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Review: Seattle Airport Marriott During COVID-19

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In a nutshell: the Seattle Airport Marriott offers very comfortable rooms within easy access of the airport and consistent shuttle. The downsides are that the lounge is not currently operating and the restaurant breakfast is a bit sub-par during COVID-19. 

At the end of August I took a quick trip to Istanbul, Turkey. The outbound required an overnight in Seattle, though. I was looking to fly an Airbus A340 before Lufthansa potentially retires all of theirs. It was an unfortunate that I needed to overnight, but this was honestly the easiest option with an evening departure out of my local airport.

There are a number of good hotels very close to Seattle Airport. I’ve previously stayed at the Hilton, and almost booked it again. However, the Seattle Airport Marriott had a good package rate that included breakfast and still rang in less than the Hilton down the street. The stay came to $123.39 after taxes and earned me a total of 4,584 Bonvoy points which I value at ~$41, thanks to the current Marriott promotion. Hard to beat 33% back.

Arriving at the Seattle Airport Marriott

My flight into Seattle landed pretty late. The Seattle Airport Marriott operates a shuttle, but I decided to make the walk from the terminal. This is how I’d gotten to the Hilton before. Without much luggage, it’s pretty easy and a nice stretch of the legs after being on a plane for a couple hours.

However, the Marriott is further up the hill and a bit more of a trek. I would definitely suggest taking the shuttle, which is what I did when returning to the airport the next day. It operates every 20 minutes, and you do not need a reservation.

Check-in was quick and easy. There were a couple other people in the lobby checking in, and several in the restaurant still. Social distancing standards were being maintained in the lobby, and there were plastic divider up in front of the front desk staff. Everyone I saw was wearing a face covering, except for people seated in the restaurant.

The rate I’d booked was the concierge rate, which would have included lounge access. This was oddly barely more expensive that the cheapest Advance Purchase rate, and totally worth the few dollar upcharge. In lieu of lounge access, the hotel provided a voucher for the restaurant. You could select either breakfast or evening hors d’oeuvres, which doesn’t seem quite enough, as the lounge would normally give you access to both.

King Room

I’d booked a standard king room, and this is what I was given for my one-night stay. I used to have Marriott Titanium elite status, but this was reduced to Gold for 2020. An upgrade was not expected nor granted. Even with a few nights and the extra nights, I don’t think I’ll land higher than Gold for 2021.

The room was very comfortable and stylish. It had a corner sofa, well-lit work desk, and

I really liked the style of the lamps next to the bed. There were plenty of easy-access power outlets as well, which is a necessary feature in the 21st century.

I spent the early morning working at the desk, even making myself a cup of in-room coffee. I generally avoid it, unless it’s an upscale Nespresso machine. I’m not an advocate for single-pod coffee, except in hotels.

The bathroom was very nice as well, with a tiled shower. There is no bathtub in the room.

My view was of the trees lining the street. There’s not anything to see around the airport or any sort of airport view. I’ll definitely splurge for a nice airport view, when possible. Our stay at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront came to mind during the stay, where my older kids and I watched plane after plane land at SFO from our executive suite.

Breakfast

As I mentioned, the concierge rate included a breakfast voucher. The offering for the complimentary breakfast is pretty limited. You can choose between an All American breakfast or a daily special that changes based on the day of the week. There is a limited menu for purchase as well. I’m not sure if these are the normal restaurant offerings, or if things are different during COVID-19. I really would have preferred the egg white frittata, but I went with the All American breakfast. 

Pretty standard fare. The bacon and eggs were good, but the potatoes could have been better. I’m glad it was essentially free. The server was nice, but rather inattentive aside from taking my order and bringing me the food. I had to flag her down for more coffee. All the restaurant staff wore face coverings. The restaurant is the one place they aren’t required in the hotel, once you’re seated.

The restaurant space is fairly nice. There were only 4 or 5 other people during breakfast. Some tables were not being used so that the restaurant could offer proper social distancing. the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

General Hotel and Facilities

The Seattle Airport Marriott has a large atrium area with seating, a fountain, and indoor plants. There wasn’t anything going on, obviously, during the pandemic. The hotel has other event space as well, with enough capacity for 800 people. At the time, it was super quiet and likely will continue to be until more restrictions are lifted.

The Seattle Airport Marriott does have a fitness center. This was open, but you have to wear a face mask. I can’t imagine trying to exercise with a mask on, and I typically avoid hotel fitness centers anyway, so this wasn’t even on the radar.

One final weird note: the hallways were cold. Ice cold. I usually keep the room thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees, and the hallway could have been a full 10 degrees colder. Seriously. Luckily you don’t spend long out there. The rest of the public spaces were fine.

Final Thoughts on the Seattle Airport Marriott

The Seattle Airport Marriott is a fine choice if you have to overnight near SeaTac Airport. The rooms are very comfortable and I slept great on my quick overnight. Breakfast is pretty meh, but I couldn’t complain for what I paid. The hotel had some guests, even though it did not appear especially busy during the travel downturn that COVID-19 has caused. I’d happily stay here again the future, especially for the rate the hotel was asking. The one thing I would not do again is make the walk to the hotel from the airport. The Seattle Airport Marriott is just a little too far.

By: Family Flys Free
Title: Review: Seattle Airport Marriott During COVID-19
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/seattle-airport-marriott-review-covid-19/
Published Date: Sun, 04 Oct 2020 14:08:19 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?

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People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/ansett-airlines-inflight-bar-menu/
Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?

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The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/science/shrimp-parade-thailand.html
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?

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There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.



Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/aer-lingus-manchester/
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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