Harriet Baskas

Emirates cutting service to U.S. Guess why.

It’s getting wild out there. Today Emirates shared news that it is reducing service to 5 of the 12 US cities it serves.

Emirates Statement:

Emirates can confirm that we will be reducing flights to five of the 12 US cities we currently serve. From 1 May and 23 May respectively, our Fort Lauderdale and Orlando operations will move from daily services to five a week. From 1 and 2 June respectively, our Seattle and Boston operations will move from twice-daily services, to a daily service. From 1 July, our operations to Los Angeles will move from twice-daily to a daily serve.

This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US. The recent actions taken by the US government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the US.

Until the start of 2017, Emirates’ operations in the US has seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high quality product and our international flight connections. However, over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments. Emirates has therefore responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would, and we will redeploy capacity to serve demand on other routes on our global network.

We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our US flight operations as soon as viable. Emirates is committed to our US operations and will continue to serve our 12 American gateways – New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando – with 101 flight departures per week, connecting these cities to Dubai and our global network of over 150 cities.

Hotel tidbits

 

Just sharing some tidbits about hotels I’ve stayed at recently – and hope to return to.

In New York City, I was a guest at Marriott’s Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park – which turned out to be in the theater district and around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater, where The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is filmed.

The location could not have been better and my cozy room, with a work desk, complimentary WiFi, city view, coffee maker and crisp white linens was an ideal for base for a one night stay.

I didn’t have time to check out the fitness center, but did spend some time at Nosh!, the living room-style 4th-floor restaurant and bar open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the sort of place where you can get a coffee and just hang out to work or read.  After my stay, I learned that this is the go-to hotel for good friends when they go to New York City to see plays or concerts.

In Portland, Oregon I’ve been a guest recently at some of the darling and diverse Provenance Hotels,  including the Sentinel,  where my room looked just like this, including the terrace and fire pit.

Among the great amenities – a giant fitness room and, on my floor, this ‘secret’ lounge with a snack bar, TV, sofas and cool (fake) wall of books.

 

In Paris with one extra night to spend in the city, I was a guest at the 37-room charming Grand Pigalle Hotel, in the 9th arrondissement, in the hip South Pigalle, or SoPi, neighborhood.

The first floor has a cozy wine bar and Italian restaurant  where breakfast is also served. Rooms – all different and designed by noted French interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon – have metallic wallpaper, brass lamps and handles, and tiled bathrooms with deep tubs. Some have terraces too.

My only regret from my stay: I was too busy making sure not to stumble on the circular stairs to snap a photo of the martini glass-themed carpeting.

 

 

 

 

 

Hockey at airports? In restaurants and bars, yes.

Courtesy Provincial Archives of Alberta, via Flickr Commons.

If you’re a hockey fan, you’re no doubt paying attention to what’s happening with the NHL season playoffs and looking for TVs in airport where you can watch the games and be with your people.

Turns out, there  are plenty of hockey-themed restaurants and bars in airports.

Here are just a few, operated by HMSHost

Avenue des Canadiens at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport’s Domestic Terminal by Gate 01 celebrates the Montreal Canadiens.

Minnesota Wild in Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport’s Concourse H is Minnesota Wild-themed.

Sharks Cage Sports Bar & Grill in San Jose International Airport’s Terminal B by Gate B18 is all about the San Jose Sharks.

Stanley’s Blackhawks Kitchen & Tap in Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 2 by Gate E5 celebrates the Chicago Blackhawks.

Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill in John Wayne Airport’s Terminal C is where Anaheim Ducks fans will feel welcome.

And  Vancouver Canucks Bar & Grill in Vancouver International Airport’s US Terminal by Gate E81 is all about Vancouver’s NHL team, the Canucks.

New terminal at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport celebrated the opening of its new $3 million, 30,000-square-foot South Terminal last week with a party on the terminal’s patio, live music, a ribbon cutting ceremony and a water cannon salute for the first flight: Allegiant’s Air’s Austin – Albuquerque nonstop.

 

The 3-gate South Terminal is in a building that dates back to the original Bergstrom Air Force Base that once occupied the area and is totally separate from the airport’s main Barbara Jordan Terminal.

The look of new facility invokes “the nostalgia of mid-century travel, with stylish retro 70s architecture and décor,” according to the airport, and features colors and textures native to Texas Hill Country and white canopies (outside) onto which changing colors will be projected.

Passengers will go outside to board their planes on ‘old-fashioned’ stairs. Indoor amenities include charging stations, water bottle refill stations, grab-n-go sandwiches and drinks, with an outdoor patio area with seating, a pet relief area, and a food truck. There’s also a stage for live music and plans for a food-truck style indoor eatery as well.

Allegiant Airlines is now operating its 10 non-stop Austin flights out of the new terminal and Sun Country Airlines and ViaAir will move operations over to the new terminal later this year.

(All photos courtesy: Sandy L. Stevens, Austin Aviation Dept.)

Travelers leave TSA hefty tips

 

How much do you love the Transportation Security Administration?

Enough to leave a tip every time you go through security at the airport?

I didn’t think so.

But in their rush to get through airport checkpoints, passengers leave a hefty amount of ‘tips’ for the TSA every year.

For its fiscal year 2016, the Transportation Security Administration reports that passengers left behind more than $867, 812.39 in coins and currency in the plastic bowls and bins at airport checkpoints.

That’s about $102,000 more than was left behind in 2015 and more than $484,000 than was left behind in 2008.

Over the years, the amount of change left behind by travelers at airports has been climbing, jumping from about $489,000 in 2011 to almost $675,000 in 2014 and to almost $766,000 in 2015.

Last year, passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were the most forgetful (or generous…) travelers, leaving behind $70,615 in unintentional ‘tips’ for TSA.

Also on the top ten list for fiscal year 2016: Los Angeles International Airport, where travelers left behind almost $45,000, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where more than $42,000 in cash and currency was left in checkpoint bins.

What happens to all that money?

Back in 2005, Congress passed a law saying TSA gets to keep that unclaimed cash and spend it on any sort of civil aviation security efforts it deems fit.

In at least two previous years’ reports, TSA stated that the unclaimed money collected from airports would be used to support the expansion of the TSA Precheck program, which gives travelers expedited screening privileges, allowing them to keep shoes and lights jacks on and their laptops and quart-sized bag of liquids and gels inside their carry-ons.

When it filed its report on the almost $868,000 in unclaimed money collected from airports in fiscal year 2016, however, TSA said it had not yet determined how it would spend those funds.

Don’t want to leave a tip?

At some airport checkpoints, passengers can also empty loose change from their pockets directly into donation bins for local charities before moving through the line.

During 2016, travelers passing through Denver International Airport donated $87,106.91 to Denver’s Road Home, a non-profit that works with service providers for the region’s homeless community. And last year passengers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International contributed more than $11,000 to help support the USO operations at the airport.