Every Friday, Outpost’s online editor rounds up the weeks’ biggest travel headlines.
Canadians may be unfamiliar with Monarch Airlines, a British airliner founded in the late 1960s that flew to often sunny vacation spots such as Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. But this week, the airline shut down operations entirely, forcing the United Kingdom to undergo its biggest-ever peacetime repatriation effort, bringing back some 110,00 vacationers who found themselves literally stranded around the world. About 200,000 more have been issued refunds for their anticipated vacations, their holiday plans kiboshed by the sudden collapse. The reason? With so many low-cost rivals, they couldn’t compete; spokespeople have also cited fears of terrorism and the British pound’s fall since Brexit as major issues. Airline executives simply found themselves having to do more with rising costs, and they couldn’t handle it.
Monarch customers in the UK: don’t go to the airport. There will be no more Monarch flights. This page will no longer be monitored. pic.twitter.com/hzfQGZ0Ty8
— Monarch (@Monarch) October 2, 2017
So what’s going on with Ryanair, arguably Europe’s most famous low-cost carrier? While not quite collapsing, it’s not in much better shape than Monarch. The airline—which is famous for boasting remarkably cheap fares that offer barely anything more than a seat on the aircraft (extra luggage, water, even printed tickets at the gate cost extra)—announced last month that they cancelled more than 20,000 flights between November 2017 and March 2018, effectively ruining Christmas for an estimated 700,000 travellers. While not due to financial mismanagement, this one is chalked up to pilot scheduling errors, unionization and vacation time. I guess you get what you pay for?
And on that note, let’s segue over to Google’s new US$159 earbuds. Google just announced earbuds that can translate up to 40 languages—real-time, in your ear. They hook up to Google phones and Google Assistant (the voice-activated command controls), using a combination of their machine-learning tech with Google Translate. The future is now! No longer will tourists be flustered when trying to ask where the bathroom is in Germany. “It’s hard to overstate the impact this feature could have on the global travel industry, especially coming from a company like Google,” an analyst wrote for Skift. Watch the demo video above to see it in action.