I knew the NYLO hotel on NYC’s Upper West Side passed muster when I got a thumbs up email from my brother, who also decided to stay there and had arrived at his room before we did. The hotel turned out to be a real find, especially for $120 a night ($151 with tax). The room was small, as expected, but well appointed, huge bed, comfortable linens, edgy but not too edgy furniture, art, light fixtures, clean and streamlined bathroom. Not too noisy at night even though we ended up with a room overlooking Broadway when I had asked for a presumably quieter interior room (my brother’s room got no traffic noise). I found out NYLO stands for New York Loft and the Texas-based hotel chain has outposts in Texas, Warwick (near Providence) (RI) and soon Nyack (NY). Good to know!
Remarkably, the restaurant my uncle had chosen for dinner turned out to be connected to the hotel. It’s called Serefina and it had good affordable Italian food (I had good bolognese, pizza etc). Monday morning we went for coffee and pastries to Irving Farm, a little basement cafe on 79th just south of Broadway (there are several other Manhattan locations). After a quick visit to Zabars for bagels to take home to Iowa (I still miss H&H bagels) we walked across the park to meet my aunt at PJ Bernstein, a good deli on third ave near 71st street (that’s their cheese/meat plate above).
Our flight home from Newark went well despite a few stressful moments when we inadvertently left the subway station at 34th street and had to figure out where Penn Station was – above ground – and drag our suitcases through throngs of people at 5 p.m. At the airport, we somehow ended up again in the TSA pre-screened category but it didn’t make much difference this time around. We still had to stand in the same long line and take out our stuff and even take off our shoes (hrrummphhh). A guy in line ahead of me said that TSA pre-screened only really produces perks at Newark if you’re passing through Terminal C (we were in Terminal A). Whatever…I was just happy we made it to Newark with ample time to catch our flight – and it left on time and we got home on time! Love that direct flight!
Victorinox “Huntsman” Swiss Army knife with knife chain and belt clip
So apparently now we won’t be allowed to carry a Swiss Army Knife in our carry-on luggage when flying. Word has it that the TSA has reversed its reversal of a policy banning small knives – among other things – from being carried onto a plane. And although I was looking forward to bringing my Swiss Army Knife with me on trips to, say, Arizona – where I usually don’t check my bags and where we often find a Swiss Army Knife helpful during our mid-hike picnics – I have to admit it seems safer not to allow passengers to walk on board planes with small knives. CBS story on reversal
It seems to happen when the weather is nice… A flight delay due to maintenance. And that’s what I am dealing with here at the Kansas city airport. Glorious clear weather and our flight is delayed an hour.. Or “at least an hour” according to the latest from a grim looking frontier airlines desk person. There are no other flights to Nola today on frontier and southwest flight last minute is $385. I really will be bummed if we don’t make it to new Orleans today. I am meeting friends from England and we have paid hotels etc. at least i do not have to make a connection. We have now been told we will leave at noon… Another hour wait. Make that two hours. We have just been told 1 pm. Maybe.
We dropped our son off at the airport at 9:15 a.m. today (Saturday) for a 10:50 flight – much earlier than usual because we’ve experienced and heard tales of long lines at the security check point. According to the American Airlines person at the front counter, the lines are the worst for weekday morning flights before 7 a.m. – lines have stretched all the way from the second floor security checkpoint, down the steps to the first floor and all the way to the front counter. Yeesh. No surprise that people have been missing their flights, even if they come the once-standard hour ahead of time. The AA person recommended coming 90 minutes ahead of a very early flight (and maybe 6-630 for our 7:45 a.m. flight later this month to DC.)
I guess it’s a good sign that the DSM airport is alive and well, with more flights in the morning, which is causing, in part, the tie-up (as are the new-newfangled full body scanners). But I think I’m going to miss our slow-pokey old airport. I grew to appreciate how quiet and calm it is or was compared to other bigger city airports. There is some relief in sight from the current congestion – the security check-in is expanding, by July 1 according to a recent DM Register story (see below).
Fliers filing through Des Moines International Airport might do so a little faster this summer when officials add a security lane.
Officials announced that the lane, meant to alleviate the increasingly busy morning rush, should be finished by July 1.
Airport General Manager Kevin Foley said that many airlines’ planes now flying in and out of Des Moines can carry more passengers than before. The upgrades likely serve as precautions ahead of this fall, he said, when competitor Southwest Airlines kicks off operations here.
Airport officials are expecting more passengers. That means more people going through security.
In February, the airport debuted new full-body scanners that detect metal and nonmetal anomalies. The machines offer advanced imaging and security, but Foley said they’re a bit touchy.
“As the TSA becomes more accustomed to those machines, I am hoping it will speed up,” he said.
Officials said construction of the new lane will not negatively impact wait times. Still, they recommend passengers arrive at least 90 minutes ahead of departure times.
The DMRegister reports that Des Moines will soon be getting affordable nonstop service to Chicago and Detroit. (see below). Let’s hope this lasts and there are more affordable nonstop service destinations from Des Moines. (The last time my sister looked for a flight from Chicago to Des Moines it cost $700. She took the Megabus.)
At the same time, the Des Moines airport appears to be having trouble adjusting to the changes spurred by Southwest’s arrival (namely other airlines replacing dinky airplanes with larger ones in an effort to compete with Southwest) – and new security scanners. The DMRegister reported yesterday that there have been very long lines at the DM airport, especially for early morning flights. Which is almost unheard of in Des Moines.
Southwest Airlines’ purchase of AirTran Airways is already paying off for Des Moines.
AirTran announced today new daily nonstop service between Des Moines and Chicago Midway, starting Sept. 30.
Des Moines International Airport Executive Director Don Smithey said in a statement: “Southwest/AirTran will replace the current Milwaukee service with service to Chicago’s Midway Airport. An early search of fares shows an introductory round-trip rate of $184. This is very good news for Des Moines and central Iowa.”
To book flights, please visit: http://www.southwest.com or http://www.airtran.com.
Following are the flight times:
Depart DSM 7:25am/Arrive MDW 8:35am
Depart MDW 12:05 pm/Arrive DSM 1:13pm
Depart DSM 1:55pm/Arrive MDW 3:05pm
Depart MDW 8:00pm/Arrive DSM 9:08pm
Depart DSM 6:50am/Arrive MDW 8:00am
Depart MDW 12:35pm/Arrive DSM 1:43pm
Depart DSM 2:30pm/Arrive MDW 3:40pm
Depart MDW 5:10pm/Arrive DSM 6:18pm
As has been reported elsewhere, the hysteria whipped up about those x-ray body scanners that would greet us at the airports over Thanksgiving turned out to be unwarranted. Not only did I not encounter any of these new machines – or the advanced pat downs – at the Des Moines airport. I didn’t see them at LaGuardia either. And if anything the poor TSA people seemed to be bending over backwards to be as polite as possible.
What I did encounter is crowds, especially at LaGuardia on the Monday evening after Thanksgiving, which was sort of surprising since I thought the worst would be over after Sunday. The line snacked around and out of the security checkpost but fortunately moved swiftly. One thing I did notice: we were offered at every leg of our flight free check-in service for our bags. For the Des Moines-Milwaukee portion – when we were traveling in a small plane – gate-side check in was required. Which was fine. Except on the way home, we had to pick the bags up at the baggage claim instead of on the jet ramp after deplaning. On the way out, we were cajoled into checking our bags for the Milwaukee-LaGuardia flight, warned that the plane’s bins were narrow and there weren’t many of them. Wrong. When we got on the plane, we saw plenty of room for our bags and the bins weren’t that narrow. Too late – we had to wait to pick them up at baggage claim at LaGuardia, adding some unnecessary time to our long trip (with a three-hour layover in Milwaukee and a 11:15 p.m. arrival in NYC). On the way back, we had wised up and didn’t check our bags en route to Milwaukee – but then had to check them (and pick them up at baggage claim) on the last leg into Des Moines. So oddly, we stood by baggage claim coming and going – something I haven’t done in a long time.
And about those cookies. Now that Midwest Express has been bought by Frontier Airlines, whither the famous fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies? Outbound, we were served them on the small plane but not on the large plane. Returning, we were served them on the large plane, not the small plane. Go figure.