Archive for August 31, 2015

Flying to Cuba (HAV)

The next big trip I’m planning is flying to Cuba through Havana Airport (HAV) – this blog documents the process of getting there.

Flying to Cuba has been on my mind for a while now since the recent U.S. legislation has made it less illegal and easier to visit Cuba as a U.S. Citizen. The floodgates still haven’t opened completely yet – at the moment, U.S. carriers still aren’t flying directly to Cuba (foreign ones are – for example, British Airways has a direct flight to HAV from LHR) – and it’s still not totally “legal” to travel their as a U.S. tourist unless you fall into a special category.

Cuban Flag

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Day hikes from DEN – #layovertip

This is just a quick post to share some of my favorite expeditions and day hikes from DEN – you can do these over a long long layover or overnight. Hint: #layovertip.

You can easily rent a car at the airport, or use the tripchi app to find a ride downtown, and get your day hikes from DEN going.

Then you can take the Amtrak to Durango or Glenwood Springs and check out the Hanging Lake, which I got to do a few days ago.

You can even Uber it from DEN to wherever you need to go.

You know you want to, because the Rocky Mountains are beautiful!

IMG_5783

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The Battle At Dallas Love Field Heats Up

For those of you that have flown into Dallas on Southwest, you have flown through Dallas Love Field. If you need to get to downtown Dallas, Love field is much preferred as it is closer than DFW. Love Field has a brand new terminal that has received much praise and year to date the passenger traffic is up 50%. The growth, however, has not come without it’s fair share of issues. It is evident that people prefer to fly into Love Filed for the proximity to the Dallas but with a massive increase in passenger numbers, will the airport be able to handle the capacity and keep the airlines happy? Read more

Icelandair KEF-DEN Review

In Nelleke’s review last week, she reviewed the first leg of her Icelandair flight; in today’s blog, she’s taking a stab at the second leg: Icelandair KEF-DEN.

Nelleke is a Technical IT Director at Travelport, where she works with tripchi CEO CJ. We both work on the Universal API product.

Here’s Nelleke’s Review Part 2.

Icelandair KEF-DEN Review: Background/Tickets

For the background on this trip, check out my blog last week. I flew from AMS-KEF-DEN. You can also read more about the

Flight 2 – Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) to Denver (Icelandair KEF– DEN)

Icelandair KEF-DEN Departure Airport #Layovertip

The Reykjavik (REK) airport is a nice, small, modern airport that offers free Wi-Fi (#layovertip) J There were a decent selection of shops and restaurants for such a small airport. Good opportunity to buy some Icelandic treats. I picked up some Icelandic licorice (Dutch and Nordics seem to appreciate good licorice) and chocolate bars that I did not recognize. There are famously unusual Icelandic foods, that I left for a next time. I went to Saga lounge: snacks: “heavy appetizers” and deserts. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, wine were also available. This was definitely better food than on the flight.

Icelandair KEF-DEN Review Flight Details

  • Route: Icelandair KEF-DEN
  • Airline: Icelandair – FI 671
  • Departure Gate: B28A (bus to plane)
  • Arrival Gate: A
  • Scheduled: 16:45
  • Actual Flight time: 16:59
  • Boarding time: approx. 16:15
  • Scheduled Arrival Time: 18:35
  • Actual Arrival Time: 18:31
  • Air Time: 7h 13m (estimated 7h15m)
  • Baggage Claim: International
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 757-200, Tail Number TI-FIR
  • Flight length: 7h 04m
  • Distance traveled: 3558 miles
  • Class: Economy Comfort
  • Seat: 6A
  • Load factor: looked pretty full

Icelandair KEF–DEN Review: Interior/takeoff

  • Seating config: 5 rows Saga / 5 rows Economy Comfort class, and the rest was Economy.
  • Overhead bin space : decent
  • Feel of cabin : normal for 757
  • Pushback 15 mins late, Captain explained basics (estimated flight time), smooth takeoff

Icelandair KEF–DEN Review: Seat

There are not many economy comfort seats, so I used Seatguru to pick mine. The aircraft did not have short-haul Economy Comfort seats, so we were in Business (Saga) Class seats. This time I was in the last row before the toilets, but it still reclined and was not busy.

The seats were wide, had good recline, but not to a flat position – pretty much what you would expect from a long-haul economy comfort seat.

The 10” entertainment screen offered an OK selection of entertainment (lots of old movies and a few TV series) and Flight Information (FLIFO). The screen sensitivity, however, was low.

There was in-seat power, but it tripped quickly when I was using and charging my enormous laptop simultaneously. Charging when not in use was fine. Another neat feature was the USB charger under the screen.

We got a very simple little pack, containing eye shades, earplugs and a mint.

EyepathAndEarplugs

There was Wi-Fi on board: €7 per device for the flight, free for Saga (business class).

Icelandair KEF–DEN Review: Meal/Purchased food/Drinks

Just like the first flight, there was no free food for economy. My pre-order did not seem to make it to the cabin crew once again. I chose the “Chicken Meal”: chicken rice and some vegetable. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not great. The meal choices can be found here.

Drink selection: wine, beer, soft-drinks, some spirits. Soft drinks were free in every class. All drinks but Champagne were free in Economy Comfort. Purchase prices: wine EUR 6, beer EUR 5, spirits EUR 6, Champagne EUR 13. I drank tea and water.

Chicken Meal

Icelandair KEF–DEN Review: Crew/Service

The crew was courteous and professional but not overly friendly. No big wows. The meal service very fast, and again, there was no hard sell of anything.

Icelandair KEF-DEN Arrival Airport #Layovertip

The arrival airport was in the International Arrivals area of DEN. Note – there is a very long walk to immigration. Also, immigration has changed recently at Denver. There is now a self-service part, based on your fingerprints. It hasn’t made things any faster though, as you still have to pass an officer based on the print you get out of the machine and there are fewer of those.

The wait on luggage was pretty long, about 20 minutes.

I was picked up at the airport. I’m looking forward to RTD public transport making it to DEN.

Icelandair KEF–DEN Review: Overall

The actual flight was smooth. It was a nice clear day, so I got to see some of Greenland, which is always a treat. We arrived on time. I like uneventful flights, so this was pretty good.

IcelandApproach

This was my first time on Icelandair and I think the experience was pretty good. They are something between a no-frills airline and a traditional one. Like Southwest, they still allow 2 cases on the US flights, which can be a bonus. They don’t have an app for the iPhone, but their mobile check-in was fine and allowed me to upload the boarding passes to my passbook. I do recommend bringing your own food.

They fly to a lot of locations in Europe, so definitely worth checking out if you are going somewhere else than the major airports. Plus it is often the quickest end-to-end option if you cannot go direct.

As I scan this route a lot, for family and myself, I have always seen their prices to be competitive. You may get a slightly better deal sometimes, but often they are at or near the bottom for prices. They do this cool deal where you can do an Iceland stopover for the same fare.

All in all, I expect I will be flying them again in the future and so I signed up for their frequent flyer program.

Again I would give this Icelandair KEF-DEN flight a solid B.

Nashville Airport Review

Nashville, Tennessee is frequently referred to as the music city and for good reason. When you walk up and down Broadway more commonly known as “The Strip” in downtown Nashville you can’t help but take in the many country artists singing their heart out in every bar and restaurant. You can hear the desire to make it big in many of the songs. If you want to be big in country music, Nashville is the place. You have to get there first and most likely it will be by flying into Nashville International Airport or BNA.

bna downtown

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Icelandair AMS-KEF Review

Today’s Icelandair AMS-KEF review comes from Nelleke Van der Voort. It’s a two part review since she actually flew from REK-KEF-DEN, with the second installment coming next week.

Nelleke is a Technical IT Director at Travelport, where she works with tripchi CEO CJ. We both work on the Universal API product.

Here’s Nelleke!

Nelleke van der Voort

Nelleke van der Voort

With more than 20 years of development and consulting experience in Travel Industry related IT, Nelleke brings expertise with international, high availability and high performing systems.

Nelleke has successfully delivered projects from small to very large on Mainframe, Windows and Java platforms.

She has worked in four countries, with people of dozens of nationalities and has a keen interest in the global reach of products. Read more

Flight Prices by Airport

Last week, Hopper put out a pretty nifty infographic showing average flight prices by airport. The default search shows us  USA as the “home airport” – which is a bizarre and useless concept since USA is a country obviously and decidely NOT an IATA airport code. Just the same, the data behind these flight prices by airport it is kind of useful. What Hopper does, is averages every flight in the US to the middle of no where USA (Wyoming), and then spits out the average flight price, which is $513.

FlightsByAirport

Flights Prices By Airport

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