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The Winners And Losers of the Zagat 2009 Airline Survey

November 24, 2009 at 5:09 PM | by | ()

The newest Zagat Guide on airlines is up. 5,900 fliers averaging 17 flights per year were polled about 16 domestic and 66 foreign airlines. After all the results were tallied the major US winners - rated on comfort, service, and food - turned out to be Virgin America and low cost carrier Midwest Airlines. If you're just flying coach your best bet is apparently JetBlue, which tallied up 19 out of 30 points. And if your top concern for some reason is your luggage, Southwest should be your airline of choice. Full results are posted at the Zagat site.

In contrast to when we covered this survey two years ago, travelers also found room for some grudging compliments: "consumers feel some marginal improvement in comfort and service." That's actually fair given how airlines have been consistently improving at last their outward numbers. We never tire of telling you that civilian aviation is the safest it's ever been, while September had the highest on-time rate since 2003.

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Speaking of Beijing: New Zagat Guide Debuts

Where: Beijing, China
June 2, 2008 at 12:30 PM | by | ()

Our recent foray into Beijing was more of a cultural primer for first timers and Olympics-watchers. But what to do if you need the nitty gritty details like which restaurant pours on the Commie kitsch and which nightclub has an awesome 80s night? The newly released Zagat Beijing has all the info you need, crammed into a super-slim volume perfect for packing.

A couple warnings: Like most Zagat guides, the Beijing book tends toward the pricey, and while we actually think the quote-packed descriptions are cute, perhaps you don't. And when it comes to cultural stuff, the background info in this book is a little skimpy. (Just one paragraph on Tiananmen Square? Really?)

Still, if you're just headed to the city for a week or so, do you really want to haul around a couple hundred pages of Chinese history you'll never actually read? We'd rather just know that Red Capital Club is the place to eat and that we should rock our leg warmers at Alfa.

Related Stories:
· Zagat [Official Site]
· Beijing Field Trip [Jaunted]
· Beijing Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Tim and Nina Zagat]

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New Hangouts in New Orleans

November 30, 2007 at 3:45 PM | by | ()

Even though New Orleans won't play host to a Republican presidential debate, the city does have a host of huge events on tap this winter, from the Sugar Bowl to the BCS National Championship Game to the NBA All-Star Game. (Not to mention Mardi Gras in February.) And when you head to the Crescent City, there'll be some new spots to check out, as the New York Times reports today.

528 Music Club in Harrah's New Orleans Casino & Hotel hosts Louisiana jazz singers and cajun bands, with no cover charge. You'll also be right next door to Todd English's restaurant, which provides snacks to go with the frosty martini you'll no doubt be sipping on.

Sucré on Magazine Street in Uptown has more sweets than you can eat in a sitting--so take some extras to go. Look for miniature pastries, chocolates and macaroons, and remember: This is New Orleans so you can't go wrong with anything featuring pecans.

Ray's Boom Boom Room is another newly opened jazz hall just east of the Quarter. As if the music weren't enough to draw you, Ray's gives away oysters during Friday happy hours.

Zagat is also getting ready to release a new survey of the city in January 2008, so if you like your restaurant, nightlife and hotel picks riddled with quotation marks, stay tuned for that. It'll be Tim and Nina's second survey of New Orleans since the storm, though, as always, they have updated reviews on their website.

Related Stories:
· New in New Orleans [NYT]
· New Orleans Field Trip [Jaunted]
· New Orleans coverage [Jaunted]

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Zagat Airline Survey: The Winners and The Losers

November 21, 2007 at 2:30 PM | by | ()

TPA: Great airport=no lines...

We admittedly have a bit of a Zagat obsession right now, but we can't overlook the latest survey from the folks at the Burgundy Bible. A look at US airlines, it was compiled in conjunction with the Today show and relied on the opinions of 7,498 flyers and travel pros.

We probably don't need to tell you the big-picture findings:

Overall, our survey results reveal continuing frustration with the state of domestic air travel... Delays and cancellations were cited as the top airline irritants, follwed by cramped seats/crowding and poor service.

But there were some high points. Virgin America ranked as a "premium" airline (rather than an "economy" one, despite low fares) and performed miles ahead of other carriers in comfort, service and food. VA topped second-place Continental in all three categories. On the budget side of things, Midwest Airlines was the clear favorite. (Could it be simply because of the free cookies on every flight?)

Airports also got the critical eye, with Tampa and Denver earning the best scores from travelers. Two of New York's much-maligned time vortexes (JFK and LGA) earned spots at the bottom of the list, along with Miami, LAX and Philadelphia.

Related Stories:
· Full Survey Results [Zagat.com]
· Virgin America coverage [Jaunted]
· Midwest Airlines coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Tampa International Airport]

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Jaunted Interview: Chatting with Tim and Nina Zagat

November 19, 2007 at 3:30 PM | by | ()

Late last week we sat down with Tim and Nina Zagat, former lawyers who were dealing in user-generated content before anyone dreamed of YouTube. Their guides to restaurants, nightlife, hotels and attractions (and more) rely on the first-hand reviews of people around the world--which explains those quotation marks you'll always find in their guides. As Tim says, "We're giving anybody who really cares about something the opportunity to be heard."

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Zagat Guides On Your Phone, On Your Facebook

November 16, 2007 at 12:45 PM | by | ()

We went by the office of the Zagat guides yesterday for a little chat with Tim and Nina--more on that next week--and they reminded us about their new mobile service, which debuted this summer. Just point your web-enabled phone or BlackBerry to Zagat.mobi and get more restaurant reviews than you'll know what to do with.

Once you've got the page up, you can search by neighborhood, cuisine or new openings. We like the "SMS to Friend" feature, which we imagine would make meeting up with pals much easier. And since the service is ad-supported, it's free.

Zagat is also cracking Facebook with a new application for nightlife spots and restaurants that have pages on the social network. Once they're approved by the survey, businesses can drop the widget on their Facebook page and see it constantly updated with the latest, imminently quotable reviews.

Related Stories:
· If It's Not NOLA, Zagat May Not Like It [Jaunted]
· Facebook coverage [Jaunted]
· Technology coverage [Jaunted]

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If It's Not NOLA, Zagat Might Not Like It

January 25, 2007 at 3:42 PM | by | ()

Tim Zagat was spotted at Babbo recently, dining with his wife and taking in David Blaine's card tricks. Zagat is currently going NOLA crazy and promoting a "patriotic tourism" campaign to lure visitors back to the city. We wish the industry down there the best, but our intentions are clearly no match for Zagat's wild fervor. He was just made an honorary citizen of the city, and has previously hosted dining tours as part of the NYC <3 NOLA campaign.

Zagat is so patriotic and New Orleans-obsessed that it looks like his love for the rest of the great U.S. of A. is waning: he recently dissed the White House's cuisine, calling it "strange."

Expect a sighting of the Zagats dining with the Jolie-Pitts to pop up sooner rather than later.

Also possibly Zagat related, yesterday, we spotted what we think could have been Zagat's Bentley at a recent hotel conference outside the Century City Hyatt in LA (was it you Tim?)--its license plate read "ZAGATS." If it wasn't the man himself, someone needs to inform him of how his biggest fans roll.

[Photo: Esthr]

Related Stories:
· Zagat's New Guide to New Orleans [Jaunted]