6 Flight Hacks For Travel Success

Flying can be monumentally stressful, but not if you’re adequately prepared. Here are six insider flight hacks to make your flying experience as smooth as possible.

1. Use the secret handles underneath overhead cabins

When turbulence happens, most people will use their fellow passenger’s seats to brace themselves from falling on the way back to their seat. The majority of people don’t realize, however, that almost all airplanes have a secret handle underneath the overhead cabins that store roller boards and other assorted carry-ons. You’ll see the handles on either side of the sign that denotes the aisle number; simply reach up there and use the handles to get yourself back to your seat safely without disturbing fellow passengers.

2. If turbulence affects you, look out the window at the horizon; if it’s dark, focus on the wing of the plane.

Speaking of turbulence: Gizmodo’s Bryan Lufkin addresses the fear/sickness factor of turbulence after his own particularly harrowing experience flying from Tokyo to Minneapolis. Lufkin interviewed pilot Patrick Smith of AskThePilot.com about the danger of turbulence and the risk of the plan falling apart:

“Even in extremely rough air, the wing is not going to break off and the plane is not going to flip upside-down,” Smith reassures readers.  

Modern-day planes are so advanced that their wings are designed to bend up to 90 degrees; plus, if the turbulence is truly that bad, the pilot will change the flight path and land early instead of risking a plane full of people.

When experiencing turbulence, it’s best to look out into the horizon or the wing, as this helps trick your body into thinking that you’re not moving as much as you actually are. Eleni Xenos, a doctor who writes for One Life, tells her readers that looking at a fixed object in the distance is a great way to overcome motion sickness.

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3. When searching for a plane ticket, many travel discount sites will cookie you. Do research in one browser and purchase in another so the prices are less likely to increase.

It’s important to remember that when you’re searching online for airlines tickets, cookies are being saved on your computer and your searches are being stored. This kind of travel-site tactic results in the frustrating price jump in the midst of investigating flights. A good way to avoid this pitfall is to either clear your browser cache, or simply search for airfare on one computer and book it on another. Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal’s Dana Mattioli wrote about findings that showed users of Mac computers paid as much as 30% more on travel than what Windows users are charged. All of that considered, it might make sense for Mac users to try and not purchase tickets until they’ve researched flights on a PC as well.

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4. Tuesday is the least traveled day of the week, so if you’re looking to avoid lines (and get a cheaper fare), fly then.

Flights departing from noon on Thursday through midday Monday command the highest demand for travelers, which is why tickets during that window of time tend to be the most expensive. With that in mind, Fare Compare lists Tuesday as the best day to fly for the cheapest flights available. Traveling on a Tuesday also means that you’re more likely to avoid the crowds that have been plaguing airports this summer, which can result in hours-long waits for passengers just to get through security.

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5. Direct vs. Non-stop: All flights are not the same

While direct and non-stop flights seem to virtually mean the same thing, they’re actually different beasts with different implications. Non-stop flights (as opposed to direct) have their own unique flight number and may be the best option for the anxious or super-rushed traveler: while there is usually an increase in ticket price, that extra cost comes with the added convenience of not needing the earlier plane to land, deplane, and get set up for new passengers to board.

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6. If you have time to plan in advance, do so. Ticket prices increase three weeks out, and become exponentially more expensive seven days out. 

It’s well-known that the further out that a trip is booked, the cheaper the price. Caroline Costello, of Smarter Travel, looked at a study performed by CheapAir.com that monitored more than 4 million airline trips taken in 2013 and found that the cheapest time to buy for domestic flights was seven and a half weeks in advance. For international flights, the earlier the better, but there are price fluctuations that depend upon the destination.  

The first expected price increase for purchasing is about 3 weeks out, then 7 days. After you’re under the 7 day window, it might be best to try and use reward points or miles for travel. Costello notes that the worst day to buy a plane ticket is the day before the flight, with each day preceding the first day being the next worst day to buy a plane ticket. By the 13th day prior to departure prices stabilize, with price increases expected in regular intervals prior to takeoff as the plane becomes closer filled to capacity.   

 

$1 Rides in Dallas & Houston!

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A month ago, we launched a promo for new riders in the Austin area which offered $1 rides for Wingz first-timers throughout the city. We saw an awesome response from folks within the city, so we decided to stretch our Wingz-span, if you will, and up the Texan ante: we’ve now got $1 fares for first-time riders in both Dallas & Houston.

From now until August 19th, new Wingz customers will pay just $1 for a ride up to 20 miles to or from the Dallas or Houston airports. We know that the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas cover a bigger swath of land than Austin, so full disclosure: rides above 20 miles in these markets will have a $40 discount applied towards their final fare instead of the flat-rate $1. And although you have to request your ride by August 19th, the ride can take place within 60 days of booking.

$1 from each fare will once again go to a charitable cause, this time in the form of Dallas and Houston’s local Meals on Wheels chapters. For 46 years, Meals on Wheels has been the leading provider of nutritious meals for seniors who aren’t able to leave the home or cook for themselves. Please consider donating to your local chapter, even if you don’t plan on taking advantage of the promotion.

To schedule your first Wingz ride, simply download the app and book. No promo code is needed to get your $1 ride in Dallas or Houston. You can also book your ride at wingz.com.

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If you’re already a Wingz user, there remains incentive for a great deal. If you share the word and your friends sign up for Wingz using your unique referral code, they get a $1 ride… and you’ll get your $5 Wingz credit. Get a deal and do some good with Wingz, now until August 19th.

For additional details on the promotion, check out our terms and conditions.

 

Introducing My Favorite Drivers

By now it’s probably well-known to those who’ve been following us, but one of the most important things Wingz offers users is the ability to book and re-book their favorite drivers. If you find a person who made your ride to or from the airport spectacularly special, you’ve been able to directly request them for future rides and have a familiar face waiting the next time you travel.

FavDriver3Still, there’s always a chance that the driver you want isn’t available when you need your ride, and our more frequent travelers often have multiple Wingz drivers with whom they’ve had great experiences.

With all of this is mind, we’ve retooled our app and website so the drivers you’ve rated 5-stars will be organized in a team of Favorite Drivers, which you can manage and reorder as you like. The new tool will make the act of finding and booking your preferred drivers a whole lot easier. 

When you schedule a ride from your Favorite Drivers team it’ll still function as a direct booking, as the ride request will immediately go to your #1 driver. If your chart-topper isn’t available for that upcoming trip, we’ll default to the second highest on your list—and so on—until we find the right person for your ride.

We’ll also make sure to take into account how time-sensitive your request is: we know that rides for the near-future need to be accepted more quickly than say, a ride for a week from now. The further in the future your pickup request, the more time we’ll give your favorite drivers to accept the ride; if the ride is a bit more urgent, our priority will be to get a trusted driver quickly.

If you don’t end up getting any of the drivers on your list, not to worry: your booking request will be placed at the top of the queue from our general pool of hand-picked drivers, so you’ll still be able to get a ride with a trusted Wingz driver.

We hope all this makes your Wingz experience even better!

Manage Your Favorite Drivers Button

 

5 Travel Hacks For a Last-Minute July 4th

As the temperatures rise across the country and the summer weather sets in, many people are daydreaming about a vacation.  If you don’t yet have anything planned for the 4th of July weekend, here are the top Independence day travel hacks which may help you plan a successful impromptu holiday weekend.

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1. Surf for last minute travel deals

Many resources are available to help make an impulse getaway a reality. Surfing sites like Travelocity, HotelTonight, and The Flight Deal can help land a great last minute vacation at a fantastic price. For a low-hassle, all-in-one experience, Travelocity allows you to book air, hotels, and rental cars in the same transaction. If you’re looking for something more spontaneous (but also at a great price), HotelTonight allows you to book an amazing last-minute hotel room at cut-rate prices.  The Flight Deal is perfect if you are looking to fly to your next destination, as it features truly remarkable flight bargainsoften to international destinationswith clear instructions on how to get them.  

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2. Take a day off before or after your holiday to maximize your vacation

Jenna and Micah of Wander The Map offer several tips for maximizing your vacation with the limited amount of vacation days that American workers are notorious for having.  July 4th falls on a Monday this year, which means  it’s possible to take a short three day trip using up no vacation time, or an entire nine day vacation using only four vacation days.  Using the federal holiday allows you to get the extra time that you want away from your day-to-day life and extends the duration of your extra-special trip.

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3. While on vacation, use your autoresponder to disconnect.

While you’re on vacation, be on vacation. Instead of worrying about the office, your clients, or your workload, focus on spending quality time with the friends and family you’re traveling with; if you’re traveling alone, focus on what sights to see or where to eat. Embrace your e-mail provider’s autoresponder with an out of office message, indicating when you’ll be back and able to reply to business matters.  

If you have tasks that must be done in your absence, hiring a digital assistant through a site such as Taskrabbit can get the job done for you while you’re away enjoying your time off.

Taskrabbit’s platform allows users to connect with others willing to perform the chores or errands that you cannot or do not want to perform.   Their interface is easy to use and remarkably intuitive at matching the requester with the “taskrabbit” who completes the duty.

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4. Missed that connection and worried about your bag?  No worries, it’s already there.  Send your stuff ahead.

Missing your connection or flight hurts in the short-term, but the thought of losing your bag with the airline either can be the biggest gut-punch of all.  Fortunately, there are many ways around the problem of having your bag stranded in the airport; you just have to plan a bit in advance.  Luggage Free and Send My Bag are two godsend services that allow you to pack your bags and ship them to your final destination before you even take your Wingz ride to the airport.

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5. Get ahead of the crowds by checking into your hotel in advance online.

Many hotel chains such as Hyatt, Hilton, and Disney now allow you to check in online prior to your arrival to cut down on time spent in lines. Hilton’s online check-in system allows you to select your exact room with the hotel’s floor plan. And since checking into your Disney hotel is a unique experience in and of itself, the happiest place on earth gives you the ability to use their dedicated guest services lines to ensure you still get to interact with the sights and sounds of each place you stay.  

There are ample opportunities available this week for the last-minute traveler, and if you’re willing to dedicate a few minutes of planning, you and your loved ones are destined for a great holiday.

Do you have any travel hacks for last-minute travel?  If so, please share!

 

$1 rides all around Austin!

It’s been a wild few weeks in the Austin area, and today we’re launching one of our most thrilling promotions ever: $1 fares for first-time riders.

From now until July 1st, new Wingz users can schedule a ride within Greater Austin and pay $1 for the first 20 miles of their journey. It’s important to note that although you have to request your ride by July 1st, the ride can take place within 60 days of booking.

What’s more, we’ll be donating the $1 fare to Caritas of Austin, an awesome local non-profit helping fight poverty, hunger, and homelessness within the community. We’re delighted to have found a great organization that works diligently to provide housing, food, education, and employment to those in need around Austin neighborhoods. Please consider donating even if you don’t plan on taking advantage of the promotion.

To schedule your first Wingz ride, simply download the app and book. No promo code is needed to get your $1 ride in Austin.

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If you’re already a Wingz user, there remains incentive for a great deal. If you share the word and your friends sign up for Wingz using your unique referral code, you’ll still get your $5 credit when they take their first ride! Get a deal and do some good with Wingz, now until July 1st!

For additional details on the promotion, check out our terms and conditions.

 

Top 5 Apps for Business Travelers

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Business travelers are an important market of the travel industry that reportedly spent $175 billion in 2015 according to the US Travel Association.  These travelers take more than 405 million long-distance business trips a year, meaning there’s 405 million chances for weather patterns to shift, flights to be delayed, and plans to get changed; with that in mind here are the top five apps that make traveling a breeze for the frequent flyer.

TripIt

TripIt is a free app that helps the business traveler organize all of their plans into a single location by consolidating e-mails, calendars, and travel documents for easy access.  The app allows users to share information via e-mail, direct link, or through social media.  The paid version of the app, TripIt Pro, is $4.09 a month and offers advanced features like real-time flight alerts, fare refund notices, and tracking of reward-program points.

WeatherPro

Developed by MeteoGroup (which is the number one private weather provider in Europe), WeatherPro is a powerful app that offers seven-day forecasts and weather reports for more than two million locations around the world.  WeatherPro ensures that business travelers know what to expect when they arrive in their destination city, and for only $2.99, it is an inexpensive tool that ensures travelers pack everything they need for success.

CityMapper

CityMapper was originally developed for commuters but is used frequently today by business travelers everywhere to get around their destination city just like a local.  Currently in 31 cities around the world (with plans for future expansion), CityMapper is an easy to operate, free app that gives users the best point-to-point directions with the available public transportation options.  For cities that offer a bike share program like London and San Francisco, it pinpoints the whereabouts of all bike locations and includes how many bikes are available.

LiveTrekker

The developers of LiveTrekker promise a solution for travelers who end up creating a large amount of data and digital content on their journey, utilizing the help of high quality maps that friends and family can also access.  By employing precise GPS technology, LiveTrekker allows users to take pictures and video of specific locations with the added bonus of commenting à la most social media platforms. For the busy business traveler that may not get much free time, this is an easy way to keep track of the many sights that are quickly experienced during a business trip.

App in the Air

App in the Air is billed as the personal flight assistant that makes sure users don’t miss another flight.  In addition to keeping track of everything related to the flight—even including the type of aircraft used— App in the Air offers information on airports, weather, and the local currency for the frequent business traveler. The app can be used with TripIt to sync flights and travel information allowing for easy organization, but perhaps most useful for the busy business traveler is the Timeline feature, which keeps a timer for when check in for flights start, when check-in closes, and the terminal location.

Safe travels!

 

Hating the Wait? Here’s How to Bypass Your TSA Troubles

The Today Show has been airing story after story about the country-wide struggles that have plagued the TSA over the past few months, and while there will always be a vocal group on social media that’s ready to decry the shortcomings of airport security, some of the statistics presented in their latest reports were eye-catching.

Evidently 35% of people who work for TSA quit within the first year, with an average 117 people each week walking off the job. The agency’s spike in employee turnover is occurring at the worst possible time for travelers in the US, which has seen a 7% increase in the number of passengers so far this year in comparison to 2015 numbers. One of the latest debacles occurred recently in Phoenix, where 3,000 checked bags weren’t able to get to their flights in time due to a screening error by TSA employees. Their miscue was made worse when each of the 3,000 bags had to be shuttled to either San Diego or Tuscon for their eventual sorting and shipment, since PHX didn’t have the capacity to screen for explosives.

All this commotion is troubling for the frequent traveler, and only re-enforces our belief that those who spend a lot of time in airports should be utilizing every time-saving step they can. To avoid long lines, there still remains two prominent avenues for riders worrying about the wait.   

  • TSA Pre-Check: You might be crabby for having to spend $85 and a couple hours with the very organization you’re trying to circumvent in the first place, but TSA’s in-house pre-screening program is still truly the best way to avoid the worst part of the airport lines. With availability in 160 airports and 12 different airlines nationwide, it’s easily the most wide-spread option available at the moment. It’s basically the airplane equivalent of paying Disney for a FastPass.
  • CLEAR: A third-party player in the game of security bypassing, CLEAR is a bit pricier ($179 per year, whereas that $85 charge covers your for five years) of a service but is much easier to deal with from a logistical standpoint. Their spiffy 30-second spot brims with an electro-house thump that might not really get that specific point across, but CLEAR’s sign-up process is a relatively quick in-and-out procedure. You’ll still have to visit the airport to wrap up your application for fingerprinting, but it’s really only a 5-minute stop that’s available at multiple locations in each airport they service—which is 13, as of today.

We hope your future travels are line-, stress-, and delay-free.

 

 

Introducing WingzAround in Austin

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Last week we launched our airport ride service in Austin and received a Texas-sized welcome.

That same week, some pretty weird stuff was happening:

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The departure of certain on-demand, ride-sharing services left a ton of Austin riders stranded and a lot of drivers out of work. To help out, we’ve expedited our Austin beta launch of WingzAround, the private car service for around town and beyond.

Just like our airport ride service, WingzAround takes the stress out of getting to and from wherever you need to go—a concert, business meeting, sporting event, doctor’s appointment, or special event.

With advanced booking, flat-rate pricing, and trusted drivers, you can rest easy knowing a friendly driver will be waiting for you… not the other way around. And, once you ride with Wingz, you can request your favorite driver for a more personal experience.


3 easy steps to book your WingzAround ride (During Beta Only)

In a few weeks, you’ll be able to book directly in our app.

  1. Send us a ride request message through WingzAround page on our website or on Facebook messenger.
  1. We will ask you for all your ride details.
  1. You’ll receive a confirmation along with a set price quote for your approval.

Wingz Tip: Please book as far in advance as possible (at least 2 hours before pickup time. 24 – 48 hours in advance is even better.)


Just to be uber-clear: Wingz is booked in advance, not on-demand. The reason is simple—advanced booking takes the stress out of wondering if a driver will be available when you need it.

And to really lyft your spirits: Wingz has flat-rate pricing so you always know the price before you go. We send you a quote for your approval and that’s exactly the price you’ll pay. And it’s way less expensive than a town car. While we’re happy to drive you shorter distances, WingzAround does have a $15 minimum.

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Now sit back and get ready to enjoy the ride!

The Wingz Team

 

An Accelerated Takeoff in Austin

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If you call the greater Austin area home, you’ve no doubt heard the latest news about the suspension of service by both Uber and Lyft. Though they may be gone from the terrific Texan capital, we’re happy to declare that Wingz is back operating in this beautiful city for good, with no plans to pull out.

In fact, due to this latest overwhelming spike in demand, we’ve sent a significant portion of the Wingz team down to the Lone Star State to help onboard as many drivers with our platform as quickly as possible. And while we most definitely will be increasing our presence in Austin quantitatively, we’re still completely committed to having the highest quality drivers and cars in the city—especially if fingerprinting new operators helps accomplish that.

This exciting time will hopefully be free of growing pains, but if you find yourself in need of some help, have any complaints, or want to send over any specific requests, feel free to contact us via the @WingzSupport twitter handle or via email at ask@wingz.com for all things customer service.

The most exciting part of all of this is how much we still have to show you. We have cool upcoming new features, programs, and other special add-ons to the Wingz app, so for those Austinites who are just finding out about Wingz now—keep your ears to the ground to hear what’s coming up!

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Wingz is no exception.

 

 

5 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts You Can Carry on a Plane

Mother’s Day is this weekend and the best gift is spending time together, but  you probably do not want to show up empty handed! For those who live a plane-ride away from their mom and are flying home to see her this weekend, first of all – great work! However, chances are you won’t be checking a bag. Here are five gift ideas you can easily take along in your carry on.

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1. Family photos / picture books

If you happen to live far away from your mom, then the next best thing to seeing you in person is having reminders of you around the home. Framed pictures of fun memories are always great, but glass can be difficult to travel with on a plane. Picture books from 23 Snaps or Shutterfly make for an excellent alternative, and your mom will always be looking for an excuse to show them off.

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2. Artisanal soap

What mom doesn’t love fancy soap? Of course, most mothers are too practical to buy it for themselves, which is where you come in. Artisanal soaps like the ones sold by Lush – especially its Mother’s Day collection – can be a great way to spoil your mom without breaking the bank.

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3. Perfume sampler

Perfume is a classic gift for any occasion, and most sample packs come in bottles that are packaged against spills and are small enough to be safely stored in carry on bags. Buying new perfume can be tricky if you don’t know exactly what type of fragrance someone will like, but sample packs come with a variety of scents to try out. If she really likes one, that makes your next gift choice even easier!

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4. Jewelry

Diamonds are a Mom’s best friend. Kidding! Kind of… Few mothers would turn down new jewelry, and it is small and light enough to safely pack away in your carry on or even in your pocket if you want to be extra secure. Many stores have good deals on jewelry for Mother’s Day, and you can be sure that she will always think of you whenever she wears it.

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5. Tea accessories

Plenty moms happen to be avid tea drinkers, which makes tea accessories a great gift choice if you want to get something she can use every day. Accessories like this insulated tea infusing bottle can brew amazing tea while also keeping it hot for hours.

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Of course, you are aren’t able to bring a gift, don’t worry about it! She’s your Mom. Your presence is her present. She will be happy to be spending the day with you!

Safe travels this weekend and just remember – if you need a ride to or from the airport, ride with Wingz.