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The best messenger bags of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Messenger bags are an extremely popular alternative to backpacks - they can usually carry the same amount of gear, but are easier to access because you can shift the bag to your side or front. I prefer it on the subway, too, for the same reason. If it's crowded, I can just shift it in front of me, rather than having to take it off and hold it.

Just like backpacks, there are lots of different designs, qualities, and price points among messenger bags, enough to fit any budget or need. We've looked at a ton of bags to find the best options, and we've narrowed them down here. Read on to check out our top picks: for the commuter student, the city worker, or simply an on-the-goer.

Here are the best messenger bags of 2021

The best overall
citizen messenger copy

The Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag is roomy and durable, perfect for carrying heavy loads while commuting or hiking.

Pros: Lots of space, comfortable to carry, very durable

Cons: Doesn't come in multiple sizes, may be bigger than some are looking for, wouldn't work well for a formal office

Chrome Industries makes plenty of durable gear ideal for cycling and city life alike, but the Citizen Messenger Bag is one of the most popular — and for good reason. This timeless bag was designed for biking, and it has an iconic, unyielding design with impressive capacity. When you open the bag, there's one main compartment that is almost as big as the bag itself. There's no padded laptop pocket, no internal dividers, and nothing else to take up space. It's a simplified choice that ensures maximum room for all your gear. And, not to worry — you can use a laptop sleeve to protect your computer and the packing cubes we recommend to organize smaller items.

The main compartment is lined with a removable water-resistant tarp that's held in place with velcro, in case you need to dry it later. You can even use this as a makeshift divider, putting items between the bag's outer shell and the tarp, a great way to keep dirty gym clothes separate from the rest of your stuff. The outer portion of the bag is built with an abrasion-resistant fabric and comes in a ton of color options.

The shoulder strap has a seatbelt buckle so that rather than having to swing the bag over your head, you can just pull it around your body and click the buckle into place. You can keep the strap adjusted shorter, which makes it easier to carry heavy loads or ride a bike. There's also a quick-adjust strap which makes changing the length a breeze. Importantly, the strap is well-padded and very comfortable to carry.

The best for laptops
timbuk2 command

The Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag is well-designed to withstand any commute, from bicycle to subway to airplane.

Pros: Padded handle, adjustable strap, tons of pockets and organization

Cons: Laptop sleeve doesn't have thick padding

Timbuk2 was founded in 1989 when a San Francisco bike courier set out to design a new, efficient messenger bag. Since then, the company has perfected its original model and built a number of variations and other kinds of bags, like backpacks and luggage.

The Command Messenger Bag was built for organization. It's generously endowed with pockets, buckles, and zippers to store items of all shapes and sizes. When the bag is closed, there are three side entry pockets on the front that you can still access, and each one is closed securely with zippers. One smaller pocket is felt-lined, making it perfect for a smartphone or other electronics. The largest side pocket sits behind it, and is big enough for a bicycle U-lock, a magazine or newspaper, or a tablet, while the third pocket is on the other side of the flap and fits items like a power adapter or sunglasses.

Spinning the Command around, the laptop pocket is accessible through a zipper on the back of the bag, completely isolating it from the main compartment underneath the flap. The pocket is well padded, and there's a second pocket for a tablet. You can also separate the laptop to conform to TSA standards when traveling. On the back of the bag, outside of the laptop section, a luggage handle pass-through lets you place the bag securely on top of a roller bag.

There's an exterior pocket for a water bottle, too, which can fit just about any type of bottle. At the top of the bag, a padded handle makes carrying the bag by hand a breeze. Like many Timbuk2 bags, the shoulder strap has a quick-release buckle, which lets you lengthen and shorten the strap with one easy motion. It's a real help if you're biking or carrying a heavy bag.

The bag is lined with a weather-resistant material to keep your belongings safe whatever the day may hold. There are many color options and multiple sizes of the Command bag available, so make sure to check the dimensions to see which one you need.

The best for travel
herschel gibson slide

Reinforced with resistant fabric for trips of all kinds, the Herschel Gibson Messenger is a stand-out choice for travel with a built-in trolley sleeve.

Pros: Zip-convertible trolley sleeve to grasp luggage handle, great compartmentalization, EVA-reinforced carrying handles, removable shoulder strap, padded laptop sleeve

Cons: May be too briefcase-like for some

Herschel Supply Co. is a brand that boasts its fine quality, and its Gibson Messenger is an option specifically designed for travel that doesn't disappoint. While you can purchase one of our favorite backpacks, this messenger bag is an equal player in providing durability, versatility, and a classic carry for all your essentials.

Described as a travel brief on Herschel's site, it consists of two main compartments and EVA-reinforced carrying handles. Hand-crafted for the traveler, its padded-and-fleece-lined laptop sleeve can fit up to a 15-inch device with an enclosed zipper. And, the bag's minimalist zipper design is a key feature of the messenger. The front storage sleeve has a reinforced zipper flap, and the trolley sleeve zips closed when not in use.

Versatile and sleek, the Gibson Messenger is rather small, yet mighty. It's a great, adjustable option to take off your shoulders and prop above your airport baggage (one of our checked luggage picks, perhaps) and the keen eye for quality and detail is apparent. I recently purchased the brand's Novel Duffel Bag and I can attest the structure of its bags are polished, practical, and, of course, superb for travel.

-- Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow

The best for the office
j Crew

The J.Crew Abingdon Messenger Bag provides a classic look while en route to get some work done at a coffee shop or to take with you on a weekend adventure.

Pros: Functional, flexible, great organization

Cons: No padded laptop pocket, strap may be too long for some

J.Crew is known more for its clothes than its accessories, but the company managed to use its knowledge and experience with classic styling to design a stylish, understated messenger bag perfect for the modern man. The Abingdon Messenger is built from a waxed cotton canvas with leather trim and pulls off a clean look that hides a handful of useful features.

Outside the bag on the front side, there are two mid-sized pockets that can hold any range of quick-access essentials. The bag's flap just covers the top of those pockets, which use hidden magnetic snaps to keep closed. At the back of the bag, a wide slash pocket also closes with a magnetic snap. Perfect for holding a magazine or tablet, the back pocket is accessible while commuting, so you don't have to open the whole bag. Rounding out the exterior pockets are two small pouches on the sides. They seem to be designed for a rolled-up newspaper or a water bottle, but they're too narrow for most reusable ones. They work well for a compact umbrella, though.

The bag is great because of its flexibility, both in terms of functionality and style. The bag is softer and less structured than many alternatives, which makes it easy to under-fill or overstuff depending on what you need for the day. And, rather than undoing all the buckles, you can just slip the strap off the bag's brass hook.

As far as style goes, the bag, which is available in two colors, is like a lot of J.Crew's clothing collection — it can dress up or dress down equally well. I've felt comfortable carrying it to a job interview while wearing a suit, as well as bringing it on an overnight trip wearing sneakers and jeans. It can hold some pretty heavy stuff without any issue, too.

The best leather messenger bag
kenneth cole

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Columbian Leather Laptop Bag is made from premium leather that will hold up for years, all while holding your much-needed items.

Pros: Great laptop protection, removable shoulder strap, good for carrying folders or documents.

Cons: More formal than most messenger bags, stiff

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Show Business bag is thoughtfully designed with a smooth leather feel that's hard not to love. 

The bag looks a little more like a traditional briefcase than some other messenger bags, but the benefit of this is a structured, protective laptop pocket. Because the bag holds its shape, you can easily carry folders and documents without worrying about them getting bent — a worry with less-structured bags, similar to the J.Crew Abingdon.

A front pocket runs the length of the bag and has organizer loops and pockets for pens, a cell phone, business cards, and more. There's also a zippered pocket within that section. The main pocket has the padded laptop pouch, plus two extra open-top padded pockets — these are great for a tablet or a charger. There's room left over for any other items, too. Finally, there's a full zippered section on the back of the bag. Big enough for files, folders, or magazines, it can also be used as a quick-access pocket, which you can get to while the rest of the bag is closed.

The bag has a sturdy handle on top and the shoulder strap is removable, so if you ever wanted to carry it like a briefcase you have that option. The flap has two buckles with quick-release clasps so that you don't have to undo them every time you want to access the bag. It's available in four different colors and is a steal for the price.

Check out our other travel gear guides and roundups
Dagne Dover Dakota
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I just flew on the first Boeing 737 Max passenger flight since the plane was grounded. The flaws that killed 346 people were the least of my concerns.

American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 14
  • I just flew on the first Boeing 737 Max passenger flight since the plane was grounded in March, 2019, following two fatal crashes.
  • American Airlines operated the demonstration flight a few weeks before it reintroduces the Max to regular customer service.
  • I felt confident that the flaws which contributed to the crashes have been fixed — but traveling during the pandemic left me less reassured than I expected.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In March, 2019, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded worldwide after the second of two fatal crashes caused by a flaw in the airplane. A total of 346 people were killed.

Today, I climbed aboard the plane for its first passenger flight of 2020, which the Federal Aviation Administration allowed after 20 months of inspections, deliberations, hearings, redesigns, lawsuits, and debates.

Despite the reduced travel demand during the pandemic, American Airlines is pulling its fleet from storage and plans to begin using it for passenger flights before year's end.

As part of the return to service, the airline plans to invite some passengers to tour the plane, with pilots and other employees describing the changes that Boeing made to repair the safety hazards that contributed to the crashes.

American also invited several journalists onto a Max demo flight, as well as a briefing and walkthrough of changes at its Tulsa maintenance base, another aspect of the push to restore passenger confidence in the jet after two years of damning headlines.

I've previously written that, despite the various complex problems and flaws that contributed to the two Max crashes, I would be comfortable flying on the plane when it returned to service. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, although I was nervous about traveling as the pandemic seems poised to explode even further out of control in the US: This was my first flight since much of the country went into lockdown this spring.

Still, this appeared to be the first Max flight with passengers since the grounding (aside from employees of airlines, Boeing, or the FAA), although it was not a commercial revenue flight open to the general public. That's newsworthy, and I decided to make the trip anyway, relying on PPE and an abundance of caution to try to minimize the COVID-19 risk.

Here's what I thought after the first passenger flight.

The 737 Max is the latest generation of Boeing's workhorse 737 series.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 20
The main difference between it and the previous model is that the plane has bigger, more fuel-efficient engines.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 5
Boeing had to mount the larger engine farther forward and higher on the wing than on the previous generation, changing the aerodynamic qualities of the entire plane.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 3
Boeing designed a software program to to compensate for the fact that the engine size and placement could make the plane's nose drift up compared to the older generation. The flight control software, which was meant to only activate in certain circumstances, was called MCAS — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 2
MCAS would take control of the trim stabilization on the plane's tail, changing its angle to compensate for the jet's nose drifting upward.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 15
In both crashes, MCAS appeared to have activated erroneously after one of each plane's angle of attack sensors became damaged.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 17
Part of what may have contributed to the crashes was that Boeing failed to highlight MCAS in the pilot manual for the plane, simply describing certain actions that could be taken to disable it if the plane experienced unusual behavior.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 22
As part of the return to service, Boeing redesigned MCAS to rely on a second angle of attack sensor, so that if one becomes damaged and gives a faulty reading, the program will not activate. The FAA, other regulatory bodies, and Boeing also devised a series of pilot training requirements which pertain to MCAS, its effects, and situations that could cause it to kick in.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 21
I'm personally confident that they've gotten it right this time, partly because of the unprecedented scrutiny on the recertification process. With input from other global regulators and independent assessments, and the pressure to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, I do not think the plane could possibly be returned to service without the faults fully addressed.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 18

Despite the approval from the FAA and from other national aviation regulators, including in Europe and Brazil, family members of crash victims remain deeply suspicious of the plane, and characterized American's media event as a PR stunt.

"The promotional flight was arranged by the American Airlines marketing team simply because the company made the mistake of buying more Max aircraft than almost any other airline," Michael Stumo, whose 24-year-old daughter Samya was killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, said in a statement. "Passengers should avoid this aircraft because others are safer."

Notably, airlines have stressed that they will only bring the Max back to service when their pilots are confident in it. At American's presentation, several pilots who represented their union during Max return planning said that they were satisfied with the updates and new requirements.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 19
And that's why I was willing to step aboard a Max today.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 1

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced airlines to ground huge portions of their fleets as travel demand fell to record-breaking lows nearly overnight.

Although some demand has returned — particularly around Thanksgiving — travel remains down more than 65% compared to 2019 levels, and new, dramatic spikes in coronavirus cases nationwide make it likely that the modest recovery will stall, as it did around spikes in early summer.

Even so, American has decided to pull thier Max fleet from storage and get the planes back into service as quickly as possible.

Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said that the airline was eager to bring the plane back thanks to its improved fuel efficiency over other models, despite prices for jet fuel being near historic lows.

Erik Olund, managing director at the airline's Tulsa, Oklahoma 737 maintenance base — where most of its Max planes have been kept in storage — hinted at another possible reason. The airline's maintenance workers have spent more than 64,000 man-hours maintaining the planes while they are in storage, a costly enterprise.

American Airlines plans to be the first US carrier to reintroduce the Max, and is in the process of installing Boeing's fixes and preparing the planes to fly again after nearly two years on the ground.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 23

American's passenger service on the Max is expected to begin on December 29 with a flight between New York's LaGuardia and Miami. United plans to return it to service sometime in the first quarter of 2021. Southwest, the biggest Max customer, will wait until the second quarter.

American may not be the first airline in the world to reintroduce the plane, though; Brazillian carrier GOL is attempting to reintroduce the plane by December 10, according to Bloomberg.

Aside from the knowledge that we were the first passengers on the jet since the grounding, the flight was totally unremarkable.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 9
The interior of the plane was identical to the previous generation 737-800 I had flown the night before.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 6
The safety demonstration was the same, as was the location of the emergency exits — in fact, the Max uses the same seat-back safety card as the previous generation.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 7
There were only two real differences between this and a normal commercial flight on an older generation 737.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 10
First, the bigger, more efficient engines were noticeably quieter.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 12
Second, a lot of the passengers were taking photos or filming TV segments — definitely a departure from the norm.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 11
After about an hour in the air, we began our descent into Tulsa. The flight attendants took their seats and chatted with each other, just like normal, and we all put away our laptops and cameras.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 13
The flight landed with a sense of anticlimax, and our return flight was just as unremarkable.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 14
I would not hesitate to fly the Max again, but I doubt you'll find me on one anytime soon. Despite a variety of safety measures that US airlines are taking during the pandemic, being on commercial flights, spending the night in a hotel, and being around other people felt unnecessarily risky as the pandemic continues to rage uncontrolled.
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max Flight 4
While American's flight attendants did a good job of enforcing mask during my flights to and from DFW — and some evidence suggests flying itself is relatively safe — I found the number of maskless people at the hotel and in the airport to be jarring. Especially on the day that US set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, surpassing 100,000 for the first time.
David Slotnick Mask Airport BOS
Ultimately, the pandemic served to underscore my comfort flying on the 737 Max. Although I was on a plane that had been involved in two deadly crashes as a result of design and certification flaws, that was the least risky aspect of the trip. Now, I'm headed for at least a week of quarantine and a COVID test, and hoping that I stay healthy.
David Slotnick 737 Max Mask
Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines are using studies on COVID-19 spread to justify filling middle seats, but critics say the science isn’t so clear

FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Southwest has said it will stop blocking middle seats after November, but the studies it cited in its announcement have come under criticism.
  • Several studies that suggest flying is safe during the pandemic have come under criticism in recent days.
  • While all evidence suggests the risk of contracting COVID-19 while flying is relatively low, it still appears to be possible.
  • Southwest cited two of the maligned studies in its decision to stop blocking middle seats.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Southwest Airlines said on Thursday that it will stop blocking middle seats on flights, citing several studies that suggested that the risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight is low. 

Southwest joins American and United, leaving Delta the only one of the four biggest US airlines to limit capacity on flights in order to facilitate a degree of social distancing.

Airlines are caught walking a delicate line between providing — and promoting — safety on board, in order to prevent travel demand from collapsing again, and needing to cut costs everywhere they can. Among the various safety measures airlines can implement to protect against the virus, blocking middle seats is one of the costliest.

Although some evidence suggests that the risk of COVID-19 transmission on airplanes is indeed, low — for instance, flight attendants have lower rates of the virus than the general population — recent studies have come under criticism as airlines rush to tout the results as evidence that flying is safe. 

One of the biggest studies — and the study that Southwest cited most heavily — came from the Department of Defense, which found that the chances of catching COVID-19 on a flight were "very low," as long as those aboard wore masks.

Although the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which ran the study, is generally viewed as a reliable source, the study was co-sponsored by United Airlines and Boeing, introducing a potential conflict of interest. That involvement has opened the door to skepticism, with one well-known virologist writing on Twitter that Southwest had made a "bad call" by relying on it.

Moreover, several aspects of the study affected its usefulness. For one, it was performed on larger wide-body aircraft, rather than the narrow-bodies being used to fly most domestic routes today (and which Southwest flies exclusively). Also, it did not account for passengers removing masks during flight — even passengers who comply with the airlines' mask requirements may still remove them to eat or drink. 

Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding criticism of that study.

In a separate presentation, global trade group International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that it had found just 44 potential cases of COVID-19 being transmitted on flights among roughly 1.2 billion travelers. That's one case for every 27 million passengers.

That conclusion, however, was swiftly rebuked by one of the scientists whose research was drawn upon for the study. Infectious disease specialist Dr. David Freedman said that he had declined to participate in the presentation, citing "bad math."

Moreover, several studies suggest that COVID-19 can indeed be transmitted on airplanes. One relatively controlled contact tracing study that found a passenger had acquired the virus during a flight in which every passenger wore a protective N95 mask, which she removed to eat and left off for several minutes as she used the lavatory.

Earlier this summer, a statistical model from a researcher at MIT found that although the overall risk of contracting COVID-19 on a flight is low, it found that filling the middle seat doubles that low risk.

To be sure, while the science is inconclusive, airplanes appear safer than other indoor, close-quarters settings. And as airlines report record consecutive losses for the third quarter, they're desperate for anything that can cut costs and bring people on board. 

Southwest, for instance, posted a $1.2 billion loss — its highest ever — for the third quarter. Airline executives said it lost $20 million by limiting capacity on airplanes.

But even if the airlines could prove conclusively that flying is safe, it might not matter.

Travel demand remains down 65% to 70% over 2019 levels and — with the exception of a few outlier days — is holding steady. Travelers will not flock back to the air until there are places to go and things to do, airline CEOs have said

COVID-19 cases are spiking around the US and the world, and a bunch of states have quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. Moreover, many destinations remain at least partially closed. Theaters in New York City will remain shuttered until at least mid-2021. The city's restaurants are operating at 25% capacity, and cold weather will presumably nix eating on sidewalks and patios. California's theme parks remain closed; Orlando's have limited capacity. The bars, shops, museums, and other attractions that lead people to travel for fun simply aren't available.

Most business travel, meanwhile — which typically makes up just 15-20% of the big three airlines' passenger loads, but 50% of their revenue — is on hold. Big events like conventions won't happen anytime soon, and companies are unwilling to risk their employees' health or the liability, not to mention the expense of business travel in a weakened economy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines are using studies on COVID-19 spread to justify filling middle seats, but critics say the science isn’t so clear

FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Southwest has said it will stop blocking middle seats after November, but the studies it cited in its announcement have come under criticism.
  • Several studies that suggest flying is safe during the pandemic have come under criticism in recent days.
  • While all evidence suggests the risk of contracting COVID-19 while flying is relatively low, it still appears to be possible.
  • Southwest cited two of the maligned studies in its decision to stop blocking middle seats.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Southwest Airlines said on Thursday that it will stop blocking middle seats on flights, citing several studies that suggested that the risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight is low. 

Southwest joins American and United, leaving Delta the only one of the four biggest US airlines to limit capacity on flights in order to facilitate a degree of social distancing.

Airlines are caught walking a delicate line between providing — and promoting — safety on board, in order to prevent travel demand from collapsing again, and needing to cut costs everywhere they can. Among the various safety measures airlines can implement to protect against the virus, blocking middle seats is one of the costliest.

Although some evidence suggests that the risk of COVID-19 transmission on airplanes is indeed, low — for instance, flight attendants have lower rates of the virus than the general population — recent studies have come under criticism as airlines rush to tout the results as evidence that flying is safe. 

One of the biggest studies — and the study that Southwest cited most heavily — came from the Department of Defense, which found that the chances of catching COVID-19 on a flight were "very low," as long as those aboard wore masks.

Although the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which ran the study, is generally viewed as a reliable source, the study was co-sponsored by United Airlines and Boeing, introducing a potential conflict of interest. That involvement has opened the door to skepticism, with one well-known virologist writing on Twitter that Southwest had made a "bad call" by relying on it.

Moreover, several aspects of the study affected its usefulness. For one, it was performed on larger wide-body aircraft, rather than the narrow-bodies being used to fly most domestic routes today (and which Southwest flies exclusively). Also, it did not account for passengers removing masks during flight — even passengers who comply with the airlines' mask requirements may still remove them to eat or drink. 

Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding criticism of that study.

In a separate presentation, global trade group International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that it had found just 44 potential cases of COVID-19 being transmitted on flights among roughly 1.2 billion travelers. That's one case for every 27 million passengers.

That conclusion, however, was swiftly rebuked by one of the scientists whose research was drawn upon for the study. Infectious disease specialist Dr. David Freedman said that he had declined to participate in the presentation, citing "bad math."

Moreover, several studies suggest that COVID-19 can indeed be transmitted on airplanes. One relatively controlled contact tracing study that found a passenger had acquired the virus during a flight in which every passenger wore a protective N95 mask, which she removed to eat and left off for several minutes as she used the lavatory.

Earlier this summer, a statistical model from a researcher at MIT found that although the overall risk of contracting COVID-19 on a flight is low, it found that filling the middle seat doubles that low risk.

To be sure, while the science is inconclusive, airplanes appear safer than other indoor, close-quarters settings. And as airlines report record consecutive losses for the third quarter, they're desperate for anything that can cut costs and bring people on board. 

Southwest, for instance, posted a $1.2 billion loss — its highest ever — for the third quarter. Airline executives said it lost $20 million by limiting capacity on airplanes.

But even if the airlines could prove conclusively that flying is safe, it might not matter.

Travel demand remains down 65% to 70% over 2019 levels and — with the exception of a few outlier days — is holding steady. Travelers will not flock back to the air until there are places to go and things to do, airline CEOs have said

COVID-19 cases are spiking around the US and the world, and a bunch of states have quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. Moreover, many destinations remain at least partially closed. Theaters in New York City will remain shuttered until at least mid-2021. The city's restaurants are operating at 25% capacity, and cold weather will presumably nix eating on sidewalks and patios. California's theme parks remain closed; Orlando's have limited capacity. The bars, shops, museums, and other attractions that lead people to travel for fun simply aren't available.

Most business travel, meanwhile — which typically makes up just 15-20% of the big three airlines' passenger loads, but 50% of their revenue — is on hold. Big events like conventions won't happen anytime soon, and companies are unwilling to risk their employees' health or the liability, not to mention the expense of business travel in a weakened economy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

UPS’ advanced tech chief reveals how the pandemic has underscored the case for drone delivery, starting with moving medical supplies

UPS_CVS_Drone_3
UPS has launched two health care-related drone delivery trials during the pandemic.
  • UPS, along with other delivery and logistics companies, is in a race to launch regular, commercial drone delivery systems.
  • In the past few months, UPS has begun pilot programs with CVS and a major hospital system, using drones to make deliveries and transport critical supplies.
  • In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, UPS' VP of Advanced Technologies explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the use cases for drones.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The logistics industry has been buzzing about drone delivery for years, but aside from a few high-profile pilot programs and conceptual tests, the tech has failed to materialize as a real-world solution for moving goods.

But drones are steadily coming closer to serving a practical use, according to Bala Ganesh, head of the Advanced Technologies Group at UPS.

"What we are right now in the process of, as we work through the integration pilot program with the FAA, is turn[ing] the corner to get to a more sustainable operation," Ganesh told Business Insider during an exclusive interview at the IGNITION: Transportation summit this week. "What we've been in so far has been a test and learn journey."

The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the urgency of drone delivery — and highlighted its potential.

"The initial step for drones would be in this critical health care slash other industries that really require something urgently," Ganesh said. "As the technology becomes more mature and costs go down," he said, drones could be integrated into more routine purposes and deliveries.

UPS has launched two health care-related trials during the pandemic. One, at the Villages retirement community in Florida, delivers prescription medication to residents from a nearby CVS. The other, at the Wake Forest Baptist health system in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers fast shipping of time-sensitive medical supplies and PPE between the health system's central campus and its other locations.

A key challenge to taking drone deliveries mainstream is the complex approvals needed from the FAA, as well as methods to avoid nearby air traffic. That, coupled with the difficulties of navigating around tall and dense development, makes it likely that drone deliveries will start out in rural and suburban areas, Ganesh said.

One of the most interesting use cases the company has explored, Ganesh said, is a "driver assist" system, in which each time the driver makes a delivery stop in a rural location, they launch the drone from the top of their truck and have it make the next delivery on the route. It would effectively double the number of deliveries a driver can make in a given time.

While drone delivery in cities is still something UPS plans to develop, that will likely come later, Ganesh said.

"There's a lot of ideas" to solve the challenge of urban drone delivery, Ganesh said. "I'm sure that time will come," he added, "but it may not be the medium term."

Read the original article on Business Insider

New data shows how US airfares plunged alongside demand early in the pandemic, dealing airlines a double blow

Travelers wear mask as they wait at the American Airlines ticket counter in Terminal 3 at O'Hare International Airport Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Chicago. Beginning June 16 at American Airlines and June 18 at United Airlines, all passengers and crew members will be required to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Travel demand collapsed at the start of the second quarter before making a slight recovery in June.
  • As travel demand collapsed during the first few months of the pandemic, so did the price to fly.
  • The average airfare for domestic flights fell 26%, according to data from the DOT and processed by Cirium.
  • The data underscores airlines' plight — the sliver of demand they've been able to get has less value than in the past, doubling the blow.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the COVID-19 pandemic grounded many would-be flyers earlier this year, airlines didn't just have plummeting demand to contend with. Compounding their financial pain was a staggering collapse in pricing power.

As shown by TSA data in the US, travel demand sank at the beginning of the second quarter before making some modest gains in late spring. As demand sank, so did prices. 

Airfares for domestic flights in the second quarter dropped an average of 26% from the previous year, according to data from the Department of Transportation, released on a three-month delay and processed by airline analytics firm Cirium. That reduction came as travel demand fell as much as 97% over 2019 levels, before gradually improving to be down about 75%.

Cirium DOT Airfare Chart

The drops were most pronounced at Hawaiian Airlines, where prices were down 47% as the island state effectively closed itself to outsiders, and at Allegiant, which lowered fares 36% as it moved aggressively to capture demand on specific routes where possible.

Fares were slashed at the majors as well. Average domestic fares at American Airlines were down 26%, while Delta cut fares 14%. United had one of the smallest reductions, down just 10% over 2019, while Southwest slashed fares by 25%.

Modern airfare is determined by a complex and highly secretive set of pricing algorithms, combined with input and adjustments from human managers in airlines' revenue-management departments. With travel demand falling as much as it did, price cuts were expected — a classic supply-and-demand dynamic — even as airlines grounded planes to cut capacity.

That compounded the challenges for airlines as they worked to implement new, costly cleaning measures onboard, while simultaneously reducing costs and seeking revenue wherever possible. The few tickets airlines did sell went for prices well below 2019 levels, another blow to airlines' revenues.

Notably, some markets were hit harder than others. The average price of flights into New York City fell 14%, while flights to and from Florida were down 29%.

Data for the entire second quarter is only just becoming available due to the DOT's three-month statistics delay, but data for the third quarter will be especially insightful when released. Ticket pricing is one of the few variables that airlines can fully control, and is an obvious lever to pull when trying to attract passengers. 

As airlines tried unsuccessfully to drum up demand for leisure travel over the summer — hampered largely by COVID-19 case spikes and new travel restrictions in late June and early July — a comparison of pricing and actual demand will provide clues as to how much airlines can expect demand to actually recover before the pandemic is completely under control.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sen. Tammy Duckworth was once told to pump breast milk in an airport toilet stall. Now she has unlocked funding to put lactation rooms in all of America’s airports.

Senator Tammy Duckworth Baby
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) became the first senator to give birth while in office in 2018, while her daughter, Maile, became the first newborn allowed onto the Senate floor during a vote.
  • Over the past few years, you may have noticed more breastfeeding rooms and "pods" in major airports.
  • That's because of an under-the-radar 2018 law which allowed medium and large airports to use federal funds to build or add the facilities.
  • Now, a new law sponsored by Senator Tammy Duckworth will unlock the same funds for the small airports scattered across the US. Duckworth told Business Insider that she was inspired by an unpleasant experience in an airport after she had her first daughter.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When Senator Tammy Duckworth had her first daughter in 2015, the then-member of the House found herself in a bind.

She was traveling back-and-forth between Illinois and Washington, DC for work, but also had to pump breast milk for her baby — and often couldn't find a place to do it.

"I was told to use the handicapped stall, the toilet, which is disgusting," Sen. Duckworth told Business Insider during a recent interview. "You wouldn't eat a sandwich in there. Why would you ask me to express breast milk for my daughter? That's not sanitary."

Her alternative locations included in the middle of the airport gate areas or on the plane, seated next to strangers.

But maybe you've noticed new lactation rooms or pods popping up in major airport terminals over the past few years. If so, you can thank Duckworth. 

In 2015, Duckworth sponsored a bill to help get lactation rooms into airports. That effort failed, but in 2018, the Duckworth-sponsored Friendly Airports for Mothers Act was enacted. The new law ensured that medium and large airports could use money from the Airport Improvement Program — usually earmarked for things like terminal building repairs or runway expansions — to add private lactation areas.

Airport breastfeeding lactation pod room Mamava JFK
Under the first law, the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act, medium and large airports could use Airport Improvement Program dollars to build lactation rooms, or add modular suites, such as this one from Mamava.

However, small airports — classified by the FAA as those that receive 0.05 to 0.25% of annual US commercial enplanements — were left out of the equation. That was a problem, Duckworth said, because many travelers start their journeys start at  small airports, before grabbing another flight at a larger hub, often with tight connection times.

"The best place [for those passengers] to express breast milk, it's really the initial flight," Duckworth said. "And those are the small airports."

Despite delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress earlier this month passed the Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act, which extends the use of Airport Improvement funding for maternity rooms to small airports, too. President Trump is expected to sign it into law. The bill should take effect as airports and travelers emerge from the pandemic. 

"When we start traveling again, moms who work outside the homes, and families that are traveling, are actually going to have this benefit," Duckworth said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best travel wallets

  • When you travel, you need a practical wallet that can hold your passport, boarding pass, and all your credit cards and cash.
  • The Bellroy Travel Wallet fits the bill with its super smart design that holds everything easily without adding bulk.
  • See also: The best carry-on bags

I never used to be a fan of passport holders and cases. Passports are thin, light, and just the right size to slip into a jeans pocket, or maybe the small front pocket or quick-access compartment of a carry-on backpack.

Then my passport started to get battered, and I took a few international flights where I couldn't use mobile boarding passes and had to carry paper ones. I remembered what a pain it can be to keep track of your passport, boarding pass, and landing cards, plus other notes and documents you might need when you're throwing everything loose into a backpack pocket.

I decided to look into travel wallets and passport covers. My thinking was that it would be easier to streamline everything if I could keep all the travel documents for a given flight in one holder, plus I'd be able to protect my passport. I knew that money belts and travel wallets that go around the neck are popular, but I had no interest in one of those. I wanted a sleek clean wallet.

I spent some time researching different options, trying a handful of different ones, and I'm happy to say that I found my favorite and new go-to: the Bellroy Travel Wallet. I've also found a number of other great travel wallet options if Bellroy's wares aren't for you. Read on to see which of put picks is the best for your travel wallet needs.

Here are the best travel wallets:

Prices and links are current as of 10/7/20. We removed our pick for the best with RFID blocking because nearly all of our picks, including best overall, include RFID blocking.

The best overall
travel wallet

The Bellroy Travel Wallet keeps your passport, boarding passes, landing cards, and more in a compact, organized package.

If you're a regular reader of Insider Reviews, chances are you're already familiar with Bellroy — after all, the company makes our favorite wallets. The young Australian brand has a smart, minimalist and functional design philosophy. It also uses ethically-sourced materials and has a great manufacturing process to produce high-quality gear.

What I love about Bellroy's travel wallet is that it holds everything. It has room for all of the travel documents you might need over the course of a multi-stop international trip, plus cash, credit cards, a SIM card, and even a pen.

At first glance, the wallet looks like an oversized bifold, opening just like an everyday wallet. One side has room for your passport, with a dedicated pocket that takes up that whole side. The other side has credit card slots — either two or four, depending on which edition of the wallet you choose — positioned vertically so you just drop the cards in. The wallet also has an open top pocket like a traditional bill compartment, but it's divided into two sections.

There are a few more "hidden" card slots and a sim card holder within the inner cash compartment, as well as my favorite feature of this wallet: a tiny pen, which is kept tucked away right in the middle so that you can fill out landing cards and jot any quick notes you need.

The wallet is big enough to hold just about any currency, and I like to keep a little bit in one of the sections of the large cash/document pocket. The other section is great for holding boarding passes, custom cards, and any other travel documents you might need to have handy. I prefer putting these in the outermost section so that they don't crease when folded. I use the inside part for cash — You can put cash in both sections, using the divider to keep different currencies separated.

In theory, Bellroy intends the travel wallet to be your everyday wallet on the road, something you can carry with your cards, cash, passport, and everything else you need for a day of exploring. I think it's a little big for that. I can certainly fit in in a back pocket or jacket when I'm in the airport, but it's big enough that I would be worried about theft walking around a city with it. 

The wallet is available in a few different colors, plus a "designer's edition." The designer's edition is meant for the luxury market and has a softer leather with a few design tweaks. It also only has two credit card slots on the main part of the wallet, rather than four. Other than that, it's basically the same product as the original. Whether you choose the regular or the designer's edition, you can't go wrong.

Pros: Keeps everything you need handy while traveling, easy to navigate, great organization, includes a pen, small enough to carry in a pocket in the airport, has RFID-blocking capabilities

Cons: Too big to use as a daily wallet during trips

The best minimalist travel wallet
Lentz_2

The Mr. Lentz Slim Passport Wallet is rugged, old-school, handmade, and built to last.

The Mr. Lentz brand is run by one person — Evan Lentz — who makes all of his products by hand in his own workshop. Lentz built the brand with a "modern cowboy" feel, designed to evoke days of hard work on the windswept plains, and his online shops reflect that with old-west images and icons.

Mr. Lentz makes wallets, bags, and other accessories using durable, rugged, and time-proven materials like full-grain leather, brass, and wood. Lentz's passport wallet is a typical example of this style.

The wallet is much more scaled-down than the Bellroy Travel Wallet making it great for those who just want to ensure some protection for their passport without adding a ton of bulk. A solid piece of leather makes a bifold that opens like a book. The right-side has a pocket for your passport, which is a little tight and only meant to fit the back cover of the passport. That way, the passport can be read without removing it from the wallet. You can just hand the whole package to the customs agent. Once the wallet breaks in a bit, you can fit the whole closed passport in that pocket.

The other side of the wallet has two card slots that can hold four to six cards. There's a larger pocket right behind the card slots that is perfect for holding a bit of spare cash. You can also fit travel documents, like boarding passes, in this sleeve.

Aesthetically, the Mr. Lentz Passport Wallet looks rugged and hardy. The thick full-grain leather holds up well and develops a nice patina as you use it and break it in. Solid brass rivets line the outsides of the wallet, holding it together. The wallet also ships with a free tin of proprietary leather conditioner to help keep it soft as it ages and breaks in.

Thin enough to fit in a front pocket, this wallet is a perfect option for those looking for something that will last a long time and hold just the essentials. You can also choose to engrave the wallet, using any of a few different methods.

Pros: Slim, rugged, hand-made and built to last, holds the essentials

Cons: Needs to be broken in, brass rivets may not be everyone's favorite look

The best with a zipper
fjallraven

The Fjällräven Passport Wallet closes securely with a zipper and will hang on to your documents no matter where you go.

If you're backpacking and carrying a lot, or want to just throw your travel documents in a bag's main compartment, a bifold travel wallet might not be your best option.

A more secure passport wallet with a zipper, like the Fjällräven Passport Wallet, lets you toss it in a bag with everything else, and you don't have to worry about anything falling out or getting lost.

The Fjällräven Passport Wallet is made of a water-resistant waxed canvas. Like most of the other passport wallets you'll find out there, the Fjallraven option is structured like a bifold, but this one has a zipper running along the entire outside.

When opened, the wallet has space to tuck your passport and folded boarding pass on the right side. There's also an interior zippered pocket, perfect for coins, ticket stubs, or other odd bits and ends. The left side of the wallet has six card slots, and there's an open pocket at the top for cash.

Fjallraven also makes a larger version of this wallet called the Travel Wallet, rather than the "Passport Wallet." They're basically the same thing; the main difference is that the Travel Wallet has a few more card slots and a loop to hold a pen, and is designed to fit unfolded boarding passes. It's almost more like a small purse or clutch. The smaller Passport Wallet can also hold a small pen and boarding passes, but there's no loop to keep it the pen in place and boarding passes must be folded.

Personally, I prefer the smaller Passport Wallet — even though you have to fold your boarding passes to fit them, it's just a nicer hand-held size. However, both are great options, especially if you're storing the wallet in a bag.

Pros: Water-resistant, protects your travel documents from the elements and from falling out and getting lost.

Cons: Both sizes are bigger and bulkier than other travel wallets because of the zipper and material

The best for family trips
lewis N clark

The Lewis N. Clark Travel Wallet keeps the whole family organized as you head on your next adventure.

Even though I love traveling, there's no doubt that it can be stressful. The stress is even worse when you're managing logistics for a group, even your own family.

While there's not much to do about it, you can at least make your group's time at the airports a little bit easier with the Lewis N. Clark Travel Wallet. With room for about four passports, plus cash, cards, boarding passes, customs forms, a pen, and even a phone, this is more than a travel wallet. It's more like a family travel organizer.

While the Lewis N. Clark is naturally bigger than a one-person travel wallet, it's smaller than you might expect considering how much it holds. That said, this isn't going in anyone's front pocket — think of it more as a folio.

The wallet folds closed like a clamshell and zips shut all the way around. When it's closed, there's still access to a small zip pocket on the front. 

When open, there are three pockets on the right side that are for passports. You can fit a few passports in each pocket, according to Amazon reviewers. It has six credit card slots, a zipper compartment for change and cash, and a larger zippered compartment for boarding passes or cash on the left side. In the middle, there's a loop for a pen so you can fill out forms on the plane.

The Travel Wallet is made from nylon that's durable and protective. It also has RFID-blocking material built in to add an extra layer of protection to your cards and passports. As for downsides, some buyers mention problems with the zipper.

Pros: Keeps the whole family's travel documents organized, has well-positioned pockets and compartments, includes a pen

Cons: Large, won't fit in a pocket, zipper issues

The best for holding boarding passes
cuyana

Cuyana's Classic Passport Case holds a full-size boarding pass and several cards in a chic leather wallet.

Cuyana is known for making quality leather goods for very affordable prices. The Insider Reviews team recently tested a number of the company's wallets, including the Classic Passport Holder. We loved the wallet so much that we wrote a full review about it.

The simple leather wallet was designed in San Francisco and handmade in Argentina. Measuring 9-inches long, it's longer than most other passport holders, so it can hold a full boarding pass without wrinkling or folding. Cuyana also added a dedicated pocket for your passport, six card slots, and two large slide pockets for travel documents and anything else you need.

The pebbled leather is soft and smooth, and the card slots keep your cards in place securely without being too tight. You can get the passport holder in navy blue, stone gray, red, black, or a crocodile-embossed black. If you so choose, Cuyana will even monogram your wallet.

Based on our experience, it's the perfect stylish travel wallet, but it won't fit in your pocket, unless you happen to be wearing some intense cargo pants. It's a great pick if you have space in your bag and need to manage documents that you simply don't want to fold. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Holds a full boarding pass, six card slots, multiple slide pockets for passports and more, stylish, fun colors, real leather

Cons: Won't fit in your pocket

Check out our other great travel gear guides
samsonite centric hardside carry on

The best carry-on luggage

A sturdy and reliable carry-on suitcase is a must-have piece of luggage for any traveler. Whether you favor hard-side or soft-side luggage is a matter of personal preference, so we've included our top picks for both. There are the best carry-on suitcases according to our testing.


The best travel backpacks

If you're traveling light, don't want to deal with unwieldy carry-ons, and would never think of checking a suitcase, a travel backpack is an excellent one-bag solution. Think of them like a suitcase-backpack hybrid. These are the best travel backpacks according to our testing.


The best checked luggage

We've done all the research to find the best pieces of checked luggage you can buy for long-haul trips where even the best carry-on bag just doesn't cut it. These are our top picks for the best checked suitcases.


The best travel pillows

Trying to fall asleep on a plane is incredibly difficult, but having the right travel pillow can help you get some shut-eye during your epic flight across oceans and continents. Here are our top picks for travel pillows

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best travel wallets

  • When you travel, you need a practical wallet that can hold your passport, boarding pass, and all your credit cards and cash.
  • The Bellroy Travel Wallet fits the bill with its super smart design that holds everything easily without adding bulk.
  • See also: The best carry-on bags

I never used to be a fan of passport holders and cases. Passports are thin, light, and just the right size to slip into a jeans pocket, or maybe the small front pocket or quick-access compartment of a carry-on backpack.

Then my passport started to get battered, and I took a few international flights where I couldn't use mobile boarding passes and had to carry paper ones. I remembered what a pain it can be to keep track of your passport, boarding pass, and landing cards, plus other notes and documents you might need when you're throwing everything loose into a backpack pocket.

I decided to look into travel wallets and passport covers. My thinking was that it would be easier to streamline everything if I could keep all the travel documents for a given flight in one holder, plus I'd be able to protect my passport. I knew that money belts and travel wallets that go around the neck are popular, but I had no interest in one of those. I wanted a sleek clean wallet.

I spent some time researching different options, trying a handful of different ones, and I'm happy to say that I found my favorite and new go-to: the Bellroy Travel Wallet. I've also found a number of other great travel wallet options if Bellroy's wares aren't for you. Read on to see which of put picks is the best for your travel wallet needs.

Here are the best travel wallets:

Prices and links are current as of 10/7/20. We removed our pick for the best with RFID blocking because nearly all of our picks, including best overall, include RFID blocking.

The best overall
travel wallet

The Bellroy Travel Wallet keeps your passport, boarding passes, landing cards, and more in a compact, organized package.

If you're a regular reader of Insider Reviews, chances are you're already familiar with Bellroy — after all, the company makes our favorite wallets. The young Australian brand has a smart, minimalist and functional design philosophy. It also uses ethically-sourced materials and has a great manufacturing process to produce high-quality gear.

What I love about Bellroy's travel wallet is that it holds everything. It has room for all of the travel documents you might need over the course of a multi-stop international trip, plus cash, credit cards, a SIM card, and even a pen.

At first glance, the wallet looks like an oversized bifold, opening just like an everyday wallet. One side has room for your passport, with a dedicated pocket that takes up that whole side. The other side has credit card slots — either two or four, depending on which edition of the wallet you choose — positioned vertically so you just drop the cards in. The wallet also has an open top pocket like a traditional bill compartment, but it's divided into two sections.

There are a few more "hidden" card slots and a sim card holder within the inner cash compartment, as well as my favorite feature of this wallet: a tiny pen, which is kept tucked away right in the middle so that you can fill out landing cards and jot any quick notes you need.

The wallet is big enough to hold just about any currency, and I like to keep a little bit in one of the sections of the large cash/document pocket. The other section is great for holding boarding passes, custom cards, and any other travel documents you might need to have handy. I prefer putting these in the outermost section so that they don't crease when folded. I use the inside part for cash — You can put cash in both sections, using the divider to keep different currencies separated.

In theory, Bellroy intends the travel wallet to be your everyday wallet on the road, something you can carry with your cards, cash, passport, and everything else you need for a day of exploring. I think it's a little big for that. I can certainly fit in in a back pocket or jacket when I'm in the airport, but it's big enough that I would be worried about theft walking around a city with it. 

The wallet is available in a few different colors, plus a "designer's edition." The designer's edition is meant for the luxury market and has a softer leather with a few design tweaks. It also only has two credit card slots on the main part of the wallet, rather than four. Other than that, it's basically the same product as the original. Whether you choose the regular or the designer's edition, you can't go wrong.

Pros: Keeps everything you need handy while traveling, easy to navigate, great organization, includes a pen, small enough to carry in a pocket in the airport, has RFID-blocking capabilities

Cons: Too big to use as a daily wallet during trips

The best minimalist travel wallet
Lentz_2

The Mr. Lentz Slim Passport Wallet is rugged, old-school, handmade, and built to last.

The Mr. Lentz brand is run by one person — Evan Lentz — who makes all of his products by hand in his own workshop. Lentz built the brand with a "modern cowboy" feel, designed to evoke days of hard work on the windswept plains, and his online shops reflect that with old-west images and icons.

Mr. Lentz makes wallets, bags, and other accessories using durable, rugged, and time-proven materials like full-grain leather, brass, and wood. Lentz's passport wallet is a typical example of this style.

The wallet is much more scaled-down than the Bellroy Travel Wallet making it great for those who just want to ensure some protection for their passport without adding a ton of bulk. A solid piece of leather makes a bifold that opens like a book. The right-side has a pocket for your passport, which is a little tight and only meant to fit the back cover of the passport. That way, the passport can be read without removing it from the wallet. You can just hand the whole package to the customs agent. Once the wallet breaks in a bit, you can fit the whole closed passport in that pocket.

The other side of the wallet has two card slots that can hold four to six cards. There's a larger pocket right behind the card slots that is perfect for holding a bit of spare cash. You can also fit travel documents, like boarding passes, in this sleeve.

Aesthetically, the Mr. Lentz Passport Wallet looks rugged and hardy. The thick full-grain leather holds up well and develops a nice patina as you use it and break it in. Solid brass rivets line the outsides of the wallet, holding it together. The wallet also ships with a free tin of proprietary leather conditioner to help keep it soft as it ages and breaks in.

Thin enough to fit in a front pocket, this wallet is a perfect option for those looking for something that will last a long time and hold just the essentials. You can also choose to engrave the wallet, using any of a few different methods.

Pros: Slim, rugged, hand-made and built to last, holds the essentials

Cons: Needs to be broken in, brass rivets may not be everyone's favorite look

The best with a zipper
fjallraven

The Fjällräven Passport Wallet closes securely with a zipper and will hang on to your documents no matter where you go.

If you're backpacking and carrying a lot, or want to just throw your travel documents in a bag's main compartment, a bifold travel wallet might not be your best option.

A more secure passport wallet with a zipper, like the Fjällräven Passport Wallet, lets you toss it in a bag with everything else, and you don't have to worry about anything falling out or getting lost.

The Fjällräven Passport Wallet is made of a water-resistant waxed canvas. Like most of the other passport wallets you'll find out there, the Fjallraven option is structured like a bifold, but this one has a zipper running along the entire outside.

When opened, the wallet has space to tuck your passport and folded boarding pass on the right side. There's also an interior zippered pocket, perfect for coins, ticket stubs, or other odd bits and ends. The left side of the wallet has six card slots, and there's an open pocket at the top for cash.

Fjallraven also makes a larger version of this wallet called the Travel Wallet, rather than the "Passport Wallet." They're basically the same thing; the main difference is that the Travel Wallet has a few more card slots and a loop to hold a pen, and is designed to fit unfolded boarding passes. It's almost more like a small purse or clutch. The smaller Passport Wallet can also hold a small pen and boarding passes, but there's no loop to keep it the pen in place and boarding passes must be folded.

Personally, I prefer the smaller Passport Wallet — even though you have to fold your boarding passes to fit them, it's just a nicer hand-held size. However, both are great options, especially if you're storing the wallet in a bag.

Pros: Water-resistant, protects your travel documents from the elements and from falling out and getting lost.

Cons: Both sizes are bigger and bulkier than other travel wallets because of the zipper and material

The best for family trips
lewis N clark

The Lewis N. Clark Travel Wallet keeps the whole family organized as you head on your next adventure.

Even though I love traveling, there's no doubt that it can be stressful. The stress is even worse when you're managing logistics for a group, even your own family.

While there's not much to do about it, you can at least make your group's time at the airports a little bit easier with the Lewis N. Clark Travel Wallet. With room for about four passports, plus cash, cards, boarding passes, customs forms, a pen, and even a phone, this is more than a travel wallet. It's more like a family travel organizer.

While the Lewis N. Clark is naturally bigger than a one-person travel wallet, it's smaller than you might expect considering how much it holds. That said, this isn't going in anyone's front pocket — think of it more as a folio.

The wallet folds closed like a clamshell and zips shut all the way around. When it's closed, there's still access to a small zip pocket on the front. 

When open, there are three pockets on the right side that are for passports. You can fit a few passports in each pocket, according to Amazon reviewers. It has six credit card slots, a zipper compartment for change and cash, and a larger zippered compartment for boarding passes or cash on the left side. In the middle, there's a loop for a pen so you can fill out forms on the plane.

The Travel Wallet is made from nylon that's durable and protective. It also has RFID-blocking material built in to add an extra layer of protection to your cards and passports. As for downsides, some buyers mention problems with the zipper.

Pros: Keeps the whole family's travel documents organized, has well-positioned pockets and compartments, includes a pen

Cons: Large, won't fit in a pocket, zipper issues

The best for holding boarding passes
cuyana

Cuyana's Classic Passport Case holds a full-size boarding pass and several cards in a chic leather wallet.

Cuyana is known for making quality leather goods for very affordable prices. The Insider Reviews team recently tested a number of the company's wallets, including the Classic Passport Holder. We loved the wallet so much that we wrote a full review about it.

The simple leather wallet was designed in San Francisco and handmade in Argentina. Measuring 9-inches long, it's longer than most other passport holders, so it can hold a full boarding pass without wrinkling or folding. Cuyana also added a dedicated pocket for your passport, six card slots, and two large slide pockets for travel documents and anything else you need.

The pebbled leather is soft and smooth, and the card slots keep your cards in place securely without being too tight. You can get the passport holder in navy blue, stone gray, red, black, or a crocodile-embossed black. If you so choose, Cuyana will even monogram your wallet.

Based on our experience, it's the perfect stylish travel wallet, but it won't fit in your pocket, unless you happen to be wearing some intense cargo pants. It's a great pick if you have space in your bag and need to manage documents that you simply don't want to fold. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Holds a full boarding pass, six card slots, multiple slide pockets for passports and more, stylish, fun colors, real leather

Cons: Won't fit in your pocket

Check out our other great travel gear guides
samsonite centric hardside carry on

The best carry-on luggage

A sturdy and reliable carry-on suitcase is a must-have piece of luggage for any traveler. Whether you favor hard-side or soft-side luggage is a matter of personal preference, so we've included our top picks for both. There are the best carry-on suitcases according to our testing.


The best travel backpacks

If you're traveling light, don't want to deal with unwieldy carry-ons, and would never think of checking a suitcase, a travel backpack is an excellent one-bag solution. Think of them like a suitcase-backpack hybrid. These are the best travel backpacks according to our testing.


The best checked luggage

We've done all the research to find the best pieces of checked luggage you can buy for long-haul trips where even the best carry-on bag just doesn't cut it. These are our top picks for the best checked suitcases.


The best travel pillows

Trying to fall asleep on a plane is incredibly difficult, but having the right travel pillow can help you get some shut-eye during your epic flight across oceans and continents. Here are our top picks for travel pillows

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cargo carriers warn that getting a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone on Earth could take up to two years

Boeing 747 Cargo
Space on scheduled cargo flights is already filling up through February, with holiday shopping and consumer electronics leading the demand.
  • Even if a coronavirus vaccine is approved soon, it will likely be years until it can be distributed around the world, according to cargo airline and logistics executives.
  • Challenging storage and shipping requirements, combined with reduced cargo availability and higher demand, are likely to delay distribution, according to a new Wall Street Journal report.
  • Although cargo airlines are trying to prepare, a host of unknowns — including where the vaccine will be made, how many doses are needed, and how it will need to be stored — means there's only so much that can be organized in advance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine can be developed, approved, and mass produced quickly, getting it to countries and communities around the world quickly enough to make a difference will present an unprecedented challenge for the global logistics industry.

The air-cargo industry is planning to ship up to 20 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to a new report from Doug Cameron at the Wall Street Journal. But without knowing how many doses they'll actually need to ship, where they will be made, and how they will need to be stored during transit, there is only so much that carriers can figure out ahead of time.

Complicating matters is a reduction in cargo-hold freight capacity on passenger airliners, with many airlines cutting routes and frequencies during the pandemic; increased demand for shipping as people continue to work from home and avoid non-essential trips; and the coming peak shipping season that runs from fall until February.

According to the Journal, space on scheduled cargo flights is already filling up through February, with holiday shopping and consumer electronics leading the demand. Releases of an expected new iPhone and Sony's PlayStation 5 will only strain availability further.

Although airlines have said they will prioritize space for a vaccine — as they have for other medical supplies and PPE throughout the pandemic — challenging storage requirements for a vaccine would make freeing up last-minute space harder than it has been for other supplies.

Most of the vaccine candidates in development must be kept refrigerated or frozen — in some cases, at temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius. Cargo carriers are adding new infrastructure, such as "freezer farms" at airport hubs and temperature monitoring systems, but temperature control has always been a challenge when shipping vaccines.

The Journal reported that spoilage rates for other vaccines range from 5% to 20% due to refrigeration problems. The urgency, volume, and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus vaccine are sure to compound those challenges.

"This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the transportation industry," Michael Steen, the chief commercial officer at Atlas Air, one of the world's largest cargo airlines, told the Journal.

The upshot is that even when the vaccine is ready, it will likely take up to two years for it to reach the whole world's population, cargo executives told the Journal. Until that can happen, herd immunity will be difficult for many communities and countries to attain, meaning it will be a long time before life can go back to pre-pandemic normal.

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.

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