12 Hot Travel Trends for 2014

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 20, 2013. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Ed Perkins, passenger rights.

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This time of year, we travel writers are obligated to produce our views on what the upcoming year will bring to the marketplace. Here are my nominations for 12 important trends in the 2014 travel landscape. All in all, it should be an interesting year.


Business Will Get Better; Economy Will Get Worse

The wide gulf in service standards and traveler treatment between the front and rear cabins is likely to get wider. Lie-flat seats are rapidly becoming the norm for business class, and airlines that stuck with angle-flat seats, notably Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa, will be scrambling to close their competitive gaps. Business class has become so luxurious and so expensive that first class is shrinking or disappearing entirely.

Meanwhile, economy keeps getting worse. Airlines taking new deliveries will almost universally go with extra-tight nine-across seating in 787s and 10-across seating in 777s; new planes will come with even less shoulder-level work room and legroom. But that won't stop fares from increasing: Look for sticker shock next summer. The one bright spot is that in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi will improve.

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