Great Moments in Travel History – December 2017

by Jesse Sokolow

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 survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake only to be consumed by the fires in the quake’s aftermath, reopened its doors on December 19, 1909.
The Boeing Airplane Co. B-1 mail plane, the first Boeing-designed commercial aircraft, made its first flight on December 27, 1919.
The Drake Hotel …

Review and Test Drive: 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

by Paul Riegler

The original Fiat 500 or Cinquecento, known for its appearances in multiple films including “The Italian Job,” was a rear-engine four-seat city car manufactured by the Italian automaker from 1957 to 1975. On its 50th anniversary in 2007, Fiat introduced a new 500 whose design was clearly inspired by the beloved original, this time as a somewhat larger front-engine, front-wheel drive vehicle.
The tiny 2017 Fiat 500 is offered in three …

Auto Industry Debuts Multiple New Vehicles with Apple CarPlay at LA Show

by Paul Riegler

The Los Angeles Auto Show returned to the Convention Center and many automakers took advantage of the post-Thanksgiving event to introduce multiple new vehicles that will be available with Apple CarPlay, Apple’s in-vehicle touch-based display interface that functions as an extension of a driver’s iPhone.
Virtually every car manufacturer offers select vehicles that support CarPlay, including Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Lincoln, …

American Airlines Flagship First New York-San Francisco – Flight Review

by Anna Breuer

My first flight since joining Frequent Business Traveler was to be a good one: New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to San Francisco in American Airlines’ recently rebranded Flagship First. Our exalted editorial director graciously allowed me to fly in his usual seat, 1A, since he was not going on the flight anyway and there I was, going through the PreCheck line at JFK.
The line for PreCheck was moving surprisingly …

The Sisyphean Task of Designing a Faster and Better Boarding Process

by Paul Riegler

The holy grail for airlines is to speed up boarding. Unlike deplaning, which tends to be fairly orderly albeit slow, boarding is an intrinsically slow process, somewhat akin to herding cats. With people traveling together who cannot be separated for even several moments, language barriers, people running late, people focusing on their mobile devices instead of getting seated, much about the boarding process will never change. In addition, for some …

Theater Review: “Annie” at Paper Mill Playhouse

by Jonathan Spira

Everyone’s favorite orphan is back. It’s almost as hard to resist staging it as it is to resist seeing it, and the 1977 Tony-award winning megahit is once again at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
Led by Tony winner Beth Leavel as a disheveled and inebriated Miss Hannigan and a sonorous Christopher Sieber as Daddy Warbucks, “Annie” opened Sunday night with the talented young Cassidy Pry (alternating with Peyton Ella) as the redheaded …

A Conversation with Max Vernon, Playwright and Performer, Creator of ‘The View UpStairs’

by Jonathan Spira

One of the most moving and powerful musicals of the past season was “The View Upstairs,” which ran for 105 performances Off-Broadway at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre. Written by Max Vernon, it tells the story of a contemporary man who finds himself back in 1973 immediately before the anti-gay carnage that was the fire bombing of UpStairs, a bar in New Orleans, and received a surfeit of awards and nominations. …