Connect with us

Travel

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

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

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 speaks with reporters on Zoom call about flight cancellations and expected delays this July 4th holiday weekend.

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.

Screenshot/NBC News

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:

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Travel

3 LGBTQ-friendly cities to visit this fall

San Francisco, Chicago, and Palm Springs beckon with nightlife, food, charm

Published

on

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.

#1: CHICAGO

Chicago boasts some of the world’s greatest architecture. (Photo by JaySi/Bigstock)

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

Palm Springs (Photo by photojohn830/Bigstock)

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

San Francisco remains a must-see city for any LGBTQ traveler. (Photo by Andy777/Bigstock)

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.

Continue Reading

Travel

Juneteenth & Father’s Day holiday weekend air travel disruptions continue

“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done…”

Published

on

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation

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.

“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.

Continue Reading

Travel

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

Published

on

Photo courtesy of Provincetown Business Guild

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. 

Photo by David Badash

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.

Photo by David Badash

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.

Photo by David Badash

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. 

Photo by David Badash

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
🏳️‍🌈

Photo by David Badash

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular