Want a SIM card for your iPhone in London Heathrow?

LHR: London Heathrow Airport: "Great deal in the SIM card vending machines: 20 pounds for unlimited data, 300 minutes voice and 300 texts on the '3' network. Plug and play too. Awesome!" -John W at London Heathrow on Routehappy
Some airports have great things like this, and some don’t. We factor in airport ratings from real flyers when you search for a flight on Routehappy so that you have a better trip.

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Posted in Airports, Flyer tips, Genius tips, London

Security!

SecurityKids

SecurityKids

What’s the best way to get through airport security? Savvy flyers have a little bag of tricks to to swiftly and efficiently get through the mighty tricky security lines. But who doesn’t love extra tips for taking the pain out of the airport experience? Routehappy’s Director of Data, John Walton, shares his top 6 security tips:

1. Choose the right line (or the left one. Or the one downstairs hidden behind the water fountain)
My top tip is to be smart about choosing your security line, especially at larger airports. Routehappy users love sharing hot tips about hidden or under-used security lines, and I’ve saved hours by finding those shorter and faster lines. (Hi there, JFK T4!) Skip lines containing folks who might take longer — infants, kids, obvious tourists (t-shirts or hoodies with their town’s name on it is a big hint here!) and older travelers. But also be aware of what’s at the end of the line — or, more specifically, how many machines are in operation.

2. Carry (right) on
Pick the right carry on bag! TSA-approved laptop bags are widely available, but anything that lets you pull your laptop bag out swiftly is a great plan.  And try not to pack too much extra electronic gear — a mess of cabling and gizmos makes it more likely that the X-ray screener will want to have a closer look. Consider rubber-banding your wires and cords neatly (and you’ll be grateful when you come to use them too.)

3. Coat it – carefully
Even in warmer weather, I travel in a light sport coat or blazer. As I get closer to the end of the line, I empty my pant pockets into the sport coat, ready to put it through the x-ray machine. (Hot tip: to avoid creases when folding sport coats or blazers, pop one of the shoulders inside out, then fold the other shoulder into it.) And being smart in a sport coat has often paid off with an upgrade, and I’m grateful for it when the plane is arctic inside too.

4. Adopt a Mantra (om)
I use a mantra to put things on the belt in order so I don’t forget them: jacket, bag, laptop, shoes. I slip my jacket on first, then grab my bag, slip the laptop into it, and then grab my shoes.

5. Speaking of belts…
Skip the belt, or wear a tried-and-tested non-metallic one. Alternatively, consider going the full British with a pair of suspenders, the old-school type with loops for buttons sewn inside your waistband. Look at you, all Downton Abbey.

6. Keep the feet simple and to the beat
Slip-on shoes are a great plan. I have a pair of really comfy Ecco moccasins that work well in business casual or with shorts at the weekend. But whatever brand you go for, check carefully that the shoes don’t have a metal frame or heel plate for structure. In those rare cases where you can keep your shoes on when going through security, you don’t want to set off the metal detector.

What are your top security tips? Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook, and don’t forget to share these tips with your friends!

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Posted in Airports, Flyer tips, Genius tips

Just try to resist making little plane noises. We dare you.

[image of salt and pepper cellar in the form of a clear plastic propeller aircraft] "The salt and pepper shaker is a little plane!" -Robert A on Virgin America on Routehappy.
Aren’t those Virgin America salt shakers awesome? (Did you know Virgin Atlantic‘s have ‘pinched from Virgin Atlantic’ on the bottom to give light-fingered passengers a laugh? See what else Routehappy’s CEO Robert A got up to on his flight!

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Posted in Airline, Flyer tips, Food, Virgin America

#Shark(let)Week

So long as you haven’t been living under a rock (or in this case, aren’t a certain seal), you know that this week is once again #SharkWeek on the Discovery Channel.

While the idea of sharks and planes don’t normally come together (let alone tornados filled with sharks), Airbus has solved this quandary with Sharklets.

Sharklets are fuel-saving wingtip devices that replace conventional wingtips and are currently being installed on the new Airbus A320 family of aircraft to roll off the production line.  Some airlines are retrofitting their A320s, including JetBlue who famously captured the project in this YouTube video earlier this year (click the photo to watch):

JetBlue A320 with Sharklets (source: jetblue.com)

Sharklets reduce the amount of drag generated by aircraft lift, which requires less thrust and thus less fuel needed. If you know anything about airline economics, fuel is the top expenditure, which in turn can drive up ticket cost. Saving fuel saves money and perhaps airlines will share that savings with their passengers.

JetBlue isn’t the only airline to go shark, so has Virgin America and Air New Zealand. We’re told that while there is a big reduction in drag, this should have no affect on any in-flight entertainment containing drag queens.

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Posted in Air New Zealand, Airbus A318, Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Airline, jetBlue, New York, Virgin America

Oh Baby, Baby!

He has arrived, the #royalbaby. The world is taking to social media to announce their joys over the birth of Wills & Kate’s little one. But once the Royal couple are in need of a holiday to the States to get away — and, of course, to introduce the baby to America — how might the world’s number one set of new parents get here? Here at Routehappy we specialize in make the trip as happy for them (or you) no matter whether you’re traveling like a prince, princess or the fourteenth footman downstairs.

American Airlines, LHR – DFW on a freshly steeped 777-300ER

Let’s say the Royal family wants to take a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth. You know, land of big hair and personalities — oh, and that quintessential American department store, Neiman Marcus. They can hop onboard American Airlines’ new 777-300ER from Heathrow and make the 10 hour or so hop to the big D. Onboard, we’d recommend they sit in these comfortable first class full flat pods.

AAFIRST

Air New Zealand, LHR to LAX on 777-300

Perhaps Kate wants to have high tea and trade Mommy (sorry, Mummy) tips with our very own Royal Mother in the US, Kim Kardashian.  For her, we’d recommend a hop on a true hidden gem. Air New Zealand flies from LHR with an ultimate goal of ending up in Auckland (AKL) of course, but since no aircraft can yet reach quite that far, they make a leisurely stop in Los Angeles (LAX). The London-LA leg is one of the best kept secrets in all of Hollywood.

Air New Zealand is known for their fabulous Kiwi staff, luxury and effervescence. When Kate needs that drink refreshed, she can belly up to the in-flight bar and select a delicious New Zealand wine (or two), chat with fellow passengers or head back to her full flat pod business class seat.

ANZKIA

British Airways, LCY to JFK, on A318

Before you question a possible typo at the end there, we did mean A318. This is an all business class flight that jaunts from London City airport to Shannon, Ireland, and eventually to JFK. The stop in Shannon is quite brilliant – it’s a United States pre-clearance zone which allows folks on certain flights to clear customs in Ireland and avoid the sometimes long lines at JFK. Here’s a look at this intimate cabin with just 32  full flat seats:

BA_Airbus_A318_cabin

British Airways, LHR to NYC (JFK or EWR), on a 777-200 or 747-400

If taking a brief Irish pitstop isn’t their jive, and the idea of a cozy private space seems more appealing, they may opt for a full flat pod in BA’s New First Class, offered on most flights to the US. Important note: supermodel Rachel Weisz isn’t included in the ticket price.

Seat - First Class Full Flat Pod - British Airways - New First - Rachel Weisz

Virgin Atlantic, LHR to JFK, on A330-300

Another exceedingly shiny way to get from LHR to JFK is Virgin Atlantic, in Upper Class. Virgin offers swish new full flat pod seating, a wide selection of on-demand entertainment, comfortable 1-1-1 seating layout, plugs, and a trial of Wi-Fi on most flights. Their new Dream Suites make the flight really comfortable and stylish.

Seat - Full Flat Pod - Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Dream Suite - A330 only

Naturally, one needn’t be related to Her Majesty to want a happier, more comfortable flight. And we at Routehappy don’t think you should have to pawn off the family jewels to pay for it! Find your own happiest flight — for the lowest price — at Routehappy.com.

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Posted in Air New Zealand, Airbus A318, Airbus A330, Airline, American, Boeing 747, Boeing 777, British Airways, Dallas, Flyer tips, Happiness Factors, London, Los Angeles, New York, Plugs, Seat Layout, Seats, Virgin Atlantic

Introducing Flightpage

In the past two years at Routehappy, we’ve gathered a trove of data about flights thanks to our Flight Genius team of experts and flyers like you. Our database, Flightpad, houses over 6GB of data on flights including 100,000 ratings and 30,000 comments from reviewers in over 60 countries (accessible on our website and our iPhone app). We use this data to power our unique Happiness Scores, which you find on every flight you discover on Routehappy.

Have you ever had one or more of these questions pop into your head when you search for a flight or are already out traveling?

  • What’s the best way into the city from the airport?

  • Is Premium Economy worth the money?

  • Will there be healthy food at the airport?

  • Should I buy the food on the flight or bring with me?

  • How is the entertainment selection on the flight?

  • Will the seat covers match my outfit?

To answer them, we got to work developing our latest enhancement to Routehappy: Flightpage, because we too had these questions pop into our head. (Though we’ll admit we’re not sure about your outfit.)

Think of using Flightpage like you’d shop a site such as Amazon or Zappos – a product page offering detailed and relevant information — plus user reviews that you need needs to make a purchase decision. With Flightpage, we’re bringing the first flight product page of its kind to market, with detail presented in an easy-to-understand way.

Never before has a flight shopping site incorporated this much useful content for flyers into the shopping experience, including integrating what real flyers are sharing about flights. Flyers can now easily make the best decision every time they buy a flight and as a result, fly happier! Here’s some of the cool features you can expect:

  • A simple summary of all the flight details you need

  • Visual timeline showing all components of a trip at a glance (especially if it’s not a non-stop flight)

  • Our exclusive Happiness Factors that tell flyers what to expect on the flight (including legroom, aircraft quality, entertainment, in-seat power, Wi-Fi and more)

  • Filtered and sorted tips, which include reviews and photos from real flyers. These can be drilled down to a category of interest to the flyer (such as transportation to or from the airport, food, and crew friendliness)

flightpagess

To get inside Flightpage, you simply search for a flight on Routehappy, and to the right of each flight click the bright blue button to be taken to the Flightpage. You can book that flight right from the Flightpage or go back to look for other choices.

flightpagess2

Why is all of this important? We’re bringing social sharing to flight search in a simple, easy-to-understand way. We’re giving flyers like you way more information than they ever had at their fingertips before when searching for flights. For airlines, we’re helping airlines show their ancillary products and highlight the billions airlines have spent (or will spend) over the years on aircraft and product investments.

We continue to look forward to helping flyers like you #flybetter. Search for a flight on Routehappy right now!

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Posted in Flyer tips

Hello Gorgeous.

Hello gorgeous! We’re loving the new uniforms, Virgin Atlantic. We would expect nothing less from such a stylish airline.

-Team Routehappy

virgin-atlantic-uniforms

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Posted in London, Postcards

A Taste of Qatari Hospitality

First off, we’d like to wish those celebrating the holy month of Ramadan a happy one. If you’re familiar with the holiday, a key element is the practice of fasting during the day, to be broken in the evening with Iftar, the evening meal for Muslims to gather and break the fast together.

For folks flying on a five-star airline like Qatar Airways during daylight hours, that may mean missing out on a scrumptious meal. But never fear, Qatar has stepped up to the plate (literally) with tailored “Iftar Boxes” for flyers to consume later once able to break the fast.

MEALONE

There are two boxes – one for vegetarians and one for non-vegetarians, with the key difference being a saaj wrap either with chicken or without. It also comes with tasty crudites, the airline’s signature mixed fruit and nuts, as well as a banana and some other noshables to complete the dining experience.

The boxes are available on Qatar flights between Doha and the Gulf, Middle East and North Africa to passengers in Business and Economy class who decline meals due to fasting. The meals are presented around the fast break time by their cabin crew later in the flight.

If you’re flying on Qatar and happen to enjoy one of these Iftar Boxes, be sure to tell us about it by writing a review on Routehappy!

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Posted in Airline, Flyer tips

Have and Have Not

If you’re a reality show junkie (especially if you’re flying an airline like JetBlue or Virgin America that have live satellite TV offerings) you may have come across CBS’s Big Brother, now in their 15th season.

If you’re not familiar with the show, it works like this: 16 “houseguests” live together in a house built on the CBS studio lots, completely cut off from the outside world for 3 months. They struggle for power with the end goal of being the last one standing, with a $500,000 check to sweeten the deal.

Each week, a competition is held to compete for luxuries, and the losers become “have-nots” for the week. When you become a have-not, you have to eat “slop” as your main meal for the week (which is some sort of a cold oatmeal-type substance) and sleep in a more uncomfortable room as opposed to a normal bed.

BIG BROTHER

This year, the folks at CBS put on their #avgeek hats and recreated a coach class cabin of their very own, complete with some rather basic seats (which do not recline, by the way) and plenty of space for their luggage.

BIG BROTHER

At Routehappy, we’re all about our unique Happiness Scores that tell fliers what flights are the happiest and at the best price, ranging from 0-10. Thinking about this cabin, we wanted to put our Happiness Factors to the test and build a score for the Have-Not room:

big-jetAircraft Type: It’s hard to say, but we think this is a much older aircraft judging by the older tray tables and baggage compartments, not to mention the super retro luggage they’ve uncovered.

roomier-seatSeat Type: If seated in the front row, legroom is plentiful, but in the back row – seems like an average seat pitch. There is no competition within the competition to decide who sits where. Generally only about 6 “have-nots” exist, so each should be able to get their own row.

seat-layoutSeat Layout: 3-3-3 is relatively more comfortable than 3-4-3 on those long international flights, and this angled configuration is certainly unique to the have-not room, so we’ll consider this a plus.

entertainmentEntertainment: No seatback televisions here, but instead, mirrors with cameras looking in to watch all the juicy conversations which involve lots of salacious gossip. So, that in and of itself can be entertaining.

plugsPower: Depends on the definition. No power outlets to juice up gadgets in here (since the houseguests aren’t allowed to have any in the first place), but plenty of struggles for leadership power in the house.

wi-fiWi-Fi: Houseguests are cut off from the outside world. They can’t communicate with friends or family, let alone see what’s happening on Twitter. If there is a Wi-Fi stream, it’s just for the CBS employees outside the door.

goodFlyer Rating: Initial feedback from the houseguests is quite dismal, especially combining this with the added punishment of eating “slop.” We also should mention that there isn’t an attentive flight crew around to help keep the houseguests comfortable.

really-fastThe Happiness Hover: A Have-Not “sentence” is about a week long, so think of taking an entire week to get somewhere in one of these non-luxurious seats. It’s also not a guarantee that the sentence lasts one week. If a have-not loses a subsequent competition, they might spend another week onboard.

Scoring this together, we’re going to give the Have-Not room a completely made-up (and non-scientific) Happiness Score of 1.0. We also call this our “dreadful” rating.

1p0
This uncomfortable cabin makes your flight look pretty great now, doesn’t it? With airlines investing more money than ever on new planes, seats and amenities, you’ll find all the key differences laid out helpfully and easily at Routehappy!

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Posted in Airports, Flyer tips, Seats, Type of plane

Happiest flights – Patriotic Edition

Yesterday, we shared with you some of the happiest flights for July 4th, and nothing celebrates America’s birthday like the magic of flight. Heck, we invented the idea of air travel, didn’t we?

Routehappy users tell us that they love being able to find flights based on happiness and onboard amenities, all for the lowest price, so we were curious to find out what the happiest flights were on one day this week for each of the ten largest US airlines: AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Southwest, United and Virgin America.

So, what’s happiest all across the United States? Here’s a look:

10: AirTran’s happiest flight: Milwaukee to Atlanta

Flight 588 from Milwaukee to Hotlanta is the happiest flight on AirTran. Having Wi-Fi onboard can make the time fly real fast (literally).

9: Frontier’s happiest flight: Madison, WI to Washington (DCA)

Cheeseheads flying from Madison to Washington, DC have Frontier’s happiest offering, flight 1620. With a spacious, new E190 jet (and only two passengers on either side of the aisle) plus Wi-Fi, and an Excellent flyer rating, this is one happy flight to DCA!

F9

8: American Airlines’ happiest flight: San Francisco to New York

Being on a spacious widebody 767-200 on this Wi-Fi equipped journey helps keep folks happy on their way to the Big Apple.

7: US Airways’ happiest flight: Tampa to Charlotte

This Airbus A321 offers a little more room and Wi-Fi to make the trip from the Tarheel state to the sandy beaches of Tampa/St. Pete a pleasant journey. (Also, here’s a reminder on why the US A321 is a gem.

US-Airways-A321-seats

6: Southwest Airlines’ happiest flight: Sacramento to Denver

Break out the complimentary peanuts from the happiest seat of your choice and head from the Capital of California to the sometimes snow-capped mountains of Denver along with one of the friendliest crews in the skies.

5: Alaska Airlines’ happiest flight: Washington-National to Portland

One of AS’s newest routes on a spacious 737-800 between Portlandia and the airport closest to Barack Obama’s house is a hit with hipster flyers who like to stay connected with Wi-Fi.

DCA

4: Delta Air Lines’ happiest flight: Atlanta to Los Angeles

Grab your Ray-Bans and hop on this spacious 767 to El Lay. You might even see Ryan Seacrest on the plane. (In person, not necessarily via the on-demand entertainment).

3: Hawaiian Airlines’ happiest flight: Seattle to Maui

Seattle is a beautiful city, but often cloudy. Who wouldn’t be happy to hop on their way to the sunny beaches of Hawaii in a roomy 767 seat (with a nice, wide 32” seat pitch) and a Mai-Tai?

2: United Airlines’ happiest flight: Denver to Tokyo

The 787 is a feat of American engineering, built right on our lands. The 787′s advanced design means that you’re less tired and your skin is less dehydrated, and plugs ensure your electronics aren’t dehydrated, either.

UA787

1: Virgin America’s happiest flight: Washington-Dulles to San Francisco

Politicians who wear brown suits all week long for a mood-lit flight to get on their way back to the Left Coast. They also enjoy Wi-Fi and satellite TV to pair nicely with a selection of tasty drinks and treats.

So, what’s your happiest flight of the week? Tell us below and don’t forget to review your flights on Routehappy.com!

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Posted in Airline, Flyer tips, New York, Type of plane
Routehappy helps you fly better.
Now everyone can find shorter flights with roomier seats, on nicer planes, with better entertainment, plugs, Wi-Fi and more — from better airports.

 • Why flyers need happier flight search
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 • Learn more by watching our 90-second video
 • Read the Routehappy launch press release

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