Friday, January 20, 2017

Travel trends for 2017

What travel trends can we expect to see as 2017 unfolds? According to one source, more “do-it-yourself” travel planning, more visits to offbeat destinations and an increase in home stays.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Upmarket Manhattan hotel offers novel ‘stay and play’ package

New York City’s upmarket Chatwal Hotel, located near the city’s famed Theatre District, has drawn upon its history of being immersed in the glitz and glamour of New York’s theatre productions to create a one-of-a-kind package for lovers of the theater and appreciators of the Golden Age of Broadway era.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

American introduces ‘basic economy’ fare

American Airlines has become the latest carrier to add a no-frills fare to its existing plethora of fare offerings.

Airline fares increase in Dec. CPI; full-year figure down

Airline fares increased 1.9 percent in December after a 1.3 percent drop in November and a 2.2 percent drop in October, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

San Francisco invites visitors to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love

As both Baby Boomers and students of history will recall, 1967 was the year of the Summer of Love, and San Francisco was at the epicenter. Now, the City by the Bay is preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of that (in)famous summer with a wide range of events, displays and retrospectives for locals and visitors alike.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Qatar Airways extends travel bargains through 2017 ‘Travel Festival’

Due to exceptional response, Doha-headquartered Qatar Airways has extended its third Travel Festival, inviting world travelers to take advantage of a number of exceptional deals across the airline’s global network.

Upmarket Normandy resort to upgrade in '17

An upmarket property in Normandy, France that opened its doors in Sept. 2015 has proven so well-received that it is planning an expansion during 2017.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Delta Air Lines continues aggressive expansion in Seattle

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines is continuing its aggressive expansion at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) with the addition of seven new non-stop routes during 2017.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Qatar Airways to begin Vegas service in Jan. ’18

Qatar Airways will launch four-times-weekly service from Doha, Qatar to Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 8, 2018, making the airline the first Gulf carrier to provide regular scheduled service to Sin City.

Iberia introduces premium economy seating to four US gateways

Passengers bound for the U.S on Spanish airline Iberia can now purchase seats in the new Premium Economy Class for flights between Madrid and several of the airline’s U.S. gateway cities.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Alaska announces new year-round and seasonal routes from PDX

Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines is opening up four new markets for air travelers departing from Portland International Airport in Oregon, bring to 55 the number of destinations to which Alaska offers non-stop service from PDX.

American Cruise Lines makes pre-cruise amenities standard for 2017

American Cruise Lines is offering a range of complimentary pre-cruise packages for guests who will be traveling aboard their small cruise ships and paddle wheelers on the mighty Mississippi River and the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Puerto Vallarta’s Villa Premiere concludes multi-million dollar renovation

The AAA Four-Diamond Villa Premiere in the Mexican coastal city of Puerto Vallarta has concluded a $3.8 million renovation of its guestrooms and facilities and has modified its name to more accurately describe what the property has to offer.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Air India claims world’s longest passenger route

Air India has snagged the distinction of operating the world’s longest passenger flight by distance, simply by reversing the direction of one of its existing ultra-long-haul flights.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weekend travel advisory

If you're flying this weekend, be sure to pack extra patience. A winter storm in the mid-Atlantic to the southeast coupled with yesterday's shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is causing flight delays and cancellations that will have a ripple effect, likely across the whole country.

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Shooting at FLL leaves five dead, several wounded

Airport closed by FAA 

Five people are dead and eight injured after a shooting at the baggage claim area of Terminal B at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Delta warns of winter storm delays; preemptively cancels 350 flights

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is advising passengers headed to or through the southeastern U.S. this weekend to closely monitor its website or mobile app for the latest news about potential weather delays.

New Orleans issues official invite to 2017 Mardi Gras

As if dyed-in-the-wool partiers needed a reminder, the New Orleans tourism industry has shared with the world a proclamation from the King of Carnival that Mardi Gras season has begun.

South Florida Margaritaville resort offers winter getaway package

Whether you are a bona fide Parrothead, know a few of Jimmy Buffet’s songs by heart or just want to get away from the winter cold, Buffet’s Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is enticing potential guest with its new “I Gotta Go Where It’s Warm” package.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Alaska Airlines launches first West Coast flights to Havana

Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines on Jan. 5 launched the first regularly scheduled U.S. commercial flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Havana, Cuba’s José Martí International Airport (HAV).

Making the Most of München (Munich), Germany

This is a compilation of a previously published three-part series.

The capital of the German state of Bavaria, Munich (or München in German) is a modern city that retains much of its old world charm.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year means new look for a grand Alabama hotel

Alabama’s Grand Hotel, opened in 1847, will receive a major make-over during the next 16 months to cement the 170-year-old property’s prominent position as a top-flight 21st century facility.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

If you’re going to The Ba-ha-mas…

Long-time friend and occasional contributor to TheTravelPro has shared a ‘must-do’ for travelers who love music or history and plan to be in Nassau, The Bahamas later this month.

New year, new upmarket resort in Los Cabos

The new year is being heralded in high style in Los Cabos, Mexico, with the opening of its newest upmarket resort, the Grand Velas Los Cabos.

Monday, January 2, 2017

White House report calls for elimination of hidden airline, hotel fees

The Obama Administration’s National Economic Council is calling on the public and private sectors to work together to mitigate or eliminate the growing use of hidden fees across a number of industries, including the nation’s airline and hotel industries.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday hiatus

TheTravelPro will be on hiatus for the Christmas holiday and will resume publication on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.

Safe and pleasant travels!

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In less than a year, nine states' driver's licenses become invalid for domestic air travel

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer accept the standard state-issued driver’s licenses issued by nine states as valid identification at U.S. airports starting Jan. 22, 2018.

Friday, December 23, 2016

NO 'FRIDAY FRUMP': Kudos to Alaska Airlines!

When one of my suitcases came off a recent Alaska Airlines flight damaged beyond repair, the airline demonstrated why it consistently ranks among the best U.S. airlines in terms of customer satisfaction.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hotel trends for 2017

Over the past several years, we have seen some notable changes in the services and amenities offered by the nation’s hotels. The booking site predicts that travelers will see some surprising changes in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Qatar Airways wins (more) global recognition

Doha-headquartered Qatar Airways has added three new noteworthy awards to its growing collection of accolades, thanks to recent recognition by Global Traveller Magazine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sacramento: Homewood Suites - Natomas

We have stayed at this Homewood Suites several times in the past when visiting family. On our most recent visit, it seemed that the property had changed, and not for the better.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Delta, Alaska to end codeshare partnership in May 2017

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines and Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines will terminate their code-sharing agreement effective May 1, 2017 and sales of flights under DL- and AS-coded flight numbers flown on Alaska and Delta aircraft respectively will cease.

The cost of Starbucks coffee around the world

Just back from a trip to Germany where I admit to getting an occasional taste of home via a cup of Starbucks coffee, I was very interested to see this comparison of Starbucks prices around the world and thought it would be worth sharing.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Videos of Germany

The following are several videos taken during our recent visit to Germany and Christkindlmarkts in Frankfurt, Rüdesheim, Nürnberg and Würzburg. Please enjoy them!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Airline fares continue to decline in Nov. CPI

Airline fares continued their decline in November, dropping 1.3 percent after a 2.2 percent drop in October, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Photos from Germany

Here is a sampling of the many photographs taken during our recent trip to visit four of Germany's Christkindlmarkts, in Frankfurt, Rüdesheim, Nürnberg and Würzburg.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Alaska closes Virgin America acquisition

Alaska Air Group Inc. has announced it has closed its acquisition of Virgin America. The definitive merger agreement, which was signed in April and approved by Virgin America shareholders in July, brings together two airlines into a unified force that will provide an alternative to the "Big 4" airlines that currently control 84 percent of the domestic market.

Coconut Waikiki Hotel receiving major make-over

Honolulu’s Coconut Waikiki Hotel, located on the Ala Wai Canal just minutes from the sands of Waikiki Beach, is getting a major make-over that is scheduled to be completed just in time for the new year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Business travelers expense some wild and crazy items

As anyone who has ever filed business travel and expense reports knows, it can often be a challenge to get legitimate business expenses approved. Some items understandably need more explanation but others, it seems, are just an excuse for the accounting department to be picky. So I found this list of the Top 10 Craziest Expenses of 2016, as well as which were approved and which denied, to be very interesting and worth sharing.

Dining out in Germany

For many travelers, a fascinating and satisfying aspect of travel is experiencing the different cuisines various destinations have to offer. During our recent trip to Germany, there was much to be sampled, at places ranging from Wurststände (sausage stands), where patrons stand at high tables for the few minutes it takes to gobble down a bratwurst, to white table cloth restaurants and everything in between.

Monday, December 12, 2016

German towns have much to offer any time of year

Our recent trip to Germany to visit several of the area’s Christkindlmarkts introduced us to features of the four cities we visited that make them great travel destinations no matter what time of the year.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Least and most expensive cities for Christmas travel and shopping

The cost of Christmas around the world

Having just returned from visiting four of Germany’s Christkindlmarkts where we did a fair bit of our Christmas shopping, I was quite intrigued to see this list of the least – and most – expensive cities to visit and in which to shop at this time of year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Comparing the Christkindlmarkts

By Carl and Jamie Dombek

Every European country and culture has its traditions associated with Christmas. In Germany, Christkindlmarkts, or Christmas Markets, have been part of the culture for centuries, having begun as places where townsfolk could stock up on the provisions that would see them through the long, cold winter months ahead. Over approximately the last quarter century, however, they have become a seasonal phenomenon, with virtually every city of any size offering one of its own, to tempt tourists and locals alike.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cruise lines begin receiving approval to sail to Cuba

Updated Dec. 8 to include information about Pearl Seas Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and small cruise ship line Pearl Seas Cruises have received the approval of the Cuban government to begin cruises from the U.S. to the island nation.

Frankfurt: Sheraton Airport Hotel and Conference Center

The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Center is an excellent business hotel with all the amenities today’s travelers expect, and offers the added advantage of a very convenient location.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

DOJ poised to clear Alaska Air Group's acquisition of Virgin America

The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is poised to approve the acquisition of Virgin America by Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, though technical steps remain before the approval becomes final.

Eating healthy at 35,000 feet: It IS possible

Study evaluates food offerings of North American airlines

A new study shows it is possible to eat healthy as you wing your way home for the holidays. But if you plan to eat the meals and snacks offered onboard as opposed to bringing your own, a lot will depend on which airline you’ve chosen to fly.

Frankfurt: Restaurant Taverne

I don’t usually write about chain restaurants or restaurants located within hotels, as they tend to be a bit predictable. Restaurant Taverne, located in the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center at Frankfurt, Germany’s main airport, is a pleasant exception.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Würzburg: Würzburger Rathskeller

During a trip to Würzburg to visit the famed Würzburg Residence and the town’s Christkindlmarkt, my wife and I popped in to the Würzburger Rathskeller for what we had intended to be a light snack before catching our train back to Frankfurt.

Taking the train in Germany

Train travel in Europe is a pleasant, convenient, and often economical option for inter-city travel, but there are some things you should know to make your travels more comfortable and ensure there are fewer surprises.