These Airlines Have the Best In-Flight Wi-Fi

These Airlines Have the Best In-Flight Wi-Fi

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Last year was big for airlines and internet connectivity: 82 airlines now have some sort of in-flight internet, a 17% increase from the 70 that offered the service in 2016.

Now, thanks to Routehappy’s 2018 Wi-Fi Report, we know which airlines you can expect the best in-flight Wi-Fi from this year as well.

To collect their data, the digital flight shopping firm measured Wi-Fi connectivity in Available Seat Miles, or ASMs, a method calculated by multiplying the number of seats available by the number of miles flown.

Delta took the top spot in Routehappy’s report for total ASMs, with American, Emirates and United close behind. The US is far ahead of its international counterparts — US carriers offer Wi-Fi on 85% of ASMs, while outside the US you only have a 32% chance of being connected. Still, it’s an improvement for ASMs outside the US, which was just 14% in 2016.  


Image courtesy of Routehappy.

Just because airlines have a high total ASM score doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to find Wi-Fi on one of their flights. Only Icelandair, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic have 100% of their aircraft outfitted with Wi-Fi. (Although JetBlue claims to have it’s entire fleet.)


Image courtesy of Routehappy.

And if you want to make sure you’re connected on a long-haul flight, you’ll want to go with one of the 13 airlines that offer Wi-Fi on 100% of their long-haul flights: Air Europa, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Eurowings, EVA Air, Iberia, Kuwait, Lufthansa, SAS, Scoot, United and Virgin Atlantic.

Routehappy says that wWi-Fi is becoming a necessity to compete in the air travel market. Small, obscure carriers like Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire from Ivory Coast and Air Mauritius from Mauritius have all started to offer internet on their flights in an effort to put themselves on the same level as bigger airlines.

Carriers are upgrading their current Wi-Fi technology thanks to aircraft coming straight from the factory with internet routers installed. The newer technology means Wi-Fi speeds are improving, too. Basic Wi-Fi systems that provide just enough speed for web browsing have dropped from 43% to 27% of ASMs in 2017. You’ll find Wi-Fi with speeds strong enough to complete real web browsing and limited media streaming at 57% of ASMs worldwide, while 16% of ASMs offer top-notch wi-fi, which allows video streaming and speeds comparable to a home connection.

Unfortunately, only eight carriers like JetBlue and Norwegian offer Wi-Fi for free. But if you’re an American Express Business Platinum cardholder you’ll receive 10 complimentary Go-Go in-flight Wi-Fi passes, which can be used on carriers like American, Alaska, Delta and United.

Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images.

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February 1, 2018 at 02:15AM

TPG Staff Picks: What’s on Our Travel Wish List for 2018

TPG Staff Picks: What’s on Our Travel Wish List for 2018

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The New Year marks a fresh start to redeeming points and maximizing travel. And if you’re like us here at TPG, you already have your eye on more than a few amazing places to visit in 2018. But don’t just let your list get long; go forth and explore the fascinating corners of the world. If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our 2018 travel wish list and start planning your next getaway.

Israel

“My year ahead includes trips to Israel (I’ve never been!); Bora Bora (I’m eyeing that new SFO PPT nonstop later this year and haven’t been there yet either); and maybe Cannes for the Lions conference in June (I’ve been to Cannes, but never to Lions).” — Brian Kelly, The Points Guy

Japan

“After almost booking ANA’s out-of-this-world NYC to Tokyo round-trip business class award for only 75,000 Amex points, my travel plans are set on Japan this year: Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in particular. That incredible redemption rate for 2018 is for the ‘low season’ — which includes January and April — and while I’d love to go during Japan’s famous cherry blossom season, I’d have no problem at all bouncing around some ramen shops during the winter months. With all the food I’d be eating, that lie-flat would be a welcome perk when I return home in a food coma.” — Wallace Cotton, Community Manager


The world famous crossroad in Shibuya, Tokyo with commuters at dusk. Photo by TommL / Getty Images

Iran

“Traveling to Iran is an aviation geek’s dream because of decades of embargo. The country’s airlines still fly airplanes that vanished long ago from US and European fleets — so that’s where I want to go this year. Famous hospitality, an ancient culture and ultra-rare plane finds … what’s not to like?” — Alberto Riva, Managing Editor   

Australia

Australia’s Whitsunday Islands are calling my name. It’s been a bucket list destination ever since I first visited the country years ago, so I’m using a trip to my in-laws as an excuse to finally pull the trigger. If the crystal clear blue waters and white sand beaches aren’t paradise, I don’t know what is.” — Jane Frye, Nights & Weekends Editor 

Egypt

“Ever since I was very young, I’ve been fascinated with all things Egypt. The country has so much to offer — from the Pyramids of Giza to the gorgeous beaches on the Red Sea. Things seem to have calmed down there recently and with hotels offering attractive rates, I think this year may be the one that I finally visit.” — Nick Ellis, Assistant Editor


Around Aswan, the beautiful contrasts of the towering rocks and dunes of the Sahara Desert sit nicely with the deep blue of the Nile River. Photo by Matt Champlin // Getty Images

Sicily

“I’ve been fortunate enough to visit (and revisit) cities throughout Italy — including Rome, Venice and Milan — plus, I road-tripped throughout Puglia in the south. My dream trip, which I’m hoping to take this spring, is to the biggest island in the Mediterranean: Sicily. I can’t wait to explore the piazzas and cathedrals — and taste the wine, cannoli and arancini. Tips welcome!” Cindy Augustine, Lifestyle Editor

Greece

“Greece has been on my list of must-visit places for a while. Through my studies, I’ve learned that Greece is the cradle of democracy and home to the Olympic Games as well as the ancient cities. But what those textbooks left out was the majestic beauty of its thousand islands. The white-sand beach and clear blue water of Mykonos Island is calling my name this year.”  Alexa Noel, Editorial Intern

Oia in Santorini
Village of Oia in Santorini. (Photo by Artie Photography/Getty Images)

South Africa

“South Africa has been on my list since I can remember and I haven’t been yet. We sponsor a PeaceJam conference there every year in October so I am hoping this is the year I get to go! On top of the PeaceJam conference, I’ve always wanted to go on Safari. Last but not least, the wine country is supposed to be amazing.”  — Becca Denenberg Marketing & Events Manager 

Brazil

“The reason I have yet to visit Brazil is that Americans previously needed to visit an embassy or consulate (or pay for a third-party service) in order to get a visa. Fortunately, that’s about to change, with Brazil soon issuing e-visas for US passport holders. So Brazil is now near the top of my list — Rio in particular, since I have a colleague there and it seems overall more appealing than Sao Paolo. While I don’t yet have concrete plans to visit, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance it’ll happen in 2018.” Zach Honig, Editor-at-Large

sbk_20d pictures//Getty Images
Photo taken from Itapajipe Bay. This state is in northeastern Brazil, South America. Photo by sbk_20d pictures //Getty Images

Hong Kong

“There are so many places on my list, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with Hong Kong. Between the mouth-watering food (soup dumplings for days!), gorgeous hotels and incredible history, there’s so much I want to explore there.” — Samantha Rosen, Social Media Editor 

Copenhagen

“Well, my first choice for travel is Cuba. However,  since there are currently US travel restrictions, I’ll set my sight on Copenhagen. I’ve always wanted to visit, and I know I can get there for relatively cheap from NYC. I want to wait until it’s warmer so I can explore the city and the surrounding countryside — maybe even visit a few of the neighboring countries — and immerse myself in Danish culture.” — Jeffrey Preis, Editorial Intern

Azore Islands and Norway

“I’m looking east from New York at two destinations: the Azores and Norway. I’ve been dying to visit Norway and take one of Norwegian’s dirt cheap sub-$200 fares from New York’s Stewart Airport (SWF) to Bergen (BGO). The Azores, a small string of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic, made our list of top places to travel in 2018. It’s untouched beauty and the new nonstop Delta flight from New York (JFK) made it easily top my list.” — Brendan Dorsey, Assistant Editor

Lagoa do Fogo and green valley on San Miguel island of Azores
Lagoa do Fogo and its green valley on the San Miguel island of Azores. Photo by Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Namibia

Namibia has been on my radar as long as I can remember. All of the pictures I’ve seen from Windhoek and beyond look stunning and otherworldly. Plus, Air Namibia’s nonstop from Frankfurt (FRA) is incredibly intriguing as a flight option. Although the A330-200 doesn’t look luxurious by any stretch, it would be a neat experience I’m hoping to cross off my bucket list this year.” — Emily McNutt, Associate Editor

Croatia

“The photographer in me can’t wait to visit Croatia this summer. While I’m doing a bit of the ‘touristy thang’ with some friends by hitting up Yacht Week out of Split and attending Ultra Europe over July 4th week, I also look forward to visiting the Plitvice Falls and checking out King’s Landing — I mean Dubrovnik. Hvar and Diocletian’s Palace also look like a shutterbug’s dream.” — Katherine Fan, Freelance Writer 

Featured photo of Old Jaffa town in Tel Aviv, Israel by boriail/Getty Images

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February 1, 2018 at 01:15AM

After Four Years of High Achievement, Janet Yellen May Be Leaving the Fed at the Right Time

After Four Years of High Achievement, Janet Yellen May Be Leaving the Fed at the Right Time

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During his State of the Union speech, on Tuesday night, Donald Trump
took credit for the country’s strong rate of job creation, its rising
wages, and the lowest unemployment rate in many years. Meanwhile, Janet
Yellen, the person primarily responsible for these things, was preparing
to leave her post as the chair of the Federal Reserve Board. On
Wednesday, she chaired her final meeting of the central bank’s
policy-making arm, and Friday will be her last day at the Fed. On Monday
morning, Jay Powell—a Republican, investment banker, and current member
of the Fed’s board—will be sworn in as her successor. In a more just
world, Yellen would have been given a second four-year term, as most of
her (male) predecessors were. But late last year Trump decided to
replace her with Powell.

Having spent fourteen years at the Fed, and having been the first woman
to lead it in its hundred-and-five-year history, Yellen is leaving with
a record of high achievement. A fiercely smart academic economist—she
holds a Ph.D. from Yale—she served as a loyal and able deputy to her
predecessor at the Fed, Ben Bernanke. Upon taking the top job, she
quickly demonstrated a mastery of the communicative and political skills
that are necessary to run a large institution like the Fed. In speeches
and at press conferences, she explained the Fed’s thinking clearly and
carefully, doing her best not to lapse into the technical jargon beloved
of economists. Her colleagues liked and respected her, and she charmed
some key Republicans on Capitol Hill. (That helped to head off recent
calls, emanating from some corners of the G.O.P., for an inquisitional
audit of the Fed.)

She even got along well with Trump, a fellow New York native. (Yellen
grew up in Brooklyn.) Last November, when he announced that he would
nominate Powell rather than keep Yellen for a second term, he
said,
“She’s a wonderful woman who’s done a terrific job.” This statement
raised the question of why he didn’t leave Yellen in place. It was
widely assumed that partisan politics were responsible: Yellen is a
Democrat, and Barack Obama nominated her, in 2013. But there’s also
another possibility. Trump may believe that, with Yellen out of the way,
it will be easier for him to lay claim to some of her achievements.

These achievements include overseeing a historic period of job creation.
“Under Yellen, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen the most of any Fed
chair term in modern history,” the Washington Post’s Heather Long
pointed out last
month
.
In February, 2014, when Yellen took office, the unemployment rate was
6.7 per cent; today, it is 4.1 per cent. And almost three quarters of
that decline came before Trump entered office.

It should also be noted that, when Yellen took office, most economists
believed that an unemployment below five per cent, or thereabouts, would
lead to inflation. If the unemployment rate fell below a certain key
level, the textbooks said, prices would start rising. To head off an
inflationary spiral, the Fed would have to step in and raise interest
rates sharply—and such a move would risk a recession.

Yellen disputed this mechanistic view. Citing the fact that millions of
people had ceased looking for jobs during and after the Great Recession
of 2007-2009, she argued that the headline rate of unemployment was an
inadequate measure of the state of the labor market, and that other
metrics, such as the labor-force-participation rate, also needed to be
taken into account.

More controversially, she also argued that there could be important
benefits to the Fed running a “high-pressure economy,” in which the
unemployment rate was kept low and new hires were hard to find. In such
a situation, Yellen speculated, in a 2016
speech
,
workers who had dropped out of the labor force could be drawn back in,
firms could be incentivized to make capital investments, over-all demand
in the economy could be higher, and wages and productivity growth—which
were languishing badly—could pick up.

This argument harkened back to one made during the nineteen-sixties by
an earlier generation of Keynesian economists, including James Tobin,
Yellen’s thesis supervisor, and Nicholas Kaldor, the British theorist
and policy adviser. With the rise of monetarism, new classical
macroeconomics, and so-called New Keynesianism, this type of economics
fell out of fashion. But, as Yellen perceived, it could perhaps hold the
key to breaking the recent pattern of low-growth, low rates of capital
investment, and stagnant wages.

The experience of the past eight years shows that it took a big dip in
the unemployment rate for median household incomes to recover some of
the losses they had suffered during the recession. Only when the jobless
rate fell below the level previously considered safe did hourly wages
rise by more than the inflation rate. Yellen welcomed these developments
and sought to extend them rather than choking off growth prematurely.
Even now, in the ninth year of the post-2009 economic recovery, the
federal funds rate is only 1.5 per cent. The rate of inflation, as
indicatedby the Fed’s preferred measure, is also just 1.5 per cent—below the
Fed’s official target of two per cent.

It could be argued—and it has been argued—that, with such a low
inflation rate, the Fed has no business raising rates, even slowly.
However, a case can also be made that the Fed’s expansionary policies
are responsible for a stock-market boom that is now turning into a
bubble. Sensitive to both of these critiques, Yellen’s Fed has been
removing the monetary stimulus slowly, in baby steps.

Thanks to Trump and the Republicans, the Fed now faces another challenge
in the form of an additional boost to the economy provided by a
front-loaded tax cut. Should the Fed stick to its current policy stance
and accommodate this new stimulus? Or should it perhaps accelerate its
interest-rate hikes? Yellen won’t have to make that call. The onus will
be on Powell, who must be keenly aware that any hint of the Fed adopting
a more hawkish approach will bring down upon him a Presidential Twitter
fusillade and more—including the possibility of disruptions in the
markets. Yellen certainly deserved another term, but she may be getting
out at the right time.

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February 1, 2018 at 12:38AM

United Airlines Honors Lost Plane Ticket From 19 Years Ago

United Airlines Honors Lost Plane Ticket From 19 Years Ago

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You know the feeling you get when you unexpectedly find money in your pocket, or that sense of relief when you find something lost after days of searching for it? Now imagine discovering an old airline voucher and learning it’s still redeemable. Well, that’s exactly what happened to John Walker when he discovered his unused United Airlines flight voucher from 19 years ago.

According to WFMY News 2 , the Greensboro, North Carolina resident recently found his unused United ticket in a box under his bed, among other old documents and birthday cards. The ticket was dated back to a United flight on December 31, 1998 from Nashville(BNA) to Sacramento (SMF) and went unused. 

“Over the years, this box has been under there, I just never really thought about it,” said Walker in an interview.

Along with the ticket was a letter Walker received from United that addressed the 19-year-old refund request for his flight. The letter stated that the “domestic wholly unused non-refundable ticket(s) can forever be applied toward the purchase of another domestic non-refundable ticket, for the customer named on the ticket.” 

After finding the letter, Walker contacted United by sending a direct message to the airline’s Twitter account.  

“No one knew what to do with a paper ticket because by this time paper tickets were long gone,” Walker said. “They hadn’t been issued for 10 or 12 years.”

According to Walker, a customer care associate explained that the “forever” referenced in his letter was no longer under a binding agreement because United went bankrupt in 2010, which meant all debts, including airline tickets such as his, were discharged by the airline. Lucky for Walker, his then $378 paper ticket and is valued at $571.60 today. 

“They decided to honor it partly because of the letter even though it wasn’t legally binding. But also, because I think it was just good customer service on their part,” said Walker. 

H/T  WFMYNews2.com

Feature photo by Zach Honig

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February 1, 2018 at 12:15AM

Sabre Corp. to integrate multisource hotel content into GDS

Sabre Corp. to integrate multisource hotel content into GDS

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Sabre Corp. is taking a new approach to how it deals with hotel inventory.

Traci Mercer, senior vice president of lodging, ground, and sea, said that for the first time it will integrate multirepresentational hotel content with traditional GDS content.

Home to this union will be the new Sabre Content Services for Lodging, a solution designed to accommodate multiple sources of content.

In the past, Mercer said, if both Sabre and an aggregator had a hotel in their inventories, Sabre would stick with its own listing and “say no thank you” to the aggregator’s.

But eventually, Sabre realized it might be missing out on opportunities. While it is true that a hotel might be listed at different price points by different aggregators, the end products that are offered are not necessarily identical.

Hotel prices might include breakfast, an option for late checkout, access to a health club or any number of added features, Mercer said.

For Phase 1 of Content Services, “We said, ‘Let’s put all of them in here.’”

The result is that the user can see side-by-side comparisons of what exactly is on offer for any given price point.

Sabre Content Services for Lodging, which will launch later this year, has initial agreements with Bedsonline, TravelBound and the Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) to create critical mass at the outset.

Bedsonline brings a portfolio of more than 170,000 properties in 120 countries, and TravelBound reaches customers in 190 countries and offers more than 50,000 hotels.

EAN will provide access to more than 350,000 properties worldwide and offer more than 650,000 exclusive deals on accommodations.

In total, the first phase will deliver more than 900,000 property options from both the Sabre GDS and non-GDS sources such as aggregators, redistributors and agency-sourced hotel content.

The integration of aggregator and GDS hotel content will make travel agents and corporate booking tool providers more efficient and effective and confident by increasing the depth and breadth of their hotel offerings, Mercer said.

She said Sabre will be launching with two or three more aggregators this year. “Then we will re-evaluate to see where we need to supplement our inventory.”

Sabre also is moving toward the release of APIs for large TMCs that have built their own user interfaces and want to use Sabre Content Services for Lodging’s inventory.

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January 31, 2018 at 10:19PM

9 Competing Airlines Donate $28 Million for Museum Makeover

9 Competing Airlines Donate $28 Million for Museum Makeover

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Beginning late this summer, the National Air and Space Museum, one of the 19 world-class Smithsonian museums located on the National Mall in Washington DC, will undergo its first renovation in the building’s 41-year history. What’s more, nine major airlines are donating $28 million as a gift towards the renovations.

News of the 2018 revitalization comes off the heels of the announcement of the rare joint venture between the competing airlines. The $28 million will go towards the “America by Air” gallery. American Airlines, The Delta Air Lines Foundation and United Airlines contributed as lead donors while Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier, Hawaiian and Spirit have also contributed to the project. Southwest also contributed a gift last year and the welcome center in the “Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall” will be designated the “Southwest Airlines Welcome Center” once the renovations are complete.

“The generous contribution by the airlines not only signals their commitment to the storied history of air travel, but to inspiring young people to pursue careers in aviation and engineering,” said Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, the director of the National Air and Space Museum in a press release. “These gifts help launch the museum on a trajectory to realizing the transformation of this important place.”

“America by Air” is one of the three main halls at the National Air and Space Museum; the gallery follows the history of commercial aviation in the US with anything from large aircrafts to airline uniforms on display. Highlights of the exhibit include a Douglas DC-3, the nose of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet that visitors can enter, a Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor and a Douglas DC-7.

The museum hopes to raise $250 million through private donations to fund future galleries. All 23 galleries and exhibition spaces in the museum will be transformed with the money raised and the project is slated to take seven years to complete. Donations will also go towards completely re-facing the exterior stone, replacement of outdated mechanical systems and other improvements supported by federal funding.

The museum will remain open during the project by dividing construction into two major phases with construction beginning this summer; the “America by Air” exhibit will be closed during renovations, however, but is expected to re-open by 2021. The contributions by the airlines will be recognized in the entrance of the new exhibit, which will feature a fresh layout with new design and graphics, an interactive experience and more accessibility throughout. John Plueger, chairman of the museum’s board, noted the rare opportunity to revamp the museum.

“This rare collaborative effort within the competitive industry of commercial aviation shows how important it is to inspire the next generation and the airline industry’s commitment toward that effort,” he said.

Images courtesy of National Air and Space Museum 

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January 31, 2018 at 10:16PM

MeMe’s Diner Is Brooklyn’s Delicious, Delightful (and “Very, Very Gay”) Place to Be

MeMe’s Diner Is Brooklyn’s Delicious, Delightful (and “Very, Very Gay”) Place to Be

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If the theme of MeMe’s Diner, which opened in November, in Prospect Heights, is the subversion of norms—its owners, Bill Clark and Libby Willis, recently described it as a “very, very gay restaurant” in an interview with Jarry, a magazine that “explores where food and queer culture intersect”—the proof is in the literal pudding. One of the best things on the menu is a brunch dish called Milk and Cereal, which reimagines not only that archetypal combination (it’s a dome of luscious, tangy yogurt panna cotta so shiny that you can see the overhead lights reflected in its surface, ringed by supremes of pink-fleshed Cara Cara orange, wedges of kiwi, and a scattering of Corn Pops) but also the concept of brunch as a whole. At most restaurants, brunch is an afterthought, an easy way to make a high return on eggs and mimosas; for those dining, it’s often hell. At MeMe’s, it’s a wellspring of inspired delights, beginning with complimentary bowls of mixed junk-food cereals—Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Froot Loops, Lucky Charms—to snack on while you decide what else to eat.

Anything here that began as dough is an especially good bet: Clark and Willis, who oversee the dining room and kitchen, respectively, met while working at Ovenly, a bakery in Greenpoint. The Everything Bagel Babka looks more like a popover—but who are we to say what babka is supposed to look like? What matters is that it’s absolutely delicious, coated in the classic garlic-and-seed mixture, which goes flying like confetti as you tear off the crusty top to reveal flaky layers of pastry marbled with scallion cream cheese. Willis is a whiz with eggs, too: gently boiled and mashed into a silky salad, then topped with cherry tomatoes, nubs of blue cheese, and bacon, to be scooped into crisp leaves of iceberg; sunny-side up, on a shallow pool of yogurt strewn with kale and encircled by a moat of chili oil spangled with peanuts, pepitas, and sunflower seeds; scrambled, Texas-migas-style, tossed with salsa verde and julienned radish inside a snipped-open bag of Fritos. Throw in a side of deep-fried breakfast potatoes, doused in spicy maple syrup—or, for the health conscious, a bowl of warm multigrain porridge finished with a dollop of creamy chia pudding and nibs of caramelized pineapple—and brunch is made great again.

Part of what makes MeMe’s a “queer space,” and part of what sets it apart from many other New York City establishments, is Clark and Willis’s commitment to making it as welcoming and inclusive as possible, for both staff (many of whom identify as queer) and customers. Later this month, they’ll host an event for L.G.B.T.Q. people who work in the restaurant industry. On a recent Sunday, brunch was a family affair, with Clark’s boyfriend, a friendly hunk with a Tom of Finland moustache, playing host, and Willis’s mother, in town from Ohio, waiting tables. “This is the closest thing I have to a grandbaby,” she announced proudly as she dropped off a beautiful, plate-size cocoa Dutch baby garnished with brûléed bananas, melty dulce de leche, and chopped bacon. (Later, a joker waiting for a table rearranged the letters on the sidewalk message-board sign so that it advertised a “butch baby.”) The coffee was topped off swiftly, the soundtrack anchored by women-fronted post-punk bands from the seventies and eighties. “This place is la bomba,” an Oberlin alum declared.

At dinner, MeMe’s earns its designation as a diner. The menu veers toward comfort food as camp, in homage to Willis’s native Midwest and to Clark’s grandmother MeMe, for whom the restaurant is named. The snack bowls are filled from a tub of radioactive-orange spherical cheese puffs kept behind the bar, which is lined with stools upholstered in green vinyl. MeMe’s Manhattan—according to Clark, the original MeMe drinks one daily—goes down easy, as do MeMe’s BBQ Meatballs, juicy little orbs dripping with a sweet, hoisin-based sauce and served in a seventies-style ceramic crock with toothpicks. There’s an excellent patty melt on buttered marbled rye; mac and cheese made with pasta shells and sprinkled with Ruffles potato chips; a bountiful salad coated in Green Goddess dressing and topped with crunchy-skinned Buffalo fried chicken; an impressively fluffy meatloaf that’s somehow gluten free. Layer cakes beckon from pedestals; one with yellow layers soaked in ginger syrup and rum, its glossy marshmallow frosting speckled with coconut flakes, was so good that I ordered an extra slice to go. It’s food meant not to impress you, only to bring you joy. The best part is, it does both. (Entrées $8-$20.) ♦

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January 31, 2018 at 10:02PM

The more remote,the better: Why this adventurer loves difficult journeys

The more remote,the better: Why this adventurer loves difficult journeys

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You run a travel company, Edge Expeditions, with your boyfriend Marley. On your site, you say: “We believe travel is often taken far too seriously.” What do you mean by that?

I often feel this whole ‘adventure’ malarkey is taken too seriously—I’m convinced all those zip-off trousers and technical sandals somehow erode people’s sense of humor! Yes travel’s about exploring, experiencing, and coming home inspired, but it’s also important to have FUN! Just because we’re tramping across some distant land on a Very Serious Adventure, doesn’t mean we should forget to have a laugh. Laughter can transcend all ages, language and cultural barriers.

As well as running Edge and leading expeditions for your company, you’re an author, travel writer, speaker, and travel show producer. How do you organize yourself?

With the assistance of Earl Grey tea, yoga, and meditation! It sounds a lot, but I focus on one thing at a time: I’ll lock myself in a shed to write a book for eight months, work solidly on a TV contract for four months, then set aside time to give talks, write articles, and potter around my garden.

I’ve also learned the importance of saying no, and making sure I have space in my life. As architect Mies van der Rohe so wisely said: ‘Less is more.’

—-

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January 31, 2018 at 09:09PM

Here Are Situations That Could Get You Free Miles From an AA Flight Attendant

Here Are Situations That Could Get You Free Miles From an AA Flight Attendant

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A couple of weeks ago, we found out that American Airlines flight attendants will soon be able to give passengers in-flight compensation. FAs will be able to use an app on their tablets called iSolve to offer on-the-spot mileage compensation to passengers who are experiencing issues.

This raised obvious questions: How much would they be able to give? What situations would be eligible for miles? Will AA flight attendants now be continuously hassled for free miles?

Now, we’ve got some of the answers to this. First, The Forward Cabin has the scoop on what situations will score free miles. There will be “four service categories (IFE, Seat Issues, Catering and Cabin Comfort)” for which AA flight attendants will be able to provide miles “with specific reasons within each category.”

These reasons are listed in the internal memo as:

  • IFE: IFE inoperable (Note: this does not include connectivity issues)
  • Seat Issues: Broken tray table; Inoperable seats; Seat swaps
  • Catering: Meal shortage; Missing special meals (Note: this does not include food for sale shortages)
  • Cabin Comfort: Broken reading light; Dry cleaning

Some of these are obvious: A broken seat, tray table or IFE system are going to get you mileage compensation. Hopefully all you’ll need to do is bring it to the attention of the flight attendant to get the miles.

Just make sure you check for a tray table release button before complaining about a "broken" tray table.
Just make sure you check for a tray table release button before complaining about a “broken” tray table.

Some are less obvious: Does “dry cleaning” mean a flight attendant can offer miles as compensation if they spill a drink on a passenger? Is the “seat swap” compensation option available as a reward for when you voluntarily swap seats to allow a family to sit together, or just if someone has taken your seat?

AA won’t let its flight attendants grant free miles through this system for “connectivity issues” — which likely refers to inoperative Wi-Fi. This makes some sense, as the connectivity issues are usually out of the hands of the airline.

The Forward Cabin was also able to determine that the compensation amount will vary based on the elite status of the traveler. For example, a first class passenger on a two-hour flight will get the following for a broken in-flight entertainment screen:

  • Non Status Passenger / Gold – 5,000 miles compensation.
  • Platinum / Platinum Pro – between 5,000-10,000 miles compensation.
  • Executive Platinum  – 10,000 miles compensation.
  • Concierge Key – 15,000 miles compensation.

We also learned that you’d be wise to not complain too much — the airline admitted in a podcast designed for employees that it tracks how much each individual customer complains. Jill Surdek, AA’s Vice President of Flight Service, explained:

The great part about this system is it feeds into a central database that is what’s used by reservations, by social media and by the customer relations team, so if we ultimately have a customer who seems to be taking advantage of this, we’re going to know.

Featured image by Getty Images

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January 31, 2018 at 08:55PM