Despite increasing airfares, there are many travel trends to look forward to this year.
Despite increasing airfares, there are many travel trends to look forward to this year. Artiga Photo/Corbis

The Flight Experience 

If you travel a lot, you may be used to tuning out preflight announcements. But now there’s added reason to pay attention — you’ll likely be hearing good news about the use of electronics during your flight.

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Until now, the closing of the cabin door signaled the beginning of some 30 electronics-free minutes to fill. And then, during the descent, came another blackout. But those days are officially over. Here’s what to expect:

During takeoff and landing you can now use an e-reader, tablet or smartphone — as long as it’s in “airplane mode,” so it can’t receive or transmit data. If your phone can’t be put into airplane mode, you still have to keep it off for the entire flight.

Your laptop doesn’t share in the new in-flight e-love, because in an emergency it could turn into a lethal projectile. But, as before, you can still use your laptop once the plane is at cruising altitude.

Even with the new rules, the captain has the final say —and can prohibit the use of all devices if they might interfere with the plane’s instruments. So on your next trip, be sure to listen carefully to the flight attendants. And remember, no arguing if the rules change mid-flight.

The Security Gauntlet

Tired of squeezing shampoos and moisturizers into tiny plastic bottles and handing over your water bottle as you go through security? Well, here’s more good news for fliers: We soon may be able to carry on liquids in full-size containers again!

Yep. New scanners that can detect explosives in liquids are being tested in European airports, and U.S. officials are monitoring those tests closely. So keep your fingers crossed.