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WestJet's Plus Fare
WestJet

WestJet has launched its new Plus product on all Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft – highlighted by an empty middle seat, added services and upgraded meal options on longer flights.

Business travellers and vacationers alike will appreciate more personal space and comfort, added services like hot towels, upgraded meal options and booking flexibility.

Guests seated in Plus enjoy more legroom and elbow room. On WestJet's fleet of Boeing 737s the middle seats in Plus will be blocked and will soon be outfitted with a new middle seat console between the aisle and window seat, giving guests more space and privacy.

Seats in Plus on WestJet's Boeing 767 aircraft will be wider than the 737 aircraft seats, arranged in a two-two-two configuration with an aisle separating each set of two seats. Premium hot meal selections are also included.
Virgin Hotels Debut in Chicago
Virgin Hotels

Earlier this year, the venerable Virgin brand opened its first Virgin Hotel, in downtown Chicago. Located in a historic building just on the edge of the Loop and 2 blocks from Millennium Park, the hotel keeps with Virgin's trend of differentiating from the competition through unique service offerings with style and sass. Each "chamber," as they call it, features a variety of high tech touches (like controlling the TV and temperature from your phone) and an unusual layout – essentially a dressing room/closet/bathroom combined into one large space, separated by a sliding door from your living/sleeping space. Add in the customary splashes of red and very friendly staff and the Virgin Hotel is well worth the price next time you're in the windy city. Additional locations are due to open in Nashville (2016), New York (2017) and Dallas (2018).
Beware of security flaws in travel apps
Bluebox Security

Over the years, smartphones has been gaining traction as the primary platform for online travel bookings. Industry leaders have concluded that mobile use will become the medium of choice in the trip planning and travel booking process. All the big players in the online travel space have mobile apps offering the ability to book flights, hotel rooms, car rental and more on the go, whenever and wherever you may be on your travels.

Customers download these apps with the belief that the same security features on their websites are available on their mobile counterpart. However, according to mobile security firm Bluebox Security, reality could not be further from the truth. Bluebox analyzed the top ten most popular travel apps for both Android and iOS and found some striking security flaws.

"We did a little bit of research in the app ecosystem where we wanted to see what kind of security protection is in place in apps, or rather what protections are not in place. We selected the category of travel apps, which are used by both consumers and enterprises every day for multiple things like airline booking, payments for hotels, restaurants and ride sharing," said Andrew Blaich, Bluebox's head security analyst.

"We noticed that overall security is a second-class factor when apps are being developed," Blaich said. "We looked at a variety of different factors including third-party coders, data exposure and are they exposing or not protecting data they're saving on the device like log in or credit card information."

The Bluebox study found that only one out of 10 Android apps analyzed and none from the Apple App Store used any data encryption for stored information such as usernames, passwords, email addresses and even credit card numbers. The report described it as a 'potentially catastrophic' situation, but also identified other loopholes.

About 70% of the code in the apps, Bluebox said, originated from third-party sources and not created or authenticated in-house. These range from social media APIs, location based content, and other travel related third party information. These come from numerous different Internet resources 'significantly increasing the attack surface,' it said. In addition, none of the apps had any anti-tamper or anti-debug protection, again leaving them exposed to possible attack.

In conclusion, Bluebox stressed app security should be an essential part of the development process from the outset, with robust encryption, 'self-defending' capabilities and the removal of any unnecessary third-party code.
Companion: Never Walk Home Alone
APP & GADGET OF THE MONTH

While many larger companies have sophisticated security offerings for their travelers while overseas, some smaller companies don't have the means to offer such tools. While Companion was designed for the college campus environment, it works very well as a security device for travelers.

When traveling in an unfamiliar environment, you can enter your destination in the app and select a contact to notify of your route. The app will notice any deviations or unusual movements in your route and if you don't confirm that you're OK on the phone, an alarm will sound and your selected contacts will be alerted. Throughout your journey, your contact can see your route, live on a map. The service uses data and while some travelers are very judicious with their roaming data while traveling, providing safety and peace of mind is likely worth the additional data roaming charges.

The app is available for free in the Google Play and iTunes stores.