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If you happen to follow American Airlines on any of its social media channels, you may have noticed the ubiquitous hashtag #NewAmerican — usually accompanied by a picture of a smiling cabin crew or snaps of a flashy new Dreamliner. The slogan came about with the merger of AA and US Airways, to suggest a united company soaring toward new horizons. Still, the term is now tossed around like a rag doll — and this contributor wondered what it truly meant in real-life terms. That is, until I flew a simple domestic leg from Las Vegas to Chicago, one that opened my eyes to a brand new experience that supersedes any new lounge, refreshed inflight menu or brand-spanking new aircraft. This experience captured the heart of any personal interaction: The Care Factor. It's something intangible — you can't carry it off the plane — but it's what makes me really think an airline can get us excited about flying again.
Here's what happened.
Airport Lounges / Airline Lounges / ORD / American Airlines / Chicago Travel / American Eagle / → All Tags
It's not often that we find ourselves saying that we actually enjoy a U.S. air carrier's choices for an airport lounge. But our tune might be changing after experiencing first-hand how American Airlines is taking their #NewAmerican mantra seriously. On a recent flight out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we were pretty impressed by the fresh design and approach behind the sliding door of American's Admirals Club. It's all part of the carrier's larger rebranding strategy, which has also included overhauled menus, refreshed cabins, a plan for new uniforms, and now some lounges that are comfy enough for any frequent flier.
United / Airlines / Airline News / ORD / United Airlines / Airline Marketing / → All Tags
Just the other day United was on our radar, as the airline was talking about the newest additions and what not to their United Club menu—like pita chips. Now they are back once again, as United is trying out some new ideas when it comes to the boarding area.
Over at Chicago-O’Hare the carrier is changing things up within Terminal 1, as gates B4, B8, and B10 are getting the new look. Stuff like new seating areas, mood lighting, more power outlets, and even gate agent podiums are all part of the new look. We’d imagine it’s been decades since any thought or design has been put into the boarding area over at United, so we’re thinking that change is a good thing.
The United Terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport just got a little artsier.
“City Windows,” a permanent art installation has been unveiled near gate B19, It was created by Chinese artist Qiao Xiaoguang and it’s pretty awesome. So awesome, it might not make us so pissed off to fly United anymore.
The ancient art of Chinese paper cutting was used to create a panorama of iconic images from Chicago and Beijing. The images highlight landmarks like Navy Pier and the Willis Tower in Chicago, and Tiananmen Square and the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. The display symbolizes the deep friendship and cultural and business connections between Chicago and China, and can also be viewed from outside the airport when approaching the terminal.
Wish We Were There / Wish You Were Here / American Airlines Flagship / American Airlines / First Class Travel / ORD / → All Tags
Normally, our recurring travel snapshot series is called "Wish You Were Here" where we show off amazing travel destinations that we think you should go to. But today, we're reversing the roles and saying, "Wish We Were There".
That's because while flying out of Chicago O'Hare the other day, we noticed an exclusive zone amidst all the other lowly check-in desks-- The American Airlines Flagship Check-In . This writer had never seen an AA Flagship Check-in the wild but thanks to Jaunted's inside look at the AA Flagship lounge at JFK, I now know exactly all the luxury traveler shenanigans that are happening behind this walled-off entrance, such as: checking-in, changing seat assignments, and checking luggage. However, fancy pants Flagship travelers still have to go through TSA. Hah, suckers.
Think you can access the Flagship private check-in and the lounge once you're past security, check yourself. Do you meet the following requirements?
Inside the Amenity Kit / Qatar Airways / ORD / DOH / Doha Travel / Qatar Travel / Business Class Travel / Amenity Kits / In-Flight Comfort / → All Tags
We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
14 hours is a long flight. Even with a nice tailwind to slice nearly an hour off the time in the air, a nonstop such as Chicago - Doha on QR722, a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER, can be trying without some small comforts. Luckily Qatar is generous with both meal services and amenities, so even fussy flyers are left purring.
The 777s Qatar flies to their US destinations are two-class airplanes, with both Business and Economy. All of Qatar's long-haul fleet features flatbed seats in Business, and touchscreen in-flight entertainment systems throughout. The cherry on top is an amenity kit of Giorgio Armani products and a few other small surprises.
Amazing Airline Meals / Airline Meals / In-Flight Meals / American Airlines / Food Travel / First Class Travel / ORD / FLL / → All Tags
We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.
Domestically, we were on an American Airlines in first class out of Chicago O'Hare to Fort Lauderdale and scored an awesome egg-less alternative to breakfast-- French toast strata with warmed peach compote. (Unless you're lucky enough to fly on Singapore Airlines in the premium seats, always steer clear of egg dishes.)
Holiday Travel / Christmas Travel / Airports / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / ORD / Chicago Travel / Airport News / → All Tags
If your electronics and mobile doodads aren’t behaving this holiday season there’s a new way to get things repaired and fix while on the go. Best Buy is sending their Geek Squad unit into the airport, as the brave women and men will be stationed at Chicago-O’Hare for the next few weeks.
When your phone just isn’t keeping up its end of the bargain make your way over to Terminal 3 near the Concourse H food court. There you’ll find the Geek Squad, and that’s where they will be providing tech support for free through December 23.
Healthy Travel / Airports / Tips / Health / Food Travel / BWI / ORD / DIA / SFO / Airport Restaurants / → All Tags
Wander through an average US airport and you'll notice the options for a pre-flight nosh are usually disappointing. Fast food before sitting on a plane for hours? Even if your tastebuds say yes, your body will later have you regretting that decision.
Just last week, Baltimore Washington International Airport was named the top pick for healthy airport food. The award wasn't just bestowed by a group of frequent flyers, but backed by the brains behind the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine who annually rank the airports with the healthiest options.
An incredible 92% of BWI's food concessions have at least one healthy option on their menus.
Airport Restaurants / Winter Travel / Delays / Travel Delays / Snow Travel / ORD / Airport News / Vouchers / → All Tags
When the airport looks like thisaircraft being de-iced and a departure board of yellow and red delays and cancellationsthen it's time to explore your options.
An extended delay may result in a gate agent handing you vouchers for services you wouldn't have otherwise needed had your flight flown on time. There are vouchers for a night at an airport hotel (a specific hotel, not your choice), vouchers for transportation, vouchers for future flights, and vouchers for meals at the airport. What vouchers you receive will depend on the nature of the delay, and anything that's the airline's fault (for example: crew scheduling, equipment issues) naturally yields more.
The most flexible vouchers are actually those for meals, but don't make a bee-line for the nearest McDonalds or $10 sandwich!
Typical meal vouchers allot $7 for breakfast, and $12 each for lunch and dinner, per person. That's not very much considering the current costs of airport foodLAX sells $19 salads, after allbut a little creativity and some basic math will get your tummy full of healthy options.
Airports / ORD / Airplanes / A380 / Airport Renovations / Airbus / → All Tags
ORD would be the last of the top 5 busiest U.S. airports to upgrade facilities for the double-decker airplane, and this is great news not only for travelers, but for a few airlines who have already pinned Chicago on their route map.
The massive airplane will head on over to Terminal 5, and the 34 airlines who call it home in Chicago have agreed to open up their wallets and cough up the $1 million for the preliminary designs for the airport upgrades. This comes after O'Hare's newest runway, (10C and 28C) along with nearby taxi route, was rated to accommodate the heavy aircraft.
Airport Spas / Airport Massages / Terminal Getaway Spas / ORD / MCO / CLT / → All Tags
Things you already purchase at the airport: trashy mystery novels, tabloids promising stars without makeup, Sbarro. (Do those still exist anywhere else?)
Things you will now start purchasing at the airport: cranial massage, Crayola brand nail polish, a bikini wax. Go to Brazil, get a Brazilian. It’s poetry, really.
Terminal Getaway Spa is the brain behind these body treatments. Billing itself as the “first and only spa designed with the traveler in mind,” Terminal offers an array of 10- to 90-minute services at (so far) five locations between three different airports: Chicago O’Hare, Charlotte Douglas, and Orlando International Airport. (Because really, nothing necessitates a massage like 6 days and 7 nights of screaming kids high on Disney crack.)