For the week of Nov. 24, 2008
AIRLINES & AIRPORTS
Lost Luggage. Should your checked bags get lost in transit, here's some good news: The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered airlines to raise the minimum amount they must compensate passengers for lost suitcases, from $3,000 for each bag to $3,300. The rule takes effect in time for the December holidays.
Bag Drop. Or, send your bags ahead of you with United's door-to-door baggage delivery service. For $149 per bag minus the $15 fee you'll save for not checking it FedEx will pick up your bag from your home or office, and deliver it the next day to your hotel. The service is available only in the continental U.S., and bags can be collected up to 10 days before flying.
Fare Sale. AirTran Airways has one-way fares between Baltimore and Orlando for $89 and between Chicago and Sarasota for $80. Check the AirTran website for flights and sale fares for trips through Feb. 11, 2009. Also, the airline is increasing flights to Washington D.C. from Milwaukee and Atlanta in anticipation of Inauguration Day fever. (See 10 things to do in Washington D.C.)
Cheap Flights to NYC. The budget airline Southwest which prides itself on being the last no-fee airline will soon bring its cheap and cheerful service to New York City's La Guardia Airport. Combine the rock-bottom flight with a low-cost stay at The Jane hotel, and a trip to New York City may be in reach for even a recession-era budget. (See 10 things to do in New York.)
Bankers Holiday. United is adding daily nonstop flights from Washington's Dulles airport to the international banking capital of Geneva. If purchased by Dec. 3, for service after April 19, 2009, seats on the 6 p.m. flight Monday through Thursday cost $449; the same flight is $469 Friday through Sunday.
Emerald City Gem. The luxury Fairmont hotel wants your business in Seattle. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is now offering 40% off rack rates, so standard rooms are down to $199. There are also three different executive suite packages available, for $299 per night: "Shoppers Delight" includes a $100 Visa gift card; "Savor Seattle" comes with a three-course dinner for two at The Georgian restaurant in the hotel; "Celebration" gets you truffles and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne in your room. If you buy all three, you get a fourth package of your choice for $99. Deals are available through March 31, 2009. 411 University Street, Seattle, WA; 206-621-1700
Timeless NYC Bars. The historic Oak Room and Bar at The Plaza Hotel (Fifth Avenue and Central Park South; 212-759-3000) in New York City has just reopened. But with indifferent waitstaff and loud new-age lounge music, it's hardly been improved this is no longer the classic old Oak Bar in which Cary Grant was mistaken for a spy and kidnapped in North by Northwest. If you're looking for the quintessential old New York boîte, try Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue; 212-744-1600). The murals on the walls were drawn by Ludwig Bemelmans, the illustrator of the Madeline children's books, and a pianist tickles the ivories here Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Another good choice is the Bull and Bear at The Waldorf-Astoria (570 Lexington Avenue, at 49th Street; 212-872-4900), where congenial, dapper bartenders will serve up a nice glass of Woodford Reserve.
Latte Loyalty. If you can't bear to give up your morning latte, but want to save some dough, check out the Starbucks Gold loyalty program. For an annual membership fee of $25 you get 10% off all purchases at participating U.S. Starbucks stores, a free beverage on your birthday, plus two free hours of Wi-Fi access daily.
Beantown Bound. Budget travelers between Boston and New York City are already well acquainted with the Fung Wah and Lucky Star "Chinatown" buses. But now there's the LimoLiner it's not as cheap, but it's a lot more comfy. You'll get a seat aboard a 28-passenger luxury coach, with free Wi-Fi and a steward who offers blankets and pillows. One-way fares for the four-hour ride between the Hilton New York (1335 Avenue of the Americas; 212-586-7000) and the Hilton Boston Back Bay (40 Dalton Street; 617-236-1100) are usually $89, but they're on sale for $49 through Jan. 31, 2009, with a 14-day advance purchase. Book tickets online or call 888-546-5469 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Greyhound Goes Digital. If you're traveling from New York City to points other than Boston and trying to keep your T&E budget in check, it's now easier to purchase a ticket on Greyhound the bus company has expanded it's e-ticketing network to New York State. Buy your tickets online and print them out at home; there's no need to stand in line at the station.
Self-Service Autos. Some airport-based Hertz centers feature the SimplyWheelz program, which allows customers to reserve cars online, then use a kiosk instead of an agent upon arrival to process the rental. The kiosk will print out a rental agreement that tells you which car is yours and where it's parked. You simply find your car and the keys will be inside. The test program has been operating in the Orlando airport for about a year; in November it expanded to airports in Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and West Palm Beach. On Dec. 1, it will be available at Las Vegas' McCarran International.
Well Said. There's a new way to Google. If you've got an iPhone, download the Google Mobile App, which lets you speak your Google search terms at the beep say, "nearest hospital" or "Pinkberry frozen yogurt" instead of typing them in. Since the iPhone is GPS enabled, it will pinpoint your location and Google will return locally relevant search results.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Lighten Up. Now up at the Dallas Museum of Art, through March 15, 2009, is Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson, which includes 20 works by the artist exploring the interplay of light, color and space. The large-scale installations make you feel like you're strolling through a kaleidoscope. 1717 North Harwood, Dallas, TX; 214-922-1200
Miró, Miró on the Wall. New York's MoMA takes an intensive look at a decade of work by Spanish artist Joan Miró, with Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 19271937. The show is based around Miro's famous declaration that he wanted to "assassinate painting," and examines his energetic attempts to transcend the medium through collage, drawing and painting. Through Jan. 12, 2009. 11 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, New York City; 212-708-9400
Long Live the Revolution. Despite what you may have learned in grade school, the American Revolution did not end at the Battle of Yorktown. The war wasn't officially over until two years later, when the British withdrew from New York City and relinquished power, on Nov. 25, 1783. This Tuesday, Nov. 25, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates the 225th anniversary of Evacuation Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Federal Hall (6 Wall Street, New York City), with costumed re-enactors and fife and drum music, as well as a lecture by New York historian Barnet Schecter at 11 a.m. So if you're doing business in Manhattan's Financial District, take a detour to Federal Hall or to Trinity Church (Broadway and Wall Street, New York City), where there will be a 12 p.m. service in memory of the freedom-fighting soldiers. See the NPS site for details.