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1. This is the airport.
Yes, it's partly open-air. Yes, one concourse is named for Sonny Bono. [Photo taken at PSP]
2. Sometimes the clouds look like UFOs
If there are clouds at all. [Photo taken at The Ace Hotel & Swim Club]
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Mood lighting? Check. Flight attendants with apple-red lips? Check. Complimentary round of champagne for all onboard? Check! Waitwhat?!
Virgin America Flight 55 from New York-JFK to Palm Springs, CA on Saturday, December, 22 may have begun just like any other flight on the five-year-old airline, but that boozy toast meant there was something special. It was, in fact, the first ever commercial non-stop flight from the NYC area to Palm Springs, a route Virgin America will fly every Saturday through the winter to get all us city folk suffering from dark, slushy days into the sun and 70+ degrees of desert oasis paradise.
The non-stop flights begin at $145 one-way, so it was no surprise that VX 55 on the Saturday before Christmas was full up, even with a few pets along for the ride. And anywhere that touts $3.95 bottomless champagne with brunch, a Modernism Week, and the world's largest statue of Marilyn Monroe is definitely somewhere we too want to be.
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Virgin Atlantic's hot tub
So you're holding an airline ticket for Business or First Class and psyched to see what sort of luxuries await beyond the sliding doors of the exclusive airport lounges? Well, we have good and bad news. Bad news first: not all airlines think beyond offering the basics of seating and snacks. The good news: most do! Kids areas, workstations and even shower facilities are de rigueur in a lounge these days, and the more creative carriers have moved onto hidden hot tubs or perfect French pastries for an extra "oomph."
This is how you may end up breathing at the oxygen bar of the SkyTeam lounge at London-Heathrow or picking up a cue for a game of pool at New York-JFK. Now let's look at a whole bunch more of the interesting offerings, all of which we've personally visited.
14 of the Awesomest Airline Lounge Amenities Around the World:
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You buy the tickets, you fly on the planes, you take your free baggie of peanuts from the flight attendants...but chances are you'll never get to see inside the headquarters of that airline you're flying. And yet it's there where the magic really happens.
We've been very fortunate to tour the HQs of several airlines, but none with its own Wine Room or wave machine. Welcome to SIA Centre, the training HQ of Singapore Airlines near Changi International Airport in Singapore.
Through the gates and into an atrium decorated with the crew uniforms and ephemera of the airline's long history, we reach the heart of SIA. This is where 6,000 crew comes to earn their wings and where each piece of the brand bearing the Singapore Airlines logofrom First Class china to seatback safety cardsis treated with the reverence of a museum exhibit.
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The departure hall
Riddle us this: What has four jetways, five security lanes, 484 seats, but no one yet in them or on them? The answer is simple: an airport terminal that hasn't opened yet, and in this case we're talking about Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, where a $40 million terminal is ready to cut the ribbon as soon as authorities give the thumbs up.
Late last week we had the awesome opportunity to snoop around the place before most anyone else, and what we saw, we liked. We liked very much. Travelers who typically head down to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica for vacation or to visit family will be knocked off their butts next time they fly in and, instead of pulling up to the open-to-the-elements corrugated metal tents that are the old terminal, arrive instead to a jetway, air-conditioned immigration and a baggage claim so clean and spacious that it almost puts a tear in your eye.
Oh, and did we mention that they've managed to break ground on this terminal and complete it in just one year and one month? It's been "Extreme Home Makeover: Airport Edition" for Liberia Airport (LIR), a description straight from the mouth of Wogbe Ofori, the Senior Vice President of Global Operations for ADC & HAS, the good people charged with making the place a reality (though not a reality show, ha).