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Flight Review: WOW Air to Iceland for Under $150

September 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM | by | Comment (1)

This may sound weird, but our New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to fly WOW Air, a low-cost airline based in Iceland. Its awesome name aside, WOW intrigued us for its fleet of pink A320s, humor on Twitter, and promise of cheap flights to the notoriously expensive Reykjavik.

To complete that resolution, we booked Flight WW 201, departing Reykjavik-Keflavik at 6.45am and arriving London-Gatwick at 10.50am. That early flight and mid-morning arrival into Gatwick was ideal to then catch the train into town in time for lunch with a friend, followed by an afternoon nap—the best way to ease back into London.

So here’s how it went...

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It's Easy to See Why the Larapinta Trail is One of Australia's Top Treks

September 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we went on a six-day excursion and hiked several sections of the Larapinta Trail, a walk that runs 139 miles through the Northern Territory of Australia. In the past few years, it has become known as one of the country's top treks due to its beautiful desert landscape and challenging rocky terrain. It starts in Alice Springs, is broken down into 12 sections, and is meant to take the average hiker 10-14 days to complete.

We did just over 60 miles of it over the course of the week, walking between 8 and 12 miles each day. It was an ideal time to tackle it, with the weather transitioning from winter to spring in the desert. Clear nights and moderate temperatures allowed us to sleep outside our tents under the stars, and it was hard to find a cloud in the sky on most days.

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Photos: Biking One of America's Highest Roads, Outside of Denver

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado , United States
September 11, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, we gave you the rundown about how you can drive Trail Ridge Road, America's "highest elevated continuously paved road," located outside of Denver. A few weeks ago, this travel writer decided to bike it, all 48 miles from Estes Park to Grand Lake through Rocky Mountain National Park. Eleven miles of it are above treeline, topping out at 12,183 feet.

Obviously, it was quite the physical challenge, but it also brought about spectacular scenery (and a very large post-ride beer), which we share with you below. Does it entice you to give it a go? There's still a few more months until the snow falls and the road closes if you're feeling motivated.

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Inside the Greatest Aviation Museum You've Never Heard Of: Brazil's Museu TAM

September 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every aviation museum worth its salt these days can boast of classic warplanes, military fighter jets here and there, and perhaps a pre-jet-age Lockheed Constellation, but few go the extra mile to secure and preserve the rarest, most historic, and, in some cases, most expensive airplanes nearly lost to history as does the Museu TAM.

The museum is the baby of TAM Airlines and is now the largest museum in the world maintained by an airline. Unfortunately it isn't the easiest daytrip destination; the Museu sits in a spacious pair of hangars just outside the town of São Carlos, an hour's drive from the city of Ribeirão Preto (location of the nearest commercial airport), which is itself an hour's flight (or 3-hour drive) from São Paulo. You'd never expect to find one of the world's most important aviation museums way out here, in this part of rural Brazil better known for sugarcane plantations, but here it is.

The museum opened to the public in 2006 with only around 32 aircraft, but they've been quite busy since and the collection now numbers 89 vintage and rare flying machines (49 of which are incredibly still in flying condition).

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Six Islands in a Single-Engine, Part 2: Past the Point of No Return

September 2, 2014 at 2:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's the stuff of headlines, when a pilot ventures away from familiar runways to embark on an epic aviation adventure in a single-engine aircraft, and it's exactly what Jaunted contributor Joe Corrigan is doing. Follow along over the next several days, as Joe shares trials, triumphs, and terrific images from flying to remote corners of the South Pacific.

Island Hopping in a Single-Engine, The Series:

1. Flight Planning
2. The Point of No Return
3. On Island Time
4. Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

It's not very often a private pilot leaves an entire continent behind for open skies but, on our first day on this Pacific trip, that's exactly what we did. The mainland of Australia slowly slipped off the back of our map, and we had our first taste of the adventure of isolation.

Lord Howe Island would be the next stop. This piece of Oz is a small volcanic remnant about 600 KM to the east of Port Macquarie, Australia. There are only 347 permanent residents on the island and tourist numbers are capped at 400 at any given time. Our initial plan was to transit through Lord Howe and continue onto Norfolk Island the same day after a quick refueling.

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Six Islands in a Single-Engine, Part 1: Planning to Fly the South Pacific

Where: Australia
August 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's the stuff of headlines, when a pilot ventures away from familiar runways to embark on an epic aviation adventure in a single-engine aircraft, and it's exactly what Jaunted contributor Joe Corrigan is doing. Follow along over the next several days, as Joe shares trials, triumphs, and terrific images from flying to remote corners of the South Pacific.

Island Hopping in a Single-Engine, The Series:

1. Flight Planning
2. The Point of No Return
3. On Island Time
4. Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

It is often a dream of private aviators to not only slip the surly bonds of gravity, but also those of their home country and try flying abroad. As my good friend/flight instructor Nick Pech and I readied my Cirrus SR20 for what we simply dubbed "The Pacific Trip," the complex preparations smoothed the way for what would be pure bliss, under our own power over the clouds.

Passports? Affirm. Over two weeks, our routing would take us from Bankstown Airport in Sydney, to Australia's Gold Coast, and then out over open water over to Lord Howe Island, continuing on to Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and then back to Australia, entering at Cairns.

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A Journey to One of South America's Best Apres Ski Spots in Portillo

Where: Portillo, Chile
August 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Starting at the edge of the Laguna Del Inca, skiers take the El Plateau chair lift up to Portillo's on-mountain restaurant, Tio Bob's. As you'll see in the photo essay below, it's one of the most scenic lunch and apres ski spots in South America, if not the world, thanks to its location amongst the jagged peaks. Next week, we'll break down Portillo and how the ski area compares to the nearby competition. For now, enjoy the dramatic views of the Andes Mountains:

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A Peek at Hogsmeade Within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Four Years Later

August 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this summer, and we've been in Orlando for the first days of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The original Hogsmeade park is still very much open, and very popular. Just how popular? Let's take a look.

According to an NPR report and Universal's numbers, "park profits have more than doubled and attendance has increased more than 30 percent" since the 2010 debut of Hogsmeade.

Now that Diagon Alley has debuted and is actively connecting the two parks via the Hogwarts Express train and asking $136 per adult for the privilege of visiting both halves, we're looking to see how the original has fared over four years.

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Inside the Air Canada Maple Leaf International Lounge at Toronto's Pearson Airport

Where: Toronto, Canada
August 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

As a major Air Canada hub, Toronto-Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is well outfitted with lounges for the airline's premium travelers. Aside from a Maple Leaf lounge for domestic Canadian flights and another dedicated to Transborder (Canada-USA) travel, YYZ boasts a spacious International Maple Leaf Lounge located in Terminal 1, Concourse F.

Elite Air Canada flyers and those holding Business Class tickets are privy to the free WiFi, modern and comfortable seating, complimentary hot food, snacks, beverages, and alcohol (including all the ingredients for a great Bloody Mary), plus private shower rooms.

Since Air Canada is proud of their status as one of the founding members of the Star Alliance, you can also bet that elite travelers on other Star Alliance international flights (and holders of Star Alliance Gold status) will be welcomed into the classy digs.

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Photos: Some of the World's Largest Mayan Ruins, at Tikal

August 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Temple 5 at Tikal

Located in the north of Guatemala, Tikal is one of the world's largest Mayan archaeological sites. The University of Pennsylvania and the Guatemalan government have teamed up to unearth it partially, but much remains underground, including the backsides of many of the structures you see in the photos.

In that, visitors get a sense of just how much remains unknown about this mysterious culture. In total, the "residential area" of Tikal sprawls out over an area of 20 miles, and as you might imagine, only a small percentage has been cleared and mapped. The best excavated portion of the site is called the Great Plaza, which includes the stunning Northern Acropolis, shown in the first photo below.

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All Jet, No Lag: Inside Premium Economy and Economy on Air Canada's New Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Where: Toronto, Canada
August 8, 2014 at 11:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

[Also check out Part 1, Business Class]

Premium Economy is so hot right now.

Or, rather, the class between Economy and Business has been a popular addition to aircraft for many years now, every since Virgin Atlantic introduced it way, way back in 1992(!!), but some airlines have held off and, in turn, benefitted from the wait by introducing Premium Economy classes with all the latest bells and whistles.

One such airline is Air Canada, who put their first Premium Economy cabin in the air with the arrival to their fleet of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Flying AC006—11 hours back from Tokyo-Haneda to Toronto-Pearson—we settled into a window seat and experienced what this new class for Air Canada was all about.

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All Jet, No Lag: The Ultimate Guide to Flying Business Class on Air Canada's Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Where: Toronto, Canada
August 7, 2014 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

[Also check out Part 2, Premium Economy and Economy]

"Whoever said man wasn't meant to fly didn't see this coming."

These were the words printed on a banner welcoming passengers to gate 172 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2014.

Outside the windows was one of Air Canada's airplanes, sitting chill in her ice blue livery and scarlet maple leaf logo while a flurry of ground vehicles prepared her for a 12-hour flight to Tokyo. Passengers waiting to board forwent selfies and instead pointed their cameras outside, at this aircraft which stars in the celebration of a new era for Canadian aviation.

But, um, hasn't Air Canada been flying from Toronto to Tokyo for, like, decades? Yes, yes they have, but never before to the Japanese capital's other, very recently updated and better located airport of Haneda, and never before with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Flight AC005 is non-stop from YYZ to HND, a lengthy trip which gives the benefits of the 787—the greater cabin humidity, lower altitude level, improved personal space, and fuel efficiency—a chance to strut their stuff. It was, in fact, the longest flight we've ever done in a 787, and absolutely one of the best in our own travel log.

Now, let's delve into the delicious details:

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