up TSA agents from stacking and restocking duty, letting them focus on screening passengers and bags.

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Devin Liddell

Air

I know this is not what airlines are aiming for. But still, in case a flight is not completely full, turn empty chairs into lounge tables, by folding the backrest down onto the seat. Don’t you hate it when there’s one empty seat between you and someone else, and the other person puts stretches out and their feet are in your face? Turn the seat into a neat side table, and voila, you can even play nice and share it . Breaks up the monotony of the rows and rows of chairs too, and creates a more lounge-like space.

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Mylene

Car

The best way to travel, in my opinion, is by car: the open road. Driving down the freeway on a good old fashioned road trip, along scenic byways and deserted two-lane highways always makes me feel like a cowboy in a western movie – riding off into the sunset with uncertain thrills laying ahead of him. I love watching the scenery change out the window and getting lost in a new town, taking exit I-52 to see the world’s second-largest ice cream cone, even stopping at gas stations for a coke and a candy bar, if only all other forms of transport could be this exciting.

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Grayce

Air Car Foot Mass Transit
100_0572

I always wanted to backpack Europe. The allure and splendor of the wealth of histories through the continent always beckoned me. The ease of travel and borders offer such opportunities. Much of my family hails from rural France in the easterly Lorraine province, a much historically disputed territory between France and Germany. It was a personal quest to return the small town of Mont-les-Neurfchateau where my great-grandmother Ana Jacob was from. She met my great-grandfather an American GI during World War I. Much of the able-bodied men in her family, including her husband, brother, uncle and several cousins were killed in combat during the four years of was with the Germans. She left and never returned. Growing up I was always told stories about the town through my grandmother, her daughter. +

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Brett Bowker

Big Ideas

This is not “a big” idea, but it would be great to have RFID or NFC tags on your luggage and be able leave the baggage claim area only if the tag you have with you (on your phone or around your arm) corresponds to the one on your luggage. People would be reassured (instead of always being scared about lost or stolen bags). And being able to follow your luggage’s status or location on your phone should be a must!!!!!

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Emilie Belis

Air

It should be criminal to allow anything less than a 55 minute layover. EVER.

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Kelsey

Mass Transit

Why is it that there’s 4g coverage almost everywhere except along commuter rail lines in Boston?

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Scott

Air

In April of 2012 at JFK International, myself and a friend were victim of sucky communication between United Airlines Team members and the JFK Employees. We were trying to find our gate, we ended up walking to what we logically thought was the direction of our gate based on increasing numerals. We were wrong after realizing that it seemed like our gate didn’t exist, but in reality it was a shuttle from some side gate that was not totally clear. +

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Ronald Viernes

Air
frankfurt_Sign

Some of the best fun I’ve ever known is that of standing under the Frankfurt clickety-board of destinations, as an airline employee with flight benefits, and therefore with near-free, instant access to essentially any one of those destinations. Can every traveler move closer to that kind of travel freedom and temporal control?

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Steve Sauer

Air

While traveling in South Africa, I snatched up a paper to read the headline story, “Man Killed by Crocodile.” As I lazily perused the following pages, I came across an article revealing to me that the airline I flew to South Africa had gone bankrupt. I never did hear again from that airline. I guess their plan was for me to show up at the airport and discover they were no more. +

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Dale Walker

Mass Transit

I’m of slightly above average size (6’4″ and 225), and I have especially long legs. When I ride the Metro in Washington, DC, there are two kinds of seats: the kind that are lined back-to-back in rows (the most common) and the kind that are lined so the back of the seat is on the wall of the car making the front of the seat easily accessible for “handicapped” or the elderly to get in and out of (maybe 1 in 10 seats are this kind). Most of these “handicapped” seats, which are the only kind with enough leg room for people like me, are marked as “Priority Seating” for riders who aren’t so nimble of foot. I don’t object to that. But I believe the thinking in allocating those seats is too limited. +

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Tim Adkins

Bike
26448976563

No need to pay for those hop-on hop-off tour buses. Do a little research and you’ll find yourself in a charming double-decker bus in London or a 50 year old yellow trolley climbing the streets of Lisbon. You’ll be able to enjoy all the sights, at a fraction of the cost, while chatting up locals and getting around in style. In London, take the 211 bus sit back and enjoy great views of Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the river Thames. In Lisbon jump on tram 28 and wind up the narrow streets to St George’s castle, then feel your stomach in your throat as you head down steep hills in the Alfama neighborhood. Great fun on any budget.

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Robert Gutierrez

Air Foot

While traveling abroad, I’ve been the victim of technology theft not once, but twice! Once in Rome, and another in Santiago. Two people teamed up to steal our video camera in Rome. One distracted us by dropping money on the floor while the other snatched the camera as we frantically helped the man gather his lira (we were there in the 90′s when they still used lira rather than the euro). The other incident happened in the airport in Santiago. A man at customs hassled me about my wasabi almonds that I was trying to bring into the country. While he was explaining why I couldn’t bring them in by pointing to the ingredients on the bag (i.e. distracting me), he pocketed my digital camera. Heartbroken on both occasions. But, two tough lessons learned. Watch your expensive electronics while in foreign countries…or anywhere for that matter.

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Stephanie Mang

Air
airport_snacks

Flight delayed. Time to enjoy the fine dining experience Grand Rapids Airport has to offer…

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Brady Olason

Air Bike Car Foot Mass Transit Sea
ATL

I feel very fortunate to have travelled quite a bit for work and pleasure. There continues to be a few places between my home and my destination that are dull, lifeless and bring out the worst in human behavior–those are the “waiting” spaces–the airport terminals, the train station, the taxi stands, the tube stop. These locations are the one’s that should inspire our desire to travel to work to engage. +

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Cameron Campbell

Big Ideas

Flight attendants do a lot of work during a flight, much more than just serving beverages. As a human factors engineer, I can’t help but watch how they do what they do during a flight. During my recent holiday travels it occurred to me that airplanes aren’t really designed around the flight attendant or their work. Often ergonomics in the workplace is thought of as your computer and associated office desk/chair, but the airplane is their office. I know if my office was as cramped and full of people as an airplane cabin, I too might get a bit frustrated. If we could improve the design of their workplace, then their job satisfaction may increase and as a result improve the customer experience as well.

 

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Carrie McEwan

Bike
rickshaw

Rickshaws are a great way to get around cities. Cheap, always available and targeted to small distances; too bad there’s not really a Western equivalent.

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Tim Zurmoehle

Big Ideas

I’d like to experience more of the visual sensation of flight, even through just a bigger, well placed window in the door. Or a pivot/gimbal camera under the nose, allowing all passengers to share control and watch the awesome views from a channel on the seatback video.

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Bill Noble

Air
Andy

My son Aidan is becoming quites the discerning traveller; he’s 10 and has been flying since 0. On a trip to Utah over the holidays our family took Southwest. We were on a typical 737 outfitted in typical Southwest style–no business class, but a seat where you want (we also bought the upgrade that lets you get in line early). +

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Andy Cargile

Mass Transit

My new favorite bus takes us over water and over land. It’s like flying, and I love flying. The bus is part of SoundTransit in Seattle, WA.

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Brian Monzingo

Air
Wykes_Line

Another ridiculous (yet unsurprising) example of security line management at SeaTac. Please forgive the bad photo sticking, I didn’t want to hold the line up any more than it already was! 

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David Wykes

Air

My father asked me recently what was the “kick ass” airline that we took together on our trip to San Francisco? With lights, the cool walls, etc.

It was Virgin America! And I hope that one day we will be able to say the same thing for every airline. I hope that they will stop being navy blue, boring and scared of being different to provide a special and memorable experience (-:

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Emilie Belis

Air Car Mass Transit Sea
footonseat

People keep your feet off of seats in public transportation!!! Nothing grosses me out more then seeing feet on fabric seats buses, trains, or planes! I’ve actually heard one flight attendant request someone to remove their feet from the armrest in front of them – they were sans shoes and socks! I don’t think they even knew the passenger in front them. Travel etiquette please!

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Cameron Campbell

Air
flightoptionpic

Holiday travel pretty much sucks, no matter how you slice it. So… instead of booking a flight on multiple airlines, I chose to book my travel with a single, tried and true all-American carrier in order to avoid the pitfalls of multiple carrier bookings, especially when the “you-know-what” hits the fan. Or in my case, my grandmother passed away and we had rearrange things midway through our trip. +

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Tim Miller

Air
Delta_hello

If only airlines could work a little harder to at least include a few wonderful humans within in their new digital help strategies. Kiosk interactions often lead to feeling kinda like this picture taken at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, December 20, 2012.

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Tim Miller

Air
HARLEY2

I was on a trip with a couple of colleagues last year that was panning out to be a trip from hell. Multiple delays, missed flights, late night car rentals and an unexpected 6hr layover in Milwaukee… nightmare.

+

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David Wykes

Big Ideas

Seat warmers on overnight flights. I travel a lot, domestically and internationally. I have my typical travel routine down to include what I wear – mostly because i tend to be cold a lot. I always carry a sweater. Even with the sweater and a blanket, if I can get one, I am always cold on overnight flights…and that can make it tough to sleep. I want the heated seats in my MINI as the seat I fly in. Those heated seats are great and the auto industry has had them for years.

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Andy Cargile

Air
Murray

It was a classic disappointment to the start of a family holiday. My wife had booked the four of us, including our 21 year old twin sons Jasper & Sebastian, all on the same flight … and what do we get – 3 seats together and one at the other end of the plane. It was almost as if the mood for the entire holiday was going to be pre-conditioned by this silly, no stupid, malfunction of airline ticketing systems.

+

submitted by
Murray Camens

Air
wykes

On a recent flight to Austin, Texas I woke up from a snooze to be greeted by an amazing view, it was almost like my inner sightseer had been prodded and had to take a looksy. I think airlines could do more to direct you to interesting things you can see out of the window, even if its often below the clouds! Understanding location, scale and context only reinforces the amazing experience that flight is.

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David Wykes

Air

My worst trip was a one way.  Headed home from Dhaka via Dubai and San Francisco.  Only 7 hours from Dhaka to Dubai.  In Dubai the 15-hour layover was a killer even if it was spent in the Business Class lounge.  Finally, comfortable in a lie-flat seat on Emirates I settled down for a 15-hour flight from Dubai to San Francisco.  With only 2 more hours to go we landed unexpectedly in Seattle.  The plane had to refuel!  I wanted to be let out because I was home, but it was an unscheduled stop, so no one could disembark.  3 hours later we landed in San Francisco.  I ran from the International to the Domestic terminal, hurdling through customs and security.  As I waited we were informed the flight to Seattle was cancelled. Mechanical problems she said. I joined the crowd at the desk to get rebooked.  10 hours later I was finally home

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Lilly Davies

Air Car Mass Transit
china
Last year I went to Beijing for Christmas vacation with my friend. He’s never been to China before, so this was extremely exciting for him. Our trip began with a 10 hour flight filled with crying babies. When we landed and got in a cab to head to where we would be staying, except that the cab driver drove around the block several times in an attempt to push the price up. After arguing with him for what seemed like an hour, we threw some money at him and walked away. My friend had heard about Beijing’s amazing foot massages, so we were quick to try one out. As it turns out, feet weren’t the only thing they massaged. While there, we also went to the Olympic stadium. On our way we ended up squeezing on a subway car that had the only nauseous Chinese man. The man swayed back and forth several times before throwing up onto my friend. We had a good few days there.

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Chris Zahn

Big Ideas

Why don’t airlines make specific inter-locking carry-on suitcases/bags that are all specific dimensions and can interlock with each other and the overhead storage area? In this system, everyone would be allotted one specific overhead slot and everyone would know what to expect. The suitcases could be customizable so everyone’s would be different (yet the same), and airlines could even offer an “additional carry on” service for a fee, or to loyal members!

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Chris Zahn

Air
enrollment_center
This is less about air travel on a plane and more about getting my Global Entry pass. Global Entry is something that Homeland Security provides for travelers who travel globally (or domestically). It basically lets you go to the front of security and not have to do the standard TSA checks. 

I applied in August and just had my interview today. Say what you will about TSA (a different organization), but the people handling Global Entry were incredibly efficient – and they were understaffed. It is a very fast but thorough process.  +

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Andy Cargile

Air Car Mass Transit
Lufthansa

My first vacation in nearly a decade, total travel disaster! On my way to Italy this summer I just happened to pass through Germany on the day Lufthansa decided to strike! After 3 hours in line, 1 hour on the phone, and $700 for a 1.5 hour flight to Rome, I was back in the air. Not so bad I guess…until I had to head home a week later. Europe to US by air and land over sea: 2 taxis, 3 airplanes, 1 bus, 2 security check points, 1 trolley, 23.5 hrs. Ouch!  

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Sarah Matheny

Mass Transit
CIMG2568

Indian train travel is an extensive experience, you’re thrown in a small cell with random strangers without any privacy. But, soon you become friends with everyone, have delightful talks, the food is shared and you are listening to music together!

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Tim Zurmoehle

Air Car Foot
baby-on-airplane1

Ahhh…. the joys of traveling with a family of four. My sister-in-law was getting married in Ithaca, New York. Wonderful and so happy for her, but it also meant a Seattle to Ithaca trip with my then 5-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. +

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Rian Speidel

Big Ideas

There is one easy thing that could be done to make travel a hell of a lot easier: change the hinges on bathroom stall doors so that they open OUT. Inward-opening doors force you to go in with your bag and then somehow maneuver it all in such a way so as to close the door, but even then, there is no space for your knees when you sit. Changing the hinges would make using the bathroom quicker and easier and would help to avoid lines as well.

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Alysha Naples

Mass Transit
Alysha_Naples

Trams are one of my favorite ways to travel. They’re classier than buses, and while the subway may be a faster way to move between points, you lose all of the scenery that you can catch from the tram. I studied in Prague, and I loved to ride the “tramvai” and watch the city go by — I’d often do so with no destination in mind, and I have loved trams ever since. +

submitted by
Alysha Naples

Mass Transit
Nun

Train travel in Europe is easy, right? Buy a ticket, get on the train, ride the train, get off the train. Discover a sun drenched vacation fantasy. In a perfect world, this is how it works. As a group of 4 blond, American twenty-somethings in Southern Italy however, it didn’t work quite like that. +

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Lauren Cascio

Bike
Yonatan_Munk

My favorite way to travel is by bicycle, because you get to go faster than you could by foot but still maintain the smug satisfaction of having gotten somewhere under your own steam. +

submitted by
Yonatan Munk

Air
Izzie_Zahorian

In June 2012 I scheduled a much-needed trip to San Francisco. It’d been a rough few months, and I was really looking forward to seeing a show with my friends that night. +

submitted by
Izzie Zahorian

Big Ideas

One small thing that could add huge value, the right to reserve overhead space for baggage. After the hassle of getting through security with a carry on bag it’s a big let down being forced to check it at the gate, and then wait for it at baggage claim on the other side! 

submitted by
Sarah Matheny

Air
Yulia

My recent trip to Cancun was amazing except for the travel experience trying to get home. Our flight to get home was scheduled to leave Cancun at 4:00 pm. After a 7-day trip we were all ready to get home. +

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Yuliya Kashcheyeva

Air
IMG_0645
Recently one of my flights connected in Delhi/India. Therefore I had to claim my baggage and check-in again. When I tried that, the check-in counter has already been closed for 5 minutes and they did not want to open it up again for “only” two people.  +

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Tim Zurmoehle

Air Car Foot Mass Transit
end-of-line
Travel can be a giant pain — you feel like all of your rights are violated and your dignity is tossed out the window. You go through multiple boarding processes in order to cross time zones, the date line, and the Equator. But sometimes, at the end of the line, it’s all worth it.

submitted by
Alysha Naples

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