Friday, January 6, 2012

Seattle Airtport Airline Changes

Here is an update on changes to Airlines and the gates in Seattle.

Sidenote - United is now using both the North Terminal and Terminal B --- However, CO flights mostly leave from B, UA flights mostly leave from N -- but there are some exceptions especially late at night arrivals. For those connecting, its not easy - the Underground access in Terminal B is closed at the moment, so you need to walk to the Main Terminal and catch the underground train at the north end (follow signs for N Gates)

Here is the "plan"...there is still no exact timeline and some reports have the final moves not happening until 2013.

Delta Airlines will stay in place primarily at the South Satellite.

United Airlines and Continental Airlines will finally consolidate activities on the Concourse A (Great News! Here is hoping for a better United Club!)

Southwest/Airtran will consolidate on Concourse B.

Alaska and Horizon Airlines (which recently rebranded to the "Alaska" brand) will consolidate activities primarily at the North Satellite and Concourse C. Alaska will leave the D gates.

American, JetBlue and Frontier will move to the new "common use" D Gates that Alaska has now. Oddly this is where AA started from before the A concourse was built.

The Port says Hawaiian will move to the South Terminal - but not sure there is a whole lota room there for them, since DL/NW really make good use of the Gates there.

Virgin America will move from the nice A gates to the drab B gates - definately a downgrade unless B is getting a big refurb.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hotel Review - Holiday Inn Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-tac)

Holiday Inn Sea-tac
17338 International Blvd
SeaTac, WA 98188

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Holiday Inn Seattle Airport

This is a fairly standard Holiday Inn - friendly staff, easy to access, clean rooms, reasonable room rates. There are a couple Holiday Inns close to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport - this one is right across the street from the Airport Terminal. You can actually walk to it via the new Light Rail station during operating hours.

(sorry for the low lighting - it was about 10pm when I checked in)

The checkin agent was really friendly, she noted I was a Gold Priority Club member and promptly gave me my keys plus a "welcome gift" (snack of nuts - nothing fancy, but much appreciated since I was hungry). 

I got a standard room this time (previously I had a nice corner room - which is a bit bigger and has more windows).
The rooms have been remodeled to the new Holiday Standard -- flat screen tv, multiple pillows, higher quality bedding. There is free Wi-Fi at the hotel - be sure to ask the front desk staff for the code.

As with most older Holiday Inns  - the bathroom is small, but very usable. It was very clean, had plenty of towels, soap, etc.

One minor disappointment -- there was no really closet, just a small alcove with a hanging rack - the iron and board were placed behind the room door. I was only here for a very quick overnight - so not a big deal. Frankly, I am not sure there is enough width to put in doors - so I think it just is what it is.

The morning shuttle starts at 4am and runs every 20 mins. It was fairly busy at 4am since many folks for outlaying areas stay over at Sea-Tac Hotels since its a long drive from home for early flights. The shuttle driver was nice and after a very quick stop at another hotel we were at the terminal. You can walk to the Airport via the Light Rail Station, but it doesnt open until 6am I believe.

There are nicer hotels almost as close to the airport (Hilton, Red Lion, DoubleTree) - but for the money the Holiday Inn Sea-Tac is hard to beat - frankly for a overnight stay its a fine value for the money.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keauhou Beach Resort (Outrigger)

Keauhou Beach Resort (Outrigger)
78-6740 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Keauhou Beach Resort (Kona)

We randomly found this hotel after reading the Hawaii The Big Island Revealed Guide Book. Just to be clear, this is not a 5-star Resort like you will find on Maui or Oahu. But it is one the best places to stay in my opinion if you get a Ocean Front Room. Plus its south-of Kailua-Kona is a better location for snorkling and kayaking. The Kahalu`u Bay beach area is right next to the hotel for some of the Islands best snorkling.

The hotel itself is very casual with a very friendly and helpful staff.  The hotel was renovated in 2007, but its starting to show a bit a wear (which is not unusual for Hawaii hotels with the moisture and salt air.

The rooms a fairly small, but contain a decent bed, small fridge and very efficient bathroom. Our Maid service was always very prompt and well done. The front desk staff were extremely friendly and happy to offer advice and suggestions.

While many folks stay well to the north of the Kona Airport in the Waikoloa Resort area,
we liked that our area had more of a local feel and felt like we were really on a Hawaiian Vacation. The hotel is close to a shopping area that contains a Longs, Supermarket, Hawaiian Plate Lunch place and a new (very good) Sam Choys restaurant.

The hotel offers FREE wired and wireless internet access and FREE hot breakfast - with no resort fee! That's a savings of at least $15-20/day at most bigger resorts. One draw back is there is no formal restaurant on location for Dinner. The Bar does serve some food - but its mostly burgers and lunch meals. For Dinner just make the quick 10 min drive into Kailua-Kona. We did the Kona Inn for dinner one night and on another we enjoyed the Luau at the Royal Kona hotel.

While this is technically a 3-star hotel - there are a group of rooms that give a 5-star view. The OceanFront rooms offer a over the water view of the lagoon.

We enjoyed sitting out on the balcony every morning and night. It was like staying at Seaworld 24hours a day - lots of fish, eels (at night) and sea Turtles. We even had a visit from the world famous "Lefty" the Sea Turtle.

The pool is fairly large (no shortage of chairs when were we there). They also have a great grass area that overlooks Kahalu`u Bay where you can layout for some sun.

Just a really well-run, great place to stay on the Big Island. Is it a 5-star hotel? No - but in the right room, it gives you a very unique view and Hawaiian experience.

Looking for things to do during your stay on the Big Island, click here

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trip Report - Alaska First Class SEA-KOA

Here is what they are serving this month on the Seattle-Kona Flights on Alaska in First Class

The Coconut Chicken was fairly good - service was great.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hotel Review - Handlery Union Square Hotel

Handlery Union Square Hotel
351 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Hotel Trip Report and Review -  Handlery Union Square Hotel

The Handlery hotel is listed just off Powell street (with the Cable cars) on Geary Street. The location is great for those looking for the Union Square shopping experience. Its next to the semi-famous Lefty O'Doul's Bar and Grill.

The location is so-so, they have cleaned up Union Square a bit but there is still is an element of somewhat aggressive begging. Even in the Starbucks at 6am on a Thursday, there was a person begging for "a quarter" - the staff did usher him out fairly quickly. Thats about the only negative I would say - otherwise this is a fine 3-star hotel for San Francisco that can be quite reasonable when other hotel rates are skyhigh in the city.

The front desk staff was very attentive and friendly - two attendants and no line for check-in at 5pm, which was very nice. Within a couple moments I was on my way to the room. 

My room was in the "historic" section of the hotel - the newer section of the hotel is a bit of a ways from the lobby but does host a rare outdoor pool for guests.  Historic usually means old and dusty -- but while the elevator was a bit "historically small" the hallways and public spaces were clean and tidy.

This King room was very clean and a decent size for a few nights stay -- it did have high ceilings giving it a nice "big" feeling. The TV did have extra channels on it for better nighttime viewing. There is a empty mini-fridge (no mini-bar, which in my book is a good thing). Coffee is available - but there are multiple Starbucks nearby for morning coffee.

The bathroom was on the normal size for San Francisco (read: small, but efficient) . There was a window in the bathroom that opened to allow fresh air to come into the bathroom -- which is a nice feature, compared to most hotel bathrooms.  

The Bed was decent - clean and fairly new looking mattress. There were two nightstands with good lighting on each side.

The view was pretty much of the building next door through a shutter-blind window. At first it was a bit depressing, but I soon realized these windows opened as well and it was nice to have shutters instead of the usual musty drapes in other hotels.

The Handlery is another good option for a 3-star business hotel in San Francisco. For more information or to book this hotel, click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lufthansa A380 In San Francisco

Spotted the Lufthansa A380 in SFO taxiing out for departure to FRA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Trip Report - Alaska First Class SEA-SFO

Here is what's being served for Breakfast to San Francisco on the early flight from Seattle on Alaska Airlines (First Class meal) - its good, but the hollandaise sauce is a bit heavy.

Alaska Airlines First Class Meal Sep 2010