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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

Cead Mile Failte from the Flight Deck! It’s St. Patrick’s Day!

Cead Mile Failte from the Flight Deck! It’s St. Patrick’s Day!

With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching and many festivals and parades already over the weekend, I thought I would spread some Irish luck your way and some tips to help you celebrate in style. First some Gaelic 101: “Cead Mile Failte,” pronounced “Kay-da May-la Fall-cha,” means a hundred thousand welcomes. “Slainte!” is what you say to toast before drinking, and it is pronounced “Slahn-cha.” You are now armed with a greeting and a toast to make this the most festive St Patty’s Day ever. I was hoping to share a list of Irish pubs in airports in case you are celebrating in transit, but I never set foot in airport bars (the uniform gets funny looks), and I’ve only seen one Irish pub that looked about as Irish as a taco. So instead, I countdown for you:

 

The Aviator’s Top 5 Irish Pubs (from my travels)

 

  1. The Irish Oak MG_6165-e1352754296879

Chicago, Illinois

Nestled a block from Wrigley Field sits a place I always hit up when in the Windy City. Chicago has one of the most famous St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world with a river dyed green to show you they mean business! The Irish Oak hits all the main points for a fun pub any day of the year though if you can’t make it there for the biggest green party of the year, with solid food, properly poured Guinness, and friendly staff. With a city full of pubs and Irish heritage it’s hard to stand out and yet they succeed-I can’t resist popping in on an overnight.

 

  1. James’s Gate

Boston, Massachusetts

A few minutes out of the downtown bustle in the Jamaica Plain district of Boston sits my favorite neighborhood pub and an Irish treat. Come here hungry! The food is really tasty and I recommend sitting at the bar to get to know the crowd. Every time I enjoy a pint here, I make a new friend and hear some great (and sometimes crazy stories). “This one time at Fenway…” has started more than one tale that left me needing another pint of the dark stuff with a smile on my face.

 

  1. The Chieftain

San Francisco, California

There’s something magical about a slightly grungy pub that screams ‘locals only’ before you even walk through the front door. A post-Giants baseball game stroll led me to this gem. Unless it is March 17th, don’t expect 375px-McSorley's_Old_Ale_House_001_cropa rowdy scene. Come for a cold one and top-notch people watching. In my experience visiting this bar was more memorable than the baseball game that night and has been each time since.

 

  1. McSorley’s Old Ale House

New York City, New York

Oh man! When I first heard a pilot friend of mine describe McSorley’s almost a decade ago I knew I had to go. Hop on the subway to the village, walk the few blocks through crisscrossing streets and find yourself stepping back in time. Here are the basics: It was established in 1854 and there are 2 types of beer (dark and lite,). It’s often crowded so don’t be deterred by the ambiance. There’s a funk of dish soap and the floor is covered in sawdust. But once you anchor a spot at the bar or share a table with some soon-to-be-new-friends this place has marked its spot in your heart. This place is old school: cash only, and women were only allowed in as of 1970. It’s a pub; it looks almost exactly like what my great grandfather saw a hundred years ago when he first visited New York after emigrating from Ireland to Philadelphia. It’s as real as it gets without the 7-hour ride across the pond to the homeland.

 

  1. Ha’penny Bridge Inn image-hapenny-bridge-2

Dublin, Ireland

You didn’t think I was going to give you a list of favorite Irish pubs without naming one in Ireland, did you?! Ha’penny Bridge Inn sits on the River Liffey in Dublin next to the Temple Bar district. Do yourself a favor and see Temple Bar. See all the famous names and pretty facades. Then go here and get your drink. I was fortunate to have a local recommend that to me. I now buy that local a pint of Magners any time I’m in Dublin. He isn’t just a friend, but my patron saint of great pubs with low tourism and a high local vibe. Thanks Finn! I won’t describe this place at all.

Just go. Enjoy the real Ireland. Don’t be a loud American with a million questions. The Irish hate questions. They love stories and having a good crack. That’s slang for jokes and teasing your friends.

 

Slainte from the flight deck!

The Aviator

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

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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