Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Delta announces fares and schedule changes in wake of Hurricane Maria

Airline caps fares at $199 one way from Puerto Rico

Hurricanes continue to batter islands, parts of the US mainland and the travel industry 

Patti Pietschmann

Hurricane Maria's making its way to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,  and parts as yet unknown and airlines and cruise companies are planning strategies.  
Delta has announce it has capped Main Cabin, one-way nonstop fares at $199 for flights departing San Juan, Punta Cana, Santiago and Santo Domingo through Sept. 21 and is temporarily waiving baggage and pet in cabin fees for customers traveling to and from San Juan and several other airports in the region. See delta.com for a full listDelta flights to St. Thomas remain canceled due to the approaching storm and infrastructure constraints caused by Hurricane Irma.  A travel waiver has been issued for passengers flying out of San Juan from Sept. 19-26. The waiver, which allows customers to change plans without incurring a fee, also covers customers from St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Turks and Caicos with tickets issued from Sept. 5 to Dec. 31. Delta advises customers to visit delta.com to check the status of booked flights to the region.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Delta and United phasing out iconic Boeing 747 (Video)

Jumbo jet makes last flight
Patti Pietschmann

I used to love the Boeing 747 until I flew the Dreamliner. Back in the day I loved sitting in the First Class bubble.  And now the iconic plane is slowly being taken out of service.  United is doing its  last-ever Boeing 747 passenger flight on Nov. 7. The carrier has added a special “farewell” flight from San Francisco to Honolulu that will serve as its final passenger operation on the beloved jetliner. Delta just took one from the fleet which made its final flight from Tokyo to Honolulu through Los Angeles to its final resting place in Detroit. The final flight was made with pomp and ceremony as employees in Honolulu created a maile lei big enough to fit over the top of the aircraft as a sign of respect. The team also held a gate celebration, and several employees held back tears as the group sang Aloha Oe and watched the aircraft depart Honolulu for the last time.

The Dreamliner is, for me, the only way to fly
The Los Angeles team also had a chance to say their goodbyes to the "Queen of the Skies." Employees lined the ramp at LAX and waved orange wands as it made its late-night departure to Detroit. Employees in Detroit met the aircraft when it landed, though the 747 will continue flying through Detroit for a few more months.
A group of 50 Delta Diamond Medallion customers joined in on the festivities as well. When one member of a Diamond Medallion Facebook group saw that the 747 would be flying two domestic legs, he notified other members of the group, who jumped at the chance to take one last flight on the aircraft. The group booked nearly the entire Delta One cabin and some of the Main Cabin as well, and they flew in from all over the country to catch one last ride on the 747. Employees in Los Angeles hosted a reception for the group in the Delta Sky Club, and each member of the group received model 747 aircraft as a parting gift. All customers on the flight received commemorative ear buds in celebration of the final scheduled domestic flight.

Delta's  remaining 747s are scheduled tobe retired by the end of 2017. The aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A350, which will be Delta's flagship international aircraft and the first to feature the airline's all-new Delta One Suite, the world's first business class cabin to feature a sliding door, as well as Delta Premium Select, a new premium economy experience.

Mendocino is full of 'Fun-gi' get you mushroom on

It's mushroom madness time in magical Mendocino

Patti Pietschmann
Grab some friends and head off on a fungi foray into the world of shrooms. 
Yum!  Candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and hedgehog mushrooms all straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak, stately redwood groves, and 3,000 mushroom varieties, 500 of which are edible.  The annual haul is an   epic event  for local chefs, winemakers and fungi foragers.   Add to the mix regional mushroom-laced menus, 20 winemaker and brew events, and a host of art and educational seminars and Mendocino's yearly  salute to Mr. Fungi is nothing short of fantastic. 
Hunt your mushrooms by foot, horseback, or  fungi foraging, Savor the tasty veggie at key food and wine gatherings including Yorkville Cellar's Annual Malbec and Mushroom Feast (Nov. 4-5).  Also on tap is the first Homebrew Festival (November 4, 2017)celebrating artisan beer and mushroom-inspired cuisine in Ukiah; ; $30. 

Bed down at any of two dozen or so hotels that are offering special packages throughout November. Then book an excursion:

  • Mushroom Foraging at UC Hopland Research and Extension Center --Join local naturalists and fungi experts for an educational stroll through the madrone woodland followed by a selection of canapés.  November 4; Hopland; 707.744.1424, www.ucanr.edu; $20.
  •  Mushroom Exploration Tours at Stanford Inn  Adrienne Long leads  a walk and talk among the local forests and meadows. November 3-5; 11-12; Mendocino; 707.937.5615; www.stanfordinn.com; $45 adult/$20 children.
  •  Foray with Mario Abreu "Mushroom Walk for Beginners" local expert Mario Abreu talks the talk as you  walk along Fort Bragg coastal headlands.  November 5. Fort Bragg; 707.964.2020;free.
  •  Ride with the Hunt - Mushroom Hunt at Ricochet Ridge Ranch  " horseback rides every day during the festival.  Equine.
  • Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens  mycologist Mario Abreu  offers a series of mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens. 

Sh-room deals 

Albion River Inn offers savings of 30 percent on an ocean view guestroom, Mendocino's AAA-Four Diamond Brewery Gulch Inn giving 15 percent savings on midweek rates with a two night booking, and a complimentary third night free via Glendeven Inn's "Mushroom Special.  On the coast, Little River Inn's "Mushroom Mania" ocean-view guestroom package comes in with a cool savings ($165.00/dbl.) or the newly-renovated Sacred Rock Resort in Elk by the sea, which is offering a 15 percent savings on accommodations.  Black-out dates and restrictions apply, based on availability.  For a complete listing of local deals, visit: www.visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival.

Shrooming a video from YouTube

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Double Tree by Hilton LAX hotel gets new management and upgrades

Twenty Four Seven Hotels takes over  DoubleTree by Hilton LAX

Patti Pietschmann

Looking for a hotel to stay close to LAX? You might want to consider Double Tree by Hilton, which was just taken over and reimagined with sleek styling by Twenty Four Seven Hotels.  The  216-room hotel caters to both business and leisure travelers and is the only full-service hotel in El Segundo—LA’s “Second City”— the aerospace capital of the world and a hotbed for industry and innovation.

In addition to upgraded rooms, he hotel is getting  new pool deck designed outdoor meetings and events that's set to be completed in early 2018. Rooms are fitted with  Sweet Dream Beds with high end linens, 37-inch flat screen televisions, contemporary wall art, vintage-inspired mirrors and work desks. Six suites boast separate sitting areas with sleeper sofas in the living room. complimentary Uber services to-and-from the airport.
There's an upgraded fitness complex, 24-hour snack shop and Connectivity Center.  A farm-to-table concept will be implemented at the restaurant and new executive chef  is on their way! The hotel is also the only one in the area that offers

Twenty Four Seven Hotels  is a U.S.-based hospitality management company with a portfolio of  more than 20 hotels through the Western States. Its management of the high-performing DoubleTree by Hilton LAX marks a foray into the LA market with four new projects slated for 201 that includes properties in  Downtown LA and Koreatown.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ski for free at The Ranch at Rock Creek

No joke, spend 4 nights, pay for 3 and ski free
Patti Pietschmann

Listen up all you discerning skiers from December 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018 you can immerse yourself in a wellness retreat, romantic escape or frontiersmen experience at the The Ranch at Rock Creek --the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star guest ranch.. What's more for the first time downhill skiing and snowboarding, at the nearby Discovery Ski Area will be included when booking a winter wilderness package. Guests will receive all equipment, a mountain pass, lunch, transportation to and from the mountain and après-ski options in Historic Philipsburg complimentary. Hey, book a three-night stay--afte rall it's a long way to travel--and score the fourth night free.
Winter Luxury Spa & Nature Package
Escape the complexities of daily life and retreat to Montana’s safe haven of pristine and peaceful winter wilderness with a retreat geared towards restoration and self-reflection. Guests can select from more than 20 treatments and classes for the ultimate wellness getaway.
  • Two (2) Granite Spa treatments including facials, bodywork, body treatments and hair & nail treatments.
  • Two (2) Mind & Body classes including yoga, forest bathing, guided mindfulness trek, meditation and RanchFit natural movement training.

The Indulgent Frontiersman Package
Embrace the fortifying beauty of a Montana winter with all the vigor of a 19th-century frontiersman or woman, where The Ranch’s 6,600 acres become ones private winter playground. Guests will receive two of the following complimentary customized experiential amenities:
  • Half-day outdoor skills challenge in the wilderness.
  • Private horseback ride and target shooting with chef’s provisions.
  • Private ice fishing excursion with campfire lunch.
  • Private snowmobile excursion through the National Forest with campfire lunch.
  • One 105-minute Saddle Sore Soak treatment in the Granite Spa.

Romantic Winter Getaway Package
Retreat into the snow-capped mountains of Montana where you can reconnect in the snowy countryside with your better half. Guests will be given the following complimentary experiential amenities:
  • Enjoy a half-day, privately guided outdoor winter activity, such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, nature trek; a private two-hour yoga session including refreshments; or a full-day of guided downhill skiing at Discovery Ski Area.
  • Restorative treatments in the Granite Spa. Choose either two one-hour massages or two side-by-side 45-minute Hiker’s Refresh treatments.
  • One private visit with our Ranch Chef. Spend a late-afternoon hour with a Ranch Chef learning about the foods and libations of the region. Enjoy Montana craft beer pairings, regional wines or tea time in a private setting.

*All-inclusive rates begin at $900 per person, per night or $1,800 based on double occupancy. For additional information visit: http://www.theranchatrockcreek.com/specials/special-offers/

The Ranch at Rock Creek – sits on 6,600 acres of rugged Montana wilderness on the outskirts of Philipsburg and provides rustic yet elegant accommodations, including luxury suites in The Granite Lodge, authentic log cabins and historic barn accommodations. Also,  along Rock Creek you'll find  several luxury canvas cabins, often considered the definitive glamping experience. 

Pamper seekers can find their moment of Zen at the 2,000 square-foot spa.  Active sorts can go fly fishing, horseback riding, sporting clay shooting, geo-catching, hiking, biking, bowling,  on-property snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating and sledding, as well as trips to Discovery Ski Area, a quaint alpine ski destination located just 25 minutes away. 

 The Ranch at Rock Creek is affiliated with Relais & Chateaux, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts, Signature Travel Network, Kiwi Collection and is the only US property to be included in National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. In 2013, The Ranch became Montana’s first and only property to earn the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award.

Spike your punch with 190 proof Everclear for a big buzz

Planning on throwing holiday parties this year?

Toss a little Everclear into the punch or cocktails and give your guests

a festive buzz. But drink responsibly. Distilled from 100% selected

grains, Everclear® provides a neutral flavor profile along with a

high proof. Giving it a unique ability to extract even the subtlest

of flavors. Providing you with a clean slate, a blank canvas and

endless potential.

You can mix it with a variety of beverages or tea:

Pomegranate Green Tea Liqueur unites the sweet taste of pomegranate

and tea with Everclear. Just add simple syrup and water, and within two

hours it’ll be ready to bottle and enjoy with Holiday Road Punch

(recipe below) or gifted in a mason jar with festive ribbons and labels.


8 Pomegranate green tea bags
6 oz. Everclear®
7 oz. Filtered water
13 oz. White simple syrup

Combine tea bags, Everclear® and water in a sealable container.
Steep 2 hours.
Remove tea bags and add simple syrup. Mix thoroughly.
Bottle and enjoy.

Pack a punch


15 oz. Pomegranate Green Tea Liqueur
5 oz. Vodka
5 oz. White rum
10 oz. Lime juice
10 oz. Champagne

Combine all ingredients except champagne in a pitcher or punch bowl.
Mix and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or more (overnight works best).
Just before serving, add chilled champagne and stir carefully.
Add ice, along with 10 lime wheels.
Serve in punch glasses, ice optional.
Garnish with lime wheel (also optional).

Sold by American company Luxco. Everclear is made from corn[1] and is bottled at 151-proof(75.5% ABV) and 190-proof (95% ABV).[2] It’s available on Amazon and retails for $17.99 to $59.99 depending on proof.

Outside the Box Holiday Gift Ideas For EverybodyIn "Christmas Shopping"

Patti's Prattles Gift Guide Gone WildIn "Fitness"Posted in Christmas, cocktails, gifts, Holiday shopping, entertaining, cocktails, Holidays, UncategorizedTagged adult beverages, Everclear, Grain Alcohol, marketing, party ideas, PunchBookmark the permalink.Edit

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering Sept. 11,2001 when something evil this way came

A pivotal day in history for the world and we were there

By Patti Covello Pietschmann

We were there.  My husband and I were in New York on September 11, 2001, but it feels like it was yesterday. We flew in from Los Angeles two days before the catastrophic event which, like so many of us, is  emblazoned in the memory forever--every  terrible, gut-wrenching moment.  Our only consolation was the day  Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed.  God forgive me, but I prayed for that to happen.

When Bin Laden's evil followers flew airplanes into World Trade Center we were staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in a suite on the 43rd floor with a clear view of the Twin Towers from a picture window.  
We actually  arrived the night of September 9th.  The next day, September 10 was an absolutely perfect Manhattan day. Warm, but not muggy. Everyone seemed to be going about business as usual.
My husband and I were there on assignments for a couple of magazines. The day before the worst disaster to hit the US happened, couldn't have been more perfect. We met friends and editors for lunch, cocktails, dinner, walked all over the city.  I enjoyed a fabulous session in a New York spa for a piece I was working on.

We enjoyed a delightful dinner at the Four Seasons with friends and went to bed around midnight.  For me it was a fitful sleep.  I felt anxious.  I dreamed of carnage and buildings falling down and told my husband about the nightmare when we woke up about two hours before the first plane hit the tower. I actually saw the second plane hit and couldn’t believe my eyes. I blinked and thought, “This can’t be happening.”  The aircraft looked so tiny from our window, like a toy plane someone was flying.”

The events that ensued were so horrific that I was forced to undergo psychiatric therapy when we returned to Los Angeles several days later.  We watched people diving out of windows, we smelled the burning flesh.  We  saw the anguish, the fear, the shock.  It was the wickedest day of everybody's life.
The only good was the calm that overcame the city. People sat in sidewalk cafes speaking quietly. You could walk the streets with no worries. Even muggers, thieves and bottom crawlers felt the pain.

I could write a book, but suffice it say, the New Yorkers really pulled through and came to each other's aid. We sat with a man at the Four Seasons bar who had lost all his entire staff, but one that day. His company was based in the World Trade Center.  He was spending the day meeting clients at the hotel. His only surviving employee escaped because while he was having breakfast in the Windows of the World with his work mates, he decided his shirt need ironing and left to take it the cleaners. While he was gone, the tower was hit. Amen.

Our bar mate was so distraught, he cried on my shoulder as  I held this  complete stranger's hand and we cried and cried  buckets of tears together. My eyes still tear up when I think about the innocent people who left for work that morning never to return; and the fire fighters and volunteers who died trying to save others. The fruitlessness of it all.

We couldn't fly home for several days and it wasn't easy getting out the city, but we did  finally get a car to drive out to Long Island. Lucky for us I have a cousin  with a summer home in the Hamptons who put us up  until planes were operating again.  It was good to be with loved ones (he's my favorite cousin) and of course my husband (my best friend) was there, and we ate and drank and went to bars and mingled with all the other people who were still in shock and drinking hard and fast trying to forget what just happened.
But of course we never will. The anniversary of 9/11 is just six days away and 15 years old. Evil still  continues to plague  the world through senseless terrorist acts and all we can do is remain  diligent and pray for peace which for now appears to be very allusive.

Delta cancels nearly 800 flights as Atlanta braces for Hurricane Irma

Atlanta Airport runway direction big reason for decision
Posted by Patti Pietschmann

According to a Delta statement, Irma’s anticipated general north-south wind direction relative to Atlanta’s east-west runway configuration is a major factor in decision to cancel flights. "As is the case at all airports, Atlanta’s five runways are aligned with the prevailing wind, which generally blows from the east or west. Aircraft are best suited to take off and land into the wind for better performance. When the wind direction is perpendicular to the runway, it’s called a crosswind and can make landing challenging and potentially unsafe. A slight crosswind is allowable and can be safely managed, but a 40 mph or greater crosswind, as the storm is expected to bring in Atlanta, may exceed allowable limits.latest forecast and hurricane projections, Delta teams in the airline’s Operations and Customer Center have decided to cancel about 800 flights Monday as Hurricane Irma is expected to bring to the Atlanta hub strong crosswinds that exceed operating limits on select mainline and regional aircraft."
Wind shear, lighting and other convective weather is also possible in the vicinity of Atlanta and may prompt additional flight cancellations.
Florida flights resuming
 Delta expects reports from airport authorities throughout the state Monday on the condition of runways, taxiways and terminal infrastructure, some of which sustained damage. Updates are expected throughout the morning and will determine Delta’s Florida restart.  Do check the status of your flight before leaving for the airport on the Fly Delta app or at delta.com. Delta recommends that customers transiting the airline's Atlanta hub Monday modify their itineraries around the city on delta.com.
Fee waivers
Delta has also combined and consolidated fee waivers through Sept. 17 for customers transiting three dozen destinations where flights will be affected by Irma, and created a new waiver for St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos for customers ticketed through Oct. 31.
Today, Delta is operating  a humanitarian flight bringing in recovery supplies and flying out 150 U.S. citizens to Atlanta from hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas. 
Below is an updated airport-by-airport outlook for operations in the Caribbean, Florida and the southeastern U.S.
Flights Suspended
Flights to Resume

St. Maarten (SXM)
Canceled all flights beginning Wed. Sept. 6
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
St. Thomas (STT)
Canceled all flights beginning Wed. Sept. 6
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
San Juan (SJU)
Canceled all flights beginning Thurs. Sept. 7
Restarted operations Fri., Sept. 8
Punta Cana (PUJ)
No Impact
No Impact
Santiago (STI)
Canceled all flights beginning Wed. Sept. 6
Restarted operations Fri., Sept. 8
Port-au-Prince (PAP)
No impact
No impact
Providenciales (PLS)
Canceled all flights beginning Wed. Sept. 6
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
Nassau (NAS)
Canceled all flights beginning Fri. Sept. 8
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
Georgetown/Exuma (GGT)
Will cancel beginning Sat., Sept. 9
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
Marsh Harbor (MHH)
Will cancel beginning Sat., Sept. 9
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)
Freeport (FPO)
Will cancel beginning Sat., Sept. 9
Restart TBD (pending infrastructure assessment)

Key West (EYW)
Canceled all flights beginning Fri. Sept. 8
Restart anticipated Tues. Sept. 12, afternoon (pending infrastructure assessment)
Miami (MIA)
All flights canceled after 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 8
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, afternoon
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
All flights canceled after 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 8
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, afternoon
West Palm Beach (PBI)
All flights canceled after 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 8
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, afternoon
Ft. Meyers (RSW)
All flights canceled after 2 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9
Restart tentatively Tues. Sept. 12 (pending infrastructure assessment)
Sarasota (SRQ)
All flights canceled Sun., Sept. 10
Restart tentatively planned Mon., Sept. 11 (pending infrastructure assessment)
Melbourne (MLB)
All flights canceled after 5 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, afternoon
Tampa (TPA)
All flights canceled Sun., Sept. 10
Restart tentatively Tues., Sept. 12
(pending infrastructure assessment)
Orlando (MCO)
All flights canceled after 5 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, evening
Daytona Beach (DAB)
All flights canceled after 6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9
Restart planned Tues. Sept. 12
Gainesville, FL (GNV)
Flights canceled after 9 p.m., Sat. Sept. 9
Limited flights Sun., Sept. 10 and continue Sept. 11
Jacksonville (JAX)
All flights canceled after 7 p.m. Sat., Sept. 9
Restart planned Mon., Sept. 11, afternoon
Tallahassee (TLH)
Operational Plan TBD
Limited flights Sun., Sept. 10 and continue Sept. 11

Brunswick (BQK)
Limited flights Sun., Sept. 10 and continue Sept. 11
Limited flights Sun., Sept. 10 and continue Sept. 11
Valdosta (VLD)
All flights canceled Sun., Sept. 10
Restart tentatively Mon., Sept. 11
(pending infrastructure assessment)
Albany (ABY)
All flights canceled Sun., Sept. 10
Restart tentatively Mon., Sept. 11
(pending infrastructure assessment)
Atlanta (ATL)
Approximately 130 Delta Connection flights canceled Mon., Sept. 11, more possible
Delta recommends customers transiting Atlanta make alternate plans via waivers on delta.com
Savannah (SAV)
All flights canceled after 3 p.m. Sun. Sept. 10
Restart tentatively Mon., Sept. 11
(pending infrastructure assessment)

Chattanooga (CHA)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD
Nashville (BNA)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD

Dothan (DHN)
All flights canceled Sun., Sept. 10
Restart tentatively Mon., Sept. 11
(pending infrastructure assessment)
Birmingham (BHM)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD
Huntsville (HSV)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD
Montgomery (MGM)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD
Mobile (MOB)
Operational Plan TBD
Operational Plan TBD

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Flying Delta from eastcoast? Read latest advisory to avoid angst

Airline posts changes and other important notices on web site

 Airports from the Caribbean north through Georgia and Alabama affected
Updated by Patti Pietschmann

I have a few flights coming up on Delta so I check the website frequently.  I saw the following today may and wanted to share it with readers who might be flying from or through Atlanta, Caribbean, Georgia and Alabama.

1Changes in service, including catering and cancellations, are possible Monday for flights to, from and through Atlanta.
Due to strong winds and extended rain are expected in Atlanta starting Monday and could affect flights at the hub. Catering operations also can be affected, which would require reductions in or changes to regular in-flight meal and beverage service.   
2. Use delta.com to change travel plans involving Atlanta Monday and Tuesday
Customers with itineraries involving Atlanta Monday afternoon through Tuesday are encouraged to use delta.com to change their travel plans.
3. Fees are waived for travel changes, baggage and pets in cabin
Delta has combined and consolidated waivers for customers transiting three dozen destinations where flights will be affected by Irma through Sept. 17. Similarly, Delta has paused baggage and pet-in-cabin fees for customers traveling to or from impacted cities.
4. Airports from the Caribbean north through Georgia and Alabama are affected.
An updated airport-by-airport outlook for operations in the Caribbean, Florida and the southeastern U.S. is available here.
kinder skies