Posts in the category "Holidays":

Now it’s all about Santa’s trip

SANTA fruit label

Now that all that turkey business is over with, it’s time to start watching the skies for Santa.

NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – is already on the job with its NORAD Tracks Santa website, which has a holiday countdown, games, activities, Santa data and more in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Leaving no Santa-tracking stone unturned, NORAD is also tracking Santa with apps in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.

Why does NORAD track Santa?

The story goes that in 1955 a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. The phone number put kids through to the desk of the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD’s predecessor) Commander-in-Chief instead and that man, Colonel Harry Shoup, played along and gave kids updates on Santa’s progress.

A tradition was born and now, using the internet and a team of volunteer elves, the whole world can check on Santa via NORAD’s satellites and Santa cams.

NORAD isn’t the only organization tracking Santa this season. Finnair, which claims to be the official airline of Santa Claus since 1983, has two of its Airbus 321 Sharklet aircraft flying with Christmas livery.

Official airline of Santa Claus_edited

The airline also is also sharing this “secret of Christmas” video.

Love the layover: At DFW? Go to Grapevine!

If you’ve got a few hours to spend before or between flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Grapevine is a great, ‘secret’ place to spend it – especially this time of year.

grapvine santa

Like the airport, Grapevine is located between Dallas and Fort Worth, and its historic downtown – packed with shops, restaurants, winery-tasting rooms, public art, art galleries, a ‘performing’ Glockenspiel Clock Tower, the Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery (where you can design and help make your own glass projects), vintage railroad and other attractions – is easy to get to by hopping on the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle bus, which operates daily and stops at the Grand Hyatt DFW as it makes its way to destinations in and around town.

Fares on the shuttle are $5 per person and $10 for a family (2 adults + kids up to age 18).

Grapevine lays claim to being the Christmas Capital of Texas, so this time of year is an especially good time to head for Historic Downtown Grapevine.

Among the seasonal highlights are:

A nightly light show and a chance to sing-along with the city’s Christmas tree.

Through January 15, 2015, “Crafting Christmas: Hand-Carved Santas from Around the World” is an exhibit in Grapevine’s Grand Gallery in the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau headquarters building, right downtown.

Victorian-style Christmas decorations, entertainment, parades and hay rides are all part of Grapevine’s Christmas on Main – and although tickets aboard the North Pole Express via the Grapevine Vintage Railroad appear to be mostly sold out already, it should be fun to visit the railroad terminal right downtown as well as the Palace Theater, which will be hosting holiday concerts and showing holiday films, including ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘White Christmas,” and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’

grapevine santa gals

Travel deals for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Home shopping but dreaming of travel? Here are some of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals that might get you going.

suitcase

AIRLINES

Air Canada has a long list of Black Friday fare specials available now through November 30.

Cathay Pacific kicks off its Black Friday fare sale on Friday at midnight EST, promising deals from all its US gateways (SFO, LAX, ORD, EWR, JFK, BOS) to Asia – plus a sweepstakes.

Alaska Airlines‘ most popular fare sale is Cyber Monday, and they’ll probably offer a preview a day before.

From now through December 2, 2014 Airberlin is offering $499 roundtrip flights (including taxes) starting from Chicago, New York and Miami to many cities in Europe for travel January 12 to March 22, 2015.

LAN and TAM have something planned for Cyber Monday and it’s likely other airlines will jump in with offers as well, so check around.

HOTELS

HotelTonight, which recently expanded its offering from day-of bookings to 7-day-in-advance deals, is offering $7 hotel rooms on Black Friday starting at 7 a.m. local time, till the available inventory sells out, which should be pretty quickly.

On Black Friday Expedia.com is offering 90% off a limited quantity of select hotels in New York, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Cancun and San Francisco. The offer will be avaiable from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST. Expedia will also be offering a $50 coupon off Expedia rate hotels throughout Friday, as well as some Cyber Monday deals.

Many individual hotels, as well as chains large and small, will be offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as well, so if you’ve got a destination in mind, be sure to poke around for lodging deals in that city or region.

Provenance Hotels, with a portfolio of 7 highly individual properties in Portland, Seattle and Nashville, for example, is giving each hotel’s Facebook and newsletter fans 25 percent off the best available rates through March 31, 2015 as part of a Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion. (Sign up before Friday to make sure you get the mailing.

Storm coming: airlines cancel flights /waive change fees

Don’t defrost the turkey just yet, because it looks like Winter Storm Cato is going to ruin Thanksgiving for a lot of travelers.

Snowstorm

Starting Tuesday afternoon, airlines began cancelling flights and issuing fee waivers for travelers who want to cancel or rebook their trips.

As of Tuesday evening, pretty much every North American airline has a travel advisory posted on its site. International airlines with flights to and from the U.S. are likely alerting their customers to cancellations as well.

Below are links to the travel alerts, coverage dates and fee waiver policies as of Tuesday evening, November 25th for many major airlines. If you’ve got a trip planned, be sure to check the airline’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed – and those of your airport – for the latest news.

Air Canada
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Dela Air Lines
Frontier
JetBlue
Spirit
Southwest Airlines
US Airways
United Airlines
Virgin America
WestJet

Airports where military eat free this Thanksgiving

paradies

Here’s a nice gesture being extended to military personnel traveling this Thanksgiving:

Paradies, a company that operates many airport concessions, is inviting active or retired military to dine for free in any of its airport restaurants from November 24 to 27.

The offer is courtesy of the company’s Treat Our Troops program and will cover one menu item such as an entrée, sandwich or salad, and a non-alcoholic beverage.

To take advantage of the promotion, active and retired military service men and women can simply show their military identification when ordering or checking out.

Funds for the promotion come not just from Paradies, but from other travelers: throughout the year, Paradies restaurant customers can buy a $5 voucher that is then applied to the dining check of an active or retired military service member.

Here’s a list of some of the participating airport restaurants:

· Sweet Auburn Market – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (Atlanta, GA)

· Blue Ridge Tavern – Asheville Regional Airport (Asheville, NC)

· McKenna’s on the Fly, 4th Street Vine Wine and Beer Bar, and the Long Beach Marche – Long Beach Airport (Long Beach, CA)

· Bar Symon – Pittsburgh International Airport (Pittsburgh, PA)

· Say Si Bon Gourmet Market – Denver International Airport (Denver, CO)

· Smokewood American Grill and Say Si Bon Gourmet Market – Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (Bentonville, AR)

bturkey

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