Tag: Layovers

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Diary of the Delayed: When Planes Don't Move, the Mind Wanders

July 2, 2015 at 3:05 PM | by | Comments (2)

I notice a lot when my plane is delayed. What I notice the most is the fact that I notice so much. Is it like that for everyone? Maybe it’s just me – most of my plane rides are solo trips (wow, that sounds attractive) and I guess I have nothing else to do but be alone with my own thoughts during times of aerospace postponement.

Which is why when I had a delay recently via Allegiant Air, a delay that lasted like all freaking day 8 hours, I decided to start archiving where my mind traveled – since my physical self was clearly staying put for quite a while.

Here is a chronological account of my selected observations (In retrospect, I realize I should have written down the times as well. We’ll do that in the next Diary.):

Text Message Alerts are great. It’s one of the few ways I feel like an airline truly communicates with me as a millennial constituent. Never mind the fact that I got my first of multiple delay notifications just five minutes after arriving to the airport. It’s fine. It’s just a three-hour delay. That’s enough time for approximately 14 cocktails, not including straight shots.

There are bars I can drink at, right? I’m in a fairly large airport. Yet bars seem drastically scarce. Each one I walk past is full. Can’t we have more bars? Am I allowed my cocktails in a to-go cup? (The answer to that last question was yes.)

My gate is like a sports stadium after a major natural disaster. We are only 30 minutes into this delay, and I am only two double vodka sodas in, and people are already strewn about. There’s no seat unsat and no power outlet un-iPhoned. I’m halfway surprised there haven’t been any S.O.S. smoke signals by the looks on everyone’s faces. Some people take plane delays REALLY personally apparently.

Oh! We’re boarding! “Early!” Looks like our delay was sped up a bit. There’s a collective sigh of relief. I think this is something Allegiant Air purposely does. I always think this when I fly them. I usually land at my destination about 15 minutes before the time on my boarding pass. I think they allot for more time so when you land “early” you psychologically think, “Wow, Allegiant is so great, they got us here early!” Same sort of deal here. Did Allegiant just say it was a three-hour delay and then board us early so we feel happy with them again? I didn’t know the answer at that point, but I found out soon enough.

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United Passengers Agree: This Weekend Saw One Hellish Layover

June 15, 2015 at 2:01 PM | by | Comment (1)

Here’s the thing about unexpected airline emergencies and layovers: Most passengers — assuredly not all, but most — understand that sometimes, ish just happens. And passengers are, generally, reasonable human beings who want airlines to err on the side of safety. We’ll take the temporary inconvenience of a butchered travel itinerary over any chance that we will, you know, crash.

That said, there is a right way — and a very wrong way — to handle flight diversions. Guess which model United Airlines followed over the weekend? (Hint: Its PR team probably didn’t get a lot of sleep this weekend. Or they were sleeping on the job — depending on how you look at it.)

On Friday night, United Airlines Flight 958 was en route from Chicago to London when the craft was grounded “as a precaution” because there were “some lights on in the cockpit.” (That’s what one passenger told CNN, relaying the captain’s initial information. A United spokesperson has since described the incident as a “maintenance issue.”) Just as it was beginning its Atlantic crossing, the plane u-turned and landed at a remote Canadian military base in Goose Bay, Newfoundland. And here’s where the real nightmare began: for 20 hours (!) the 176 passengers whiled away in military barracks where overnight temperatures slid into the 30s, many spending the night in rooms without heat and supplied only with a pillow and simple sheet – no blankets. (Also, it’s reported, without towels for showers, depending on where in the barracks you happened to be placed.) Passengers weren’t able to access any extra or spare clothes in their luggage, which remained on the plane. They went half a day without food — breakfast was eventually served around 8 AM — and more upsetting to most, without active communication from the airline about what was going on. Tweets sent from passengers suggest that they went many hours without hearing word about what was going on and when they’d be updated on next steps.

Adding perceived insult to injury, crew spent the night at a nearby hotel, and showed up fresh-faced to the scene in the morning. (“The crew must rest to continue the flight,” United responded via Twitter to one irritated passenger. This is not untrue, but passengers may have felt less slighted if they all had heat, at least.)

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Dune Bashing During a Layover in Doha? It's Totally Possible.

Where: Doha, Qatar
April 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

So perhaps you just booked a great deal on a Qatar Airways flight with a long layover at DOH, or maybe you just have always wanted to visit Qatar. Whatever your reason for swinging through Doha, Qatar, there's one activity you've got to do — and the good news is that even travelers with only one available day can get in on it.

Gulf Adventures runs a 4-hour off-roading trip into the expansive dunes that fill the southern bulk of Qatar, an easy drive from Doha (but Gulf Adventures will pick you up from your hotel or the airport).

We headed out on Gulf's "Dunes Discovery Tour," which has two daily departures out from Doha, into the sand dunes and down to Khawr al Udayd (also known as the "Inland Sea") just north of the Qatari border with Saudi Arabia. The bad news is that the tour requires at least 6 people to operate, so call ahead to see if they've nearly filled a car. Or just rally your seatmates, friends, or colleagues for a private drive. Because nothing fosters togetherness like a day spent kicking up sandstorms as you ricochet around dunes. (It's fast, it's furious, and it looks like something out of a music video.)

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Look for Discounted Beer Tomorrow at Denver Airport for 'National Beer Day'

April 6, 2015 at 3:04 PM | by | Comment (1)

Timberline Steaks & Grille in the Denver Airport

If you find yourself on a layover tomorrow in Denver, consider yourself lucky. The Mile High City loves its beer, and since April 7th is "National Beer Day," one airport concessionaire, Mission Yogurt, is offering a discount in honor of the "holiday."

Don't be fooled by the name - Mission Yogurt operates food and beverage vendors of all kinds in the Denver, San Jose, and San Diego airports. Tomorrow, deals and specials will be available at its Denver locations.

Mention the promotion to your server, and get $1 off draft beer purchases all day at Timberline Steaks & Grille, Root Down DIA, Etai’s Bakery Café, Itza Wrap Itza Bowl, and Que Bueno Mexican Grille. You can follow Mission Yogurt on Twitter via @MissionYogurt to stay up-to-date on other promotions.

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Visit This Abandoned DC-3 Airplane, Now a Hotel Bar

Where: Airways Hotel, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
November 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

View from the Vue Restaurant at the Airways Hotel, Port Moresby

In our initial article on the new visa requirements for Americans visiting Papua New Guinea, we mentioned that Port Moresby carried a cost of living on par with cities like New York and Paris.

That was not a misprint; it’s very true, and a lot of it has to do with the influx of foreign mining companies, including Exxon and Mobil, that have jacked up rates for everything from real estate to recreation. This means that most of the traditional, local culture has been pushed out and replaced with gated communities and oversized malls, leaving Port Moresby in a confusing state of transition.

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The 'Landing Strip' at Detroit Airport Isn't What You Think It Is

October 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

When it comes to extra-long layover ideas at Detroit-Metropolitan Airport, we would suggest such cultural activities as visiting the Yankee Aviation Museum, taking in the Detroit Institute of Art, or heading downtown for a Lafayette's coney dog. There is, however, one less than savory option that never fails to give us a little laugh on the drive into DTW from the highway: The Landing Strip Lounge.

There is some historical value to what has deemed itself "top flight topless entertainment"; The Landing Strip occupies a 1902 building near the airport and has what is arguably the best phone number in the area: 1-800-2-RUNWAY. There's even a complimentary shuttle from the terminals.

Should you plan a layover in Detroit just for the "experience?" Although it looks like the stereotypical neon-lit club straight out of a movie, the place has been raided.

Stay classy, Detroit.

[Photo: Yelp]

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How Much Does It Cost to Use an Airport Gym Between Flights?

September 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Apart from sprinting through an airport terminal to make a flight, most travelers don't think much about squeezing in a workout around an itinerary. But, if you can resist temptation from the alluring scent of Auntie Anne's or Cinnabon, there are some airports which offer nearly full-service workout facilities for those who are in search of a good sweat.

Lately the trend has been to add a yoga room to terminals, but real gyms were there first. Best of all, the cost to access some of these centers is far cheaper than a one-day pass for some airline lounges.

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Five Exercises for Staying Fit on Arrival

July 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we highlighted some of our favorite exercises to get in both before boarding your plane and during your flight. If you're really looking to round out your travel wellness, however, fit in a few exercises after you touch down at your destination.

From altitude to humidity and posture to activity levels, our bodies are subject to different stresses than when we're on land. Even in a lie-flat seat, the body is slightly abused through saltier food, the possibility of free flowing alcohol, and time spent sedentary, so we offer you our picks for the best exercises and stretches to do while waiting for your luggage:

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Why a $19 Airport Salad Has Us Very, Very Worried

July 7, 2014 at 5:54 PM | by | Comments (7)

On Sunday, I was sitting in Terminal 4 at LAX, having a coffee at Campanile during a layover. I was seated in one of the last bar stools, right by the glass display case where sandwiches and salads are sold to go. I was enjoying this seat for the sake of people watching, but for the most part I was minding my own business.

Then, someone came up and bought a salad, and I almost fell off my bar stool. I couldn’t believe what the charge had been for the chicken Caesar salad, the one in the clear plastic take-away container. I also couldn’t believe the customer had gone through with the purchase after he heard the price. Ready for this? Including tax, $19 and change!

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Why Transit Through Tokyo's Narita Airport Summer? Free Stuff, That's Why.

Where: Japan
June 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

Let's face it; some airports are absolutely better than others when it comes to making the most of layover time, whether that means awesome eateries, the best retail diversions, or just plain comfy seating. One such airport that routinely kills it when it comes to transit fun is Singapore's Changi, but now Tokyo's Narita is eager to steal some of that thunder with a scheme similar to that of Changi's transit vouchers.

While the program isn't as cool as Changi's, Narita will offer international travelers free vouchers to redeem for complimentary items or discounts at selected restaurants and vendors throughout Terminals 1 and 2. A quick and easy stop at the tourist info desks in the Arrivals area can score you tidbits like a 5-10% discount, or free drinks, or other goodies at any of the 36 pre-security restaurants and shower rooms.

The program begins July 1, 2014 and runs through March 31, 2015.

[Photo: neighborhoods.org]

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Video Interlude: A Lip-Synced Layover at Las Vegas Airport

June 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

A long layover at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is a common occurrence, but far less common is making a mini-film out of it. Traveler Richard Dunn recently found himself passing a night at LAS, and decided to have a little fun with his iPhone, shooting a lip-synced version of Celine Dion's "All By Myself."

The 5-minute, 20-second video is something of a de facto ode to Las Vegas, in that it features Celine Dion, McCarran Airport, and the thrill of entertainment in Sin City. Of course "anything," in this case, involves turning an average passenger into a music video superstar, which is what is happening on the internet as the video has been trending in popularity since yesterday.

Alas, frolicking in a nearly empty airport during the late hours isn't an original idea; a duo made a brief video (below) inside Dallas-Ft Worth Airport during a similarly boring stretch of pre-flight waiting.

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Sip a Cuban 'Cafe Con Leche' on Your Next Layover in Miami

June 3, 2014 at 12:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

Starbucks, Coffee Bean, yawn... we're tired of the same old options around every corner, too, and so next time you've got a stopover at Miami International and need a good cup of joe, try a cup of the local specialty.

Called cafe con leche (coffee with milk), this Cuban creation is very similar to a latte by definition in that it is coffee mixed with scalded whole milk at a 1:1 ratio. The main difference is that while a latte typically has foam on top, cafe con leche does not.

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