What's the best airport for making a romantic connection?
Let's look at the glass half full. With the holiday travel season quickly sneaking up, you may be dreading long waits and delays at airports. But for the single, long airport waits are opportunities for romantic encounters.
If history is any guide, Chicago O'Hare will offer plenty of opportunities for singles to meet up and bond over shared trouble. Last winter, O'Hare led the nation's airports in flight delays, with one out of every two flights delayed on average. Midway came in second-place, with one out of every three flights delayed. (Way to go, Chicago!)
Romance is in the air when flights get grounded. Consider the results of a survey of 860 travelers last fall by StrategyOne.
"Nearly one in ten adults has personally gone out or knows someone who has gone out with someone they met at the airport or during a flight. The survey also showed people are taking advantage of their flight time: one-third of adults would rather sit next to someone they find attractive or interesting than have an entire row to themselves."
But you need to also judge an airport by its number of inviting menus for strangers to meet. Bars, lounges, inviting gate areas. What airport has the most romantic possibilities, here or abroad? And if you've had romantic success, please share your story…
Obamarama: 2Afrika adds new tour in honor of our 44th president
Tour operator 2Afrika has added a new Kenyan tour in honor of President-Elect Barack Obama. The just-announced Presidential Heritage Safari is a 10-night trip to Kenya, including visits to Mt. Kenya National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, and the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The itinerary calls for two nights in Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria, which is near the town of Kogelo. Obama's father was born in Kogelo, and Obama's step-grandmother still resides there. Residents of Kogelo celebrated after Obama's win was announced Tuesday night. The safari costs $2,999 per person, plus about $295 in taxes and an additional fuel surcharge. Departures are in April and May of 2009. 2Afrika's trips dive deep into Kenya's parks and wildlife—and now you can learn a little bit about our new president's heritage. Just one of the ways travel and politics overlap… Watch a one-minute video of the celebrations in Kenya. And Kenya declared a national holiday.
Paris on the half shell: Two great places for oysters
The temperature has fallen, signaling the end of our Indian summer. The sun shines on, but your breath is visible in the crisp fall air. This sort of weather is perfect for many things: crunching leaves underfoot in the Tuileries, sipping hot chocolate at Angelina's, and slurping raw oysters while sitting on the hood of a car. If that last one doesn't seem obvious, you haven't yet been to Le Baron Rouge. This lively bar à vins draws a crowd year-round with its friendly atmosphere and inexpensive wine. Weekends are packed with shoppers who have stopped in a visit to the Marché d'Aligre. But during oyster season (now through April), this place is positively bursting at the seams. Jubilant locals pack the sidewalk and street, balancing oysters in one hand and Muscadet in the other. Plastic crates become makeshift tables, and lidded bins become littered with glasses of wine. It is, in other words, a scene. In cold weather like this I also love L'Écume St.-Honoré. Just steps away from some of the swankiest shopping in Paris, this simple fish shack can seem a little out of place. A working poissonnerie with just a few tables in the back, it becomes unexpectedly boisterous during the apéro hour. Manicured shoppers and suits spill out onto the sidewalk, tossing back bi-valves and licking their fingers. Oysters are often associated with luxury and special occasions. They're a prime feature of the Paris brasseries, which serve them on silver platters in gleaming art déco surroundings. Nonetheless, my favorite oyster experiences remain rowdy and unrefined. Standing on the sidewalk and slurping shellfish is a decidedly Parisian experience. It's also easy on the wallet—a plate of six oysters with buttered rye and a crisp Muscadet will run you €11 ($14) at L'Écume St.-Honoré. Le Baron Rouge 1 rue Théophile Roussel, 12th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-43-14-32 L'Écume St.-Honoré 6 rue du Marché-St.-Honoré, 1st arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-61-93-87
Mammoth Mountain already open for skiing
Ready or not, winter has hit eastern California. A weekend storm blanketed the Sierra Nevada with up to 18 inches of snow and inspired staff at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to open today—10 days ahead of schedule. The resort offers discounted early season lift tickets ($52 for adults, $39 for teens, $26 for kids and seniors) and a First Tracks package with lift tickets and accommodations from $99 per person per night. Good news for skiers in the L.A. area: Daily hour-long flights on Horizon Air between L.A. and Mammoth Airport begin on December 18 with introductory fares of $79 each way. Airport-hotel transfers are free for those staying at a Mammoth Mountain property. MORE SKIING COVERAGE - Ski Deals, With Lodging, From $125 - Whistler and Jackson Hole Go to New Heights
A few good links: Saving some cash in Boston, and more
A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: Kentucky's Bourbon Trail This 225-mile tour of distilleries makes an "offbeat version of a day out in California's Napa Valley." [Lonely Planet] 50 of the World's Best Budget Hotels Chains from huge to tiny get attention here. [Telegraph, via Happy Hotelier] Historic Boston has great haunts, on the cheap Dedicated last month: a "string of parks and fountains" made possible by the Big Dig. [Boston Globe] Auf Wiedersehen, Tempelhof Berlin's Tempelhof Airport closes, but not without protests. [BBC] Nova Scotia's pre-Jurassic park Fossil-hunting in the Maritime Provinces [Christian Science Monitor] Redeem your Marriott loyalty points now The program will likely get stingier next year [Loyalty Traveler] The airline industry by the numbers The average U.S. low-cost carrier lost about a $1 after expenses every time they flew a passenger this year. Worldwide, the average airline lost $12 loss per passenger. [Foreign Policy]