Holiday travel

Flying this holiday season?

Take a deep breath and be prepared for a lot of company!

There are a few things you can do to make sure your flying plans stay on track, and if something does happen to be prepared.

1. Always watch your reservation at the airlines website for schedule changes, delays and cancelations.  If something does happen call the airline right away to confirm the changes or ask to re-booked on another flight.

2. Check-in with the airline at the earliest possible time, usually 24 hours before your first flight.  Checking in online will usually get you a seat assignment,m and allow you to make changes to your seat if you aren't happy with the one you already have.  If you are not able to confirm a seat while checking in get to the airport early to have a seat assigned.  With no seat you risk being the first one bumped off a flight if it is oversold.

3. Make sure the airline has your contact information and your frequent flyer numbers.  Airlines are doing a good job of being more proactive during irregular operations (irrops), calling customers to let them know of changes.

4. I always have a back-up plan, I know which other flights the airline operates that will get me to the same destination, and the flights of other airlines if I need to ask to be moved to another carrier.

5. If something does go wrong and you are at the airport don't wait for the airline staff to tell you what to do.  Get in a customer service line immediately AND call the airlines 1-800 number, use which ever one you get to first.  If you are at a big airport and an airline hub they should have customer service desks located throughout the airport.  Sometimes a desk a couple gates away will have shorter lines.

6. If it looks like you are going to be stuck at an airport overnight call a hotel and make a reservation right away, before the rest of the crowd catches on and beats you to the last available room.

7. Remain calm, remember that there will be a lot of other people in the same situation, you will do yourself no favor by getting angry at the airline staff, they control the seats, and being nice might just get you that last seat to grandma's house.

Happy Holidays


Lake Tahoe Skiing gets even better!

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe Opens

Lake Tahoe’s First Five-Star Caliber Ski Resort Opens under Blankets of Snow

The snow is flying across the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and the highly anticipated Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe opened today to much fanfare, during a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this morning at 10:30 am.  Northstar-at-Tahoe has received over thirty inches of snowfall at the summit in the last 48 hours, setting the stage with near perfect winter conditions for the launch of this world class destination ski resort, the first resort of a luxury hotelier in the Lake Tahoe area.  The forecast predicts that even more snow will fall.

Following five years of design, construction and development phases, The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe opens mid-mountain in Northstar-at-Tahoe resort, offering the finest ski-in, ski-out experience in California if not all the world. “This is truly a first of its kind experience for North Lake Tahoe” said Allen Highfield, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton resort.  “It has been incredibly exciting to see the final details fall into place, the training of the Ladies and Gentlemen and their enthusiasm to welcome our first guests.”  The Ritz-Carlton has created over 350 jobs this year in Northern California, providing highly respected hospitality jobs and excellent training.

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe is the first new-build resort development in the Lake Tahoe area in decades.  Anticipated to be the premier Northern California contemporary mountain retreat, the $300 million project, situated mid-mountain in the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area will feature ski-in, ski-out access with mountain concierge services. Manzanita, the resort’s signature restaurant has been created by San Francisco’s James Beard Award Winning chef Traci Des Jardins.  The Highlands Spa is a 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center with treatments and therapies themed around water and the woods. The new Highlands Gondola also opens today and will connect guests between the nearby Village-at-Northstar and The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe resort. Perched slope-side within a 15 minute drive of both Lake Tahoe and the historic town of Truckee, the year-round destination includes 170 guest rooms, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 25 Ritz-Carlton Destination Club residences.

The hotel is the contemporary legacy of the great mountain lodges built at the turn of the 20th century, inspired by the iconic Ahwahnee in Yosemite and the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.   The hotel was designed as a series of linked pavilions tucked into the contour of the hillside with a grand octagonal lobby at the center.  The rusticity of the building has been tempered and modernized through the use of contemporary materials such floor-to-ceiling windows in the Living Room that provide dramatic views and natural light. Great care was taken to protect the natural form of the landscape and to integrate the building seamlessly into its forest setting.  Landmark trees were selected and tagged important so that construction crews could work around the forest as opposed to clear cutting the site.

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands will be one of the first major five-star caliber mountain resorts to seek LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  Beyond the pedestrian-friendly design of the site, some of the environmental features include underground parking instead of outdoor asphalt lots, the use of recycled steel, and the incorporation of energy efficient heating and cooling systems.  The Highlands Gondola acts as public transportation connecting the resort to the Village-at-Northstar below.

Please contact me for more details.  doug@davaulttravel.com


Hawaii Air Credit with Classic Vacations

Thinking of a trip to Hawaii this winter?  Classic Vacations is offering a $500.00 air credit for selected hotels and resorts through out the Hawaiian Islands.  Book now through December 20, 2009, travel through March 2010.  Contact me for the details as there are some blackout dates and a few rules.