Delta made a power move to increase its transatlantic presence earlier this week, announcing that it will acquire an equity stake in Virgin Atlantic. Though Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson made it abundantly clear that his airline's brand and all of its hip trappings are not going anywhere (he even bet British Airways head Willie Walsh £1 million to that effect), the partnership does signal a significant shift in transatlantic alliances—one that has implications for Delta fliers.
More options into Europe. By gaining a strong foothold in London's notoriously tough-to-get-into Heathrow, Delta can now offer customers nine daily round-trip flights from the New York area to Heathrow, and 31 flights a day between North America and the United Kingdom. For the first time, Delta fliers can look to London (rather than, say, Amsterdam or Paris) as a viable European gateway. And they can get there in style via Virgin Atlantic's much-vaunted new Upper Class cabin.
Q: Why do I have to turn off my devices during takeoff and landing?
A: Electronics emit a variety of frequencies that can interfere with navigation systems. The problem is: no one is sure which devices pose a threat. Variations in aircraft and individual gadgets (a new device is different from one that’s taken some abuse) make each situation unique. For now, better safe than sorry.
Q: When—and how much—should I tip the hotel doorman?
A: Holding doors and hailing cabs warrant tips only when extra legwork is required. Give two dollars for a taxi found during rush hour or a storm, one dollar for each suitcase handled, and a fiver for doing both. But tip on the spot: belated thanks can end up in the wrong pocket.
Q: Any advice on how to spend my daylong layover in Rome? I’ve done the classics. —Ania Byczkowska, Chicago, Ill.
A: Sure—here’s a tour of some of our favorite hidden gems around the city.
9 a.m.: The Outdoor Print Market, on Largo Fontanella Borghese, peddles hard-to-find art books and vintage prints. Finish your shopping with a coffee at nearby Ciampini (29 Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina).
2 p.m.: Head to the unsung Palazzo Nuovo (part of the Capitoline Museums) on Piazza del Campidoglio, where hundreds of statues and busts are displayed in their original 17th-century home.
7 p.m.: Craft beer is having its moment in Rome, and Open Baladin(6 Via degli Specchi) has more than 40 domestic varieties on tap.
9 p.m.: Inside the historic Palazzo Cenci, Ae Pompiere(38 Via Santa Maria de’ Calderari;$$$) feels like a private club. A burnished wooden staircase leads to a suite of frescoed rooms where you can dine on carciofi alla giudea (fried artichokes) and the signature porchetta. Then swing by the new Eataly emporium (Piazzale XII Ottobre 1492)—open till midnight—to pick up Antonio Mattei biscotti for the plane.
The busiest travel days of the year are upon us. Aviation trade group Airlines 4 America, forecasts some 24 million people will fly during the Thanksgiving holidays, with planes reaching 90 percent capacity on the busiest days: today, Sunday, and Monday. Here, eight strategies for getting through the terminal without losing your patience—or your mind.
Travelers across the country had their plans disrupted by last week’s Super Storm Sandy. From being stranded in a powerless New York City, to getting stuck in airports far away from home, their plights yielded some lessons on how to prepare for disaster and what to do when it strikes. And travelers take note, these tips may be useful sooner than expected; a nor'easter is expected to hit the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic this week.
• Use an excellent travel agent, especially if your trip is particularly complicated or important. (See Travel + Leisure’s favorite agents here.) These travel experts can save you time, headaches, and heartache by taking care of all the rerouting and rebooking on your behalf.
Q: What do I do if I lose my passport in a foreign country? —Amy Lin, Bridgewater, N.J.
A: Start by contacting the closest U.S. consulate or embassy to report your lost passport and have it invalidated to prevent identity theft. Ask what time the office opens, then visit first thing in the morning to submit forms DS-11 and DS-64 (available at travel.state.gov) and a copy of your outbound itinerary. If your passport was your only form of documentation, an interview may be necessary to confirm your identity. After paying a $135 fee and a short wait, you’ll be issued either a new passport that is good for 10 years or a temporary one that expires after three months, which should get you home without completely ruining your vacation.
Q: Is it out of the question to travel to the Caribbean in October?
A: While the odds of a hurricane in the region increase in the fall, the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are hit much less frequently. To be extra safe, T+L A-List agent Scott Kertes suggests a cruise, since ships can steer away from inclement weather. And it doesn’t hurt to buy some travel insurance before packing your bags.
If you want to make absolutely sure that your tip is distributed evenly, follow this rule of thumb: leave $5 to $10 for each day in an envelope at the front desk. Note your room number and dates of stay on the envelope, and that you’d like it divided among all your housekeepers.
Have a travel dilemma? The trip doctor is in. Send your question to Amy at email@example.com.