by Paul Riegler

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a frequent flyer. Indeed, air travel is the most efficient and convenient means of getting from point A to point B.
However, both air travel and the airlines are far from perfect and that’s where the AirTravel2016 survey comes in.
Here is your opportunity to rate the airlines you fly on the most and to provide direct feedback in the form of comments and suggestions for …

25 Years Ago: Pan Am, A Cultural Icon, Stops Flying

by Jonathan Spira

Pan Am, the nation’s unofficial flag carrier and a cultural icon, ceased operations on Wednesday (December 4) after what could only be described as a tumultuous decade both for both the airline and the airline industry. It was the second major U.S. airline to cease operations in 1991.
Had Frequent Business Traveler existed 25 years ago, that text would have been the lead paragraph of the top news story of the …

Lobby Bar – December 2: Emotions Not Included, Carry-on Lounges, Luxury Carbs, and Potato Power

by Jeremy Del Nero

A Cunning Collection of FBT News and Views
Doggy bags. Jonathan Spira checks out United’s first Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport an hour before anybody else had the chance to enter. The rest of the guests were slightly confused when they arrived as they could see none of the food that was promised to them. Then, they noticed in a corner our beloved editorial director with a smug look …

The Official Guide to the Best Christmas Markets in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom

by Christian Stampfer
Munich's Rathaus, the site of its largest Christkindlmarkt

MUNICH—From mid-November until Christmas Eve, Christmas markets can be found in every major city and town in many European countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Today’s markets have their origins in Vienna’s December Market, which dates back to 1294, and which was followed by Christmas markets in Munich in 1310, Bautzen in 1384, and Frankfurt in 1393.
The smells of a Christkindlmarkt are addictive: Glühwein (spiced wine), scented candles, …

Review: United’s First Polaris Lounge, Chicago O’Hare International Airport

by Jonathan Spira
The lounge's rather tasty granola is made with quinoa

In advance of its first-ever Polaris Lounge’s formal opening the following day, United Airlines held a media preview on Wednesday.
Located in Terminal 1, Concourse C at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the cavernous lounge (it’s 12,782 square feet or 1,187 square meters) will be open to passengers traveling in the airline’s Polaris cabin starting December 1.
Polaris, also known as the North Star, is the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa …

Great Moments in Travel History – December 2016

by Jesse Sokolow

George Cayley was born on December 27, 1773. With his work on aeronautical engineering and fixed-wing flying machines, as well as the fact that he designed the first glider in history to carry a human, he is regarded by many to be the father of aviation.
The Wright Brothers made the first powered controlled flight, in a heavier-than-air craft, on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The Palace Hotel, which …

Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa, Palm Springs, California – Hotel Review

by Jonathan Spira
IMG_6192 (1)

It was love at first sight and the most unexpected encounter I’ve ever had at a hotel. Sally, a Chihuahua mix, was living large in the reception area of the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa, looking for a guest to adopt as part of the hotel’s pet adoption program.
Sally let me take her for a walk around the property’s beautiful grounds and it was clear that we enjoyed …

The Smart Travelers Guide to Using Your Smartphone Abroad

by Paul Riegler
Alter Botanischer Garten, Munich

Using your mobile phone or smartphone abroad requires
a.) A local SIM
b.) Wi-Fi Connectivity
c.) Outrageous data roaming fees
d.) None of the above
If you chose “d, none of the above” you probably don’t need to read the rest of this article. Otherwise, please continue.
While many travelers fantasize about disconnecting from the digital world while relaxing on a trip, the reality is that most have come to rely on the devices for everything …