Hotels Ranked: The Best and Worst in the U.S.

If you travel often, you’ll want to know how America’s hotels ranked in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) on the best and worst hotel brands for 2019.

Here are the results, courtesy of Clark.com.

Customers less satisfied than a year ago

The ACSI Travel Report is based on interviews with more than 12,000 customers who were chosen at random and contacted via email from April 2018 to March 2019. Hotels were rated on a scale of 0 to 100.

Hilton and Marriott hotel brands still lead the way, but the study found that hotel guests are overall less satisfied than they were a year ago.

The ACSI report found that hotels are slipping in multiple aspects of customer service: making reservations, check in, staff courtesy, room quality, website/call center satisfaction, and more.

Loyalty programs, hotel amenities (pool, business center), and food service are the lowest rated parts of the guest experience.

And resolving guests’ complaints is more important than ever before, according to the ACSI. Many hotels are now using social media to quickly resolve issues that customers share online.

Results and rankings

Brand: Parent Type ACSI
Ranking
JW Marriott Marriott Luxury 84
Embassy Suites Hilton Upper Upscale 83
Fairfield Inn
& Suites
Marriott Upper Midscale 83
Hilton Garden Inn Hilton Upscale 82
Marriott Hilton Marriott Upper Scale 81
Crowne Plaza
Hotels & Resorts
InterContinental Upscale 81
Courtyard Marriott Upscale 81
Best Western
Premier
Best Western Upscale 81
Holiday Inn
Express
InterContinental Upper Midscale 80
Hampton Hilton Upper Midscale 79
Hilton Hotels
& Resorts
Hilton Upper Upscale 79
AC Hotels Marriott Upscale 79
Residence Inn Marriott Upscale 79
Hyatt Regency Hyatt Upper Upscale 79
Double Tree Hilton Upscale 78
Best Western Best Western Midscale 77
Best Western
Plus
Best Western Upper Midscale 77
Sheraton Marriott Upper Upscale 77
Hyatt Place Hyatt Upscale 77
Wyndham Hotels
& Resorts
Wyndham Upscale 76
Comfort Inn,
Comfort Suites
Choice Upper Midscale 76
Westin Marriott Upper Upscale 76
Holiday Inn InterContinental Upper Midscale 75
La Quinta Inns
& Suites
La Quinta
(Wyndham)
Midscale 74
Quality Choice Upper Midscale 73
Baymont Wyndham Midscale 72
Ramada Wyndham Midscale 71
Days Inn Wyndham Economy 68
Econo Lodge Choice Economy 67
Super 8 Wyndham Economy 65
Motel 6 G6 Hospitality Economy 63
Source: Clark.com

Pack Smarter: Flight Attendants Share Baggage Packing Tips

If you fly regularly, you know the annoyance of having to check bags, especially if you have to pay extra for them.

Even worse is getting to your destination, tired and jet lagged, and realizing your luggage didn’t make it to the baggage claim. The carry-on bag helps you avoid these frustrations, but it can also be frustrating to try and fit everything you’ll need on your trip.

What flight attendants and frequent fliers have known for years is that with the right bag and some smart packing techniques, you can cruise through security, onto the plane and out of the airport with ease.

First, get a good carry-on bag.

It’s called a 22″ spinner carry-on bag. It’s the bag you see speedily rolling behind many pilots and flight attendants as they make their way to their next gate. Look for a sturdy, well-designed but lightweight bag with roomy pockets and a wide wheelbase. Spinner carry-ons get their name because of their four wheels. Bags with four wheels are easier to move around than those with just two. Airlines require carry-on bags that are small enough to fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. Maximum size limits are typically 22″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall and 40 pounds. That’s why the 22″ spinner is a popular carry-on size. Most airlines allow you to carry on one small bag plus one personal item, including a laptop, purse or briefcase as long as it doesn’t exceed 36″ total and fits under the seat in front of you.

Understand what you can pack.

While you’re allowed to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on bag, there are restrictions you must be aware of before you pack. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or rolled up are not allowed. All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. For more details about what you can carry on an airplane, visit TSA.gov/311.

Utilize all the space.

The key to maximizing space in a 22″ spinner carry-on is to roll your clothes into “tubes” instead of folding and stacking them like in a store. Rolling saves space and also helps prevent wrinkles. It’s also easier to select what you want to wear from your bag without unpacking the whole thing. Roll several items together to prevent more wrinkles. Don’t pack them in the carry-on bag as soon as you roll them. Once all the clothes are rolled, stand the carry-on up and pack heavier things such as shoes and books first at the wheel-end of the case so they don’t move around and crush the other items. One flight attendant claims she can pack clothes for 10 days by rolling instead of folding them. Another advocates the use of vacuum space saver bags.

Wear your nice, and harder to pack clothes and shoes on the plane. They won’t wrinkle or take up space in your carry-on. Even if you’re able to pack everything you want in the bag, keep in mind the typical 40-pound weight limit.

Best and Worst U.S. Airlines

If you fly for work or pleasure, you know that your choice of airline can make a big difference in the overall experience. Many people are loyal to one company, swearing their favorite carrier is the most reliable, least expensive, etc.

In an ever-changing industry, with merging companies and new baggage fees and restrictions, it’s more challenging to know which one is the top performer.

In March 2019, MONEY Magazine published the results of an airline study. They compared hundreds of data points across the major domestic airlines — weighing 39 factors including the average cost, price changes, fees, customer experience, and on-time performance — to determine the country’s best—and worst.

Here’s where the airlines landed.

1. Alaska Airlines

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $407
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.16
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 82.70%

For the second year in a row, Alaska Airlines earned MONEY’s best domestic airline title.

Alaska boasts the highest customer service rating among U.S. airlines, according to Travel + Leisure, as well as some of the shortest delays. Value’s there too. The airline offers the second-lowest ticket fares among U.S. airlines, at about 16¢ per kilometer, according to Rome2Rio.

Formerly a small-market airline servicing mostly the West Coast, Alaska expanded into dozens of new markets after its merger with Virgin America in 2016. In 2018 the company announced a new nonstop route between New York City and San Jose and opened a new airport lounge in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Alaska Airlines’ other major perk comes from its popular loyalty program, named the best for frequent fliers by industry expert FlyerTalk in 2018. Unlike most other rewards systems, Alaska fliers can redeem their miles for flights on a number of partner airlines, such as Emirates and American. The airline also sold miles for a little bit cheaper in 2017, according to The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly.

Finally, frequent fliers agree the airline offers top-notch customer service: Alaska has won J.D. Power’s customer service survey award 11 years in a row—and the airline shows no signs of slowing down in 2019.

2. Southwest

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $396
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.27
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 78.99%

3. Delta

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: N/A*
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: N/A*
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 85.62%

4. Spirit

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $254
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.15
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 80.63%

5. American

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $353
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.24
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 78.03%

6. United

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $417
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.33
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 79.77%

7. JetBlue

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $389
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.32
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 70.59%

8. Frontier

  • Avg. price per roundtrip flight: $311
  • Avg. price per kilometer flown: $0.16
  • Share of on-time arrivals: 68.82%

Methodology for the study

MONEY analyzed 1,600 data points for about 80 air carriers, including the nine leading domestic airlines and about 70 of the largest international airlines. Price factors were weighed most heavily in determining the rankings.

Criteria included average cost per kilometer, average price of a coach flight, and year-over-year price changes; percentage of on-time arrivals and average length of delays; and customer satisfaction ratings for food, in-flight and customer service, value, comfort, loyalty programs, and in-flight entertainment.

Criteria for domestic airlines also included baggage fees and flight change fees; canceled flights, delayed flights, and delayed flights due to carrier; overall experience rating, mishandled bags, and consumer complaints; and year-over-year improvements on all of the above.

Hawaiian Airlines was excluded from domestic airlines because of a substantial lack of data.

Data providers for all three rankings include Rome2Rio, FlightStats, Skytrax, Travel + Leisure, American Customer Satisfaction Index, U.S. Department of Transportation, J.D. Power, and the airlines.

* The average roundtrip flight for Delta was $411.60 in 2017, according to Rome2Rio, but the data provider didn’t have the necessary data for 2018. Median airfares were used for Delta’s 2019 ranking calculation instead.

Source: MONEY Magazine

America’s Best and Worst Airports

Few things try a traveler’s patience like a bad airport experience. To help you plan better, USA Today published the results of a Fundera survey ranking the best and worst U.S. airports.

Fundera, an online marketplace for small business financial solutions, used various data points to rank 46 airports, including those with the highest volumes of traffic, as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration, plus airports in Alaska and Hawaii.

The ranking was based on several weighted factors, including flight delays and cancellations, airport lounges with Wi-Fi, proximity to downtown, parking rates and average hotel rates using Bureau of Transportation Statistics airport performance data and publicly available airport, map and pricing information.

Key results of the study

The best airports for business travelers, led by Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, are dispersed throughout the country, not centralized in one region.

Dallas Fort Worth International and Denver International rounded out the top three airports. The best airports earned the most points for flight availability, on-time flights, and access to airport lounges.

Smaller, regional airports didn’t make up in flight performance or convenience what they lacked in flight availability. Memphis International was the worst airport for business travelers, followed by Anchorage International and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport claimed the top spot in a newly minted list of best U.S. airports for business travelers with Memphis International Airport being named the worst.

The 5 best airports for business travelers

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

  • 386,900 annual flights
  • 82 percent on-time departures and 85 percent on-time arrivals
  • 1 percent of flights canceled

2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

  • 319,100 annual flights
  • 78 percent on-time departures and 78 percent on-time arrivals
  • 1.93 percent of flights canceled

3. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

  • 263,000 annual flights
  • 78 percent on-time departures and 80 percent on-time arrivals
  • 1.76 percent of flights canceled

4. Denver International Airport (DEN)

  • 233,700 annual flights
  • 0.62 percent of flights canceled
  • Affordable, $8-per-day airport parking

5. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

  • 220,300 annual flights
  • 82 percent on-time departures and 81 percent on-time arrivals
  • 0.83 percent of flights canceled

The 5 worst airports for business travelers

46. Memphis International Airport (MEM)

  • 14,600 annual flights
  • Airport is 12 miles from downtown
  • One airport lounge with Wi-Fi

45. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)

  • 17,200 annual flights
  • 1.76 percent of flights canceled
  • Expensive, $275-per-night average hotel rates

44. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

  • 18,800 annual flights
  • Two airport lounges with Wi-Fi
  • Airport is 13 miles from downtown

43. Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

  • 19,100 annual flights
  • 79 percent on-time departures and 79 percent on-time arrivals
  • No airport lounges with Wi-Fi

42. Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)

  • 24,400 annual flights
  • 75 percent on-time departures and 76 percent on-time arrivals
  • One airport lounge with Wi-Fi

Source: USA Today

NYC in Bloom: Spring 2019 Events

Spring is here and NYC is blooming with fun and exciting events. To help you welcome the warmer weather, here are some of the best spring events going on in the city over the next few months.

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

When: Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, starting at 10am.

Where: The parade marches north on Fifth Avenue starting at 49th Street up to 57th Street. For the best view, station yourself at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets).

This Easter, do something fun and different and stroll along Fifth Avenue during one of New York’s most beloved processions. The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival is an Easter tradition where outlandishly decorated hats are the stars. All bonnet-wearing revelers are welcome to stroll along Fifth Avenue and take part in this whimsical event, then sit down for a delicious Easter feast at one of the city’s best restaurants.

Tribeca Film Festival

When: Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, May 5

Where: Regal Battery Park, Cinépolis Chelsea, Beacon Theatre, SVA Theatre and the festival’s own Tribeca Festival Hub, with rare exceptions.

Film buffs, Robert De Niro and co-founders’ 18th Annual Tribeca Film Festival once again shines a spotlight on local indie features, documentaries, foreign films, the latest from big-name talent and the greatest from up-and-coming filmmakers.

Buy tickets at the official festival website. Prices ranges from $25.94 to a cool $356 for special gala events. You can also purchase passes for individual days or the entire festival. Visit the official site for details.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 27, 2019, and Sunday, April 28 from 10am to 6pm each day.

Where: Brooklyn Botanic Garden (990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn). To get there on the subway, take the 2/3 train to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum.

To honor the end of Hanami, the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival NYC is one of the city’s prettiest spring festivals celebrating the best and most beautiful elements of Japanese culture.

Watch and take part in activities while being surrounded by gorgeous, pink-petal trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, including Taiko drummers, samurai-sword masters, J-rock bands and stand-up comics on the festival’s two stages. You’ll also find a Japanese tearoom, art gallery, and a mini flea market with mouthwatering Raaka Chocolate, wall scrolls, silk wraps and a profusion of pretty flowers.

What’s on at the New York Botanical Gardens

When: Now through May 19

Where: 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458-5126

Spring is a spectacular time at the NY Botanical Gardens! Featured events and exhibits include: The Orchid Show: Singapore (through April 28), Orchid Evenings for 21 plus (through April 27) The Garden Furniture and Antique Fair (April 11-14), National Citizen Science Day (April 13), Earth Day Weekend (April 20-22), Lilac Weekend and Plein-Air Invitational (May 4-5), Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party (May 11-12), Spring Uncorked (May 18-19) and running through the summer, and The Living art of Roberto Burle Marx (June 8 through Sept 29).

Fleet Week in NYC

When: The 29th annual Fleet Week in NYC will take place from May 22 to May 27

Where: New York Harbor, Pier 92 in Manhattan, USS The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island, Military Island (Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets), Eisenhower Park, the Flagship Brewery and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Monument.

Ahoy, sailors! This seven-day celebration to honor the members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps is a weeklong bash that starts with the Parade of Ships—a flotilla of visiting vessels and tall ships that cruise along the Hudson River—and continues with military demonstrations, a Memorial Day ceremony and more.

Participating Fleet Week ships can be viewed at Pier 90, Pier 86, Intrepid Air and Space Museum, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and Homeport Pier on Staten Island. Other activities include guided tours, displays, demonstrations and musical performances.

Enjoy your springtime travels into the city and let Hoyt Livery do the driving. With luxury vans big enough for your whole family or group, relax and enjoy your day! Remember Hoyt’s Here!

Source: Timeout New York

Best Summer Vacation Destinations

This summer, get your adventure on! There’s plenty of great deals to be had if you know where to look. To help you get packing, here’s a list of this summer’s best budget travel destinations, courtesy of the travel writers of forbes.com.

San Antonio, Texas

From strolling along the San Antonio River Walk to chasing thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, there’s plenty of fun and food to be had. Whether you’re craving Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican food, San Antonio has it. Also visit San Fernando Cathedral, which hosts nightly light shows at no cost. If you find yourself visiting San Antonio during the weekend, be sure to wander through the farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery.

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why. Architecture lovers could spend days exploring the historical center and marveling at what seems like an endless number of churches.

Despite this being Mexico’s fourth largest city, you’ll hardly see any other tourists. It’s one of those cities where you can just soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The region is known for its mole sauce, so be sure to sample when visiting.

Hawaii

Flights to Hawaii from the mainland are generally pretty cheap, especially in the past few years. Although it isn’t the most inexpensive when you arrive, it’s well worth it because you get the South Pacific feel with the comforts of the United States—and a shorter plane flight. Check out Maui, and the little visited island of Lanai. For golf lovers, the Four Seasons at Lanai is recommended.

St. Helena

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. While a trek to get there in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, it’s a relatively cheap destination once you arrive.

This off-the-beaten path location offers great hiking, fascinating English mixed with island culture, good food and even the world’s most remote golf course. The airport alone makes it worth a visit as they basically shaved down a mountain to make it possible. St. Helena is probably not on your short list but it should be on your bucket list.

Province of Laguna, the Philippines

The Philippines is already popular because of its white sand beaches in Palawan, Cebu or Boracay; the surfing in Siargao, the mountains in the north but Laguna Province is less well known.

If you have a few days stopover in Manila, make sure to visit the Province of Laguna. It has hot springs as well as San Pablo City, also known as the City of Seven Lakes. Most of these attractions are easily accessed by car rental or taking the local public transportation called tricycle, which costs less than $10.

Agra, India

Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is on many traveler’s lists. And although it costs around $43 to enter, the surrounding area is relatively inexpensive. It is definitely a well-known destination, so if you want your Taj Mahal shot, be sure to go in the morning. Considered to be the jewel of Islamic art in India, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife—possibly one of the most extravagant declarations of love in history.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

There is no city in the world as intoxicating as Buenos Aires. The streets are lined with grand European-style architecture, cozy cafés and endless parks. The staples of life in this budget-friendly city are steak, wine, empanadas and ice cream. Three cheers for the Southern Hemisphere.

South Africa

Prepare to be blown away by the beauty of South Africa. It’s a very diverse place in terms of its nature, people and activities.  One day, you may be hiking up a mountain and the next, diving with sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be surprised by the extreme low cost of Uber and transport there. The food is also fairly inexpensive, as well as delicious.

Zanzibar

Zanzibaris are so much fun and friendly. While there are expensive resorts there, you can still find some inexpensive bed and breakfasts and hostels in Stone Town that allow you to be right next to the Indian Ocean, where all the excitement, and restaurants are.

Armenia

Set in the Caucasus Mountains, Armenia is a hidden gem that’s still untouched by mass tourism, and yet has so much to offer: rich history, wineries, impressive landscapes, ancient monasteries and breathtaking mountains as far as your eyes can see. The capital, Yerevan, is a lively city with wide avenues, delicious restaurants, museums and street markets selling local handicrafts.

Outside of the capital is picturesque nature. You can pay a visit to the oldest winery in the world in Areni, stop by stunning monasteries, or check out the oldest cathedral in the world in Etchmiadzin.

Serbia

Serbia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It’s one of those places that has such an amazing energy that it leaves you wanting more. In the bustling city of Belgrade, there’s something happening every hour of every day. The streets are filled with amazing restaurants, cute cafés, bars and clubs. The friendly locals are always out and about. You will find people of all ages enjoying the outdoor cafés and drinking rakija (the national drink of Serbia). The restaurants have a great mix of both local and international dishes and are great for trying new dishes. Try the komplet lepinja, cevapi and karađorđeva šnicla. The nightlife in Serbia is one of a kind. There are floating bars and clubs along the Danube riverbank. Parties go on till the early morning hours.

Transylvania, Romania

Home to myths and some of the world’s most hospitable locals, Transylvania is a budget traveler’s dream destination. The stunning Carpathian Mountains offer the perfect backdrop to one of Europe’s often overlooked regions.

Guests can experience Romania’s roots free of the mass commercialization, and the high prices, that we see in more popular European destinations. From sampling local dishes like ciorbă, mici and palinka, to skiing in Sinaia, you’ll have a wide range of budget-friendly activities to keep you entertained.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

A mixture of cultures, cuisines and architecture come together to create an atmosphere that on paper shouldn’t work but somehow does. Chinese, Indian, Malay and British influences can be seen at every turn you make in this Penang Island UNESCO World Heritage Site. What makes George Town stand out are the quarters that make up the city, each one boasting a distinct community and history, all linked together by the beautiful street art found throughout. With a diverse population, beautiful culture and amazing food, George Town is a perfect addition to anyone’s travel bucket list.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, like the rest of Russia, has a stereotype of being a bitterly cold destination. That is true during the winter months, however during the summer, you can expect steady sunshine and clear skies so put on your shades, grab a bliny and wander around the Red Square with ease.

Taipei, Taiwan

The capital of Taiwan is growing in popularity in East Asia but often goes unnoticed by the masses. In comparison to Hong Kong or Tokyo, think of Taipei as the quieter kid on the block. With some of the best food markets in all of Asia, buzzing shopping districts like Xiamen and the stunning nearby Yangminshan National Park, Taipei offers something for everyone. Pro tip: Taipei won’t break the bank but don’t expect it to be as cheap as Vietnam.

No matter where you decide to vacation this summer, whether within the US or abroad, let Hoyt Livery get your whole family to the airport and back home. With family-sized luxury vans with room for everyone’s luggage, Hoyt Livery can get you there safely, comfortably and in style.

Source: forbes.com

LaGuardia Terminal B Update

Back in December, the first phase of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $8 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport (LGA) opened to the public.

The remodeled Eastern Concourse of LaGuardia’s Terminal B is a $4 billion construction project intended to help upgrade an airport that Joe Biden likened to being in “some third world country” in 2014.

The first phase of improvements included a new concourse and 11 gates at Terminal B. Here’s an overview of what the finished LGA will look like, courtesy of 6sqft.com.

Visible improvements already include “wayfinders” embedded in the floor—dark-shaded tile down the middle to guide passengers to a gate, with white accents emanating from the shops. Once a passenger reaches a gate, the subtly patterned tile gives way to a carpet with no pattern.

Along the way are mostly upscale restaurants and stores, including outposts of Shake Shack; McNally Jackson (the Manhattan Bookstore); La Chula Taquería (the Mexican-food eatery with roots in Harlem); Irving Farm Coffee Roasters (which was founded as a cafe near Gramercy Park); FAO Schwarz; MAC cosmetics; and private pods for massage, manicures/pedicures and treatments for acne and wrinkles.

Upon completion …

Terminal B will measure over 1.3 million square feet, including the newly opened Eastern Concourse, which measures 250,000 square feet and has 18 gates. The terminal’s parking garage opened in February and includes 3,100 parking spots, all equipped with a system to provide a real-time view of available spaces.

Two pedestrian bridges will be constructed across active plane taxi lanes, connecting the main departures and arrivals hall that will open in 2020 with the two island concourses. According to the company, Skanska USA, who is leading the design and construction, the bridges will offer travelers views of the Manhattan skyline as they head to and from their gates.

Terminal B, serving Air Canada, American Airlines, Southwest and United, and Terminal C, serving Delta, will be able to hold 30 million passengers per year after the redevelopment wraps up.

By the numbers

The LGA project is part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $8 billion rehab of the airport, which will extend to other terminals as well. Eventually, the new buildings will span 2.7 million square feet, 72 new gates and six new concourses. In December 2018, 243,000 square feet opened.

The massive project includes 40,000 tons of steel—10,000 individual steel pieces, measuring 12,000 tons and will weigh more than the Eiffel Tower, according to Skanska USA. The upgraded terminal has 55-foot ceilings, new floor-to-ceiling windows, fig trees, porcelain-tiled floors, park-like seating areas, wonderful eateries, state-of-the-art bathrooms and a children’s playground.

In an effort to stay green, Skanska recycled 21,604 tons of concrete from the demolition of the original structure with about five million pounds reused at the job site.

United will join in the middle of 2019, and the remodeled area for ticketing, check-in, security and baggage claim — known as the “headhouse” — is set to open in 2020, according to Gateway. Currently under construction is Delta’s Terminal C, and has an expected opening in 2021. And an environmental review is underway for the proposed AirTrain, which will provide a reliable trip to LaGuardia from Midtown Manhattan in 30 minutes.

Click here to visit the website and see more photos.

Source: 6sqft.com

Workers Stressed Out from Saying Yes, Says Survey

More than half of American workers are stressed out by too much work, according to VitalSmarts, a leadership training company, and reported in a February USA Today article. Here’s how to effectively say “no” at work.

What the survey says

Out of 1,353 workers surveyed, three out of five (60 percent) said they have already committed to more work than they can handle. Another 20 percent said they’re at capacity and have no room to take on any new tasks. Of those who are currently overcommitted, one-third said they always have more work than they can handle, while two-thirds said they’re usually like that.

Why is this happening? Survey respondents generally had the best of intentions, even if some of the reasons they listed contributed to their own problems:

  • Want to be helpful, accommodating, and polite (73 percent)
  • Like to fix problems, even when they aren’t theirs (56 percent)
  • Unsure about workplace rules and when they can say no (39 percent)
  • Stuck with bosses who make unreasonable demands (38 percent)

Why not say “no?”

Sometimes workers don’t want to turn down a request from their boss or from a coworker. In other cases, they don’t want to say no because the opportunity is appealing, even if they don’t have time for it.

In some cases – such as having a bad boss – there’s not much you can do other than taking the issue to human resources. The top two reasons, however, are factors within your control, and the ability to say no can be learned.

That’s what leads to stress. If you don’t say no, you can end up with more work on your plate than you can handle. “Without a system designed to capture and organize incoming tasks and the skills to negotiate commitments, you’re bound to find yourself victim of an impossible to-do list,” David Maxfield, co-creator of Getting Things Done Training at VitalSmarts, said in a press release. “Unless and until you take control of this system, you’ll continue to frantically spin your wheels and still only make a dent in that ever-growing list of commitments.”

How to take charge

Being overcommitted can impact more than your job. It can take a toll on your physical health and mental well-being. Over half of those who said they were overcommitted reported that they’re moderately stressed, while 35 percent said they’re highly stressed, and 9 percent said they’re very highly stressed. In addition, 52 percent worried about letting people down, while 46 percent felt overwhelmed.

Improving your work situation involves being proactive. You have to both correct your own habits and work with your boss or bosses to dig out from the situation.

The first step is truly getting organized and understanding what’s on your plate and how long it will take to finish it. If your own agreeableness or inability to say no caused the problem, you might want to work a marathon week to get as much done as you can (or dig out completely if that’s possible) – and then start being more disciplined about saying no.

If you can’t catch up by putting in extra hours or your problems are largely due to management, then you have to speak up. You need to have all of your supporting materials – a list of what’s in your workload and how long each task will take – to lay out to your manager that you simply can’t catch up.

Ideally, your boss will work with you to parcel out tasks elsewhere or to knock things off your list. If that happens, you need to work actively to make sure the same situation does not happen again. That means being willing to say no and actively communicating to your boss when you see the situation recurring.

Source: USA Today

What to Know About the Shutdown and Air Travel

After the longest government shutdown in American history has seemingly ended, travelers should keep in mind that the shutdown was actually placed on a three-week hiatus.

Here’s an overview of how the shutdown affected airports and air travel, and what to do if it returns, courtesy of the vox.com.

How does the shutdown affect agents?

TSA agents make up 51,000 of the 420,000 federal employees who are considered “essential” staff. During a government shutdown, they do not receive their paychecks. According to WNYC, the TSA is one of the lowest-paying federal agencies; the typical starting salary of an agent is $17,000 (other estimates say it’s closer to $25,000).  While they were to be paid for their work eventually, they did not know when, and this likely negatively impacted morale, on-the-job performance, and attendance.

Was airport security compromised?

On January 14, one out of every 13 airport screeners (employees who screen passengers and luggage at security checkpoints) nationwide didn’t come into work. According to CNN’s sources, the screeners likely did fewer random pat-downs, bag inspections, and other screenings. That created a potential security vulnerability — an ironic, if potentially dangerous, situation given that the root cause of the shutdown is a fight over border security.

A scary thought: According to TSA, in 2017, 3,957 firearms were recovered in carry-on bags at American airports and 84 percent of them were loaded.

Although TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello tweeted during the shutdown, “security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports,” the president of the national TSA employee union Hydrick Thomas told CNN that the number of TSA callouts “will definitely affect the flying public who we [are] sworn to protect.”

Were airport lines longer?

Although it depends on the airport, many major hubs reported longer lines. The TSA stated, “While national average wait times are within normal TSA times of 30 minutes for standard lanes, some airports experienced longer than usual wait times.”

Some airports had to closed terminals due to lack of staffing and filtered more travelers through fewer checkpoints. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston closed a checkpoint in Terminal B due to low staffing, funneling those passengers to terminals C and E. Miami International Airport closed checkpoints in Terminal G and diverted passengers to other terminals, also citing low staffing.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, employees and flyers were confronted with “endless lines,” ABC News reported. At Terminal C, which houses Delta, passengers waited 90 minutes in security lines. A similar situation arose at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which was already dealing with a TSA agent shortage.

Were flights getting delayed or canceled?

Flight delays may have been caused by winter storms, but in the end, the government shutdown led to widespread delays or cancellations. Southwest Airlines was supposed to start flying to Hawaii early this year, but the shutdown kept the company from pursuing that route. Hours-long delays and finally cancellations at LaGuardia were cited as major reasons why the government put the shut down on hiatus.

Air traffic controllers are also essential employees, and therefore have also been working without paychecks. Air traffic control, understaffed before the shutdown began, reached the point at which the government needed to reduce flight volumes, which caused carriers to cancel some flights. In the future, if the government shutdown occurs again, an extended shutdown could lead to entire airports cancelling flights, with only a “subset of the airports” running, said Bruce McIndoe, founder and president of global travel risk management firm WorldAware, formerly iJet.

The shutdown also stalled modernization efforts of the air traffic control system, he said. “The modernization efforts the FAA has put forward require constant and ongoing work, and this really takes those efforts off course,” said Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “When you put critical modernization efforts on the shelf for three weeks, it’s going to take months to ramp those efforts back up.”

What travelers can do

While there’s not much travel buyers can do beyond pressuring their elected officials to not allow another shutdown, they should allow more time to get through airports in case of disruptions, McIndoe said. Should it reach the point of flight cancellations, corporate travelers might look to defer trips when possible. However, he said putting travelers in cars instead of planes is not ideal, given the substantially higher risk of accidents in car travel versus air travel.

Source: vox.com

Female Safety When Traveling for Business

When women travel for business, whether to a local conference or international destination, there are unique issues and concerns they have to face, and often alone, on the road.

Here are some business travel tips for women to help you stay safe on the road, courtesy of Entrepreneur.com.

Female travelers increasing—and so are safety concerns

This year, the Upside Travel Company reported that nearly 50 percent of all business travel bookings are for women, and that number is steadily rising. With this comes the growing awareness that women face more travel safety risks compared to their male counterparts. According to 2018 survey research by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and AIG Travel Inc., a disturbing 83 percent of women polled said they’ve experienced a safety issue or concern in the last year while traveling for work, yet only 53 percent of women always or sometimes report these experiences to their travel managers. The research also found that only 18 percent of corporate travel safety policies specifically address female safety needs.

Here are some travel safety basics women should keep in mind on the road.

Know your business trip insurance.

If you’re an employee, ask your employer for its travel insurance program documentation so you know what’s covered for you. If you’re self-employed, research your options for purchasing travel insurance. Sites with updated 2018 recommendations include Consumers Advocate or Travel Insurance Review. Also, be sure to save an electronic version and print a hard copy of the travel insurance benefits, then share your insurance details with a trusted family member.

Stay in a good hotel in a safe area.

When selecting a hotel, choose a well-known and reputable one. Interestingly, some hotels offer women-only floors, so don’t hesitate to ask before you book if that’s a personal preference. MaidenVoyage.com also offers a list of certified female-friendly hotels worldwide. Also, consider booking your flight arrivals for daylight hours so you avoid arriving after dark, especially for international arrivals.

When traveling internationally.

It’s recommended you visit the U.S. Department of State where you’ll find information for every country in the world including visa requirements, safety and security conditions, health and medical considerations, local laws and areas to avoid. It’s also wise to know the location of the closest U.S. embassy or consulate at your destination. Check the option to enroll your trip so you can receive safety alerts and your embassy can contact you in the event of an emergency.

Make copies of your passport and ID.

Whether traveling domestic or international, always make copies of your passport ID page to make it easier to file a report and get a replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy with a trusted contact at home and carry one with you. Do the same with your trip itinerary in case your smartphone is lost or stolen.

Leverage technology and apps.

Lastly, take advantage of the latest technology to stay in the know. Apps like TripIt show neighborhood-specific safety scores, including relevant categories like: women’s safety, physical harm, health and medical, theft and more.

Pack smart and don’t stand out.

It’s always wise to pack modest clothing and avoid packing or wearing expensive jewelry, bags, shoes or other accessories. You don’t want to stand out as having valuables that someone would want to steal. It’s also smart to pack shoes designed for comfort and mobility, so you can move quickly if needed.

Also, consider packing a decoy wallet with a small amount of cash and expired credit cards. If someone rifles through your bag, that’s the one they’ll take. Then wear a hidden money belt with your “real” wallet contents.

Other important items to pack include: chargers for your digital devices, a travel plug adapter if you’re traveling internationally, at least a two-week supply of any medication you’re taking and any special medical ID bracelet or tags.

Be strategic when checking in.

When checking in to your hotel, ask the clerk to write your room number on a piece of paper or on the key sleeve, rather than saying it out loud. Also request a room near the stairs or elevator so you don’t have to walk through empty corridors at night, and don’t stay in a room on the first floor or near exit stairways since they are more accessible and prone to theft.

When you arrive to your room, check to make sure it has a peephole, deadbolt and working locks on the windows, adjoining door and balcony door. If there are any issues, request a new room that’s secure.

If there’s ever a knock on your room door, call reception to confirm the identity of anyone there, and if the door to your room is ever open or unlocked when you return, don’t enter. Go back to the front desk and inform them of the security issue.

Play it safe on the street.

If you need to use your mobile phone in public, try to stand still with your back to a wall or window, since walking and talking will limit your awareness and make you an easier target. Also, keep your head up while walking, stand/walk confidently, never look lost, and don’t walk alone or visit an ATM at night.

As always, follow your intuition: if you feel a bad vibe from somewhere or someone, listen to your gut instinct and remove yourself from the situation.

Be smart with your smartphone.

Travel with clean digital devices that have limited banking information, sensitive data, personal photographs or compromising information, and always be aware of potential avenues for cyberattacks, such as using the free Wi-Fi in public locations.

Also avoid posting information about upcoming travel dates, and don’t publish your whereabouts in real-time online. You can share details after you are safely back home.

Source: Entrepreneur.com