Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011: The New Year in Review

Right, that's not a typo. We're reviewing 2011 in travel. My feeling is: Why wait? The news is seldom really new. We pretty much know what's going to happen. So:

Airline add-on fees rise and multiply: Want to sit down? Want to use the toilet? That'll cost you.

Space tourism faces flight delays: Richard Branson and the boys are frustrated this year when air-traffic control officials say they'll have to put test flights to space on hold, absent a next generation ATC system.

U.S. revises airport security rules: Yep, again. Won't tell anyone why. Simultaneously, the Homeland Security chief visits Israel, studies the tough airline and airport rules there, says she'll think about maybe adopting some. Isn't quite sure which ones. Appoints a blue-ribbon commission.

High-Speed Rail: It speeds up, in China, where a new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai is set to open this June (seriously), a year ahead of schedule. It slows down in the U.S. where lawsuits, work rules and property owner resistance sidetrack plans for environmentally friendly fast trains. Oh, and anti-government Republican state govenors return federal transport funds to Washington - you know, the capital of the evil empire.

Air Fare Sales: They're shorter. You have 60 seconds to catch the announcement on Twitter and book.

Hotel room discounts. Ditto.

And speaking of hotels: 2011 is the last year for all those media bedbug stories, not necessarily because bedbugs have been eliminated but because the famously attenuated media attention span has shrunk still more, and the spotlight has moved on.

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