Best Travel Technology Product Awards
Results of Reader Voting
Travel Insider readers are savvy people. They're
better educated than average, and consider themselves
technically proficient, early
adopters of new technologies and gadget lovers.
Having the readers vote for a product is strong praise
indeed for the winners of our 2003 awards.
Travel Insider readers tend to
be early adopters of new products which make life on the road
easier or more convenient, and just as quick to reject those
There were a lot of remarkably
innovative products to consider over the past year, so their
selections truly represent a sophisticated appreciation of
Our favorite products from
reviews during 2003 were presented to readers to vote on.
Readers could rate each of the offered products from 0 (meaning
'strongly dislike' to 4 (meaning 'strongly like') and could also
indicate if it was a product they knew nothing about or had not
Products were grouped in two
major categories - those that were primarily technology driven,
and everything else.
In each category readers
could also submit a 'write in' recommendation, and then, after
appraising all the individual nominees, were asked to choose an
Voting was held between 13 -
Interpreting the Votes -
Over 2000 votes were cast.
Some anomalies were spotted
in the results, however, which meant a simple automatic
tabulation of answers was unlikely to be accurate.
In addition to a few
instances of multiple voting, some votes were internally
inconsistent. For example, on occasion, readers would
check the box that indicated they knew nothing about a product,
but would also then give the product a rating on the 0-4 scale.
What was the true intention of such a vote?
Other people would give a
very low rating (or none at all) to the product that they then
voted for as best in its category. This also clearly made
A simpler matter to resolve
was the number of people that cast incomplete ballots.
This was only to be expected - few people would have personal
experience of the entire range of product candidates.
interpretive actions in such ambiguities did not result in any
edge-of-your-seat very close decisions, and hopefully our
decisions will not be reviewed by the US Supreme Court. :)
Reader voting clearly
established a winner for the two main categories. We then
allowed for some editorial input to decide which of the two
category winners should be given the grand prize as 'Best of the
In addition, one other
product put up a very strong showing, and so was awarded a
special category prize.
Each award includes a link
to the original review which also has information on how to buy
And, lastly, some other
interesting results from the voting are also noted.
Grand Prize -
The Best of the Best
Best Technology Product
Plane Quiet Active Noise Cancelling
These headphones were
rated best, both by reader voting and our editorial panel,
outscoring the competing Bose Quiet Comfort headphones that
are priced nearly four times higher.
cancelation is an amazing technology that massively improves
the traveling and listening experience when in a noisy
high quality, and unbeatable value all make this our ‘Best
of the Best’ winner.
Plane Quiet Active Noise Cancelling Headphones won the ‘Best of the Best’ Award.
The Plane Quiets also won the ‘Best Technology Product’ award.
Commenting on his product’s
win, David Dillinger, Executive Vice President of Outside the
Box, manufacturer of the Plane Quiet headphones, said, “It is
great to know that product excellence still triumphs over
marketing glitz. Our affordably priced active noise canceling
headphones make air travel less stressful, and are excellent for
use with the latest MP3 and DVD players.”
Outside the Box, founded by
Dillinger, a professional pilot for a major airline, develops
products to make travel more comfortable and convenient.
The Plane Quiet active noise
canceling headphones use special circuitry to create
‘anti-noise’ that is mixed with the noise surrounding the user.
The two signals cancel out, leaving the listener in an oasis of
relaxing quiet, better able to enjoy listening to music,
watching videos, or just relaxing in peace.
Best Travel Product
SearchAlert Luggage Lock
Many people need to
secure their bags so they don’t burst open, or to reduce the
danger of pilferage.
These new locks keep
the bag secure while allowing the TSA to open them if
necessary, and the special indicator on them shows the
traveler if the lock has been opened by a TSA master key.
They are ingenious,
inexpensive, and effective.
The ‘Best Travel Product’
award was won by the new
SearchAlert luggage locks. These locks
are approved by the TSA to be used by people checking their bags
at airports, because the TSA have master keys to open the bags
Lyle Elliott, SearchAlert
Product Manager for manufacturer CCL Security Products said,
“Our unique and patented indicator tells people, immediately
when they reclaim their luggage, if someone has opened their bag
or not. They can check their bag while still at the airport,
and, if something is missing – or something extra added – they
can immediately resolve the problem.”
CCL Security Products
manufactures a broad range of combination and keyed locks for
The new TSA approved
SearchAlert lock has a unique patented indicator that
immediately reveals if the lock has been opened by airport
security, and is guaranteed by CCL so that if the TSA damage or
destroy a lock, CCL will replace it, free of charge.
Best for International
Telestial International GSM Phone
This is an essential
convenience for anyone traveling out of the US.
No matter where they
are, a single phone number reaches the traveler, affordably
particular value is the massive cost savings which this
product offers, compared to making international calls from
pricey hotel room phones.
product combines a
multi-standard phone that works in 207 countries with an
international phone number that works in 86 countries, including
all of Europe and most other major countries.
Ken Grunski, President of
Telestial, said, “Both business and leisure travelers
increasingly feel the need to be conveniently accessible to
friends, family, and colleagues, everywhere in the world. Normal
US cell phones don’t work overseas. Our international phones
save people money and hassle.”
Telestial Inc provides
convenient, cost-effective telecommunications services to
international travelers. Telestial provides cell phone products
for use in over 170 countries around the world.
Telestial has partnered with
phone services in more than 170 countries to provide Americans
with the lowest calling rates available and, in many cases,
highly economical international rates too. Telephone and
pre-paid services from Telestial are compatible with GSM, the
most widely implemented cell phone standard in the world.
The Strongest Love-Hate
Our own impressions of the
cell phone have varied enormously between brilliantly
positive to brain-numbingly negative.
It is fair to say that this
phone - and others like it - promise more than they deliver.
Their capabilities are enormous, but the end-user interfaces are
raw and unpolished.
Readers echoed these
sentiments. Almost one quarter of voters gave the Nokia
3650 the lowest score (0), while another quarter gave it the
highest score (4). Again, almost equal numbers gave it a 1
or a 3 score, making for an almost perfect balance between the
'loves' and the 'hates' with a strong showing in both of the
extreme categories. This is graphed on the
We hope that 2004 and will
not just the introduction of still more features to cell phones
but also the enhancement of their user interfaces, making them
easier to understand and use.
Write In Voting
Readers could also submit
their suggestions for other notable products in 2003.
The most frequently
mentioned product was the Palm/Handspring Treo 600
combination PDA and cell phone. Also receiving multiple
mentions were Apple's iPOD MP3 player and the
Blackberry combination email/cell phone device.
One other product also
mentioned was the Sports Express
luggage shipping service. This is a great service, and
the only reason we didn't include it in our list of official
candidates was because it is a service rather than a product.
Perhaps this was an artificial distinction, and on balance, it
should probably have been offered as a formal candidate.
Lastly, thanks to the
several people that suggested that we, ourselves, deserved a
First Prize for Corporate
Loyalty, but No Prize for Ethics
Boeing Corp has been in the news
lately due to gross lapses of corporate ethics, and two senior
executives left the company in the wake of various scandals
coming out into the open.
So perhaps it should not
come as a surprise to note one overly eager Boeing employee,
voting from a Boeing owned computer address on Saturday morning,
who chose to submit multiple votes, one after the other, all for
exactly the same thing - a write in vote for a Boeing product.
More information and
analysis of the results can be seen
Our 2003 Best Travel
Technology Product Awards have been given to three outstanding
products which offer significant improvements to all people's
They all carry the
recommendations and endorsement of both ourselves and our
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20 Feb 2004, last update
20 Jul 2020
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