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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 Languna 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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A Walk Around the Shores of Little Known Lake Ohrid

August 6, 2014 at 1:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Despite its 19-mile length, Lake Ohrid is relatively unknown to tourists outside of Europe and the Mediterranean due to the fact that Macedonia and Albania have only recently turned to tourism as viable options for their economies.

During the summer, its waters are for boating, fishing, and swimming. Back in the 80s, a 2,000 year-old ancient theater was discovered on its shores by accident during a construction project. Which is funny. In North America, we find arrowheads, not amphitheaters.

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First Impressions of Doha's Sparkling New Hamad International Airport

Where: Doha, Qatar
July 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (5)

If you want to get a sense of how much the Middle East has become a key gateway for international air travel (and feel incredibly small in the process), a visit to Doha’s vast Hamad International Airport (DOH) will do the trick.

We transferred here during some recent travels, only weeks after the much-delayed airport opened its doors, and were suitably impressed by the soaring roofs and seemingly endless gates surrounded by an abundance of space, though not everything was quite as it should be.

If you ever had the pleasure of visiting the old Doha Airport, you'd have experienced the delight of being bussed from terminal to plane in desert heat. Yeah, not fun. The new Hamad and its 50-million-passenger per year capacity should have eliminated that; alas, imagine our disappointment on our first visit to Hamad when, after taking the escalator down to our gate, we descended into absolute chaos with hundreds of passengers camped out on every inch of floor space in front of several bus gates.

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A Complete Survival Guide to Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

July 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last week was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juiciest tips for enjoying the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Thinking of heading to the new Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter park at Universal Studios Orlando? You better be ready to sweat, wait in long lines, and yet enjoy it all along. But still, it's a good idea to do your homework for something like this, which will see record visitors for the next few months (at least!) and which will try your spending power to the max.

Jaunted's Quick and Dirty Survival Guide for Diagon Alley:

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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Inside the First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

July 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

New airplane alert!

163 Boeing 787 Dreamliners are flying the skies right now, a number current as of this week. That includes 162 787-8s and 1 lonely 787-9 for Air New Zealand, which only headed from Boeing's headquarters in Everett, WA to its new home of Auckland, New Zealand at dawn this morning.

That 787-9 won't be lonely for long, however; over 25 airlines have placed orders for more than 400 of the sleek and efficient jets. So why are we getting excited for yet another Dreamliner? The answer is shockingly simple: it's awesomer. Sure, the original flavor 787-8 is great and Boeing will continue to roll them out, but the 787-9 is, as Daft Punk would sing, "harder, better, faster, stronger."

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75 Original Photos of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express, at Universal Orlando

July 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yesterday was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juicy photos of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Seven hours was the average wait time to experience all Universal Orlando's new park had to offer yesterday, during The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley's Grand Opening. That's actually not much of a surprise considering the wait was closer to 8 hours during the 2010 debut of the sister park, Hogsmeade, which now joins Diagon Alley to form a Potter powerhouse of experiences, shopping, rides, and refreshment at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure.

Don't let the 7 hours intimidate, however; that's just first day frenzy. Although what Universal has created with Diagon Alley is a stupefyingly tremendous world straight from the JK Rowling novels and resulting films which everyone should see, waits for the Gringotts ride and more should settle to a manageable 2 hours-ish as the summer progresses.

What you won't have to wait for are photos of the new park, as we've got full, original photo galleries of over 75 images from our own visit. Enjoy:

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