If you read one article about air travel in 2014, it should be this one.
1. Electronic Devices Are Now Cleared for Takeoff
As of late last year, you can now leave your smartphones, tablets, and e-readers in the “on” position from gate-to-gate. If the relaxed rule from the Federal Aviation Administration seems like a long time coming, it has been: the first regulations against personal electronics were issued back in the 1960s.
2. Travelers Will Smarten Up and Skip Security Lines
Once regulated to select frequent fliers, more passengers are now allowed to enroll in TSA Pre-Check. The Transportation Security Administration’s “trusted traveler” program allows pre-approved passengers to speed through security by keeping their shoes and jackets on and their laptops and liquids packed.
3. In-flight Wireless is Becoming the Standard
As Wi-Fi coverage spreads its wings across more and more major air carriers, all other companies will be scrambling to catch up. Luckily, programs like Gogo allow you to stay connected on more than 2,000 aircrafts.
4. Airlines Are Adding More Features
Bonus: as many airlines add Wi-Fi, they’re also installing power outlets to keep you charged up. You might also notice other changes like new overhead bins and more in-seat televisions.
5. You Can Rack Up Rewards Faster
Airlines are also bidding to win over passengers by improving their rewards programs. Once the dust settles from a slew of airline mergers that have happened over the past five years, passengers will be able to earn and burn reward points across more flights.
6. In-flight Entertainment is Expanding
We might be stuck on long flights, but the good news is airlines are offering new in-flight entertainment options to distract us. More airlines are utilizing services like Gogo Vision to bring movies and TV shows to our personal Wi-Fi devices. And if your flight ends before the credits roll, Gogo Vision’s “resumption of play” feature allows you to finish the feature on your own time.
7. DIY Baggage Tagging is Here
It won’t be long before air travelers across the U.S. are printing and tagging their own luggage, whether that be at home or at a kiosk at the airport. The concept has already become airborne with airlines like Iberia and Lufthansa, and it’s projected that 80 percent of airlines worldwide will be using self-service baggage tagging by 2016.
8. Everything is Becoming More Connected
In perhaps the ultimate example of interconnection, London City Airport is testing a new technology that would allow you to seamlessly bring up your boarding pass, track your luggage, find your gate, and even step into a pre-booked taxi when you land. While other airlines and airports are offering these services on a smaller scale, here’s to hoping this idea takes off.
— Written by Libby Zay, a Baltimore-based writer with a knack for scouting out the best local experiences and regional foods. She’s contributed to four travel guide books as well as outlets including AOL Travel, BUST magazine, Gadling.com, Gawker, Gizmodo, the Huffington Post, and Lifehacker. For more from Libby, check out
“8 Apps Every Air Traveler Needs” or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.