United States Travel Guide
Delays / Travel News / Travel Snapshot / ATL / Airports / Delta / Sequester / → All Tags
Passengers crowd a gate desk with questions about connecting flights during a sequester-imposed delay
$85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts is bound to cause more than a few frowny faces, but though the furlough of federal workers began gradually in March, it's just these last couple weeks that've seen the cuts slash more than just the government workforce. With an estimated 10% of the US' air traffic controllers furloughed each day, airports can't handle the volume of flights they're used to and, thus, the flight delays and cancellations have begun.
We were stuck in one ourselves, luckily only a two-hour delay of a Delta mainline flight between two of the busiest airports in the countryAtlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Newark-Liberty. It's not the airline's fault in the least; the weather was excellent, the plane was at the gate ready to fly, and yet passengers sat in confusion as the delay was announced as "due to the federal sequester."
The folks over at Alaska Airlines are cashing in all the spare change they find between the seats, as they’re looking to spend around $100 million to upgrade the interiors on some of their planes. Unfortunately they’re not adding wider more comfortable seats, but at least the upgrades they are making should give the airplane cabins a nice refresh.
Upgrades are coming to all of the carrier’s Boeing 737-800s, 737-900s, and 737-900ERs, as they replace the old seating surfaces with some new designs from Recaro. The new seats have a much slimmer design, so traveling butts might be a little less comfortable. However, the slimmer seats add more space for more travelers, and that’s a good thing when you’re an airline trying to make money.
Plenty of travelers head and to and through Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport each and every year, and that’s especially the case when events like the Super Bowl and Final Four take place in town. Airport officials realize that the place could use even more upgrades and improvements, so they’re thinking about throwing down $650 million to spruce things up.
The plans aren’t just for new restaurants and shops—the airport just got those—as this new plan calls from an entirely new terminal built on the north side of the existing airport.
If you're already in Waikiki or your are just headed to Honolulu this weekend, then we have a suggestion for you that’s a little different than Hawaii’s usual surf, sand, and sun. On Saturday the city’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, turns into a street scene dedicated to one of the island’s favorite foods—SPAM.
It’s time for the eleventh annual Waikiki Spam Jam, and at this point you can kind of assume that they’ve really got things figured out. Basically it’s a street festival for one and all, and plenty of the area’s best restaurants stop by to serve up spam and other canned meat delicacies. There’s a pair of stages with free entertainment and music, and of course there’s plenty of arts and crafts so that you can bring home a souvenir.
Space Tourism / Virgin Galactic / Science Travel / Richard Branson / Space Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
We haven’t heard that much from Virgin Galactic recently, but that doesn’t mean the space ship team hasn’t been hard at work behind the scenes. They’re still doing their very best to ensure that space tourism becomes a reality sooner than later. That’s definitely good, since from what it sounds like, the space flight carrier already has more than a few customers on the books and ready to go.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two just finished its latest round of testing, and thankfully things all went according to plan. The latest aerial endeavor was known as a "cold flow” test. They haven't lit the rocket engines on this sucker just yet, but it means they've completed pretty much everything else—so that means they’re ready for the next step. The ship’s contrail was even visible for the first time, so now we know how awesome the thing will look like when it blasts away from earth.
We’ll try not to take a side in this debate, but we did want to chime in to remind you that your pocket knife can go on vacation again, beginning this week. April 25 is the big day in which the TSA loosens up some of their rules, and small pocket knives are no longer a big deal. You're again welcome to carry them onboard the plane with you, rather than stick them in your checked bag. The metal detector may beep, but upon closer examination you’ll be waived right through the security line.
We’ve mentioned this a couple times before, but it sounds like the lifting of the rule is still happening, despite complaints and comments from a number of different groups.
Step off the plane at Memphis International Airport and, while you're still in the jetbridge, before even entering the terminal proper, the tangy sweet smell of BBQ sauce assaults your olfactory. There's no escaping the scent; Memphis' airport is home to no fewer than three barbecue restaurantstwo locations of Jim Neely's Interstate BBQ, and one Corky's BBQ.
Upon landing from our Delta flight in from Atlanta (another airport that smells of yummy eats), we made a bee-line for the Interstate BBQ and their BBQ pulled pork sandwich and then played the tourist with some browsing in the airport's dedicated Elvis souvenir shop. Oh, and what was playing over the airport's sound system? Elvis' greatest hits, naturally.
Wish you were here!
Airport Restaurants / Airports / Airport News / Airport Dining / LAX / Volunteer Travel / → All Tags
We’re always quick to point out a solid option for airport eats, but more times than not we’re focused on the food. This time we’re looking at more of the story behind the restaurant, but don’t worry, they’ve still got some good grub to grab on the go.
Homeboy Industries is a non-profit organization looking to help those down on their luck work their way back into the community. The place does its best to help keep former gang member out of jail and on the straight and narrow. They do all kinds of good as well as plenty of warm and fuzzy, but what we’re most interested in is their latest venture over at the airport.
Hiking Travel / Hiking / Los Angeles Travel / Adventure Travel / California Travel / Sunrises / Active Travel / → All Tags
Yesterday, while the rest of Hollywood slept, we were up at the crack of dawn, lacing our Merrell hiking shoes, filling up a bottle of water, and setting off along Los Feliz Boulevard towards Griffith Park, aka the Central Park of Los Angeles.
Griffith Park ranks as the second-largest city park in all of California (though that doesn't include much larger state parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree), and it is incredibly easy to access from multiple LA neighborhoods, such as Los Feliz, Franklin Village, Atwater Village, Glendale, and, of course, Hollywood. Its attractions include the Greek Theatre, Griffith Observatory (which is best visited at night, for obvious reasons), and the LA Zoo.
Oh, and off to the south, on Mount Lee, there's a little thing called the Hollywood sign. Ever hear of it?
We set off at 6:15am from our friend's apartment, and in fifteen minutes, we had arrived at the park's western entrance, Ferndell Nature Center. Here, a woodsy hiking trail winds along a small babbling brook (complete with the little footbridges), under a canopy of California sycamores and over 50 different species of fern.
What struck us most was the tranquility of the place: though we had just come off a busy main road populated by impatient commuters trying to beat the morning traffic, we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of pure, noiseless nature.
Travel Snapshot / Legoland / Theme Parks / San Diego Travel / Amusement Parks / Toy Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
The other week we hit up Legoland California, namely to check out the just-opened Legoland Hotel, the first Legoland Hotel in the U.S. But with the hotel being adjacent to the theme park, we of course had to roam around for a few hours, marveling at all things Lego.
We'll have one of our handy theme park survival guides for you next week but we just thought we'd share this observation: Out of all the attractions, rides and displays at Legoland, the busiest one we encountered was The Big Shop.
Throwback Thursday / New York City / JFK / Airports / Hotels / Holiday Inn / Retro Travel / → All Tags
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
Are you sitting down? No? You might want to, because we're about to do something crazy. We're going to wax nostalgic for the good ol' days of airport hotels, specifically the Holiday Inns of the 1960s.
Sure, Holiday Inn still exists and they've even gussied up their image and amenities in the last decade especially to appeal to modern travelers, both business and leisure, but there was something special about the midcentury playfulness of the 1960s Holiday Inn that makes us yearn to even spend just one night in a JFK Airport hotel. Shocking!
If you’re tying to figure out how the world moved around prior to Google Maps, then now’s a good time head down to the museums of the Smithsonian. The Air and Space Museum is holding a new exhibit all about getting from here to there—and back again—so set your GPS to Gallery 213 on the second floor of the east wing.
The exhibit–Time and Navigation–aims to transport visitors back hundreds of years, for a sneak a peek into the tools of the trade from the past. Clocks, compasses, and other navigation devices will be on display, basically anything which deals with keeping accurate time. In total there’s around 144 different objects on display, and they’ve got things broken down into five sections: Navigation for Everyone; Navigating at Sea; Navigating in the Air; Navigating in Space; and Inventing Satellite Navigation. No word on if they have a special place to discuss the bummer that is Apple Maps.