The iPad “may lead in the future the end of airline in-flight entertainment systems,” JetStar chief information officer Stephen Tame has said. That’s a pretty bold statement to make about the in-flight amenity that many business travelers depend on to survive long-haul frequent flying.
But it’s no surprise, really. Much of the travel sector is hip to technology trends, and they're providing their most prized customers with access to the latest and greatest in gadgetry.
Here's a look at what some travel providers and hotels are doing to make business travel easier:
- Quantas Airways is drinking the iPad Kool-Aid -- the Australian airline rents the iPad to passengers during the flight for $8.30.
- The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Berkeley in London, New York’s Peninsula Hotel, and many Four Seasons hotels hook up big-spending guests with iPads to use during their stays.
- The Algonquin Hotel in New York has Kindle e-readers available to guests.
- Those who are in a hurry but want to stay updated on current events dig the St. Regis Washington D.C.’s bathroom mirrors -- which double as LCD Electronic TVs.
- At the ARIA Hotel in Las Vegas, type-As and CEOs alike relish the power of electronic master remote controls that customize hotel rooms to your preference -- control your lighting, music, temperature, video, and wake-up calls, all at the flick of a joystick.
- For those who are in need of a release, Marriott and Westin hotels boast in-room Nintendo Wii.
Technology and gadgetry in the business-travel arena is ever-evolving and increasingly in demand. Don't forget to take advantage of these latest trends in travel tech amenities while you're on the road:
Travel providers have begun maintaining an on-board tech concierge to help passengers with their gadgets. Air New Zealand has a tech concierge throughout the journey -- from the departure gate prior to boarding, in-flight, and upon arrival to the destination.
In-Flight Wifi & In-Seat Electrical Sockets
Most business class seats have their own plugs for passenger use -- Virgin and Cathay Pacific planes have electric sockets for all seats. An increasing number of airlines are also connecting more fleets with WiFi service. CheapOair, an online travel agency offers in-flight WiFi for gadget-happy business travelers on a budget. The company has partnered with the airlines listed with Gogo In-flight Internet (from Aircell LLC, an airline wireless internet provider).
Airlines with wireless flights include: US Airways, AirTran Airways, Virgin America, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines; Continental and Frontier plan to join soon.
If you end up on a flight or at a hotel that doesn't provide the important gadgets for you...
For business travelers who need to stay connected with their offices in real-time, no matter where they are, there's Dimdim. Dimdim users can video conference with each other, text chat, share applications like PowerPoint and Excel, work together on an interactive whiteboard, co-browse the Internet and share desktops. Attention, small businesses and entrepreneurs: Dimdim is free for those with less than 20 people using it.
Make sure you're geared up with a few crucial tech items. Most important: a supplementary battery. Another smart purchase is a gadget like the PowerSquid. This product treats all technology equal by using just one outlet to plug in several devices at once.
And don’t even think of using that in-room phone to make any off-site calls, unless you and your business enjoy overpaying for no reason. Bring a webcam with your computer if it doesn’t have one built in, and use Skype for free international calls.