JFK’s $10 Billion Renovation Won’t Include What It Needs Most — a New Runway

JFK’s $10 Billion Renovation Won’t Include What It Needs Most — a New Runway

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Anyone who’s traveled to, from or through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has likely noticed that it’s in desperate need of a facelift. That could be soon on the way, but by the sound of it, one aspect that the airport is in desperate need of will be left out — a new runway.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in the coming weeks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce the details of a $10 billion renovation for JFK. And while those details call out things like new roads for cars traveling to and from the airport, improved taxiways for aircraft and a more modern and consolidated terminal layout, the airport won’t get a new runway.

“Right now, a new runway is not on the table,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The airport needs the runway to accommodate the anticipated rise in passengers and demands in the coming decades, according to planners.

That’s not what the Port Authority thinks, however. In 2017, JFK served a record total of 59 million passengers, up 23% from 48 million in 2008. By 2035, the airport is expected to serve 80 million passengers annually, and the Port Authority believes the airport’s four runways are sufficient to handle that projected growth.

Instead, the Port Authority is shifting its focus to making JFK’s terminals more user friendly while avoiding the politically charged issue of new runways. “We need to transform JFK into an airport that can actually meet 21st century demands before we start considering new runways,” Cotton said.

Runway production is typically controversial because of noise and pollution concerns. If JFK were to build a new runway, it would likely be over Jamaica Bay, which is a wetland estuary. Oh, and it would likely cost billions of dollars.

People familiar with the airport’s development say that the time for the Port Authority to consider a new runway is now. In fact, these people say that the agency did indeed consider a new runway as far back as 2011, but the agency put those desires on hold because of the politics of it all.

JFK’s neighbor airport, LaGuardia (LGA), which is also under the control of the Port Authority, is in the midst of an $8 billion overhaul.

Featured image by Skyhobo / Getty Images.

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September 23, 2018 at 07:33PM

Wow Air on Reinvention and 6 Other Aviation Trends This Week

Wow Air on Reinvention and 6 Other Aviation Trends This Week

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Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Wow Air is being squeezed from all sides. It will need to reinvent its business if it wants to survive. The good news is that the company’s founder and CEO, Skúli Mogensen, is willing to take some risks: Onetime Disruptor Wow Air Is Ready for a Reinvention

>>Can Wow Air make it as a standalone airline? We’re not sure. But the airline has some options for its future: What’s Wow Air’s Next Move?

>>An Emirates-Etihad merger makes a lot of sense. Emirates may not be as strong as it once was, but it’s still a well-run global airline that strikes fear into established competitors. Eithad, however, is in rough shape. It could use a makeover: Emirates Looks to Become World’s Largest Airline With Takeover of Etihad

>>This is how competition should work. American, Delta, and United have been poaching customers from discount airlines with their no-frills basic economy fares. Frontier doesn’t like that, so it has come up with a new passenger-friendly policy to try to sway potential passengers: Frontier Lowers Its Change Fees as Competition Heats Up

>>Do business travelers really want one-stop service around the world? Turkish Airlines is continuing its strategy of using Istanbul as a bridge between the East and West, although a lot is riding on improvements to its business class product, whenever they emerge: Turkish Airlines Plans for Growth With Business Travel at Core

>>Turkish Airlines has ambitions to become the go-to airline for travelers flying to and from secondary cities across the world. Its model has worked so far, and it will be interesting to see how it can improve its product while managing to expand its network further: Turkish Airlines’ Biz Travel Ambitions

>>Collinson, the parent company of Priority Pass, made a wise move investing in airport-food-ordering app Grab. There’s plenty to improve about the experience of dining in the terminal: Priority Pass Parent Expands Further Into Dining

Photo Credit: Wow Air’s founder and CEO, Skúli Mogensen, is willing to take some risks. Wow Air

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September 23, 2018 at 06:36PM

High-Speed Trains Now Run Between Mainland China and Hong Kong

High-Speed Trains Now Run Between Mainland China and Hong Kong

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Previously, traveling by train between Hong Kong and mainland China was an arduous task for most medium to long-haul routes. For example, direct trains to Beijing only operated every two days and the trip would take about 24 hours. Even if you love trains, journeys from Hong Kong were trying for all but the shortest routes to nearby Shenzhen and Guangzhou. But, on September 23, 2018, the first high-speed trains began running from Hong Kong’s West Kowloon station to 44 destinations in mainland China without any connections required.

Direct trains to nearby stations Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South will depart every 10 to 30 minutes. But, there will be only one direct train per day for most long-haul destinations. From a cost-to-time standpoint, the new high-speed train service makes the most sense for travel between Hong Kong and the 15 cities that are directly served by the high-speed rail but not by an airport. While you’d think that the bullet train would handily beat any other option for the sub-100 mile journey to Guangzhou, a race by the South China Morning Post showed the high-speed train to Guangzhou only beat out the next fastest option by 13 minutes.

Photo by Chen Jimin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images.
Photo by Chen Jimin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images.

Vacationers may appreciate the ease of traveling by train even when it costs more and/or takes longer than traveling by plane. For example, travel by plane one-way from Hong Kong to Beijing within the next month costs as little as $116 and takes around 3 hours and 20 minutes, while travel by the new high-speed train costs as little as 1,237HKD ($158) and takes about 8 hours and 56 minutes — both ignoring ground transportation cost and time. But, most of the high-speed trains to/from Hong Kong travel during the day, so you can enjoy the scenery and experience. Plus, for many, train travel is more relaxing than plane travel.

If you want to ride on the new high-speed rail, check out the current schedule and prices on the MTR website by searching for your route. Or, you can check out a listing of current fares and the current long-haul schedule (caution: PDF link).

You can book tickets arriving or departing Hong Kong on the MTR website using a Visa or Mastercard up to two hours before departure. Be sure to use a credit card that provides trip delay protection, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and remember to pick up your physical tickets at the train station before departure. You can also book tickets through a variety of other channels, but online booking will generally be the easiest.

When booking, a seat is assigned to you and I couldn’t find an option to change my seat. You’ll also need to input your passport information.

If you travel on this new service, remember that customs and immigration proceedings for both mainland China and Hong Kong occur in the West Kowloon station since it’s the only stop outside mainland China. So, plan to arrive early when departing from Hong Kong.

Will you take advantage of the new high-speed train service to/from Hong Kong?

Featured photo by VCG via Getty Images.

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September 23, 2018 at 06:30PM

How to Spend an Overnight Layover in Dublin

How to Spend an Overnight Layover in Dublin

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It’s always fun to visit a new city, even if just for a short layover. TPG‘s JT Genter (my husband) and I had an overnight layover in Dublin between two different tickets recently, so we decided to make the most of our limited time in the city.

Here’s what we did during our slightly-less-than-24-hour layover. And check out TPG‘s Ireland trip-spiration if you’ve got a longer trip planned.

The Dublin airport (DUB) doesn’t recommend visiting the Dublin City Centre unless you have at least five hours between flights. Considering that it can take about 45 minutes by taxi or an hour by bus to transit each way, this is a reasonable recommendation. If you don’t want to carry your luggage with you into the City Centre, baggage storage is available in the Terminal 1 arrivals hall.

We took the double-decker Airlink Express bus from the airport to the City Centre for 12 (about $14) per person round-trip. Aircoach also operates routes between the airport and City Centre for a similar price. Both types of buses depart every 10 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, taxi fares usually cost 20-30 (about $24-35) each way.

Wander the City Centre

One of the first things I like to do when visiting a new city is go for a walk. Dublin is a flat city that is well-suited for walking. In just a few hours I strolled down the River Liffey, through Trinity College, around St. Stephen’s Green, to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, past Dublin Castle and to the Temple Bar area.

Trinity College is open to guests.
Trinity College is open to guests.

There are also some free walking tours that operate daily — we’d hoped to go on one, but our flight arrived too late.

Eat an Irish Meal

It would be a shame to visit Dublin and not have a classic Irish meal. We followed TPG‘s Lori Zaino‘s lead and had dinner at one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, Brazen Head.

We grabbed a table in the crowded outdoor garden, ordered Irish stew (15.50 or about $18) and fish and chips (15.50 or about $18) and enjoyed a Guinness and a Smithwicks Blonde. Although there were clearly other tourists at the bar, we were surprised to see locals as well.

A stereotypical Irish meal at Brazen Head.
A classic Irish meal at Brazen Head.

Find a Place to Crash

Dublin is a relatively expensive city and there aren’t many US-known chain hotels in the City Centre. The ones that do exist feature steep prices regardless of whether you pay with cash or points.

As we just needed a place to sleep for the night, we opted for LIV Dublin, a new student housing complex that we booked a few hours before check-in for just 76.50 (about $89). We’ve enjoyed other student lodging facilities in Europe that are rented out to tourists during the summer months and this was no exception. We received a clean private room and bathroom in a six-bedroom apartment with excellent city views and facilities. Plus, the Wi-Fi was speedy, the staff and fellow guests were friendly, and the property was very centrally located.

The shared kitchen and dining area in our student housing apartment.
The shared kitchen and dining area in our student housing apartment.

The next cheapest centrally-located private room option, found on HotelTonight, was a self-proclaimed “cheap dive” with shared bathrooms located directly above a bar on Temple Street for 85 (about $99). Considering it was a Friday night and we needed sleep, this didn’t seem like a good option.

Learn About (and Drink) Guinness

When you think of Ireland, two things likely come to mind: St. Patrick’s Day and Guinness. Although we didn’t visit for St. Patrick’s Day, we did visit the Guinness Storehouse at the historic St. James’s Gate Brewery. Book your tickets online for the best prices and to avoid long lines; prices range from 18.50 (about $22) per person online when there’s high availability to 25 (about $29) per person on-site.

Allow at least 90 minutes to walk through the self-guided exhibits. Although there are opportunities to use your coupon for a complementary pint of Guinness on lower floors, I’d recommend saving it for the top-floor Gravity Bar, which features 360-degree views of Dublin.

Learn About (and Drink) Irish Whiskey

Jameson Distillery Bow Street is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. Although the distilling is now done in Cork, Ireland, you can tour the historic Bow Street location. There are a variety of tours on offer, including whiskey tasting, whiskey blending and a cask draw experience.

We tasted and compared three styles of whiskey during our tour.
We tasted and compared three styles of whiskey during our tour.

We opted for the basic 40-minute Bow Street Experience, which costs 20 (about $24) for adults — or you can save €3 (about $4) if you do a tour at 12:45pm or earlier. We found the three-stage tour to be informative and surprisingly well produced.

How to Book a Ticket With a Stopover

Although no airlines explicitly offer a Dublin stopover program, some award tickets allow free stopovers. Alternatively, you could build a less than 24-hour layover — perhaps an all-day layover or overnight layover — into an itinerary connecting in Dublin.

Or, you could leverage the fact that Dublin is often cheaper — both in cash and in distance-based award programs, with rates starting at just 13,000 Avios one-way — to reach from the US than and book separate tickets. Plus, Dublin is a Ryanair hub. As such, you could fly to Dublin, build in a 24+ hour stay — that also serves as buffer room for delays — and then continue onto another European destination on a separate Ryanair ticket.

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September 23, 2018 at 06:13PM

Act Quick: Singapore Award Space Available via United and Aeroplan

Act Quick: Singapore Award Space Available via United and Aeroplan

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Singapore Airlines generally reserves its premium award redemptions for itself. Meaning, you can only typically book Singapore’s first and business class through the carrier’s own KrisFlyer program. While not a huge deal, it limits you from using the programs of its partners — United MileagePlus, Aeroplan, etc. — to book awards.

However, as One Mile at a Time reports, some Singapore premium awards are showing on carrier partners.

For example, you can book Singapore (SIN) to Los Angeles (LAX) in business class with Singapore via United’s MileagePlus program. The one-way ticket in SQ’s biz class on its A380-800 will run you 90,000 United miles + $51.

There seems to be good availability throughout the end of 2018 and into the beginning of 2019.

Aeroplan is also showing Singapore availability on the same route for 77,500 miles + CAD 66.

As OMAAT notes, Singapore availability isn’t showing on every Singapore-operated route. In addition, the Singapore availability isn’t showing on all of its partners. For example, while you can see SQ award availability on United and Aeroplan, nothing is showing via Avianca’s LifeMiles booking portal.

If you have a specific route in mind, it’ll be worth checking with both United and Aeroplan to see if it’s available.

Given that Singapore is usually very strict on how it opens award availability to partners, it’s likely that these redemptions with United and Aeroplan won’t be around for long.

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September 23, 2018 at 05:31PM

Millennials Are Driving Sales of Tech-Enabled Airstream Trailers

Millennials Are Driving Sales of Tech-Enabled Airstream Trailers

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Millennials can’t seem to get enough of recreational vehicles. Airstream’s tech-savvy RVs continue to sell through the roof as the outdoorsy, Instagram-obsessed generation looks to disconnect in the American wilderness, while still connecting to WiFi.

Airstream announced its fifth consecutive year of sales growth on Thursday. The company has seen a whopping 218 percent growth in sales over the past five years. This year, sales are up another 24 percent.

Millennials are driving that growth, according to Airstream president and chief executive officer Bob Wheeler. “They think that experiences, adventure, and people are what create real value in their life. And the RV is just a conduit for that lifestyle.” Forty-five percent of Airstreams customers last year purchased an RV for the first time, Wheeler added.

For most cash-strapped, debt-ridden youth, Airstream’s $149,9000 “Classic” RV remains out of reach. But the company’s lower-end travel trailers start at a more modest $36,900, and can be equipped with Bluetooth-controlled LED lighting and high-end hardwood finishes. These models have seen the greatest volume in growth, according to Wheeler. “Small is the new big,” he said. “Millennials are interested in the less intimidating, easier to use models like the Nest and the Basecamp.”

Airstream owners want to go off the beaten path—but not too far. The company partnered with AT&T in August to provide RVs with LTE connectivity and unlimited data. “We’ve set aside the idea that people want to disconnect fully,” Wheeler said. “Millennials want the option to connect when they need to.”

At a time when many U.S. automakers have moved production overseas, Airstream continues to expand domestically. The company grew its workforce from 269 employees in 2012 to more than 1,000 employees today at its factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. That facility itself is undergoing a $40 million expansion, which Wheeler expects to generate an additional 250 jobs in 2019.

Meanwhile, Airstream’s parent company Thor Industries Inc. agreed on Tuesday to buy German motor-home builder Erwin Hymer Group in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.5 billion—the company’s largest acquisition to date and its first move outside North America. The acquisition will bring Thor into European RV markets, many of which are already stronger than the United States.

Thor shares slid 10 percent in premarket trading on Thursday after the company missed earnings estimates. Fourth-quarter sales fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.87 billion.

While Airstream won’t be moving production overseas any time soon, the company does plan to increase international distribution. “The brand is not as well known in Europe or far East Asia, but there’s definitely a subculture of passionate enthusiasts there,” Wheeler said. “We want to crack China.”

International customers will come to appreciate the product’s American legacy, Wheeler believes. “Chinese buyers don’t want a ‘Made in China’ Airstream,” he said. “Our brand is ‘Made in America.”

 

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

 

This article was written by Riley Griffin from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Photo Credit: Shown here is one of Airstream’s tech-enabled recreational vehicles, which continue to sell through the roof. Airstream

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September 23, 2018 at 05:04PM

Grandpa Points: Traveling in the Autumn (Of Your Life)

Grandpa Points: Traveling in the Autumn (Of Your Life)

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Ahh, Fall. It’s like a reset button. A release valve. A chance to recharge. We all look forward to that first hint of cooler, drier air as it filters in after months of summer heat. It is one of those “feel good” moments in life. September, October and early November bring a transitional state of calm and beauty and well being. It’s safe to say that baby boomers (my generation) are also now in the autumn of our lives. And since autumn is often the best time  of year to travel, to extrapolate a little, maybe we are also in the prime time of our lives to travel.

Boomer Travel: 70 is the new 50

The term “baby boomer” is a generational definition for those born between the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s. This period began with the optimistic and halcyon post-WWII years when doors went unlocked, keys were left in cars’ ignitions and a comforting innocence was portrayed nightly on our black and white televisions. The era ended in a transitional, chaotic and challenging decade that saw us witness the extremes from triumphant successes in space exploration to tragic assassinations and a country divided by the war in Vietnam.

Seventy million. That is a “7” with seven big “0”s tagging along close behind. That’s the approximate number of baby boomers alive, kicking and hopefully traveling in the United States (and beyond). My wife and I are proud members of this special club and we hope to retain an active membership for years to come. We like to think that we are representative of this age group in our approach to life, our appreciation of good health, our financial position, our involvement in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives and our love of travel. We truly believe that 70 (there’s that number again) is the new 50. We believe we are younger, more active, more mobile and more energetic than previous generations.


Grandma and Grandpa Points traveling in the autumn of their lives

We do not take this for granted and we consider ourselves as beneficiaries of the social advancements and comforts provided by our parents and their parents.

We found as we went through the years of our youth, the years raising a family, and the years of maximum work output, that there were travel goals and dreams necessarily set aside as life’s deck of cards were dealt. This is how bucket lists are created.

The things you want to do and places you want to see are put out there like the carrot at the end of the stick until the right day comes along. For most of us, the right day comes as retirement age is approached or achieved. The calendar and the clock become less of a foe and more of a friend. My wife and I, for example, always wanted to see the Northeast in the fall. But, because of our jobs, autumn was never a vacation option. However, once free from a work schedule, we were able to fulfill this decades-long wish in spectacular fashion that exceeded our wildest expectations.


Fall in the Northwest (Photo by Buddy Smith)

And, as we became freer to move about the country, we gave increased attention to our bucket list trips as they took on a more pressing degree of importance once you realize that there is a lot more sand at the bottom of the hourglass of life than there is at the top.


(Photo by Buddy Smith)

Even though we are discussing the positives of post-retirement travels, we must add the caveat that we are also advocates of seizing opportunities when and as they are presented. Sometime chances only come along once and sometimes then the curtain closes for good. We know of several good friends who postponed or delayed much-anticipated experiences and never made it to the starting line of their lifelong dreams.

You also, of course, want to try and see and do things before the -itises come to visit for an extended stay. You know the ones: arthritis, bronchitis, bursitis, gastritis, tendonitis, neuritis, etc.

Safety first when traveling during retirement

There are some obvious considerations that we need to remember when taking a trip as seasoned travelers. Like a good Scout, we need to be prepared. In deference to the time we now live in, the most important thing may be to have your cell phone always fully charged and with backup power just in case. And as another traveling safeguard, installing the phone app “Find Friends” allows your family to check on your movements and location.

If you are on a daily prescription regimen, be sure medications are up to date and that you take them with you. Check with your doctor about whether you should take Aspirin to help prevent deep vein thrombosis. We are big advocates of the annual higher dose flu vaccine since a lot of travel is in very close quarters for extended time with people from an assortment of locales. Pack an extra pair of glasses. If you are driving in a car, keep the gas level above the half-full mark. Keep a six-pack or two of bottled water and snacks in the car. I also recommend a good old fashioned hard copy paper map be a part of your road trip essentials. When faced with parking in a big, multi-level garage, take a photo of your car with a sign indicating the level you are on and the parking space you are occupying. Be sure and wear good shoes that support your ankles and provide traction. As we age, balance and coordination, especially on uneven ground, can be tested. And, as we all know, falling can be enemy #1. Let someone know of your destinations and travel schedule and reconsider any plans for driving late into or through the night.

One of the recent trends in our society is the opening of urgent care and emergency clinics. These can prove to be very beneficial to the traveler that incurs some sort of medical situation while on the road. These facilities cater to the walk-in visitor and can literally save a trip when the need arises. Our recent trip to Nevada/California required an urgent care visit, and with a few hours of time, the right diagnosis and proper prescription the trip went from questionable status to back on track.

It is also incumbent on us vacationing veterans to let our wisdom and experiences keep us safe from harm and out of trouble. I remember the phrase about your eyes being bigger than your stomach. It was just a saying to emphasize that perception and reality are not necessarily the same, but the same dilemma sometimes surfaces with the age progression. The mind and memory can suggest one outcome but the body’s answer is different. Sort of the spirit-is-willing but the flesh-is-weak kind of thing. Recently we were at Lake Tahoe (thanks to $20 airfare on Frontier), and I was climbing all around on and between some big boulders at the lake’s edge.

Lake Tahoe
(Photo by Buddy Smith)

I soon realized that my youthful exuberance had gotten me trapped by a few of these large stones. I knew that in a different time I would have just gone on autopilot and instinctively, athletically and reflexively climbed out. No problem. But that day, at this age, I had to come up with a game plan to extricate myself from the minor predicament. I succeeded in reasonably short order, but the incident will linger in my psyche as a reminder that I am not as young as I used to be. I decided then and there that I would need to give thought, discretion and consequences more weight when balancing the pros and cons of certain physical activities.

Ticking off (and adding to) the bucket list

The biggest advantage of traveling post-retirement is the freedom to travel when you want to and when it’s the best time rather than when you have to. Other benefits of being able to travel during non-peak periods include lower rates and fees, more availability, smaller crowds and a less hurried and harried experience.

Some of our best trips have been taken after becoming social security eligible. We spent 13 magnificent days exploring the waters, the mountains and the tundra of Alaska.


At last, we made it to Alaska (Photo by Buddy Smith)

Ten days were spent roaming the state of Colorado, from Bridal Veil in Telluride to Maroon Bells to the mill at Crystal to the Elk Festival in Estes Park.

A dozen days in California were spent cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, walking in the shadows of giant sequoias and seeing rainbows in the falls of Yosemite. A two-week trip to the Northeast saw us reveling in the colorful glory of a resplendent fall, taking in the sights, sounds and faces of baseball at Cooperstown, hearing the roar and feeling the spray of Niagara Falls and silently admiring the awesomeness of Letchworth State Park.


Letchworth State Park (Photo by Buddy Smith)

12 months of travel during retirement

In between those grand extended trips, we have enjoyed many three to five-day adventures. We have utilized each month of the calendar to maximize opportunities. The 365-day window for travel has led to skiing in Utah in January and hiking The Wave in February. We captured the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms last spring because of our date flexibility.


Cherry blossoms in DC (Photo by Buddy Smith)

And a drive up Trail Ridge Road on a May day just after it was plowed and opened was ours because we could. We were in the patriotic spirit of our nation’s capital on July 4.


4th of July in DC (Photo by Buddy Smith)

We chased the total solar eclipse across Missouri last August and cheered on Team USA at the Ryder Cup in late September. An October trip gave us access to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and the slot canyons at Page, Arizona.


Exploring slot canyons (Photo by Buddy Smith)

We experienced a November Notre Dame Game Day in South Bend and we enjoyed the holiday season in NYC one December.


Radio City at Christmas (Buddy Smith)

Radio City Music Hall (Photo by Buddy Smith)

We have taken trips on whims, taken trips on “why nots?” and taken trips on “if not now, whens?” We are certainly not wealthy or privileged. But, we are rich in the desire to see and do things. Combine that hunger for travel, the time to do it and mix in the world of miles and points and you come up with a recipe that makes it possible.

We hope the ‘Fall of our Lives’ continues to see us in good health with an eagerness to explore. (The distant sound you may have just heard was me knocking on wood for good luck.) We wish the same for you whatever your aspirations are and wherever your travel dreams may take you. Enjoy each day and  always look forward to tomorrow. Make these autumn years truly golden. Safe travels to all.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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September 23, 2018 at 05:01PM

Hot Mess: How Tidy Should You Leave a Hotel Room?

Hot Mess: How Tidy Should You Leave a Hotel Room?

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If you’ve ever scanned your hotel room and, guiltily, straightened up before checking out, you’re not alone.

“I know that [housekeepers] don’t make a lot of money and have to deal with a lot,” said Ailie Byers, a TPG reader and professional auctioneer. “I try to put all of the trash away, recycling in the recycling bin, put the towels where they are supposed to go and overall straighten up.”

Meanwhile, TPG reader Annie Furlong takes things to another level, putting her clothes away neatly in drawers during any stay that will last longer than one night.

“I really try to make sure not to leave things in disarray. I like to think of the individuals who have to clean up the room and the type of day they are probably having,” Furlong said.

For many travelers, daily housekeeping is part of what makes staying in a full-service hotel worthwhile — as is the mess you’re allowed to make when someone is being paid to clean up after you. But for others, it’s a point of stress and uncertainty. After all, no one wants to be outright rude to housekeeping staff.

What the experts say

Diane Gottsman, a travel etiquette expert who wrote the guide “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founded The Protocol School of Texas told TPG that the bottom line is to be respectful to the individual who will be cleaning up after you.

“You should behave in the same manner as if you were [a] guest in someone’s house,” she explained. “Be delicate. Flush your toilet, clean up after yourself and don’t leave broken glass all over the floor.”

But showing basic courtesy doesn’t necessarily mean that you should remake your bed and scrub the bathroom floor.

Gottsman said that hotels with housecleaning service do expect to have to clean up after you — stripping the bed and replacing it with clean sheets, picking up detritus from your room service order — so there’s no need to rearrange the throw pillows on the bed in the exact way you found them. But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to leave the room in such a state of disorder that it’s downright disrespectful to the person who has to deal with it.

Occasionally, guests may run out of time and be unable to tidy their room at all. Or, after a night of partying, simply lack the motivation to clean up.

Even Byers can recall a time her flight left 12 hours earlier than she had originally thought, and was forced to rush out of her room without cleaning up — but not before throwing things around in a panicked frenzy.

If you’re leaving your hotel room in an especially chaotic state, Gottsman suggested leaving an especially generous tip for the housekeeper.

Kat Thorney, a former housekeeper at a Comfort Inn and Suites in Vermont, told TPG about a time she was tasked with cleaning up after a bachelor party. “There were condoms everywhere. There was sticky stuff everywhere. There was a condom on the fan. There were bottles, cigarette butts and joints everywhere.”

According to Thorney, the $50 tip and excessive apologies made up for the, er, stickiness.

What frequent travelers say

Heather Schreiner, a Delta flight attendant who spends three to four nights a week in a hotel, said she tries to make the housekeeper’s job as easy as possible.

“It’s my mess,” said Schreiner. “I try to put all of the trash in the trash can, and put the dirty towels all in one spot. [The housekeepers] have so many rooms they have to clean in such a short amount of time. I like to make it a little easier for them.”

Val Horn, a retired innkeeper who travels with her husband, has a similar view.

“To me, it’s about what kind of mess you leave. [Housekeepers] are not paid very much, and they do depend on tips. It seems more courteous to pick things up a little bit so that they can at least run the vacuum cleaner.”

Of course, not every traveler shares this view. “A man just asked me why he should even bother cleaning when there is a housekeeper,” she said.

The bottom line

Yes, hotels do pay someone to clean up after you. But that doesn’t mean you should treat the housekeeper with less respect than you would treat a friend who invites you to spend the weekend.

And in those rare occasions when things get out of hand, make sure to show your appreciation through a sizable tip. (This person will, after all, spend more time scouring your rubbish.) Even taking 15 seconds to write a note could go a long way in making someone else’s day.

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September 23, 2018 at 04:34PM

JetBlue Unveils Special Livery Dedicated to Puerto Rico

JetBlue Unveils Special Livery Dedicated to Puerto Rico

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It’s no surprise that JetBlue, the largest carrier at San Juan’s Airport (SJU) serving more than a dozen destinations, feels strongly about Puerto Rico. When Hurricane Maria devastated the island just one year ago, the airline set up a care center — essentially a makeshift Costco to distribute essentials to those needing it most.

Now, JetBlue, an airline known for its special liveries, is dedicating a livery to Puerto Rico.

On Sunday, the airline unveiled that special livery, dedicated to “La Isla del Encanto,” in San Juan. The A320 aircraft — registration N779JB — is named “Bluericua.”

The livery features several elements special to Puerto Rico. First, the shade of blue is the brightest JetBlue’s used in its fleet. You’ll also see a backdrop of the Puerto Rican skyline near El Morro, where seven kites are being flown, which represent the seven symbols of the island’s culture.

Bluericua ferried to SJU on Saturday, and its first revenue flight will depart on Sunday afternoon. But don’t expect to see the aircraft flying only on routes to the island. Instead, JetBlue says that it’ll fly throughout its network to showcase that Puerto Rico is open for tourism.

As the TPG team found out earlier this year, even after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is very much open for business and ready for visitors to head to the island. Check out this post for eight reasons to visit Puerto Rico right now.

All images courtesy of JetBlue.

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September 23, 2018 at 04:00PM

The Future of Experiences and 9 Other Tourism Trends This Week

The Future of Experiences and 9 Other Tourism Trends This Week

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Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines tourism trends.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Vacationers want to experience something new and are tired of the same old tours and activities. While global tour operators are baking more customization into their products, digital distribution is changing the way local operators do business: Tours and Experiences: The Next Great Untapped Market in Online Travel

>>The Caribbean’s tourism industry has faced one of the most challenging years in its history. But the silver lining with 2017’s hurricanes is that more destinations are now seriously talking about the threat of climate change and have rebuilt themselves stronger as a result: Lessons for Reviving Caribbean Tourism One Year After Hurricanes’ Devastation

>>Influencers are still getting a chunk of some travel brands’ marketing budgets, but the amount of pull they have over travelers’ trip decisions is questionable. As the form matures, influencers and brands are still figuring out the rules of the road: Growing Pains for Influencer Marketing Raise Questions for Travel Brands

>>More than five years after the Blackfish documentary made a splash, SeaWorld is finally facing the music for lying to the public about the impact. In a way, though, the company has been paying a price for years: A $5 million settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to quarter after quarter of lost revenue: SeaWorld, Ex-CEO Agree to $5 Million Settlement in Blackfish Fraud

>>Skift Founder and CEO Rafat Ali sparked some heated debate with a recent story on lessons he’s learned about travel in the six years since he started the company. In this podcast, he riffs with Co-Founder Jason Clampet on uncomfortable observations as well as inspirations: Skift Podcast: Travel’s Tough Truths and Inspirations

>>Given how attitudes over tourism have been boiling over across Europe’s hotspots in recent years, some of the findings in this report, such as residents not wanting tourism numbers to be capped, are very surprising: Some European Cities Don’t Want Tourism Caps Even as Congestion Problems Grow

>>Princess Cruises has a long history and widespread awareness, but the cruise line knows it can’t rest on the past. President Jan Swartz talks about innovation, authenticity, and why diversity in leadership is good for business: Skift Global Forum Preview: Princess Cruises Is Evolving With History in Mind

>>Jack Ezon of Ovation’s leisure business is starting Embark, a luxury agency with an unusual business structure. In this Q&A, Ezon shares how agents can thrive in the digital era, the biggest problem facing the travel industry, and why he hires so many millennials: Skift Global Forum Preview: Why Ovation Is Embarking on a New Elite Luxury Brand

>>We are honored to have Ricardo Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, as our keynote speaker for the Skift Global Forum opening event on September 26. Don’t miss this special evening! Keynote Announced: Ricardo Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, at Skift Global Forum’s Opening Event

>>Only 17 Skift Global Forum seats are still available, and I want you to be there! Join me next week and I promise that you’ll leave invigorated and inspired: Who Will You Meet at Skift Global Forum?

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September 23, 2018 at 03:32PM