Airplanes and wireless

There have been a lot of articles recently about wireless coming online in airplanes soon. I’m wondering if this is really the kind of amenity that airline passengers long for. I’m guessing it will be slow (streamed via “picocell” networks), expensive (like those air phones), and irritating (that guy in the next seat on a 3 hour conference call).

I’m curious, if you could choose a new amenity on your next flight, what would you want?

High flying style

I’ve often heard it said that if you want an upgrade or to be treated well while flying to dress the part. Most Hollywood actresses do when they travel. Sure, they know they’re going to have to run the flashbulb gauntlet as soon as they land at LAX, so they have to look good. My question to you is, what do you wear when you fly?

What’s it worth to ya?

The airlines spent a lot of time and money this holiday trying to market me. They sent excited e-mail messages saying that could I give airline gift cards to friends and family. Now I think that sending someone a gift card for airline tickets is like sending them a leaky bucket. I mean, a $50 gift card (and seriously, who’s going to spend more than that?!) isn’t going to go far in terms of paying off modern airfares. Besides they most likely won’t work on anything but full fare coach anyway.

So what I’m wondering is do you find giving gift cards for airline tickets a good idea? Personally, I’d rather buy someone an upgrade for a flight they’ve already booked. They’ll get a larger seat, better service, and perhaps, even, a meal!

Holiday travels or shall I say travails…

Staring down Thanksgiving Day I find myself thinking of holiday travel and thanking my lucky stars that I’m staying home this year. Last Christmas my husband and I flew via Denver to visit relatives at Christmas. It was just days after the complete meltdown of the Denver International Airport. Many people fared worse during the snowstorm than we did. Our airline found us a hotel (not a nice one, but it was clean), a meal (Christmas dinner in a truck stop anyone?) and alternative flights out the following morning (on another carrier, bye bye frequent flier miles). I was grateful for what they did, even if I had to wait an exhausting 8 hours in various lines to achieve what little comfort I could. Taking all this into account, I’m wondering are you looking forward to holiday travel or are you dreading it this year?

Fly the friendly skies

Have you noticed lately that your TSG agent seems to be in a better mood? On the last two business trips I took, I sure did. In Portland the agent was, dare I say, friendly. In Newark it was even weirder. I was wished, “A good trip” in a stark New York accent.

I find myself wondering has TSA finally grown up? In the six years since 9/11 we’ve all found TSA to be a necessary evil. They take our shoes, belts and our cosmetics all in the name of flight security. They wand us and watch us for any sign of dissent. They sometimes even yell (especially during holidays). Now it seems they are either learning to relax a bit and go with the flow or they are deep into a publicity campaign and trying to change their image. I can’t quite decide. What do you think?

What do you look for in a boutique hotel?

Ever since Starwood rolled out the W Hotels I have been a huge fan of the boutique revolution. I love high style, a great bar, and rooms with a simple yet elegant feel. When I bought my first home I found myself trying to recreate the experience. What I’ve since learned is that you really can live the brand. W Hotels online store allows you to take home all the things you love about the hotel right down to the Havaianas. You can even buy the bed!

Your list

There have been a lot of books recently discussing the places you must see before you die. My friend Franki over at Life in Venti Cup has recently posted her short list of places she must travel to before departing this earth. Even Travel & Leisure has published their “super travel agents” dream trips. I’m curious to hear what’s on your lists.

Here are some trips I long to take:

– Sail down the Nile in a felucca
– Drive the Amalfi Coast (in a convertible of course!)
– Take the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul
– Walk in Volcanos State Park on Hawaii’s Big Island
– Stay in an overwater hut in Bora Bora, Seychelles or Maldives
– Travel to Tallinn, Estonia
– Hike or bike in Bryce Canyon, see Zion and Arches National Parks
– Sail up the Dalmatian Coast
– Tour the walled city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Sea

Welcome to Instant Native – Travel blog

Like Madonna, every once in a while you just have to reinvent yourself. I find that I’m ready for a change. About a year ago I left my cushy corporate job looking for a new challenge. I’ve spent the past few months following a passion of mine. Travel. I love doing it, planning it, dreaming about it. It’s an obsession for me. Vacation is more than just plane tickets and hotels, it’s the chance to sample another lifestyle, see new countries and meet interesting people. I’d love to share my joy of travel, and have decided to move my website in that direction. So welcome to the new Instant Native. I hope you like it!