I am beyond excited to see this moving forward. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia -- just across the river from Washington, DC -- is beginning $1 billion in renovations that will see an entirely new concourse added in addition to completely revamped ticketing and security facilities allowing passengers to move freely between concourses without having to pass back out of security. The artist renderings are gorgeous. Locals and anyone who has ever flown in from smaller cities featuring small commuter planes know what a big deal this is.
We drove east from Valladolid, through the small towns of Peñafiel and Roa, the even smaller town of Gumiel del Mercado and its Bodegas Arrocal winery, entering the city of Burgos just after dark. The streets were alive with activity as we drove towards the center of the old city and its cathedral this Wednesday evening. This is how to spend a most worthy evening and a day here.
It was starting to look as if 2017 would finally be the year that I skipped my annual calamitous experience traveling from Boston to Washington, DC. Not to be. This past Monday night, a hazardous material incident shut down the FAA control center handling traffic into all three DC-area airports. I was rebooked on seven different flights in a fifteen hour period -- though really appreciated every last friendly American Airlines employee who helped me on my way -- spent the night in Boston, and was utterly failed by my American Express Platinum card.
I wrote last month about How to get and use Priority Pass lounges to find peace, quiet, (free) wine, and food at the airport, drawing on recent positive experiences in Göteborg, Lisbon, Boston, and London. Meghan and I recently spent a few hours in our absolute favorite of the Priority Pass lounges we've been to thus far, the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). In a sentence, "it was convenient, stylish, tasty, and popular".
There was a time when the Citi Prestige was my absolute favorite of the premium credit cards that give you a ton of value on travel. Citi announced changes last year that greatly devalued the card's benefits while leaving the hefty $450 annual fee in place. The last of those changes take effect in July 2017, and - sadly - I wonder if it is time to cancel this once-great card. Here's what you should consider if you're thinking of cancelling yours.
Valladolid has long been on my list of venerable old cities to visit. One evening is not nearly enough, but it's what we had to work with as we ventured from the Toro to Ribera del Duero wine regions. Yes, Valladolid is particularly well situated as an operating base for wine drinkers. Here's how to get the most of your day there.
Though the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane has been in service for several years, the chance to fly on one had eluded me until my recent flight from London to Baltimore, Maryland. This was the type of route that the Dreamliner was built for -- "long and thin" they call it -- i.e. long distance routes flown by fewer people (so lower demand). The Dreamliner can actually fly far longer than this, though it's easy to see why this airplane is a big part of long-haul air travel's future between all but the biggest cities. If you have a choice between taking a trip on the Dreamliner versus any other plane, choose the Dreamliner.
This was the final leg home on a trip that took me to Niamey, Niger in West Africa. The trip from Niamey to Washington took almost 24 hours, with a long layover in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG). Niger may be far off the beaten path for most travelers, but Air France between Paris and Washington, DC certainly is not. Despite the layover, overall I had a fine experience in economy class to bring my trip to a close. This is my complete review.
London's Heathrow Airport is one of humankind's truly immense connecting points. The United Kingdom might be leaving the European Union, and there are larger airports, but LHR and British Airways -- its largest tenant -- converge the people of the world together at a single geographic point like few other institutions. In less lofty terms, LHR generally and Terminal 5 in particular also happen to be the closest thing to a sure bet for anyone who crisscrosses Europe and North America more than a few times in their life. Here's what you need to know when navigating through it.
I smiled as I set my coffee upon the table. Morning sunshine from cloudless blue sky streamed through the floor to ceiling windows to light this open, modern, and quiet space. I bit into my sandwich. At 10:15, I though it too early to be drinking wine. A Boeing 737 in SAS airlines colors taxied past Göteborg Landvetter Airport's (GOT) Menzies Business Lounge in which I was sitting thanks to my Priority Pass membership, granted to me as a benefit of credit cards issued by Chase, Citi, and American Express. Here's how it works…
We're off to Sweden, a week-long follow-up to my thirty-six hour jaunt last November. I'm particularly excited to try the wine from the Europe's (and I believe the world's) northernmost wine region, specifically from Vingården Klagshamn and Hällåkra Vineyard. I'll also be flying aboard my first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, an experience that I've thus far been denied thanks to the likes of the Boeing 767, Boeing 747, and Airbus A330 that have recently stepped in to ferry me across the ocean. I hope you'll keep up with Wine:Thirty Flight via Twitter and Instagram.
It's springtime in the old town of Winchester, to which we've driven through the lush green in the heart of Virginia Wine Country, just north of that sparkling constellation on the map, stars formed by some of the Commonwealth's brightest wineries: Delaplane, RdV, Linden, Glen Manor. We've come looking for One Block West, the unassuming restaurant tucked away on South Indian Alley, (unsurprisingly) one block west of the main street that traverses the historic town.
Next week my wife, Meghan, and I fly to Sweden on our third trip to Europe in seven months. We've paid exactly $0 for trans-Atlantic airfare thanks to to the way we our Chase Bank credit cards for most of our every day purchasing. I've written in the past about how to Travel further for less (or no) money by smartly earning and using credit card points, but here I'll specifically address why I find the Chase ecosystem to be so good at maximizing travel value, and I'll offer some simple tips so that you can realize this value yourself.
It's all about the river here. The city rises from its banks: festively colored buildings in seemingly ancient repose, crowned by the twelfth-century cathedral atop the hill, a stately contrast to the carnival of wine and revelry down at the waterfront. In times past the rabelos, cargo vessels native to this river alone, hauled Port wine to this the only port from it could be shipped. This is Porto, Portugal's second city and the source of the the fortified wine that has made the country famous in the hearts and palates of generations of connoisseurs around the world. This is what we found to do -- and, critically, what not to do -- when visiting.
The Airbus A330 has been my ride back to the United States from Europe a couple of times lately, most recently flying in American Airlines main cabin extra from Madrid to Philadelphia. While I missed the business class seat I had on my previous experience aboard this plane, I can actually say that the A330 is currently one of my favorite planes to fly on in any class of service. This is a really great flight by economy standards, one that I am sure we'll take again.
We're living in a golden age of travel paraphernalia, where the miracle of crowd funding has made it such that almost any obscure need can be met with niche product. Sometimes the wheeled carry-on just feels like overkill, too much overhead (I assure you that pun was unintentional) for a quick weekend trip. So I went searching for the perfect duffel bag, and offer quick reviews of my three favorites here.
I made the case just last week that Insanely great airfares make this the absolute right time to book your Europe trip for later in 2017, so am following up this week with our fourth and final (for now) installation of our Wine:Thirty Flight Guide to Madrid, Spain with what is arguably the most important piece of the series: Our favorite places for great wine, great food, and great dining atmosphere in one of my very favorite cities.
If you've had a trip to Europe on your wishlist, now's the time to book it for later this year. We've been watching the airline prices from some of the big trans-Atlantic markets in the United States, and are feeling quite good about the fares available right now. The specifics will vary, but the bottom line is that we think now is the time to pull in a good deal (some even in the sub-$500 round trip range, flying economy class, of course).
Night falls on Rua Augusta. White tiles -- polished by age beneath the feet of throngs who have walked here -- reflect the yellow street lamps as if we were standing atop the water of a reflecting pool. We've descended the hill above us, from Sé de Lisboa down to this pedestrian avenue animated by the energy of diners and evening revelers. Lisbon, Portugal, is the oldest in Western Europe, eclipsing Rome by nearly five centuries, and the other great capitals by at least a millennium. This is how you spend 48 hours here.
We've been putting together a brief guide to Madrid, one of our very favorite cities, over the last several months. Here we continue the "getting there" theme with specific advice for navigating the sprawling Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD), not just the gateway to the Spanish capital and the European Unions's third largest city, but an architecturally stunning feat that we think is one of the best airports through which to travel.
I've had the jetBlue Plus Card in my wallet for about a year now, and just this week received a letter reminding me of the 5,000 TrueBlue bonus points it awards every year on your account anniversary. This is one of the best airline branded travel cards available, an essential for anyone who loves to travel because it more than pays for itself each year, and gives you a lot of value (including an effective 16.8% back on jetBlue tickets).
It's the worst. You're on one of those old and rather beat up small regional jets that hop passengers on shorter distance flights between medium sized cities, or between larger cities connected by more frequent flights on smaller planes. Wine:Thirty Flight recently took off in a sparkling new Bombardier CRJ 900 model aboard American Eagle, so today we're sharing tips for brightening your journey by selecting tickets on a plane you actually want to fly aboard.
I've made the case that "Madrid is the most spectacular western city that most readers of this blog have never been to". At over three million people, though, we're talking about a big city here: largest in Spain, third largest in the European Union, and larger than every city in the United States other than New York and Los Angeles. So here in our Part 2 on this great city, we're going talk the logistics of how to get there, how to get around, and where to stay.
I've recently fallen in love with the Bellroy Leather Travel Wallet: Hands down the best wallet and passport cover combination on the market because it almost magically combines both into a single elegant leather object, and manages to fit everything I need into one folio smaller than any similar product I've ever put my hands on. It has helped me become infinitely more organized keeping my business together at the airport and everywhere I roam on either side of my flight, and has become truly indispensable to my travel routine.
TAP Portugal between Seville (Spain), Lisbon, and Porto treated us to the best regional air travel we've expereienced. If you love spending time on the Iberian Peninsula (that's Spain and Portugal, for the geographically uninitiated) as much as we do, it's entirely likely that TAP will be a big part of your plans. They are worth considering.
The elite status qualification systems on the big legacy U.S. airlines (American, Delta, and United) have become excruciatingly complicated over the last several years. I still maintain that earning your way into a higher privilege tier nets worthy benefits in terms of better seats, free checked baggage, an overall kinder and gentler airline experience, and other perks that come along... so we built a tool that will help you track your progress and take some of the mysticism out of earning elite status.
Plaza Mayor marks the historic heart of Madrid, Spain, one of the world's truly spectacular cities. Lined with shops and restaurants, overflowing with the near-round-the-clock energy of Madrileños and tourists alike, the site of celebration and horror throughout its history, this infamous city square has been a personal favorite place for what is now most of my life. The Plaza celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, opening up the festivities on February 17 with the most incredible light show spectacle we have ever seen. Though the show itself has passed, the anniversary celebrations are ongoing throughout the year. Whether now or in the future, we recommend that Plaza Mayor and Madrid in general be at the top of your travel list.
Though arguably the most recognizable airplane ever built, it turns out that I had not traveled on a Boeing 747 (the original "jumbo jet") in years. This combined with the storied history and legendary quality of British Airways (BA), which I had never flown, to make for a highly anticipated journey. Good for travelers who can find the right price, who value reasonably decent airplane food, a comfortable physical seat, full tea service, and who can overlook a surly crew and some of the most cramped leg room I've ever experienced on an international flight.