Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!
The Fastest Airlines on Twitter, App Reveals Airport Wi-Fi Passwords, More: Frommer's' Travel Briefing | Frommer's  

The Fastest Airlines on Twitter, App Reveals Airport Wi-Fi Passwords, More: Frommer's' Travel Briefing

A roundup of travel news from all over

If you find yourself in a pickle at the airport, don’t expect your airline to respond quickly to your tweets for help. Some do much better than others.
Conversocial, a software company that tracks social media interaction by major brands, recently completed a test that determined that when it comes to Twitter communication with customers, North American airlines are much more responsive than European ones. In its examination, 9 out of 10 North American carriers got back to customers about half the time. 
Guess what—the most responsive carriers were the ones commonly perceived as the cheapest.
Alaska Airlines was the fastest, with an average response time of 2 minutes, 34 seconds. That’s far better than the North America average of 1 hour, 5 minutes.
The most responsive is Southwest Airlines, which gets back to customers about 43 percent of the time it’s mentioned on social media sites, compared to the North American average of 24 percent, and its social media response team works round the clock. During the airline's July outage, it dealt with some 93,000 social media messages over four days, reports CNBC.
Compare that Spirit Airlines, which needed nearly 6 hours to reply (good luck, flyers!) to one of Europe’s biggest low-cost carriers, easyJet, which required an abominable 16 hours and 50 minutes to get back to customers on social media.
Even though United Airlines recently reported it had a staff of about 24 social media monitors, it still only manages to reply 37 percent of the time, which is one of the least responsive records of all the major U.S. carriers.  Of the poorly performing European pack, Lufthansa was the least bad.
Last March, a charter airline company did its own study and found that the quickest social media responses came from Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris, JetBlue, and Etihad Airways. But its results agreed that European carriers were nowhere near the most responsive.
The studies did not take into account the quality of the replies, either. Too often, the airline Twitter help desks just feebly apologize and suggest you contact Customer Service through traditional channels. With pressure like the Conversocial report, though, many carriers may want to improve their social game.


We're just going to leave this right here.

Don't know if this is legal, but it exists. Computer engineer Anil Polat, writes Condé Nast Traveler, compiled a list of crowdsourced Wi-Fi passwords valid for access at airports around the world. His app, WiFox, can download them all to your phone so you'll have them when you need them.

As Traveler reports, it's a little stronger on airport Wi-Fi passwords outside of the United States right now, although users report this is improving rapidly. But for many airports, it's as specific as go to this café in this terminal and use this password, which gets you this much time in access.

The app, which went live in late September, costs US$2 and is available on both iOS and Android

The security issues of hooking into these networks is your own concern. (Here are some tips on that.)


During the Third Reich, the former pub on a corner in Braunau-am-Inn, not far north of Salzburg, was a pilgrimage site for Nazis. People would gather there to chant slogans.

That’s because on April 20, 1889, Adolf Hitler was born there. Or at least it’s thought; though some people think he was born in a long-since-demolished building next door, it’s agreed that his family lived in town until he was 3 years old.
Ever since the catastrophe of leadership and democracy that enabled Hitler to seize power, Austria has been embarrassed by the building. At times it was a library, a storehouse, and in a twist that would have enraged the dictator, a workshop for people with disabilities. That tenancy fell apart when the owner refused to renovate it to make it more friendly to people with mobility concerns.
But in recent years, it was purposely kept vacant. With Neo-Nazism on the rise, Austria doesn’t want it to become a place of pilgrimage for society’s more self-destructive elements. 
The owner of the building received over $5,000 a month in rent from the government to keep in compensation, and earlier this year, Austria bought the building outright. 
According to Deutsche Welle, the country has announced that it won’t demolish the building, as was seriously considered this summer, nor will it turn it into a museum that warns the public about the dictator’s rise from venomous populism. Instead, it has decided to radically alter it and hope the extreme right wing loses interest in it.
"We must put something there that nobody would want to photograph themselves in front of -- a supermarket, a charity store or a fire station," suggested one anti-Nazi activist. The mayor favors using it for progressive social causes, such as an education or welfare center.
A stone out front hints at the moral quandary with which Austria is grappling: It alludes to but makes no mention of Hitler. “For peace, freedom and democracy," it reads. "Never again Fascism. Millions of dead remind us.”

Our Travel Briefing appears regularly on the home page. Catch up on past installments by clicking here. For more updates, as well as vacation photos and travel tips, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.