MIA

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!

Romantic Getaways Begin and End at These Airports

Romantic Getaways Begin and End at These Airports

Many of us think the vacation starts the moment we step out of the airport at our final destination. If you and your significant other are going on a trip for Valentine’s Day, however, there is no reason your romantic getaway cannot start (and end) at the airport.  Here are some insider tips to help you find the massage, wine, chocolate and more that will make your Valentine’s getaway start from the moment you check-in!

Romantic

Most airports have spas designed to keep you relaxed while traveling.

Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Behind on gifts for your Valentine and planning to fly through the Music City? Amaze her with chocolates from Godiva (B-6) and pair them with flowers from 24-Hour Flower (A/B lounge and C lounge). Head over to Graycliff Cigar Company (C-10) to buy him a fine cigar to enjoy on your vacation after a nice meal. When you are done exchanging last minute gifts with your honey, relax at the Massage Bar (B-1, C-14) for a well-deserved bit of indulgence or grab a glass of wine at Vino Volo (C-7) and enjoy a decadent meal before boarding your flight. You’ll both be ready for romance by the time you land.

Miami International Airport (MIA)

Whether you are departing from Miami International Airport en route to your final destination or en route to return home, you chose a great place to extend your romantic vacation. If you’d like some extra pampering, be sure to make an appointment ahead of time at Jettsetter Spa (South Terminal H) or Xpress Spa (D-10). Both locations offer plenty of services to make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated before your flight.  Next find Beaudevin, located in the North Terminal. Here you can enjoy perfectly paired wine and small plates and escape from some of the hustle and bustle of the airport. Pick up desserts from the highly acclaimed  Icebox Cafe (D-8) on the way to your gate to give your tastebuds a delicious reminder of South Beach and a sweet treat for you both.

The airport holds many opportunities to get closer with your significant other.

San Diego National Airport (SAN)

Enjoy wine and small plates and traveling through San Diego National Airport? You are in luck; Beaudevein is located in Terminal 2, another perfect location to enjoy a romantic meal in a bustling airport. Surprise your significant other with a massage or gift from the Be Real Spa (Gates 26 & 36). You can even get aroma, oxygen & light therapy or a mani/pedi! Who says airport travel is stressful? Not here. And of course it is not Valentine’s Day without chocolate, so buy a delicious box of the famous See’s Candies in Terminal 2 East to share with your loved one over a glass of vino.

Don’t forget to get your Valentine a box of chocolates.

 

Insider Tip: Check out our app if you are traveling other airports around Valentine’s Day. Look out for relaxing spas, dessert shops, and restaurants with a romantic atmosphere. There is no reason for your Valentine’s Day trip to begin and end at the airport.

Relax in the airport in these new American Express Centurion Lounges

Relax in the airport in these new American Express Centurion Lounges

Tired of the hustle, bustle and noise at the airport during your layover or pre-flight waiting period? You already know that airport lounges offered by the airlines provide a well-needed respite from the maddening crowd wandering through the airport. Some are better than others – especially if they are FREE!

If you’re not lucky enough to be a top-tier elite airline frequent flyer or carry a premium ticket, American Express Centurion Lounges at the airport may be your answer! American Express is offering free access to these exceptional lounges exclusively for their Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members.

Right now, these new (all under three years old!) and upscale airport lounges from AmEx are only open in a few airports, but if you are lucky enough to be in Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York-LaGuardia, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle (an extension of The Centurion Lounge in a smaller setting), then visit you must! A new lounge is planned for the Houston (IAH) airport later in 2016.

From the moment you walk in, you know something’s different – in a good way. While all locations include standard amenities like showers and complimentary Wi-Fi and food & drinks, and a variety of seating, each has its own unique characteristics that provide a comfortable pre-flight or layover experience at the select airports. On the menu at each location – locally-inspired food and locally produced wines, beers and artisanal beverages. The cuisine at each Centurion airport lounge is prepared by world-renowned chefs known for showcasing the local flavors of the area. This is the way to kill the dead time you have to spend at the airport!

Let’s check it out!

Starting with the “mini” version at the Seattle (SEA) airport, at the Centurion Studio, you’re treated with unexpected touches like premium healthy snacks and comfortable seating with high-speed Wi-Fi and outlets near every seat. The Studio is located in Concourse B, opposite Gate B3. The Studio is accessible from any security checkpoint and open 5 AM – 10 PM. (Photo Credit: Travel Codex)

AmEx opened its first Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) in 2013. Freshen up in well-appointed shower suite, and dine in decadence with cuisine by chef Scott Conant. Savor succulent dishes like Lamb and Beef Börek and Orecchiette with Eggplant. You can even enjoy a cocktail developed by one of the nation’s top mixologists, Jim Meehan. The Lounge is located in Concourse D, opposite Gate D1. The concourse is accessible from Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 via the transit system. Once you pass security, follow signs to D gates. Hours are 5 AM – 11 PM. Photo courtesy of American Express.

Next, let’s travel to the Centurion Lounge at the Miami (MIA) airport. This airport lounge provides a bright environment and even offers spa therapies! Once again, the locally-inspired food is incredible, with cuisine designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein. The Latin-inspired Braised Chicken Thighs and Corn Soup with Roast Poblanos will have you shouting “Ole!” The Lounge is located in Concourse D, near Gate D12, on the 4th floor. The Lounge is accessible via the Skytrain in North Terminal- Station. Open 5 AM – 11 PM.   Photo courtesy of Miami Airport.

Stuck in LaGuardia Airport (LGA)? Then this Centurion Lounge is the place to hang out – and it’s even located pre-security, perfect for a pre-flight visit with a friend. Sip on wines handpicked by renowned wine authority Anthony Giglio, and savor the diverse New York City culinary offerings like Green Chili Udon Noodles and Italian Burrata on Crostini, designed by one of Zagat’s top 30 under 30 chefs, Cédric Vongerichten. The Lounge is located pre-security, on the 3rd floor between Concourses B and C. If your flight departs from another terminal, you can take the Route A or B airport shuttle on the arrivals level. Hours are 5:30 AM – 8 PM (Sunday – Friday) and 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM on Saturday. Photo courtesy of The Points Guy.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is the third busiest airport in the country, so the Centurion Lounge here is just what the doctor ordered to escape the craziness – unexpected touches like spa therapies from exhale® and even a family room! Dining is also a pleasure, with cuisine designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Dean Fearing, including Tex-Mex dishes like Texas Migas with Chorizo and Sweet Onions. The Lounge is located in Terminal D, opposite Gate D17, on the mezzanine. The Lounge can be reached from any other terminal via the Skylink train and is open 5:30 AM – 10 PM. Photo courtesy American Express.

Last, but not least, is the Centurion Lounge at the San Francisco Airport (SFO.) Here, a Napa Valley wine tasting area and a well-appointed shower suite can wash away any of your airport travel stresses. Succulent dishes from Zagat chef Cédric Vongerichten await – like Fried Chicken with a Honey Lemongrass Glaze and Chocolate Mousse with Mint Cream. Yum! The Lounge can be accessed post-security from Terminal 3 or from International Terminal G. If your flight is not in Terminals 3 or G, visiting the lounge could be a bit cumbersome. Since all terminals are not connected post-security at SFO, if you are flying out of another terminal, you may be able to use your boarding pass to enter through T3 security – subject to approval by the TSA agent. After visiting the Lounge, you will need to exit through security, take the AirTrain or walk to your terminal and re-enter through security. Open 5 AM – 11 PM. Photo credit: www.alldonemonkey.com )

 

Who knows – on your next layover or pre-flight airport travels, these American Express Centurion Lounges can stand guard to protect you from travel insanity!

 

Access to The Centurion Lounge at these airports is complimentary for global Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members. To access The Centurion Lounge, the Card Member must present The Centurion Lounge agent with the following upon each visit: his or her valid Card, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel on any carrier and a government-issued I.D. The Centurion Lounge is a Day of Departure lounge requiring confirmed travel plans. Passengers holding standby tickets and non-revenue standby passengers, including airline or industry employees traveling on discounted tickets, are not eligible to utilize the lounge unless they have received a boarding pass showing a confirmed seat or zone assignment for the flight for which they are on standby. All other Card Members with a valid American Express® Credit or Charge Card are eligible to purchase access to the Lounge for $50 per day, subject to capacity. PLATINUM CARDS ELIGIBLE FOR COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS

Having Local Experience at Miami’s International Airport

Having Local Experience at Miami’s International Airport

Whether you are passing by or making it your final destination, Miami International is sure to give you a local experience simply within the airport! Capture the culture of this vibrant city by visiting several of the places below with your family, friends, or individually!

 

The Shoppes at Ocean Drive Sells Seasonal Crab Ready to Fly

 

Stone Crab

Florida Stone Crabs are extra special to Floridians and foodies alike because they can only be found in Florida and they can only be harvested October 15-May 15. This is a treat you will not want to miss in Miami. The Shoppes at Ocean Drive’s Privé Gourmet Market sells fresh seasonal stone crabs packed and ready to fly. The claws are packaged in styrofoam that will keep cool for up to 48 hours.

The unique store also offers tons of fun and fancy food products and cookbooks, perfect as a last minute gift to you or your loved one!

 

Experience the Everglades

Everglades

 

 If you are traveling internationally through Miami airport, make sure to check out the enchanting hallway that gives you an essence of the beauty of Florida. Make sure to view each of the 26 vivid, large-scale photographs that depict the Everglades’ wildlife and landscapes. Be sure to check out this exhibit before it closes in December.

 

La Carreta

Carreta

Nothing is more authentic about Miami than the Cuban cuisine. Make sure to visit La Carreta, one of the finest restaurants located in Miami Airport. The fried yucca is a must try and this is a great pit stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The most authentic part of this diverse menu is the Cuban Coffee, which can give you the kick you need to start your day right as you travel to your final destination.

 

Ron John Surf Shop

 Ron Johns

There is no better way to experience the spirit of Florida without visiting the Ron John Surf Shop. They have a wide selection for any traveler staying in the Miami area who needs bathing suits or other items for the beach, or souvenirs to take with you to your final destination. This shop often offers discounts so be on the lookout for a bargain!

 

 

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

The Taste of Cuba at La Carreta

The Taste of Cuba at La Carreta

Experience the delicious taste of Cuba at La Carreta. This airport satellite of a Miami classic is dishing up traditional dishes like Ropa Vieja, Maduros, Picadillo, and Rice and Beans in either a cafeteria or menu setting. Portions are huge while prices are reasonable, and the servers are friendly and accommodating.  If you haven’t tried Cuban cuisine yet, here’s your chance….and if you aren’t that adventurous, even the chicken with black beans and rice is delish.  Need a pick me up? Enjoy a cafecito like a true Miami native.

Pro Tip: Start with the Croquetas and end with the Flan and enjoy every bite in between!

Image credit: Flickr; Kim

Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Valentine Sweet

Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Valentine Sweet

How sweet it is to be loved by you! This is your pilot speaking.

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and for those of us on the tarmac, time might be limited to find that special someone a little treat. I’ve compiled a list of places in major airports around the U.S. where you can find something special if time is tight. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and have first hand experience at most of these places. If I missed a favorite spot of yours I apologies. The list below is meant to also showcase something only found at that airport. There are two exceptions in The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Dylan’s Candy Bar which have franchises around the country. Rocky Mountain is your classic confectionery with treats for ever taste. Dylan’s offers a large selection of favorite brand name candies that you can 4314-Truffles36_79881_01v1Wmix and match as well as pre made gift boxes. A special note on Dylan’s: If you ever find yourself just east of Central Park in New York City you will find the flagship store that offers 4 stories of candy heaven. And if you happen to be flying internationally, don’t forget you can always find delicious limited edition Godiva Belgian chocolates at Duty Free Stores everywhere. Enjoy and safe travels as always!

The Aviator

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Win My Stomach, Win My Heart: A Valentine’s Day Travel Guide, Vol 1

Win My Stomach, Win My Heart: A Valentine’s Day Travel Guide, Vol 1

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means: there will be roses bought, dinner reservations made, and amateur lovers scrambling to book last-minute getaways to Paris. Because that’s textbook romance, right? But, ladies and gents, take my advice this Valentine’s Day and plan an offbeat, quirky food adventure for your paramour instead.

There are so many delicious places to travel in this world, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to go and taste them. Here is the first installment of three romantic food adventures to win over the heart and stomach of your Honey. (I’m going to try and use tons of food terms of endearment in this post…Happy Valentine’s Day!)

 Option #1: The Florida Keys.

These islands provide a picture-perfect setting for a lovers’ weekend. Between the unbelievable sunsets and the bluest water you’ve ever seen, you really don’t have to do much work to bring the romance. But add in some Key delicacies, and your Sugar Pie will remember this V-day for years to come. You can fly into Key West International Airport and work your way north, or start at Miami International Airport and head south. Either way, you’ve got 180 miles in between with fresh seafood and tropical drinks.

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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

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