Travel Newsstand for August 3-17, 2017
HOME    E-MAIL JOE    PRINT    2017 COLUMNS     ARCHIVES     SEARCH    LOG OUT
Read all about it: If Atlanta/Hartsfield is any indication, we prefer fast food and fast casual dining at the airport. You can take the "H" train in New York while the Silver Line in Washington is failing even before it reaches Dulles Airport. Let them eat macarons--or buttered rolls. The new Air Force One might be an old Russian Boeing 747. And more.

We're More Gourmand Than Gourmet at the Airport
Airport dining is an obvious obsession for business travelers and I often write about new concepts and interesting upgrades at the aerodromes we frequent. But we may not be as intrigued by fine dining and creative cuisine at the airport as we think. A slideshow in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals that fast food and fast casual restaurants dominate sales at Atlanta Hartsfield, the nation's busiest airport. Well-known foodie sites might rave about the delectable dishes at One Flew South or the Southern cuisine at Paschal's, but the AJC says the top-selling restaurant at Hartsfield is P.F. Chang's, the Americanized Chinese food chain. It generated $10.3 million in sales last year. Number Two on the list was Gordon Biersch, the beer-and-burger chain, with $10 million in sales. Then came the T.G.I. Friday's on Concourse B ($9.4 million) and the Chick-fil-A restaurants at Gate C21 ($8.8 million) and on Concourse A ($8.4 million). Two other branches of T.G.I. Friday's were also among Hartsfield's Top Twelve food joints (Concourse E at $6.9 million and Concourse T with $6 million).

You Can Take the 'H' Train
Commuters in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area are calling it "The Summer of Hell." The reason? The New York City subways are collapsing--in some cases we mean literally collapsing--and Penn Station is undergoing emergency repairs, causing widespread delays and disruptions to Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains. The bad times led to a wickedly funny--and wickedly evocative--cover on The New Yorker magazine. Ironically, the artist isn't even a disgruntled commuter. If you have been lucky enough to avoid New York during the region's major public transit woes, here is Bloomberg News on the issues at Penn Station. And The New York Times explains that every subway line in New York City is running worse than in recent years. Ironically, however, an extensive series of buses and ferries added to mitigate the railroad problems has largely gone unused and unloved. ... Meanwhile, several hundred miles down the tracks in the Washington area, there's trouble on the Metro system. Washington's rail and bus service has financial woes, has cut hours to do emergency repairs and trimmed customer service staff. Even the three-year-old Silver Line has attracted far fewer riders than expected. Why does that matter? The Silver Line is due to reach Dulles Airport. At the moment, flyers must board a bus at Dulles and then connect at Wiehle-East Reston station, the current Silver Line terminus. ... Across the Atlantic in London, the problem isn't a declining and decrepit system, but rail service that might be growing too fast for new political realities. The multi-billion-pound Crossrail project to link Heathrow Airport in the prosperous western suburbs with London's once-ignored neighborhoods along the East bank of the Thames is bumping up against the deleterious social and financial effects of Brexit. Without the free flow of people to and from the United Kingdom in general and London in specific, Crossrail may never fulfill its promise.

Let Them Eat Macaron--or Bread or Buttered Rolls
The question on the road this week is: Bread, buttered rolls--or maybe a colorful French macaron? Larry Mogelonsky, who fancies himself as the Hotel Mogel, has been poking around bread baskets in hotel restaurants and likes the changes he sees. "Many hoteliers are giving chefs the opportunity to both experiment and invest a substantial amount of time and resources in their bread offerings," he writes. Meanwhile, The New York Times cogitates on New Yorkers' obsession with the buttered kaiser roll. It's even more popular than the iconic New York bagel, the paper insists. And, yes, you're not alone: Visitors to the Big Apple simply don't get the appeal of a badly baked, sloppily buttered roll. But perhaps we should ignore the bread and focus on the macaron, a Parisian obsession. The best in town? Pierre Hermé, whose flavors include Ispahan (raspberry, lychee and rose water) and Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit). Also among the best: the globally revered Ladurée, whose products are omnipresent at Paris/CDG. But if you want a softer macaron made with no artificial colors, try one of the 13 flavors at La Maison du Chocolat. It, too, is well-represented at Paris/CDG.

Tight Connections ...
      Airport failure Baby boomers are quickly becoming senior citizens and continue to travel in great numbers. But airports aren't adjusting to their aging clientele.
      The Russians are coming President Trump wanted a cheaper version of Air Force One to replace the current fleet, so the Air Force is kicking the tires on Boeing 747s built for a defunct Russian airline. The aircraft never flew for Transaero and are sitting in a boneyard in the Mojave Desert.
      Return of a legend After an unsuccessful stint as the Public Hotel fronted by Ian Schrager, the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago has resumed its classic branding. The hotel's famed Pump Room restaurant will also return to the management of Rich Melman, who operates Chicago's sprawling Lettuce Entertain You dining empire.
      Miami splice Miami Airport has found a use for its old airport monitors. Vintage clips featuring the airport have been spliced together and are being screened on the old displays. Also on tap: film of celebrities arriving at Miami airport.
      Foxconn con? President Trump recently trumpeted news that Foxconn, the Taiwanese firm best known for its iPhone factories in China, will open a plant in Wisconsin. But Foxconn once made a similar claim about Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. That factory, announced in 2013, never materialized. -- Joe Brancatelli


This column is Copyright © 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.