CLT

Hop Over to Last-Minute Easter Gifts, Right at the Airport

Hop Over to Last-Minute Easter Gifts, Right at the Airport

Going home for Easter but not in the mood to pay luggage fees to pack gifts for the family? You don’t have to waste precious luggage space or worry about selecting gifts that will make it through security; these days, you can find fabulous gifts for your loved ones right at the airport, saving you shopping time and energy. Thankfully Easter is a pretty low-maintenance holiday when it comes to giving gifts (looking at you, Christmas and Hannukah), so a simple card and box of chocolates will suffice. Most stores have pre-made Easter baskets and boxes prepared, making your job even easier. If you’re feeling that extra “Spring” in your step, bring home flowers for mom – she deserves it!
Easter

Knowing where to go is half the battle. Plan some extra time at your departure airport or take a little time when you land to find yourself a chocolate shop and a Hudson Booksellers  to purchase cards. Because there are so many quality options at airports these days, you will surely find a gift to bring home for Easter that does not scream “last-minute.” Here is a list of chocolate and gift shops at various airports that will melt your heart (and theirs!):

EasterInsider Tip: While you nibble on that extra chocolate treat you picked up for yourself, use your time on the plane to express how much you care in each of the cards you picked up.  Everyone loves a heartfelt handwritten note!

Unwind with a Glass of Vino at Beaudevin Wine and Tapas Bar

Unwind with a Glass of Vino at Beaudevin Wine and Tapas Bar

 

Relax with the perfect glass of wine and a gourmet small-plate at Beaudevin – one of the most relaxing and beautiful spots you will run across in your airport journey. Beaudevin loosely translates to mean “beautiful wine” in French – we could not agree more! With a menu designed to compliment the wine selection, diners can enjoy a variety of artisan charcuterie, cheese and olive plates to nibble on or a nice Baked Goat Cheese. For a heartier meal, the Smoked Salmon Tartine is an excellent choice. Beaudevin offers three pours: 3, 6, and 9 ounces and around 30 different wines which will satisfy any xenophile in your crew. If you aren’t so sure what to order, check out the leaf iconography next to each wine on the menu for the wine’s level of intensity. If you are feeling adventurous, ask about local selections. In the Charlotte location, for example, they offer several wines produced in North Carolina that you surely won’t find at your next stop. In the Brussels location, you are sure to find some interesting local rieslings. These locations are not only beautiful but are comfy and relaxing amidst the hustle and bustle of the concourse, so kick back and relax!

Insider Tip: While you can enjoy your meal at the fab seating at the bar, why not grab your gourmet dish to go and enjoy it while taking in the scenery at 30,000 feet? Who says you have to fly first class to enjoy a nice meal these days?

Locations: Brussels Airport (BRU) – Terminal A, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) – Atrium, Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – Terminal 1, Miami International Airport (MIA) – Terminal D, San Diego International Airport (SAN) – Terminal 2

Image credit: (CC Flickr) Prayitno

Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Travel delays got you feeling down at the airport? Indulge in some tasty chocolate! The delicious snack will not only satisfy your sweet tooth cravings but also releases feel-good endorphins. Stress be gone!

Pro Tip: If there’s a Duty Free store in your airport, check for travel retail confectionary exclusives. You can score some great deals on delicious chocolates! We love Godiva.

Image credit: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

My flight is touching down for landing. It has been a smooth flight; thankfully I was able to catch some Z’s since I have been sick as of late and run down. I don’t have much time when I land at MSP; I have a two and a half hour drive to lovely La Crosse, Wisconsin-my final destination. The good news is that when I return to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) tomorrow, I will have an hour or so to relax and visit some of my favorite places in the airport. Think: Minnesota Wild Sports Bar for some amazing Bavarian Pretzel Sticks.  Or Brookstone-who doesn’t love the latest gadget and a free massage by chair?Drink in airport that offers international airport wifi in Dallas Fort Worth

While the fact that I have favorite places at airports is more of a statement about my work/life balance these days, it is imperative to know these places to keep me sane on the road (and tarmac). Any business traveler can tell you that they have a list of their favorite airports, a list of airports that they frequent (which hopefully match the previously mentioned list) and a list of airports they aim to avoid if at all possible. When you fly a lotyou spend an inordinate amount of time in the terminal, waiting. And although staying glued to the mobile phone is and/or laptop is always an option, sometimes I want need to disconnect. If you are like me, this parlays itself into keeping a running tab on where to go during your layover for eating, drinking and shopping. That’s why one of the ten commandments of the business traveler is: Know Thy Airport.

Here is a roster of airports that I transit through most frequently (you will probably start seeing tips from me about these airports, so stay tuned!):

I bet many other frequent business travelers in the United States have a similar list.  It isn’t any surprise that most of these are major airline hubs, consequentlyI am usually connecting through them to my final destination to visit my customers. I know them well given the time I spend in them. The good news is that this frequency creates time for me to be the consumer I always strive to be-trying new foods, seeking out new items to surprise my family with as an offering for my time away.

What is it inside of us that makes us want to know these places so well? There is a story that I always tell that lends itself to the comfortability of business travel. I once had a hiatus from traveling due to company budget cuts. As any business traveler knows, nearing the end of the fiscal year you probably won’t see many airports, as companies aim to improve the bottom line. After this break from the travel lifestyle, on my first trip back throughSt. Louis airport (STL) . I sent my brother a text message, Starbucks in hand, telling him how oddly comfortable I felt sitting at the airport and that I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or just plain sad.

A man waiting at Atlanta International Airport.

Waiting at the Airport

All joking aside, there is some validity to that feeling – the same reason I stay at Marriott properties almost exclusively when I travel for business – I want to be comfortable somewhere that feels familiar and that I know well, if I can’t be home with my wife and kids.  I remember I used to hear frequent traveling friends referring to airports by code and thinking, “Wow, that is so confusing… can’t they just call it San Fransisco instead of SFO?” Nowadays, I find myself talking of my travels and sounding like I am helping my kids learn the alphabet. I just hope that I don’t teach them the wrong order when I actually do help them with their homework:

Addison: “Daddy, what comes after A?”

Daddy: “T-L honey…”

Like I said, it is human nature to want to be comfortable. Whether it is flying to the same airports and knowing the terminals well, or it is trying your darndest to fly with your favorite airline. OK, so maybe it is the sense of comfortability and the acquisition of frequent flier miles. Hey, a guy has to pay the family back for all of that time away with fun vacations. Am I right? Spring break at MCO(Orlando), here we come!!! Oh wait… we’re driving. No problem, I will use my airline miles for the hotel!

The Flying Salesman

Travel with Co-Workers: Tips to Stay Happy and Keep Your Job

Travel with Co-Workers: Tips to Stay Happy and Keep Your Job

Travel with co-workers can be tricky business.  “Hey man, what seat are you sitting in?” It seems a simple question but it carries with it an inherent meaning that is more important than aisle or window. You see, when I asked the question recently on a flight to Charlotte by way of Cincinnati, it was to a coworker I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend an uninterrupted 2 hours chatting up. While business travel can be stressful (hopefully less so as you continue to use our app and catch up with me at FlyInStyle), it becomes an enormous pain to travel with coworkers.

Why, you ask? Simple. If you are traveling alone, the sky-time is YOUR time. You can choose to read, catch up on work, sleep or even just stare at the seat in front of you and enjoy the quiet time because you have two kids at home and your life has become a series of noisy moments that… that may be a topic for another time. Regardless, when you are alone, you have the choice to use your time how you see fit. In fact, I cover some of these choices in an upcoming post so stay tuned for that.

But when you travel with a coworker, you are limited in your choices when it comes to ways to spend your time in flight. Below are the coworkers everyone has to travel with from time to time and ways that you can combat them and reclaim your YOU TIME!

The Boss

This could be by far the toughest travel companion from work. This is the person whom you try your hardest to impress by working in flight. The issue is: you may not feel like working. Or perhaps yours is the kind of boss who decides that your flight is a good time to ask you questions or conduct your review. No pressure, he just puts you on the spot while you’re crammed into a seat meant for a person half your size. But relax. You have options. First, if you think about it, ask what seat he is in prior to departing for the airport. Then go online and make damn sure you are not anywhere near him. Be smart, not greedy. Don’t switch to an empty row as this will just give him a chance to join you. If you do have to sit next to him, maybe let him know respectfully preflight that you really enjoy the quiet of the flight, or you can’t wait to catch up on reading or actually do your work. Plant those seeds prior to boarding and the thoughts may actually land with him. On the other hand, if your boss is the type with whom it is tough to get quality time, don’t miss your chance to have his full attention!

The Drunk

I’ve personally had the privilege of flying with this coworker several times. This is the guy who gets absolutely plastered either preflight at the airport bar, or on the plane itself by drinking them out of Jack Daniels. The key element in dealing with this person is to circumvent the situation prior to it happening. Once they are 3 sheets to the wind, it is too late. There are a plethora of ways to deal with this belligerent individual. It isn’t easy and you want to avoid having to mandate an intervention on your flight to Dallas. The best thing is to not join in the ,drinking (unless you really want to in which case you should tread lightly). Offer instead to stop at a coffee shop prior to your flight in lieu of the bar. If you are on the plane, maybe offer snacks to them instead of asking what their drink of choice is. Some of my favorites are of the healthy variety. You can usually find them at the airport news and convenience stores like Hudson News and WH Smith. Regardless, if this person insists on drinking and you are not joining them, be careful. You don’t want to end up on the news that evening when your colleague does something to get you guys grounded.

The Talker

This may be one of my least favorite of business travel companions. This person insists on talking to you during your flight and refuses to leave you to sleep, get work done etc. What is worse is that if this person is a coworker, they may want to talk about work on the plane when you may want to have some downtime.  Or even more detrimental than that, they will want to partake in office gossip (AARRRRGH!!!  I HATE office gossip).  Although this is more of an annoyance than anything, there are ways to combat this situation. My favorite is to place my handy earbuds in my ears and listen to something on my iPod. To be honest, sometimes I am not even listening to anything but it seems that having you ear pieces in is an international indicator that you are not willing to engage in conversation at that moment. If this doesn’t work, you can either sleep or pretend to be sleeping (yes, I have done this as well — I’m not too proud to admit it). If you do have to engage with this person, make sure you speak in a low tone so as not to bother others around you. You don’t want them to categorize you as The Talker by default if you keep them from doing what they want during their flight.

The Stinky Snacker

Before you get all irate, let me clarify. I myself am a foodie. The person I am referring to here is the person who brings the messiest, smelliest food on the plane that seems to spread through every vent on board, turning the entire aircraft into a Chinese food scented air freshener. If this is one of your colleagues, the easy thing to do here is to take preventative action. Try to talk him out of taking food on board the plane and if nothing else, recommend non-stinky food (cold cut sandwiches sans onions work best). Either way, don’t be this guy and don’t be associated with him. Every passenger on the aircraft will thank you.

No matter who you travel with, reclaim the time as yours. As for me, I like to take advantage of my time in the air to get work done and organize my email. It is the very rare time that I am (for the most part) unreachable by the rest of the world. I like to make sure that time is maximized. So I suppose you can even peg me under the title, “The Worker Bee” — sort of akin to The Boss but without the pay or perks.

These are just a few of the examples of colleague travelers that I have had to deal with in my tenure as a business traveler.

Do you have anything you would like to add? Sound off!

Beats Executive: Headphones for the exclusive traveler (InMotion locations)

Beats Executive: Headphones for the exclusive traveler (InMotion locations)

The Beats Executive headphones will take you from the boardroom to the jet lounge. The legendary sound quality of these headphones has been redesigned with the traveler in mind for this set. They balance noise canceling technology with comfort needed for transatlantic flights, and the signature Beats by Dr. Dre sound profile. This Executive box includes batteries, audio cable, airline adapter, Apple remote microphone, hard shell carrying case and a Beats by Dr. Dre cleaning cloth. More

Find Your Admirals Club

Find Your Admirals Club

The luxury lounge offered by American Airlines is available in more than 50 airports (including this one) worldwide. These private areas offer a mix of casual and professional amenities to transform your airport experience. Memberships are available annually (starting at $400), monthly ($99) and daily ($50). More

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