Tag Archives: JetBlue

Airport Concession Confessions-Fast Food

8 Nov

We’ve all been to the airport where we just want to get something quick to eat, and either sit down or take it with us on our flight.  We look for the familiar places — McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc. — where we know exactly what we’re getting.  I love the convenience and quickness of fast food, but I also like to get something off the beaten path.  So below are five fast food outlets I suggest you try on your next trip.  Enjoy!

  1. TIE! The Salt Lick, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport AND Arthur Bryant BBQ, Kansas City International Airport — I come from a long like of grill masters on both sides of my family (shout out to Uncle Charles), so I know my barbecue.  Both of these iconic barbecue places have outlets in the airport, and you can smell them before you even see them. Get the brisket at the Salt Lick and the Sausage sandwich with sweet heat sauce at Bryant’s.
  2. Dish D’lish, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — I once had to spend almost 6 hours at this airport (another story for another time). Of course, I was hungry and I had plenty of time to look at post-security food outlets.  I also saw people flocking into the airport branch of this outlet for its sandwiches and salads. I had a chicken salad sandwich that i still dream about 4 years later!
  3. California Tortilla, BWI Airport — I have to commend my hometown airport for having such a great selection of fast food outlets, especially in the A/B Concourse. And my favorite is this outlet, which serves a great variety of TexMex burritos, tacos, fajitas, quesedillas and salads, along with chips and a fantastic selection of hot sauces. My favorite was a Thai chicken burrito, but it’s no longer on the menu. So instead, I recommend the Crunchy BBQ Ranch Chicken Burrito. Ole!
  4. Deep Blue Sushi On The Fly, JFK Airport, Terminal 5 — I’m a big fan of the food options JetBlue has in its signature terminal. I’m a big sushi lover, and I always go to  the carry-out version of this great restaurant. Splurge a little on one of their signature rolls.  I’m partial to the King Crab California Roll, myself!
  5. Krispy Kreme Donuts, Orlando International Airport — I love these donuts, and they taste just as good in the pre-security food court at the airport.  And you even get the iconic Hot Donuts sign!

So, dear readers — what is your go-to fast food joint at the airport? What can I try the next time I fly?

Top Five Aviation Stories Of The Week

30 Sep

It has been a busy week for me.  I started out recovering from two journalism conventions where I had the chance to speak (and raise my aviation geek flag), and it ended with me cranking out stories for my day job.  So here are my picks for the week.

  1. I’m giving props to my Aviation Week colleagues Guy Norris and Mike Mecham, who led our team coverage of Boeing’s first 787 delivery, to Japan’s ANA.
  2. Speaking of 787s, I was at United’s Houston hub on Tuesday (a separate post is coming out about that) and I saw a mock-up of the 787  in the E Concourse.  CEO Jeff Smisek tells the Chicago Tribune that his carrier’s first 787s are coming into the fleet by the second half of next year. He couldn’t resist a dig a Boeing, noting he’s been waiting for the plane since Continental ordered it in 2004.
  3. JetBlue CEO David Barger used an appearance on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley to call the partial shutdown of FAA earlier this summer “criminal.”
  4. I was intrigued by Scott McCartney’s Wall Street Journal story on kids attaining elite status on the world’s airlines.  My daughter, 5, started flying when she was 10 days old. She was one of the youngest children to earn a Rapid Rewards ticket on Southwest Airlines.
  5. I’m a bit behind with this story (Sept. 19), but I wanted to share this Marketwatch story on what the Transportation Security Administration is doing to speed passengers through airport checkpoints.  TSA fought the registered/trusted traveler concept for so long, it fascinates me how now they’re going in that direction.

My beloved Airplane Geeks were smart enough to interview one of my favorite social media peeps, Susan Chana Elliott of Delta Air Lines, in the latest episode.   And we have the usual basket of crazy over at AvWeek’s Things With Wings blog with Strange But True Aviation News.   I’m going to watch episode two of ABC-TV’s “Pan Am” this Sunday, but three strikes and they’re out!

Random Aviation Photo

22 Aug

I’m still sorting through all my photos from this year’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisc.  On Wednesday, July 27, JetBlue flew in a planeload of crewmembers and guests in its “I Love New York” Airbus A320.

It was a rainy day, but I was on the tarmac with Dan Webb — both of us wearing our Embraer rain ponchos — waiting for the plane to arrive.  I got the shot below as they were bringing over the air stairs.  Enjoy!

Random Aviation Photo – The Oskkosh Edition

1 Aug

It’s been a week since I was at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., and I’m still floating on air.  I was in aviation geek heaven last week, and I’m still going through all my photos.  But below are two I want to share now.

The first photo is the tail of the I Heart NY JetBlue Airbus A320 that came into Oshkosh last Wednesday.  The flight was full with JetBlue employees and interns there to enjoy a day of the show.

The second photo is a shout out to my friend and Airplane Geek David Vanderhoof, who is my military expert.  It’s the military version of the DC-9, the C9. It was in a combi configuration-cargo in the front, a few rows of passenger seats in the back.  Enjoy them both!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Loved Attending EAA AirVenture/Oshkosh

29 Jul

Kids, let’s be real – we all know that Aviation Week actually pays me to cover my hobby, my lifelong passion. This past week, I was smack in the center of the aviation geek universe, covering the annual Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Air Show in Oshkosh, Wis. For the uninitiated, more than 500,000 people and more than 10,000 aircraft converge on the headquarters of EAA, based at Wittman Regional Airport and go into an aviation bacchanal. Folks fly and drive in from across the globe to meet, learn and have fun with like-minded people. You can check out AvWeek’s Oshkosh coverage here.

Thanks to my friend and Airplane Geeks host Rob Mark (@Jetwhine), I stayed in the Fairfield Inn Oshkosh, a stone’s throw away from the show. But the VAST majority of folks actually camp, on the airport grounds and surrounding areas. You see everything from a tarp slung over an aircraft wing to tents, to RVs to tricked-out, rock-star-looking tour buses.

But I digress. I’m giving myself the nearly impossible task of ranking my top 10 events from Oshkosh, God help my soul. Airplane Geek David Vanderhoof (@dmvanderhoof) said I’d have to expand to 20, but I love a good challenge. So here goes.

10. The Wittman Regional Airport Tower. For one week, this average-looking air traffic control tower becomes the busiest in the world – busier that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, busier than London Heathrow and busier than Singapore’s Changi — handling the in-and-out flights and daily air show demonstrations.

Beechcraft Starship

9. Fifi, the only B-29 bomber still flying AND The Beechcraft Starship. The Commemorative Air Force has lovingly restored this titan of World War II, and Oshkosh attendees, for a donation, could take a tour of this piece of history. The Starship, a 6- to 8-seat business aviation turboprop, was designed to be the successor to the popular King Air. According to Wikipedia, FAA has nine active registrations on the Starship.

8. MyTransponder.com. The aviation podcasting/video/blogging universe is lovingly overseen by Rod Rakic and Mike Miley. And they were out in full force at Oshkosh, in a tricked-out RV that doubled as a mobile studio, coffee/food dispensary and hangout for those documenting the events at Oshkosh. I was honored to hang out with a great group of folks the night before I departed.

7. Embraer Executive Jets. Wednesday it rained cats and dogs at the show, and it was a touch chilly. We were all scheduled to attend a breakfast press conference being held at their tent. Not only did they have hot coffee and hot chocolate, we got rain ponchos that protected us for the rest of the day.

Ford's Fly-In Theater

6. Fly-In Theater. Across the street from Camp Scholler (probably the most popular campground), was this outdoor movie theater, sponsored by Ford. You bring a blanket or chair and sit out among the stars to see a different movie every night. And did I mention the popcorn is free? Monday night’s feature was “Top Gun,” a film, amazingly enough, I had never seen. And the bonus was we had an actual Top Gun instructor introduce the film. My fellow Airplane Geek Dan Webb (@danwebbage) is now the only person on earth not to see this movie.

5. JetBlue Airways. The New York-based carrier flew in its “I Heart NY” Airbus A320 into the show on Wednesday and did free tours all day, complete with a bag of Blue Chips. I was thrilled to see some friends that work there who came on the flight, including COO Rob Maruster, who I worked with at Delta Air Lines. And a BIG bonus for me? I got a Twitter shout-out from CEO David Barger for all my #OSH11 JetBlue Tweets and photos!

4. What Just Flew By?I felt like I was actually living Airplane Geeks Historian David Vanderhoof’s blog. There were planes on the ground and planes in the air, making it really hard to decide where to focus!

3. The photos/videos of Jo Hunter (@futureshox). A group of us went to have dinner at Red Robin Oshkosh (if you go, get Robin to be your waitress), and I met Jo, who happens to be one of my Twitter followers. She showed me her ubercool time-lapse video of Oshkosh preparations. And check out all her aviation films, on YouTube, here.

Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher

2. The Australians. Regular listeners of the Airplane Geeks podcast know that Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron (who literally sees the world through rose-colored glasses) offer up an informative, but funny take on all things Australian aviation with their Plane Crazy Down Under podcast. They also do the Australia desk for the Airplane Geeks podcast. I’m a BIG fan and we’ve corresponded by Twitter and Skype, but we had never met – until Oshkosh. If you think they’re funny on the air, they’re even better live. And check out the July 25 edition of Airplane Geeks, which has them all together.

1. And speaking of Steve and Grant, the number one entry is the people attending Oshkosh. I met literally hundreds of folks, many who shouted “Aunt Benet” when we met. I met so many of my Twitter fans that I’ve admired for years, and it was very humbling to me when people came up and said they were fans of my work. I want to list every one of them, but I’m afraid I’d miss someone and offend them. But I WILL give a big shout out to the 2 guys who pushed my Chevy Aveo out of the mud at Camp Scholler around midnight Wednesday.

Best of Aviation Queen: 10 Aviation Blogs You Should Be Reading

27 Jul

Editor’s note: I’m in Oshkosh, Wis., this week for the EAA AirVenture show, so I’m pulling out some best-of.  We’re always looking for that great travel/aviation/airline blog to read.  Below are 10 among the many I read.  This post originally appeared on Jan. 25.  Enjoy!

I have been an avid reader since age 2 (I swear – and my Dad will confirm it).  I read books, magazines, cereal boxes, billboards and just about anything else with letters.  And for someone who loves to read as much as I do, the Google Reader is a godsend.

I have myriad interests, and the Google Reader allows me to get feeds from blogs covering those interests: aviation, business aviation, journalism, multimedia and social media.  So let’s take a look in my Aviation folder so I can tell you some of the  blogs you should be reading.  This is by NO means my complete list, and the list below is in no particular order.

  1. CrankyFlier – Brett Snyder is the little brother I never wanted but got stuck with anyway (I say that with love in my heart).  But seriously, Brett writes a humorous, yet informative blog on the whimsies of the airline business.  He offers a take that only someone who became a travel agent at age 12 and had his grandmother book a hotel at Los Angeles International Airport so he could watch the planes.  And bonus – he also writes about travel over at BNET.
  2. Flightblogger - What can I say about Jon Ostrower?  This man has forgotten more information about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner than most of us will ever know.  Did you read “The price of Boeing’s 787 sales success?” I rest my case.
  3. Delta/JetBlue/Southwest blogs – When airlines jumped into blogging, I was a bit apprehensive, because I’ve seen some really bad corporate blogs that had no personality, only regurgitating the latest talking points.  All three of these carriers tapped their own employees, who bring their unique voices to these blogs making them actual must-reads.  Delta gets bonus points for ANY post from archives manager Marie Force and Southwest gets the same for Flashback Friday posts!
  4. Air Transparency -  I heard airline employee Jesse Ziglar speak on an episode of the Airplane Geeks podcast and I was hooked.  Ziglar works his magic by explaining the good, the bad and the ugly of how the airlines work – in language my 5-year-old daughter can understand.  His topics include weather delays, the tarmac delay rule, deicing aircraft and crew uniforms.
  5. Chris Elliott’s Elliott.org - I wonder when Chris ever finds time to sleep, with writing this website and writing on consumer travel issues for National Geographic, Tribune Media Service, the Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today and CNN.com, among others.
  6. PlaneBusines Banter/Plane Buzz - The subscriber-based Banter and free Buzz are both penned by Holly Hegeman, who offers her own unique humorous/serious take on the business of airlines.  I’ve been reading her since she was the airlines analyst for The Motley Fool, and I take her work seriously enough to pay for my own subscription to the Banter.
  7. The TSA Blog - before I moved over to the business aviation beat, I wrote about airports and airport security.  When one of the public affairs folks gave me a call almost three years ago to pitch me on the blog launch, I admit I was HIGHLY  skeptical.  I thought the blog would read like the old Soviet government update reports.  I was wrong, and continue to admit it.  This blog has done a lot to put a human face on an agency that’s more vilified than the IRS.  Blogger Bob and his team have done a good job in explaining, as much as possible, what TSA does and why.  Bonus points for allowing comments and taking the time to answer as many as possible.
  8. Swelblog/Swelbar on Airlines - Bill Swelbar is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation.  He gets into the weeds — but always interesting — on airline/aviation policy.  A recent post, “Unbundling, Rebundling and Now De-Commoditization,” he breaks down how the airlines have been forced to adapt in things including how they sell tickets and how to keep passengers loyal to their brand.
  9.  I’m Black And I Travel - One, because I’m both.  Blog owner Greg Gross and I are kindred spirits, letting the world know of our travels and expounding on the joys of travel from our own personal experiences.  And Greg has given me access to a large community of black travel bloggers, which has helped me expand my own network.
  10. RickSeaney.com - If you want to keep up with air fares, Rick is your guy.  He’s the CEO of FareCompare.com, created to keep track of airfares for airlines worldwide.   You can also watch fares from your hometown via Twitter.  What’s not to love?

So that’s my list.  What are you reading? I’m always looking to add to my folder!  Also, in the next few weeks, I plan on doing a reader question edition of this blog. So if you any questions, now is the time to start submitting them. Thanks!

Airport Concession Confessions: The Full-service Restaurant Edition

5 May

We are in the third in a series of my obsession with airport concessions.  We’ve already done Wines and Quirky Little Stores.  I commend airports for really stepping up their game in the restaurant category.  So below are my top five airport restaurants:

  1. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    Revolucion, JetBlue JFK Airport Terminal 5:  Back in August 2009, I did a post on Aviation Week’s Towers and Tarmacs blog on Revolucion.  In December 2009 during a long layover at T5, I had the chance to eat there — and it was divine.  They serve authentic Mexican food, as opposed to chain restaurants like Chevy’s.  I had the homemade guacamole and shrimp tacos.  Servers are more than happy to pack up your food for the flight, but I’d suggest doing that for the cold items.

  2. Enrique’s, Ponca City Regional Airport, Oklahoma: In 2002, I was working on securing Essential Air Service contracts in seven cities, including Ponca City.  We went for a town tour, then we got back to the airport, which was packed.  But it wasn’t for people flying. It was for the food at Enrique’s, which is the airport’s restaurant.  I still dream about the tortilla chips and salsa, and the go-to dish there is Chicken Huarrache (sp).
  3. Paschals Restaurant, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: I’m not from the South, but my parents are.  I grew up eating the food of the South, including fried chicken, grits, fried catfish, mac and cheese and collard greens.  Paschals makes me long for my mother’s cooking.
  4. Obrycki’s, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport: those of us in Baltimore love our Maryland blue crabs and are very loyal to our restaurants.  Obrycki’s has been an institution in Baltimore since 1944, and they bring that to the airport.  The crabcakes and deviled crab balls are a must-try if you don’t want to wrestle with crabs.
  5. Café Versailles, Miami International Airport: this airport outlet of a popular Cuban restaurant sells the quintessential hot Cuban pressed sandwich.  Wash it down with a cup of café con leche and you’d swear you were in Havana!!

Aviation Queen’s Top 10 Favorite Airports For Shopping

1 Mar

Last week, the “Today” show website’s travel section included an article polling writers for Sherman’s Travel on their favorite airports for shopping.  I have been to –and shopped in — more airports than I care to remember, so I thought I’d share my top 10, in no particular order.

  1. All photos by Benet J. Wilson

    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – I could spend my life in this airport, and I think they designed it like that on purpose.  I have bought everything from tulip bulbs to sunglasses.  It’s also a great airport to pick up that last-minute souvenir you forgot to get when you were actually in Amsterdam.  The prices are fair, so you don’t have to feel like you’re being ripped off.

  2. London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 – I know, I know: everyone calls this place a shopping mall with an airport terminal attached.  That said, I really enjoyed the shopping. Heathrow is known for its alcohol tastings and they have great duty-free liquor selections.  I switched from Tanqueray 10 to Bombay Sapphire gin after a tasting at Heathrow.  And the selection at Harrods is pretty good.
  3. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — Back in November 2006, the facility rebid its retail concessions contract (my Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that is here), that brought in a bounty of new stores, including Sean Jean, Kiehl’s, Ermenegildo Zenga and Lather, among others.  And Hartsfield was the first airport to get ZoomSystems’ vending machines, which at the time sold Apple iPod products.
  4. JFK Airport JetBlue Terminal 5 — I just love the feel and design of this terminal.  And the shopping is pretty good too.  I’m a BIG fan of the Harmony Pharmacies, which sell over-the-counter drugs, beauty/cosmetics and will fill a prescription.  I went a bit nuts in Japan’s Muji store, which sells everything from travel accessories to office supplies.  I just love the shrink-wrap tshirts that are compressed into a cube that fits nicely into a carry-on bag.  I could spend hours in the Techshowcase looking at the latest in geek toys.
  5. Pittsburgh International Airport — Back in the day when it was still a hub for US Airways, the facility decided to go all out and revamp its retail concessions.  I bought shoes for the man at Johnston & Murphy and toys for my godchildren at Creative Kidstuff. They also have a Clinque store and the fabulous Pajama Shop.
  6. Orlando International Airport — The airport for amusement park central has stores from Disney, Sea World and Universal Studio.  It also has beauty/bath store Lush (a favorite from my time spent in London), the Kennedy Space Center store, Harley Davidson and Swatch watches.
  7. Incheon International Airport — a girl could lose her MIND in this airport.  The airport authority went all out to attract all the major luxury brands to the facility, including Channel, Burberry, Christian Dior, Missoni, Guess, Max Mara, Dunhill, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, Calvin Klein and  Samsonite, among others.
  8. Changi Airport — see Incheon.  Plus a bonus — if you go to the Singapore Visitors Center in any terminal and you have at least 5 hours to kill, you can get a FREE 2-hour colonial or cultural tour.
  9. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – I know this one is a surprise, but I like the shopping choices in this airport.  The Authors Bookstore is not to be missed, and there’s a nice balance of national and local brands.
  10. Vancouver International Airport – I had to include this airport.  I just love The Gourmet Shop and La Cava del Cigarro, which sells gourmet foods and has a great selection of cigars.  Although not shopping per se, Vancouver also has the Plaza Premium Lounges, which features a place to nap, eat and shower.

My list only includes airports that I’ve actually seen and experienced.  I know there are plenty of others out there, so what did I miss?

10 Aviation Blogs You Should Be Reading

25 Jan

I have been an avid reader since age 2 (I swear – and my Dad will confirm it).  I read books, magazines, cereal boxes, billboards and just about anything else with letters.  And for someone who loves to read as much as I do, the Google Reader is a godsend.

I have myriad interests, and the Google Reader allows me to get feeds from blogs covering those interests: aviation, business aviation, journalism, multimedia and social media.  So let’s take a look in my Aviation folder so I can tell you some of the  blogs you should be reading.  This is by NO means my complete list, and the list below is in no particular order.

  1. CrankyFlier – Brett Snyder is the little brother I never wanted but got stuck with anyway (I say that with love in my heart).  But seriously, Brett writes a humorous, yet informative blog on the whimsies of the airline business.  He offers a take that only someone who became a travel agent at age 12 and had his grandmother book a hotel at Los Angeles International Airport so he could watch the planes.  And bonus – he also writes about travel over at BNET.
  2. Flightblogger - What can I say about Jon Ostrower?  This man has forgotten more information about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner than most of us will ever know.  Did you read “The price of Boeing’s 787 sales success?” I rest my case.
  3. Delta/JetBlue/Southwest blogs – When airlines jumped into blogging, I was a bit apprehensive, because I’ve seen some really bad corporate blogs that had no personality, only regurgitating the latest talking points.  All three of these carriers tapped their own employees, who bring their unique voices to these blogs making them actual must-reads.  Delta gets bonus points for ANY post from archives manager Marie Force and Southwest gets the same for Flashback Friday posts!
  4. Air Transparency -  I heard airline employee Jesse Ziglar speak on an episode of the Airplane Geeks podcast and I was hooked.  Ziglar works his magic by explaining the good, the bad and the ugly of how the airlines work – in language my 5-year-old daughter can understand.  His topics include weather delays, the tarmac delay rule, deicing aircraft and crew uniforms.
  5. Chris Elliott’s Elliott.org - I wonder when Chris ever finds time to sleep, with writing this website and writing on consumer travel issues for National Geographic, Tribune Media Service, the Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today and CNN.com, among others.
  6. PlaneBusines Banter/Plane Buzz - The subscriber-based Banter and free Buzz are both penned by Holly Hegeman, who offers her own unique humorous/serious take on the business of airlines.  I’ve been reading her since she was the airlines analyst for The Motley Fool, and I take her work seriously enough to pay for my own subscription to the Banter.
  7. The TSA Blog - before I moved over to the business aviation beat, I wrote about airports and airport security.  When one of the public affairs folks gave me a call almost three years ago to pitch me on the blog launch, I admit I was HIGHLY  skeptical.  I thought the blog would read like the old Soviet government update reports.  I was wrong, and continue to admit it.  This blog has done a lot to put a human face on an agency that’s more vilified than the IRS.  Blogger Bob and his team have done a good job in explaining, as much as possible, what TSA does and why.  Bonus points for allowing comments and taking the time to answer as many as possible.
  8. Swelblog/Swelbar on Airlines - Bill Swelbar is a Research Engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation.  He gets into the weeds — but always interesting — on airline/aviation policy.  A recent post, “Unbundling, Rebundling and Now De-Commoditization,” he breaks down how the airlines have been forced to adapt in things including how they sell tickets and how to keep passengers loyal to their brand.
  9.  I’m Black And I Travel - One, because I’m both.  Blog owner Greg Gross and I are kindred spirits, letting the world know of our travels and expounding on the joys of travel from our own personal experiences.  And Greg has given me access to a large community of black travel bloggers, which has helped me expand my own network.
  10. RickSeaney.com - If you want to keep up with air fares, Rick is your guy.  He’s the CEO of FareCompare.com, created to keep track of airfares for airlines worldwide.   You can also watch fares from your hometown via Twitter.  What’s not to love?

So that’s my list.  What are you reading? I’m always looking to add to my folder!  Also, in the next few weeks, I plan on doing a reader question edition of this blog. So if you any questions, now is the time to start submitting them. Thanks!

Friday Link Love – The Congestion Edition

21 Jan

OK, this one will be short.  I have been battling a very nasty respiratory infection, which has knocked me out.

It’s Friday, so here we are with “Strange But True Aviation News.” The pickings were slim this week, but he have two editions of extreme pat-downs, a terminal shut-down and a bribe that went wrong.  I also bid an early farewell to the Northwest Airlines livery at the Things With Wings blog.

This week’s Airplane Geeks was all news, listener mail and (ugh) politics.

On the journalism side, check out my Friday Fast Five column, which offers some great resources for folks looking for a job.

And I’ll end the week with these two photos I took at JetBlue’s JFK Airport T5 terminal last December.  The exhibit was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York Jets, who play the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend for a ticket to the Super Bowl.  Enjoy!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers