WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting Thursday with the CEO’s of the major American air carriers asking them the steps the companies were taking as thousands of flights were being cancelled or delayed prior to the holiday weekend.
On Friday, the Secretary’s flight to New York City from Washington D.C. was cancelled and he ended up making the approximately four to six hours drive instead.
According to the Department of Homeland Security ‘s TSA, thousands of flights wound up cancelled and delayed during the Juneteenth and Father’s Day holiday weekend, which included the busiest air travel day of the year on Friday post pandemic exceeding the previous numbers of Americans taking flight over the Memorial Day weekend.
The tracking platform FlightAware reported that more than 6,300 flights were delayed within, into or leaving the U.S. on Saturday, and 859 flights were cancelled. As of Sunday morning, more than 1,000 flights within, into or leaving the U.S. had been delayed and more than 700 flights had been cancelled, according to FlightAware.
In a Saturday interview with the Associated Press, Secretary Buttigieg said he is pushing the airlines to stress-test their summer schedules to ensure they can operate all their planned flights with the employees they have, and to add customer-service workers. That could put pressure on airlines to make additional cuts in their summer schedules.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says he’s pushing airlines to hire more customer-service agents and take other steps to avoid travel woes this summer. Buttigieg wants the airlines to stress-test their schedules amid a spate of flight cancellations. https://t.co/F7Nqu30DRn— The Associated Press (@AP) June 19, 2022
“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press.
New for @NBCNews: Holiday weekend sees massive amount of flight cancellations— Julianne McShane (@JulianneMcShane) June 19, 2022
As of Sunday morning, more than 1,000 flights within, into or leaving the U.S. had been delayed and more than 700 flights had been cancelled, according to FlightAware.https://t.co/5WVGYLS79w
RELATED: Airlines Under Pressure With Soaring Summer Passenger Levels And Pilot Exhaustion:
Southwest Air scrubs all SoCal departures, DOT investigating
Departing flights from LA area airports cancelled until Dec. 31. It was unclear if arriving Southern California flights were also affected
BURBANK – The travel delays and cancellations created by the epic winter storm that gripped the nation over the Christmas holiday period forced Southwest Airlines yesterday to have canceled more than 2,600 flights, roughly 66% of its schedule, according to FlightAware.com. Another 18% were delayed.
Today the airline abruptly canceled all departing flights from Los Angeles area airports until Dec. 31, also included are departures from San Diego. It was unclear if arriving Southern California flights were also affected.
The airline’s website lists all departures out of LAX, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Ontario International Airport and the John Wayne Airport as “unavailable” until New Year’s Eve.
Adding to the company’s woes customer service has apparently imploded leaving travelers with no information and in some cases no options. ABC News affiliate in Indianapolis WRTV-6’s Investigative Reporter Kara Kenney noted on Monday: “Southwest Airlines has canceled thousands of flights across the country including mine. I spent more than 2 hours on hold and can’t get through. I’m assuming it’s a staffing issue and/or pilot hours impact from the winter storm. Regardless, I’m not a happy camper.
If an airline cancels your flight, or if there’s a “significant delay,” you’re entitled to a refund if you choose not to travel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Whether you are entitled to a refund for a delay depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances, according to the DOT.
Tuesday morning CNN reported more than 2,845 flights within, into or out of the US have already been canceled for Tuesday as of 6:15 a.m. ET, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. Of those canceled flights, 2,509 are operated by Southwest.
Tuesday’s cancellations follow a full day of post-Christmas travel chaos, with 3,989 flights canceled on Monday — 2,909 of those being Southwest flights.
Dallas Love Field Tuesday was packed with stranded Southwest passengers according to Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA-8’s reporter Malini Basu:
Dallas Love Field Tuesday:— Malini Basu (@MaliniBasu_) December 27, 2022
As of right now, 2645 flights canceled, that’s 63% of all Southwest flights, according to flight aware.
Crews are doing the best they can. Union rep.: “they use old methodology,antiquated systems that couldn’t keep up with the notifications. @wfaa pic.twitter.com/jbBgAcTViZ
The United States Department of Transportation is now investigating Southwest Airlines for this major travel fiasco. USDOT said it will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan. Currently, 70% of flight cancelations today are from Southwest Airlines.
You can read Southwest’s customer service plan here: https://t.co/2vmG9v9nK5— TransportationGov (@USDOT) December 27, 2022
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also said he was monitoring the situation closely.
I’m tracking closely & will have more to say about this tomorrow. https://t.co/qIRh9ymusT— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) December 27, 2022
Southwest cancels most departing SoCal flights:
Christmas storm continues to disrupt travel, 45+ deaths reported
Flight Aware reported flight delays as of noon Eastern were around 13,711 with cancelled flights reported at 4,405
LOS ANGELES – The winter storm, labeled as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ weather event estimated to be 2,000 miles wide, that produced driving snow and plummeting temperatures, and was responsible for knocking out power from Texas to Maine continues to disrupt the nation’s holiday travel.
Flight Aware reported flight delays as of noon Eastern were around 13,711 with cancelled flights reported at 4,405. International travel was disrupted with total delays within, into, or out of the United States Monday at 4,679 and cancellations at 2,708.
The Associated Press reported the storm that produced blizzard conditions that paralyzed the Buffalo, New York area and much of the country left a death toll so far of 27 in western New York authorities said Monday as the region dug out from one of the worst weather-related disasters in its history.
The dead have been found in their cars, homes and in snowbanks. Some died while shoveling snow. The storm is now blamed for at least 48 deaths nationwide, with rescue and recovery efforts continuing Monday.
BREAKING: The death toll from a pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the Buffalo area and much of the country has risen to 27 in western New York, authorities said, as the U.S. death toll from the storm rises to at least 48. https://t.co/SX2TvCFzsN— The Associated Press (@AP) December 26, 2022
Temperatures across the United States continue to be life-threatening cold.
Over 2K flights cancelled & travel disruptions as major storm hits
Forecasters are warning that this ‘Once In A Generation’ Winter Storm For Christmas’ will create record delays and cancellations
CHICAGO – As flights out of are canceled Thursday out of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports along with other major hubs including Denver International, forecasters are warning that this ‘Once In A Generation’ Winter Storm For Christmas’ will create record delays and cancellations.
The National Weather Service has issued an alert for a “a multitude of weather hazards through early this weekend, as heavy snowfall, strong winds, and dangerously cold temperatures.”
More than 1,250 flights have been canceled on Thursday and another 700 nixed on Friday, according to data from FlightAware, an app that provides real-time, historical, and predictive flight tracking data Forbes reported Thursday morning.
Prior to attending a briefing on the winter storm impacting the U.S., President Joe Biden said in remarks made in the Oval Office Thursday:
“Okay, this is going to be brief, folks.
The storm — extreme cold weather — you can see it on the map the estimated areas where they’re at the — you know, as low as 50 degrees; where it’s that dark red, it’s below zero. You know, it’s dangerous and threatening. This is really a very serious weather alert here. And it goes from Oklahoma all the way to Wyoming, and Wyoming to Maine. And it’s of real consequence.
So I encourage everyone — everyone, please heed the local warnings. We’ve contacted — we’ve tried to contact 26 governors so far in affected regions.
And — and go to Weather.gov — Weather.gov for more information.
And I know this is — you know, it’s like — this is not like a snow day, you know, when you were a kid; this is serious stuff.
And my team is prepared to help communities weather this — no pun intended — this storm, this — this freeze, and — because we need to cope. They need to be able to cope if it’s necessary.
I’m going to, shortly, be briefed by — by both FEMA and the National Weather Service, and we’re going to start that briefing.
And — but in the meantime, please take this storm extremely seriously. And I don’t know whether your bosses will let you, but if you all have travel plans, leave now. Not — not a joke. I’m tell- — sending my staff — my staff, if they have plans to leave on — tomorrow — late tonight or tomorrow, I’m telling them to leave now. They can talk to me on the phone. It’s not life and death. But it will be if they don’t — if they don’t get out, they may not get out.
So, any rate, thank you all for coming in, and I’m going to do the briefing now. Thank you.”
More than 100 million Americans are under a winter weather alert as an arctic blast brings life-threatening cold to parts of the country, causing travel chaos just days before Christmas.
The National Weather Service reported that temperatures across the central High Plains plummeted 50 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few hours. In much of the country, the Christmas weekend could be the coldest in decades.
The frigid air will move through the central United States to the east, with windchill advisories affecting about 135 million people over the coming days, weather service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook told the Associated Press Thursday.
Forecasters are expecting a bomb cyclone — when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm — to develop near the Great Lakes, which will increase winds and create blizzard conditions, Cook said.
By Saturday, much of the country will have one thing in common: We’ll all be freezing 🥶— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) December 22, 2022
What’s the COLDEST temperature you’ve ever been in? pic.twitter.com/uzFFylACqG
NBC News’ Julia Jester breaks down how airlines are helping passengers with flight delays and cancellations and what travelers can expect on the roads ahead of the holidays:
Sydney WorldPride just 3 months away – & the time to book is now
The massive LGBTQ+ gathering will mark multiple important firsts and anniversaries, including the first WorldPride in the Southern Hemisphere
The global Pride extravaganza known as WorldPride is heading down under to Sydney, Australia in less than three months, and the scramble is on to secure the best flights, accommodations, and tickets to the enormous 17-day celebration. More than three hundred events will take place over the full WorldPride calendar, which spans February 17 to March 5 and includes a star-studded Live and Proud opening concert set for February 24, headlined by iconic native Aussie pop darling Kylie Minogue and British superstar Charli XCX.
The massive LGBTQ+ gathering will mark multiple important firsts and anniversaries, including the first WorldPride in the Southern Hemisphere, the 50th anniversary of the first Pride Week in Australia, the 45th anniversary of Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, and the 5th year anniversary of Australian marriage equality.
With travel demand already high for this once-in-a-lifetime event, Sydney WorldPride organizers are urging international visitors to book their voyages as soon as possible, ideally through an official approved travel provider to ensure access to genuine WorldPride event tickets. For a limited time, these travel agents will have access to an exclusive allotment of tickets to sold-out events, which they can bundle with flight and accommodation packages to make for a more streamlined and less expensive WorldPride experience.
Approved providers for American travelers include Down Under Answers, which has two complete travel packages on offer, a Sensational Sydney bundle that includes seven hotel nights in Sydney, and an Absolutely Fabulous WorldPride Sydney package that expands to ten nights. Both include round trip airfare from Los Angeles.
Out of Office is offering a variety of WorldPride packages with Australian travel add-ons to places like Hunter Valley in New South Wales’s wine country and to the legendary natural wonder Uluru (also called Ayers Rock) in Central Australia.
For those who may want to book their Sydney flights and accommodations on their own, Planetdwellers has a package that includes tickets to the four most coveted WorldPride events (the Live and Proud opening concert, the 10,000-person circuit event Domain Dance Party, the 12,000-human Bondi Beach Party, and the seven-hour closing concert Rainbow Republic), plus two days tours to the Blue Mountains, the South Coast, or Hunter Valley.
Goway is offering separate packages for the first and second weeks of WorldPride events, as well as an extended 12-day trip that includes special roundtrip Pride flights from San Francisco to Sydney and an additional visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
StudentUniverse has a booking portal on its website for a variety of flights combinations and Sydney hotels. After booking those by November 30, travelers will have access to purchase exclusive tickets to WorldPride’s main events, some of which are already sold out.
Los Angeles travelers will have the unique chance to get their Sydney WorldPride party started even before boarding the plane. Australian air carrier Qantas is offering a special Pride is in the Air flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on February 22, which includes pre-flight entertainment for all passengers in the Qantas First Lounge, queer-themed inflight fun and entertainment, special edition “Rainbow Roo” pajamas, curated LGBTQ+ inflight movies and music, an exclusive menu designed by Australian chef Neil Perry, and a general admission ticket to the Live and Proud opening concert.
Beyond the myriad parties and concerts that will be taking place during Sydney WorldPride, a dizzyingly diverse lineup of other happenings is also in store, including a WorldPride Arts program with nearly 70 events (some 50 of which will be world premieres), a WorldPride Sports program with 17 different sports, and the largest LGBTQIA+ human rights conference ever held in the Asia-Pacific region.
Sydney WorldPride will mark the eighth incarnation of the international event, and the first since the pandemic-challenged WorldPride 2021, which was jointly hosted by Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden.
Triple A: Survey indicates travel will be popular beyond Labor Day
Auto Club research shows some people saved money this summer & many plan trips this Fall as gas prices continue to trend downward
LOS ANGELES – Labor Day marks the end of summer road trips and vacations, however, a new Auto Club survey shows many people will continue to travel during the autumn months. The online survey, which was conducted across the United States in early August, showed gas prices and inflation did have an impact on some travelers’ plans this summer.
According to the survey, 66% said they traveled less this summer than they typically would, and 80% said they made cutbacks to save money, with those between the ages of 18 to 34-years-old cutting back the most.
The top areas where consumers saved included:
- Non-grocery shopping (clothing, electronics, etc.) – 49%
- Driving – 44%
- Going to movies – 36%
- Flying – 29%
- Other recreational activities (sporting events, concerts, theater, etc.) – 29%
According to the Auto Club’s late summer survey, about 32% of Americans will travel for Labor Day weekend. Of those who plan to travel, the vast majority (82%) will go by automobile. According to Auto Club travel advisors, the top destinations for hotel, cruise and tour bookings for Southern Californians are:
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- Fort Lauderdale
“More international destinations are open to travelers without COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements,” said Heather Felix, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products & services. “Right now, travelers can find some great deals for future travel, especially on cruises. For those who want to travel in the fall, the best advice is to get those plans in place as soon as possible due to the pent up demand, work with a reputable travel advisor who is aware of the requirements where you want to go, and consider travel insurance that would cover trip interruptions.”
Auto Club To Rescue More Than 58,000 SoCal Drivers This Labor Day
The Auto Club anticipates coming to the roadside rescue of 58,788 stranded drivers from Thursday, September 1 through Monday, September 5. To avoid a breakdown on a road trip, the Auto Club recommends drivers inspect tires, batteries, belts, hoses and fluid levels, or have vehicles inspected by a trusted mechanic, like the ones at a AAA-Approved Auto Repair facility. For those planning road trips, the Auto Club reminds drivers to make traffic safety a priority. Drivers are urged to get at least 7 hours of sleep before a long journey, make sure everyone is buckled up, obey speed limits, and “Don’t Drive Intoxciated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.”
Travelers Planning To Enjoy Cooler Weather And Fall Leaves
The recent Auto Club survey found that most respondents are planning trips this autumn. According to those polled, this fall:
- 73% plan to take a leisure trip after Labor Day
- 52% will take a road trip
- 30% will fly somewhere
- 7% will take a cruise
According to the survey, the most popular international cruises this fall will be voyages to destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and Mexico.
Auto Club Offers Tips To Keep The Friendly Skies Friendly
For those who are flying somewhere for the long Labor Day weekend or this fall, the Auto Club recommends travelers:
- Work with a reputable travel advisor who can be your advocate while you are away
- Download and use airline apps to get boarding passes, track bags and receive flight updates
- Travel at least a day before important events, such as weddings, funerals, cruises or international connections
- Book early morning flights because they are less prone to delays and cancellations
- Get to the airport extra early and schedule longer layovers – a one hour layover may not be enough time to make a connection these days
- If you must sit with friends or family members, consider fares that allow you to choose your seats
- Consider purchasing travel insurance
- Pack smart so you don’t holdup the boarding process trying to fit carry-ons into overhead luggage bins
- Remain kind, patient and courteous with airline and airport staff as well as with other passengers
3 LGBTQ-friendly cities to visit this fall
San Francisco, Chicago, and Palm Springs beckon with nightlife, food, charm
It’s late July and that means you’re running out of time to plan a summer vacation — but the time is perfect to plan a fall getaway. Here are three LGBTQ-friendly options to consider with abundant nightlife, culinary delights, and cultural attractions.
Chicago makes for a perfect fall vacation. Festivals, biking along the lake or walking the Kathy Osterman (Hollywood) Beach (the queer beach) in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood are all great options. The gayborhood, Boystown has been re-christened as “Northalsted” to promote inclusion. You will find most of the bars and gay businesses on Halsted Street.
I always stay at the Hotel Versey (644 W. Diversey Parkway) near the Diversey Brown Line (at the intersection of Clark/Broadway/Diversey) just south of the gayborhood. The rooms are also full of murals featuring local attractions and parking is just $20 for your entire stay at the garage next door (Century Shopping Center), which also features a LA Fitness free to use for hotel guests. Book directly at HotelVersey.com to save. Weekday rates are reasonable and the weekend rates are also better than anything you will find downtown. Plus, you can walk to the bars or just enjoy the many nearby shops and restaurants. There is even a Trader Joe’s across the street and just west of there is the new Dom’s Kitchen and Market (2730 N. Halstead St.).
Just steps away from the hotel is my favorite Italian restaurant, which will sell you a slice of their amazing pizza, Renaldi’s Pizza (2827 N. Broadway) is a local favorite. Try the Spingione Sausage Pizza.
Farther up Broadway you will find Unabridged Books (3521 N. Broadway), one of the last remaining independent bookstores that features a wide array of LGBTQ titles. They have been around since 1980 and are still going strong. Broadway features loads of independent shops and restaurants and is a fun way to spend the day. Don’t miss Cram Fashion at 3331 N. Broadway. Grab a salad or enjoy a glass of wine at Mariano’s.
Bring your appetite for the new nearby Dom’s Kitchen and Market (2730 N. Halsted Street) where every kind of food is available freshly prepared. If you need anything, you will find the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 2844 N. Broadway. Next door to the Hotel Versey you will find Stan’s Donuts, a local favorite that also has grilled cheese and cookies.
Other hotel options in the neighborhood include the Best Western Hawthorn Terrace and The Willows.
All are just steps to the Lakeshore Path, which runs along nearby Lake Michigan.
Bargain hunters will also love the Heart of Chicago Motel near the Andersonville neighborhood farther north and features free parking.
Hop on the L or the CTA bus for a trip to the Loop to experience the incredible Chicago architecture.
Walk along the new Riverwalk and then head up Michigan Avenue, which features the best shopping in the Midwest.
Enjoy the buildings. My favorite is the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue near the Chicago River. Even the new buildings are stunning. Chicago does have the best architecture of any city on the planet.
Millennium Park in the loop is a must. The Shedd Aquarium is also recommended. Navy Pier has a Ferris wheel.
For nightlife, make your first stop to Sidetracks (3349 N. Halsted), America’s biggest and oldest video bar.
The famous Sunday afternoon showtunes now happen on Mondays and Fridays as well. Don’t miss the rooftop bar. There is something going on every night. You can’t beat this mega video bar institution.
Many other LGBTQ bars are nearby. The North End at 3733 N. Halsted is a sports bar. The Lucky Horsehoe features adult entertainment. Charlie’s is a western themed bar. Just north of Andersonville, you will find Touche and Jackhammer on North Clark, which are popular with the leather crowd.
Chicago is a major hub for all transportation types with both O’Hare and Midway Airports as options. Southwest has a hub in Midway Airport. Hop on the Orange Line for a quick ride in.
For more information, visit GrabChicago.com (or pick up a copy). GRAB Magazine is Chicago’s only remaining in print LGBTQ magazine. Check the maps at the back of the magazine on where to find the bars, restaurants, and other LGBTQ businesses. The Chicago Reader is the biweekly alternative publication.
You will be amazed at everything Chicago has to offer. It is the Paris of the Midwest and arguably one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the world. Just ask lesbian Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.
#2: PALM SPRINGS
There’s always something new to give you another reason to visit Palm Springs besides the great winter weather. My most recent visit included a stop at the hottest new restaurant in town, Bar Cecil, a stop at the aviation themed speakeasy Air Bar at Bouschet, and a trip up the tram for a hike in the San Jacinto mountains.
Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto and enjoy a hike (or snow shoeing) in the alpine meadows. The 10-minute trip on the world’s largest rotating tram car takes just 10 minutes to ascend 8,500 feet from the base of Chino Canyon to the top of Mount San Jacinto where breathtaking views and pristine alpine wilderness await. Take a short hike in the Long Valley or visit the Winter Adventure Center. Details at pstramway.com. Other ideas:
• Hike on the North Lykken Trail at the end of Ramon Road. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water.
• Explore the new Heritage Galleries and Antique District in Uptown.
• Visit the Palm Springs Air Museum to see the world’s largest collection of flyable World War 2 aircraft.
• Check out the new city park downtown and the oversize statute of Marilyn Monroe.
Arenas Road downtown features most of the bars. Enjoy happy hour at Quads. The new speakeasy, AirBar, is a must. Enjoy cocktails while you sit on First Class seats from Northwest Orient or enjoy coach seating on what appears to be old Southwest Airlines seats (complete with seat belts) served by a bartender dressed like a pilot. This aviation themed bar is inside Bouschet. Don’t miss the wine tastings, the Saturday night flight, and the Sunday disco and boozy Bruch. However, unlike airline travel, lunch and dinner are served (or available for purchase). Details at pspairbar.com.
Good choices for lodging include the Hotel Zoso, the Holliday House, and The Rowan by Kimpton. The Margaritaville Resort reportedly has the largest pool. But check the resort fees before you book. They can be $47 a day. Another great option is the Santiago.
Ristretto is great for coffee and breakfast. Lulu’s downtown has great quesadillas. The trout at the Eight4Nine Restaurant is to die for. El Mirasol has great Mexican food. The new Bar Cecil (restaurant) is a must. If you cannot get reservations, arrive early and sit at the bar. Vegetarians and juice lovers will want to try Nature’s Health Food and Café.
As for getting there, beware of the new hassles of traveling. American cancelled my outbound flight (staffing shortage?) so I ended up on Southwest. You don’t need a car if you stay in one of the downtown hotels. Also, save by taking the SunLine Bus to your hotel using the stop just outside the airport. It is just $1.
The Film Festival runs Jan. 6-17 while the Modernism week starts in mid-February.
For more information go to the Visit Palm Springs website, visit GreaterPS.com.
You can also read or pick up a copy of GED Magazine (GEDMag.com), Rage Magazine, or the Coachella Valley Independent for a current list of happenings. The Desert Daily Guide is another great resource.
You won’t run out of new and fun things to do in this desert LGBTQ+ oasis, which is always re-inventing itself and always a delight to visit.
#3: SAN FRANCISCO
No sooner had I stepped off my Southwest Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) than I was in a LGBTQ history exhibit like no other.
The new Harvey Milk Terminal (aka Terminal One), which has been open less than a year at SFO, showcases the life of former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. Milk was an LGBTQ political trailblazer in so many respects. He was the first openly gay individual elected to office in California (in 1977) and served just 11 months before being murdered by another Supervisor, Dan White who also assassinated Mayor George Moscone. The amazing life of one of the nation’s first openly LGBTQ politicians is showcased in a half mile exhibit as you walk down the new terminal named in his honor. The terminal exhibit alone is worth a visit to the City by the Bay.
I always stay at Beck’s Motor Lodge near the Castro right on Market Street. Shops and restaurants are nearby and the rates are reasonable. It is also out of the touristy areas and in the heart of the gayborhood. They have free parking but you won’t need a car. Other options nearby include the Parker Guest House and The Willows.
A walk along Castro Street is another history lesson with famous LGBTQ folks embedded in gold sidewalk displays. Learn about the lives of LGBTQ legends, many from the Bay Area. The city was and is a magnet for LGBTQ folks and is still cutting edge today.
San Francisco safe outdoor hiking options abound. From my motel (Becks Motor Lodge) you can hike up to Buena Vista Park for great views of the Bay Area and Twin Peaks.
Then hike over to Corona Heights for more great views of the City by the Bay (with lunch at the Josesphine Café at the Randall Museum). A hike up to Twin Peaks is another option from the Castro.
A bit farther is the amazing Golden Gate Park and the beaches on the Pacific Ocean.
We took BART from 24th/Mission down to the Embarcadero. We stopped at Rincon Center with 1930 era murals of the history of California. Then we headed over to the Ferry Building for lunch and shopping.
Head over to the new rooftop gardens at the Salesforce Tower Transbay Transit Terminal, which features a display in the mile-long garden of the various types of ecosystems that thrive in the Mediterranean climate of this amazing state. Don’t miss the redwood garden.
A walk thought the Financial District up to Union Square is another must.
If you have a car, try Edgewood County Park on the Peninsula just down I-280 south of the City on the world’s most beautiful freeway (really).
The bars are open in the Castro Street neighborhood and include The Lookout (3600 16th St. at Market), which has a great deck overlooking the street scene.
Twin Peaks Tavern at Market and Castro (401 Castro) bills itself as the Gateway to the Castro and features Irish Coffee and drink specials. It also has outdoor seating and great views of the street action. Hi Tops at 2247 Market is another fun sports bar with outdoor seating.
Erics on Church Street (accessible via the J Church Metro Line) has great lunch specials. It is a Chinese restaurant with tasty home-cooked, healthful ingredients.
In nearby West Portal, enjoy Italian food at the amazing Spiazzo Restaurant. Try the salmon. (Catch the K or L line bus from the Castro.) West Portal also abounds with other options for dining.
Peet’s Coffee is across the street from Beck’s Motor Lodge is a great breakfast option for to go selections.
I took Southwest to SFO and flew back out of Oakland International Airport (OAK). Both are convenient options served by the BART transit system. Get a Clipper Card and you can also use it on the San Francisco bus system, Muni.
Check out the Bay Area Reporter (ebar.com or pick up a printed copy), which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Bay Times is the other local LGBTQ publication. Both are great sources for ideas on what to do while visiting and current updates on what is open and what is not.
Bill Malcolm’s syndicated LGBTQ value travel column runs in select LGBTQ publications around America.
July 4 travel woes in flight cancellations, record number Americans driving
A record number of Americans are expected to travel by car this upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, per the Triple A auto club
LOS ANGELES – As the 4th of July weekend approaches, Americans getting underway to travel are facing heavy delays and cancellations amid staffing strains, weather, among other issues with U.S. air carriers.
On Friday according to tracking website FlightAware.com as of 7PM Pacific there were 27,544 total delays, domestic flight cancellations were 2,975 and international flight cancellations within, into, or out of the United States were 571.
(See the MiseryMap for a live visualization of flight delays.)
CNBC reported that consumer complaints are piling up. In April, the latest available data, the Transportation Department received 3,105 from travelers about U.S. airlines, up nearly 300% from April 2021, and at nearly double the rate during the same period last year.
The unprecedented number of airline cancelations and delays is causing travelers to choose to drive and fly. Delta, American Airlines and United are all trimming their schedules even further to accommodate staffing shortages, despite passenger levels hitting post-pandemic highs.
Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have sparred over who’s to blame. Airlines chalk up the disruptions to bad weather, their staffing shortages and staffing problems at the government’s air traffic control.
Yesterday, the FAA’s acting Administrator Billy Nolen and other top agency officials held a call with airline executives to discuss weekend planning, including the agency’s use of overtime to staff its facilities, traffic and routing plans, according to a person familiar with the meeting. The call was in addition to regular planning meetings with airlines.
U. S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “It is time for the airline industry to deliver.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters Friday that, “passengers have high expectations from an industry that we have supported with tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funding through the pandemic to keep it up and running so that it can serve passengers. Now we need them to deliver.”
Concerned about flight cancellation trends, Buttigieg said he has spoken directly with airlines.
“Something I’ve asked them to do so that if you’re selling a ticket, you know you can back that up, that you have the staffing to do it,” he added.
A record number of Americans are expected to travel by car this upcoming July 4th holiday weekend, per a new report from the Triple A auto club.
Just in time for that Fourth of July travel, gas prices are continuing to drop from their record high points of two weeks ago as the Energy Information Administration reports that gasoline stockpiles across the country have increased, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.
Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by four cents to $4.85.
Despite the highest 4th of July gas prices on record, 42 million Americans are driving this holiday.
Travelers Driving This 4th of July Weekend To Avoid Airport Chaos:
Provincetown welcomes LGBTQ+ travelers from across the globe
A year filled with theme weeks, events, & experiences for the LGBTQ+ community in the world’s premier destination for LGBTQ+ travelers
PROVINCETOWN, MA. – Provincetown welcomes travelers from across the globe to discover why Ptown is the world’s premier destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. Classic queer events and theme weeks like Independence Weekend, Bear Week, Girl Splash, Carnival, and Holly Folly are joined by art and theatre festivals, new wellness-focused getaways, and the return of music, food, and wine festivals that debuted in 2021.
Whether you want to experience a quintessential Provincetown Summer, a wellness-focused vacation, or a cozy winter escape, travelers will find all of these experiences and so much more in the magical town at the tip of Cape Cod.
Tickets are on sale now for select 2022 events, including the Let’s Get Kraken Carnival cruise and all-new Pride queer comedy showcase. Plan and book your Provincetown getaway now at ptown.org.
Womxn of Color Weekend– June 2 – 5, 2022A celebration of pride and diversity for LGBTQ+ women, trans, nonbinary and genderfluid people of color, and their allies.
Provincetown Pride– June 3 – 5, 2022Celebrate the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community with a rally, parties, and a special queer comedy showcase at Town Hall at the 5th Anniversary of Provincetown’s Official Pride. New this year: Feet Over Front Street 5K – Pride Edition. Front is the original name of Provincetown’s main street (now Commercial St.)
Pride Wellness Retreat– June 6 – 12, 2022A 6-night all-inclusive gay men’s retreat featuring yoga, meals, accommodations, excursions, bike rentals, and more.
Provincetown International Film Festival– June 15 – 19, 2022The 24th annual 5-day festival showcases independent narrative, documentary, animated features, shorts, panel discussions, and special events.
Frolic: Men of Color Weekend– June 16 – 20, 2022Men of Melanin Magic welcome you to Frolic State University for 2022’s Men of Color Weekend theme of homecoming.
CabaretFest– June 21 – 26, 2022The theme of the 22nd Anniversary festival is “Hooray For Hollywood!” featuring movie-focused entertainment and masterclasses.
Independence Weekend– July 1 – 4, 2022Celebrate the 4th of July with dazzling fireworks and explosive parties all week long, hosted by the Crown & Anchor.
Bear Week– July 9 – 17, 2022Bears, cubs, wolves, otters, and their admirers venture to Provincetown during this annual event to enjoy cruises, pool parties, discos, shows, and more.
Girl Splash– July 20 – 23, 2022The annual summer getaway for women, produced by Provincetown for Women, features entertainment, pool parties, beach relaxation, and more.
Family Week– July 23 – 30, 2022The largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ parents and their children in the world. 2022 is the 28th anniversary of this week of workshops, family fun, and community-building.
Carnival– August 13 – 20, 2022One of the largest outdoor celebrations in Massachusetts and Provincetown’s original summer celebration is back! Carnival-goers will enjoy and express themselves at costume parties, live entertainment, drag brunches, and the famous Carnival Parade (August 18) through the theme of Monsters, Myths & Legends. New this year: Feet Over Front Street 5K – Carnival Edition. Front is the original name of Provincetown’s main street (now Commercial St.)
Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla Weekend– September 9-11, 2022Join swimmers, volunteers, kayakers, and cheerleaders for the 35th annual event to raise money for AIDS, women’s health, and other services for the Cape community.
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival– September 22 – 25, 2022Tutti Frutti Tennessee Williams — Cool, Tasty and Refreshing! The 17th season features a lineup of All-Tennessee plays, the first time since 2006.
Mates Leather Weekend XXV– September 29 – October 3, 2022A weekend of parties, relaxation, and contests for people in leather, rubber, and uniforms.
ArtProvincetown– October 8 – 10, 2022A 3-day festival of art exhibitions, special events, parties, and more.
Washashore Festival– October 8 – 10, 2022The union of live music, good beer, and the everlasting singularity of Provincetown. Performers and events embody free expression, individuality, beauty, acceptance, and joy.
Women’s Week– October 10 – 16, 2022A week of events for women, including music, comedy, dance parties, art exhibitions, film screenings, dune tours, sports events, and more.
Single Women’s Weekend– October 12 – 15, 2022Speed meeting, dance parties, scavenger hunts, great food, and so much more. Make new friends and maybe meet Ms. Right.
Fantasia Fair, The Original Transgender Week– October 15 – 23, 2022 The longest-running transgender event in the world is part learning experience, part social gathering, and part reunion. This total immersion experience welcomes everyone.
Provincetown Food & Wine Festival– November 2 – 5, 2022Global wines and diverse menus will honor this year’s theme of Celebrate Portugal.
Mr. New England Leather– November 18 – 20, 2022The annual pageant to crown Mr. New England Leather 2023.
Holly Folly– December 2 – 4, 2022One of the only LGBTQ+ holiday festivals in the world and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, Holly Folly offers holiday shopping at local businesses, The Canteen’s holiday market, the Jingle Bell Run and Champagne Brunch, dance parties, sing-alongs, and drag bingo. New this year: Light the Night Holiday Stroll, where attendees are encouraged to wear illuminated costumes and accessories as they walk down Commercial St. and Hung with Care, a queer holiday burlesque spectacular at Town Hall.
First Light– December 30, 2022 – January 1, 2023Ring in the New Year on the tip of Cape Cod with this 3-day celebration of parties, performances, the New Year’s Eve Lite Bright Bike Ride, fireworks, and the annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day.
For more details on these theme weeks and events, visit the Provincetown Business Guild.
Provincetown Business Guild Signature Events- The Provincetown Business Guild is a nonprofit organization promoting and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer business community in Provincetown, MA.
The Guild is committed to improving the Provincetown community by advocating for the acceptance of diversity and tolerance through projects, programs, and education.
The Guild welcomes residents and visitors to experience America’s first LGBTQ+ tourist destination. For more information about the Provincetown Business Guild, visit www.ptown.org and on Instagram @VisitPtown.
Alaska Airlines announces flat fee-based subscription service
After 2 years of staying close to home, people are ready to travel again. Alaska has100 daily flights from 16 airports throughout California
SEATAC, Wa. – Alaska Airlines announced that they will be launching a flat fee-based subscription service Wednesday. In a news release the airline said the subscription starts at $49 per month.
Alaska Airlines managing director of business development and products Alex Corey noted that this new service will let travelers head to a number of airports in the western U.S. – most are in California but Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Phoenix, Arizona are also included.
“After two years of staying close to home, guests are ready to travel again and with 100 daily flights from 16 airports throughout California and between California to Reno, Phoenix and Las Vegas, Flight Pass will take them there,” said Corey.
Corey also pointed out that with the new travel trend reports showing that Americans plan to take vacations domestically in 2022, especially to destinations with warm weather and beaches, the airline is hopeful that this service will be attractive enough to draw in customers.
The airline listed the benefits:
Discounts. – The price of a monthly Flight Pass subscription is cheaper than the average price of a ticket on eligible flights. In exchange for your business for the next year, Alaska provides you with a great deal on a price that doesn’t change.
Peace of mind. – With Flight Pass, you lock in the price of your travel for the next year – your monthly membership fee will not change. This allows you to plan and budget your trips with ease knowing that prices won’t increase.
Freedom to explore. – With a wide range of great destinations to choose from, you are able to travel more frequently than ever before to amazing destinations. Visit family or friends, get away for a relaxing weekend, work remotely, or simply go on an adventure – with Flight Pass, frequent travel is at your fingertips.
There are two types of memberships, Flight Pass, which starts at $49 per month and requires booking at least 14 days in advance, and Flight Pass Pro, which starts at $199 per month and allows same-day booking up to two hours before flying.
According to Alaska Airlines, that there will be costs beyond the subscription fee, but the airline says most will amount to less than $15. Flyers still have to pay the government taxes and airport fees for each flight, as well as a nominal fare, which Alaska says is as low as $0.01 for “most flights.”
Other limitations are that the deal is only good for roundtrip flights, not one-way fares, and the credits expire if they aren’t used before the next set arrives.
Mother of nonbinary adult accuses Delta of discriminatory ticketing policy
According to the Movement Advancement Project, 21 U.S. states allow individuals to identify as a gender option other than “male” or “female”
TUCSON, Az. – The mother of a nonbinary adult is accusing Delta Air Lines of discriminating against gender-nonconforming individuals after she was unable to buy a ticket for her child without inaccurately marking their gender as “male” or “female.”
“@Delta is discriminating against #nonbinary individuals and not allowing them to fly despite legal ID issued by states that allow X on birth certificates and state-issued IDs,” the mother, Aurora Dawn, tweeted.
Dawn voiced her frustration with Delta for not having a gender-neutral option when booking in the now-viral Twitter thread.
“I first discovered this problem when trying to make an online reservation to buy a ticket as a Christmas present for my #nonbinary adult child,” she said. “The only gender options in @Delta and @AlaskaAir online reservation systems is male or female.”
Dawn called Delta and connected with a representative who “was really trying to help,” but could not change the gender marker to “X.”
After waiting over 30 minutes on hold, Dawn said she was told to use the gender marker on the birth certificate. But the birth certificate also had an “X” designation, she said.
Dawn was concerned because the marker on her child’s I.D. wouldn’t match the gender on their ticket.
After a heated exchange between Dawn and a Delta supervisor, she was “upset” and hung up the phone.
In a statement to the Blade, a Delta spokesperson said the company is a “proud, long-time supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.”
In 2019 Delta, along with other major airlines, said it was planning to add a gender-neutral option for ticketing in what advocates hailed as a “significant step forward for nonbinary individuals.”
However, Delta said the COVID-19 pandemic sidetracked the plans.
“While we quickly shifted focus due to COVID in early 2020 to help customers navigate the rapidly changing environment and government regulations, we are back on track to be able to offer a non-binary gender option in our booking systems in 2022,” the statement read.
The spokesperson added that Delta has made other LGBTQ-inclusive policy changes, including having flight attendants use gender-neutral greetings – swapping language like “ladies and gentleman” for “everyone.”
According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), 21 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow individuals to identify as a gender option other than “male” or “female.”
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