For the week of Nov. 10, 2008
AIRLINES & AIRPORTS
Info on the Fly. If you're stuck at the airport in Amsterdam (Shipol), Brussels or Milan, there's a new way to pass the hours: Travel Station kiosks, courtesy of Lonely Planet and the Oneworld airline consortium, which allow users to download phrasebooks, audio city guides and restaurant and hotel recommendations to their smartphones or laptops. Each station has advice on 28 destinations in Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East, plus an assortment of international power converters for free laptop and phone re-charging.
E-Boarding. Continental Airlines has rolled out paperless boarding passes at New York's La Guardia Airport. Passengers with smartphones can get an encrypted electronic boarding pass sent to their device, which a TSA agent reads using a handheld scanner. (You'll still need your old school ID to pass through.) The program is already in use by Continental passengers in Houston, Washington, D.C., Newark, Boston, Austin, San Antonio and Cleveland. Likewise, for Northwest passengers in Indianapolis and Delta fliers at La Guardia. Alaska Airlines is piloting the program at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
Freshen Up. If you're traveling to Hong Kong in first class or as an elite frequent flier on Cathay Pacific, you can use the airline's new lounge, "The Arrival," to shower and refuel with a buffet meal before heading into the city. Located in the center passage connecting Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, the lounge is open to Cathay Pacific frequent fliers at the gold level or above and to Oneworld emerald status passengers. (See 10 things to do in Hong Kong.)
Eastern Access. Travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur just got more convenient. Starting Dec. 1, Tiger Airways will beef up its schedule to five daily flights between the cities; the first flight departs Singapore at 6:10 a.m., and the last flight returns from Kuala Lumpur at 10:15 p.m.
In the Landing Zone. You may not have noticed, but U.S. airlines just posted their best on-time arrival ratios (meaning they landed within 15 minutes of when they were scheduled to) in almost two years, according to FlightStats. Virgin America didn't win that Conde Nast Readers' Choice Award for nothing: It topped the list with about 93% of flights arriving on time. The five best U.S. airports for on-time flights: Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Detroit, Oakland and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Vegas, Baby. THEhotel Las Vegas, a boutique luxury hotel within the Mandalay Bay hotel, is offering two promotions. Winter Wonders offers rooms for $129 per night with the third night free on select dates from Nov. 23 to Jan. 6. Exotic Escape offers rooms at $119 on select dates through Jan. 6 and includes discounts for resort services and events (TIME's Joel Stein raves about the Mandalay Bay's shark reef and pool), as well as a $150 "fly back free" certificate that can be used with major airlines. See the hotel's promotion page for details. (See 10 things to do in Las Vegas.) 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas; 702-632-7777
Seniors' Moment. Starwood is offering a Pay Your Birth Year promotion at select hotels in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada through Dec. 30. On the second and third nights of your stay, you pay a rate equal to the last two digits of your birth year. So if you were born in 1973, you pay $73. It certainly favors the older generation, so maybe this is an excuse to treat your parents to a romantic getaway.
Dinner and a Show. With the election finally behind you, you may want to celebrate (or drown your sorrows), by escaping to New York City and taking in a fabulous Broadway show. Reserve a table beforehand at the Royalton Hotel's restaurant, Brasserie 44, which just introduced a prix-fixe pre-theater menu three courses for $44 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every night. Try this meal on for size: sunchoke soup, pan-seared branzino and sticky toffee pudding. Not a bad deal considering a similar menu à la carte would cost about $60. After the show, come back to the Royalton to sip a nightcap and soak in the glow of the fireplace at Bar 44. (See 10 things to do in New York City.) 44 West 44th Street, New York City; 212-944-8844
Dollar Days. If you're planning to drive to Florida, consider renting a car from Thrifty for just $1 a day. If you pick the car up in select cities, such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati or Kansas City, and return it to select cities in the Sunshine State, it'll cost you less to rent the car than it will to fill the tank.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Candid Camera. William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 19612008, photographer Eggleston's first retrospective, will be at New York City's Whitney Museum of American Art from Nov. 7 through Jan. 25. In his review, TIME's Richard Lacayo said the artist "reinvented the whole idea of what a picture was supposed to look like." (See William Eggleston's photos.) 945 Madison Avenue, at 75th Street, New York City; 212-570-3600
Cold War. Now that we seem to be at odds with Russia again, it might be worth checking out the design show Cold War Modern: Design 19451970 at London's V&A Museum. The exhibit features architecture, film and pop culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain. From Sputnik and the first images from space to Stanley Kubrick films, paintings by Rauchenger and renderings of Buckminster Fuller's 1962 plans for a geodesic Dome over Manhattan, the pieces all work together to present a snapshot of the Cold War era. Through Jan. 11. Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL; 44-(0)20-7942-2000.
Ship Ahoy. After a two-year renovation, New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum re-opens on Nov. 8 in time for Veterans Day weekend. The aircraft carrier, which saw service from World War II through the Vietnam War and was a recovery vessel for NASA during the Mercury and Gemini space programs, features 30 historic aircraft including the Concorde. Pier 86, West 46th Street & 12th Avenue, New York City; 212-245-0072
Arts and Crafts. The Museum of Arts & Design, formerly known as the American Craft Museum, has found a new home on Columbus Circle in New York City. The museum has 250 pieces in its permanent collection everything from Arts and Crafts furniture to teapots and 1940s jewelry. The museum's first temporary exhibition, Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, features a jacket made out of dog tags and a dress made out of rubber gloves. If it all sounds a little mad to you, at least check out the building, designed by Portland, Ore.-based architect Brad Cloepfil. 2 Columbus Circle, New York City; 212-299-7777