Archive for March, 2010

Game ON!

March 7, 2010

Who just booked two free tickets to Hawaii??  We did!  After months of finagling the Thank You network rewards points system, we racked up just enough (a mere 158,000) to get two tickets to the 50th state, AKA paradise.  This is such a nice surprise because I honestly didn’t even think we’d be going on any trips for quite some time (we are in super saver mode), but we’ve gotten a huge head start with this flight bonus.  We chose to go right when the official low season begins, and noticed VRBO.com has a ton of private condos available, and owners are very willing to negotiate.  We were able to find a gorgeous condo near the beach for only $75/night!  Newsday recently ran a piece on finding bargains in Hawaii, so if you have a subscription, you can check it out here.

Which islands will we visit?  I’ll fill you in on that and why we chose them – soon!

In my dreams for the next six weeks...the Hawaii sunset.

Seven Degrees of JFK Delays

March 1, 2010

If you haven’t already heard, JFK airport is closing one of its runways for four months due to re-paving.  Don’t live in NYC?  The closure could still affect you by way of more expensive airfare as airlines decrease their flights, or via longer delays for layovers at JFK as planes wait for the other available runways.

I was just thinking about airport upgrades (really!) when landing at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) last night.  Man, that airport is ugly inside and out.  But beyond its aesthetic qualities (or lack thereof), it also “ranked dead last out of 66 airports in the United States in a passenger satisfaction survey compiled by J.D. Power and Associates (Wikipedia).”  I cringe to think about foreigners’ / tourists’ first experience of NYC as LaGuardia airport and its rundown / cramped gates, inadequate / dirty lavatories, poor amenities / food services, and lack of overall “Welcome to New York” feel.  The problem is: how would we go about a complete overhaul of this very busy airport when there is no room to even breathe around here?  There would be no building a new airport in the parking lot à la Citifield, and the runway is already too short. But whenever I arrive in places like Madrid, Amsterdam or Denver, I’m in awe of these modern, clean structures and instantly feel safer, and that my flight will be on time (when there is, in fact, absolutely no correlation between the two…).

The takeaway here is to be prepared for longer-than-usual delays if traveling via JFK and plan accordingly (i.e. don’t pick that 30-minute layover you will probably miss).  And if you choose LaGuardia instead, eat before you get to the airport!