We're off again on a surprise pop-up junket whose origins are much of the reason we've gone the longest period in Wine:Thirty Flight's history without a proper blog post. This swing has us passing through our well-trod territory in Spain and Sweden, but adding stops in Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as a bite to eat in the American Airlines Flagship Lounge dining room at New York JFK airport, and a quick hello at Chimichurri Grill (one of our very favorite restaurants).
We've just time for a quick check in from Arrecife, on the island of Lanzarote in Spain's Canary Islands where we've had a remarkable string of days meeting wonderful people, sampling their unique food and wine, and drinking some of their spectacular wines.
We've landed in Madrid, Spain on the first flight leg of what we'll call our autumn junket, en route to the Canary Islands a bit west of the southern coast of Morocco. We'll return to Madrid -- one of our favorite cities -- on its own next week.
With Wine:Thirty Flight's next oversees trip just two weeks away, today I found myself preparing to beat seven timezone's worth of jet lag by scheduling sleeping hours on my calendar over several days leading to our departure. Such is my particular technique for getting the most out of my travel time from the moment I land: Adjust your sleep schedule incrementally, an hour each day, until you get as close as possible to syncing with your new timezone the day you depart. Here's how it works.
Situated on Sweden's east coast, Stockholm is a city of islands perforated and interconnected by canals that ultimately flow to the Baltic Sea. Its maritime informs its aesthetic, a city whose urban geography reflects its national flag: brightly colored buildings atop a sea of beautiful blue. It's a gem of a European capital, ever as charming, historic, and regal as those to the south; cool in May, and connected to the sea as few others are. This is our weekend guide.
But I'd love to hear from others: What are your favorite things to do when escaping Washington, DC? We'll say within a two to three hour drive. Wine or not. Comment, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail away!
Why does Delta Airlines appear to be operating the baseball park equivalent of an airport lounge inside of Nationals Park, in a city (Washington, DC) where it is the only "big four" airline without a hub?
There will be no more linen this year. Last night's wine, Vinho Verde, will perhaps linger -- there isn't a rule for that -- but it won't be long now before we trade in the $6.99 summer spritz for Garnacha and Cabernet Franc. Meanwhile, these red pants are about to spend the rest of 2017 in a drawer.
I'm looking towards next week, the eleventh (and final) straight week during which I will have flown somewhere for either business or pleasure. It's actually been a great run, at the end of which I find myself reflecting on the lessons I've learned since a new job served as my first foray into the world of frequent travel about ten years ago. I've traveled often since I was a kid, but in recent years I've picked up five notions that help me to still keep travel fun. This is the advice I'd give to adventure seekers and business travelers taking to the skies on a more regular basis.
The popular travel blog One Mile at a Time published this piece last month, I’m Not Sure What To Make Of This Travel Horror Story, that recounted a sad incident in which a couple was turned back to check-in, missing their entire vacation due to "travel document" issues. Let's seize this moment to highlight the perils of getting too creative with your travel itinerary. This is particularly relevant to those of us who frequent off the beaten path places such as (ahem) wine country...
Creative point and mile-earning partnerships have been a neat development in travel the last several years. Delta Airlines has quietly given new ways to earn to those of us looking for that next flight to our favorite city or wine region. I've been really happy to pick up some extra miles with Delta via their newish partnerships with Lyft and Airbnb. Spend a dollar, earn a mile. Here's how to do it.
Meghan recently received a note in conjunction with her United Airlines MileagePlus account inviting her to earn 6,500 bonus miles by signing up for the American Cellars Wine Club through Vinesse Wines. While I am a big skeptic of online wine clubs, I am also a big fan of airline miles, so at a risk of $41.95 I signed up to try the introductory offer with an open mind. Consider doing so yourself if the notion of six bottles of wine plus 6,500 United miles in exchange for $41.95 of your hard earned money seems appealing.
I had always wanted to try a weekend trip to Europe; doable, in theory, originating from home on the east coast of the United States. Mind you I am not talking about a turn and burn, a trip just for the fun of flying or with a meeting or dinner in the middle, but an actually meaningful weekend trip to Europe. You can do it too, like this...
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.