“Best” list of airlines. This one from Conde Nast readers

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

“Best” lists abound. And, trust ’em or not, we always read them. Just to see if our opinions of airlines, airports, hotels or destinations line up with an expert and/or our fellow travelers.

This week we get a look at the rankings of the 2016 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, which has a category for domestic airlines.

Virgin America Plane Decal Mockup Sergio_edited


Top of the list: Virgin America – for the 9th year in a row. To celebrate, they’re having a fare sale.

Rounding out the top five:

#3 Hawaiian Airlines
#4 Alaska Airlines
#5 Southwest Airlines.



For International carriers, the list is topped by Singapore Airlines, followed by:


Air New Zealand

Qatar Airways

ANA ( All Nippon Airways)

Virgin Australia

Virgin Atlantic

Korean Air

Porter Airlines


Cathay Pacific

Turkish Airlines

Eva Air

Etihad Airways




Thai Airways

Asiana Airlines



In the “Best Hotels in the U.S.” category, Virgin Hotels in Chicago took first place. And, to celebrate they too are having a sale, offering a code good for 48 hours for 25 percent off a stay.

Here are the other hotels that made the list this year:

Thompson Chicago
Hotel Emma (San Antonio, TX)
Twin Farms (Barnard, VT)
JW Marriott (Indianapolis, IN)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, NC)
Ritz Carlton (Tysons Corner, McClean, VA)
The Surrey (New York, NY)
Hotel Maison de Ville (New Orleans)
Sentinel (Portland, OR)

See more categories – and more winners for other categories and other regions around the world –  here.

Headaches for Delta fliers today

delta plane


Big headaches for travelers flying on Delta Airlines today and – no doubt – for the next few days – or week.

According to the airline:

“A power outage in Atlanta, which began at approximately 2:30 a.m. ET, has impacted Delta computer systems and operations worldwide, resulting in flight delays. Large-scale cancellations are expected today…” 

The airline is posting updates and has issued a waiver for passengers with Delta flights scheduled August 8 through 12.  Tickets must be reissued by Aug 12 and rebooked travel must begin by August 12.

“When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 12, 2016, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.”

Friday photos: snaps from Oshkosh air show


Earlier this week I was honored to join Alaska Airlines on a special charter flight from Seattle to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for a one-day fly-in at the massive EAA AirVenture air show. The flight was on the carrier’s new 737 airplane bearing a paint scheme honoring Boeing’s centennial year.

Alaska Airline's Boeing Centennial-liveried 737 on the ground at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh2016_Harriet Baskas

The flight had an all-female crew and most all the passengers were women executives and women holding key positions at Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Boeing and Virgin America (which will soon become part of Alaska Airlines). Young women (and some young men) from aviation-oriented groups in the Seattle area were also on board – as the plane was headed for Oshkosh to be part of Women in Aviation Day.

I’ve got a story on the day post over at USA TODAY but in the meantime, here are some of my snaps from the day:

Aerobatics during the air show were a hit with the teens who joined Alaska Airlines for a special flight to EAA AirVenuture Oshkosh on July 27, 2017. Harriet Baskas

During the weeklong EAA Airventure Oshkosh, the Wittman Regional Airport air traffic control towere is the busiest in the world.

Some of the 10,000 planes on display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

WomenVenture events at  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh celebrate women's role in aviaton. Harriet Baskas

Showing off his ride.. This tyke attending the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh may have a bright future in the aviation industry_ Harriet Baskas

Flying on the new Bombardier CS100

Star Alliance CEOs posing for celebratory photo on arrival in Zurich

Photo by Harriet Baskas

CEOs from a good number of Star Alliance airlines – and a rag tag group of journalists – attending the Annual General Meeting of IATA (the International Air Transport Association) in Dublin took part in a special flight to Zurich on a new aircraft: the Bombardier C Series – CS100.

Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) will be the first airline in the world to operate the new Bombardier C series. The carrier is putting its first CS100 into service on 15 July and will begin replacing its existing Avro RJ100 fleet of 20 aircraft with this new plane.

The flight from Dublin to Zurich was on a SWISS-branded test plane – #5 – but offered a preview of the new  short- and medium-haul twinjet that promises improvements in inflight comfort and operations.

“Official” snaps are being prepped, but here are some tweets and reports from a variety folks on the flight and on the ground.

Here’s a video from June 17th 2015, when SWISS welcomed one of the Bombardier C Series CS100 prototypes to Zurich Airport.

(Film produced by for Swiss International Air Lines)

Delta expanding shuttle service between SEA, SFO & LAX

delta 737-800

Delta Air Lines announced today that it is expanding its shuttle service between Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to the existing Delta Shuttle service on the West Coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The carrier has eight peak-day flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to both LAX and SFO now and is adding two more daily flights from Seattle to Los Angeles (for a total of 10 peak-day Delta Shuttle flights) beginning May 23.

Flights to Los Angeles are operated with a mix of Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 717 jets, while flights to San Francisco are operated by Delta Shuttle carrier Compass Airlines on Embraer 175 jets.

Starting Wednesday, May 11, Delta Shuttle customers flying from Seattle to Los Angeles and San Francisco will now have access to:

*Dedicated check-in counters;
*Complimentary newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Financial Times;
*Complimentary meals in First Class on all flights, complimentary Luvo snack boxes in Comfort+ and complimentary snacks in the main cabin:
*Complimentary in-flight beer, wine, spirits and other beverages in all classes of service;
*A new Delta Sky Club – opening Fall 2016 on Concourse A in Seattle.