Give Lahaina Grill’s Facebook page your best shot 

And win a trip to Maui

Patti Pietschmann

Confession: I already entered the photo contest by first liking Lahaina Grill on Instagram (however I must say I’ve enjoyed dining at the restaurant for years, see photos below of the last time we were there).

Check out the contest:

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Bidding a fond adieu to quirky Virgin America Airlines

Bye Bye Virgin America Airlines hello Alaska

Alaska absorbs the little airline that was
Patti Pietschmann reporting

An Elevate member and avid fan of Virgin America I was disheartened to learn that it soon will be eaten up by its newish owners Alaska Airlines. This was really surprising especially after Alaska awarded Elevate members generous extra miles to convert from Virgin to it (which I did). (Also check out Delta vs Virgin America).
Below is onde of the First Class meals I enjoyed on Virgin America

That’s me using the free WiFi in the Loft, VA’s lofty LAX lounge, before the flight hope Alaska keeps its.

Alaska made it official yesterday sending out press releases that read, “Alaska Airlines and Virgin America today shared their vision for the future of the combined carrier, as the company solidifies its status as the West Coast’s premier airline”

“After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name likely sometime in 2019. However, the combined airline will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”
“Our goal from the very beginning of this merger was to become the go-to airline for people on the West Coast, with low fares, convenient flights, a premium product and genuine, caring service,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group. “Three months in, we’ve dramatically grown our presence in California and are united behind a new purpose: Creating an airline people love.”
Alaska has been actively growing the airlines’ newly combined networks since closing the merger in December. Earlier this month, the airline announced 21 new markets with 25 new daily departures out of San FranciscoSan DiegoLos Angeles and San Jose, California – marking the largest addition of routes in the company’s history.
“We spent the last 10 months conducting extensive research and listening carefully to what fliers on the West Coast want most,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “While the Virgin America name is beloved to many, we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name – for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares.”
Alaska said it  will spend the next few years making major enhancements and incorporating favorite elements of the Virgin America experience.
Enhancements include:
  • Modern, warm and welcoming vibe – Music from fresh new artists will be featured on planes, in airport lobbies and at gates. In 2018, Alaska will debut an entirely redesigned cabin with new seats and amenities, and has already started to retrofit select Boeing aircraft with expressive blue mood lighting. Modern, stylish uniforms by fashion designer Luly Yang will roll out in mid-2019 for flight attendants, customer service agents, pilots, mechanics and ground crew.
  • Satellite connectivity – Alaska’s entire fleet of Boeing 737 passenger aircraft will be equipped with high-speed satellite Wi-Fi beginning in fall 2018, with the remainder of the Airbus fleet to follow. Both fleets are expected to be fully satellite-equipped by the end of 2019.
  • More premium seats –Premium seating will be expanded across the Airbus fleet beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018. The number of First Class seats will increase by 50 percent (going from eight seats in the Airbus First Class cabin to 12) and are customized for enhanced comfort, featuring 41 inches of pitch, improved seatback storage pockets, cup holders, footrests and personal power outlets throughout the cabin. The redesigned Airbus cabins will also feature 18 new Premium Class seats with 35 inches of pitch and complimentary beer, wine and cocktails.
  • The country’s top-ranked frequent flier program – In 2018, Alaska Mileage Plan will become the sole loyalty program for both airlines, offering guests more rewards, an expansive global partner network and the only major airline loyalty program that still rewards a mile flown with a mile earned on Alaska and Virgin America flights. Members of Alaska Mileage Plan enjoy some of the most generous benefits in the industry including complimentary upgrades, award travel starting at 5,000 miles one-way (plus taxes and fees) and a faster path to elite status compared to other airlines. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, members can earn and redeem miles to more than 900 destinations worldwide.
  • Complimentary upgrades – With 50 percent more premium seats being introduced to the Airbus fleet, elite loyalty members will enjoy the most generous complimentary upgrades in the industry. Mileage Plan MVP Golds and above are upgraded to First Class or Premium Class 75 percent of the time (based on average historic system wide rates of upgrade) on Alaska Airlines flights. Complimentary upgrades on Airbus aircraft will debut for the first time ever in late 2018.
  • Free movies – In January, Alaska launched a temporary promotion offering its entire catalog of more than 200 movies and TV shows for free. Starting now, free entertainment on guests’ own devices will be a permanent feature on its Boeing fleet and the same free library of movies and TV shows will expand to Airbus aircraft via Red entertainment system in August 2017. Guests on Airbus aircraft will continue to enjoy access to early release movies for purchase.
  • Free Chat™ – In January 2017Alaska became the first and only U.S. airline to offer Free Chat onboard and will expand Free Chat to Airbus-operated flights in August 2017. Guests can stay connected to friends and family on the ground via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage.
  • West Coast-inspired food and beverage – Alaska and Virgin America continue to enhance their fresh, healthy, West Coast-inspired onboard food and beverage menus. Both airlines will sell y craft brews, premium wines and imroved food options. By June 2017, Alaska First Class passengers will be able to pre-select meals before they fly, and by early 2018, Alaska’s Main Cabin passengers will be able to pre-pay for their meals before they fly. Food pre-ordering will be extended to Airbus flights sometime in the future.
  • Lounge expansion – By early 2019, there will be expanded airport lounges in SeattlePortland and Los Angeles, as well as new lounges in San Francisco and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The expansion plans will double the square footage of Alaska’s airport lounges. Members also currently enjoy access to more than 60 partner lounges throughout the United States and around the world.
Fans of Virgin America still have time to enjoy the ride.

Get ready for disruption as Delta relocates at LAX

Delta Airline moving into new LAX terminals some disruptions expected

Attention flyers new terminals in the wind for Delta
Patti Pietschmann

As a Delta frequent flyer I was happy to hear that the carrier is relocating into new chic digs at LAX. Together with  Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) they will orchestrate one of the largest terminal moves in the history of commercial aviation when Delta relocates from Terminals 5 and 6 to Terminals 2 and 3 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) T.he move is scheduled to start on May 12. It will impact 21 airlines during a one-week period and is a precursor to the Delta Sky Way at LAX, Delta’s $1.9 billion plan to modernize, upgrade and connect Terminals 2, 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX over the next seven years.

Big wager

“Delta is betting big on Los Angeles with a $1.9 billion plan for Terminals 2 and 3 at LAX, representing the second-largest infrastructure investment in the region,” said Ranjan Goswami, Delta’s Vice President – Sales, West. “Our relocation to Terminals 2 and 3 is a major milestone for LAX and an even bigger step forward for the future of LA as we continue work on the Delta Sky Way at LAX. ”Delta’s move is one more element of LAX’s massive modernization effort which continues  the transformation of the airport and will improve the guest experience,” said Commission President Sean Burton. “While moving 21 airlines over three nights is a monumental task, Delta and the LAWA team have been planning and preparing for months to ensure a smooth transition.”
Terminal satisfaction for passengers includes 
  • Faster and more convenient connections to flights operated by Delta’s joint venture and SkyTeam partners in Terminals 2, 3 and TBIT via an airside bus that prevents customers from having to leave and re-enter the secure area
  • Less ramp congestion upon arriving and departing LAX
  • $332 million in recently completed upgrades at Terminal 2
  • New location closer to the LAX entrance for faster and easier access into and out of  the airport
  • New concessions in Terminals 2 and 3, including popular spots like Shake Shack and Angel City
  •  Brewery
Delta will have 23 gates at LAX immediately following the move and will operate alongside many of its airline partners, including
Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet. Later, a secure connection to TBIT will enable seamless access to additional partners, including Air France-KLM, Alitalia, China Eastern, China Southern, Korean Air and Virgin Australia. The new space will provide all the amenities Delta’s customers have come to expect at LAX, including a private Delta One check-in lounge, new state-of-the-art Delta Sky Clubs, and an integrated in-line baggage system. Once completed, the facility will offer convenient passenger flows, more gate-area seating, and a world-class concession program featuring local chefs and restaurants in partnership with Westfield Corporation.
LAWA’s Board of Airport Commissioners approved a terminal facilities lease and license agreement in July 2016 and the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved in August to enable Delta’s relocation to Terminals 2 and 3.
The terminal change will continue with additional overnight moves on May 14 and May 16, with a scheduled completion of May 17. Delta flights will operate from as many as four terminals (2, 3, 5 and 6) on certain days of the move, so the airline will be in constant communication with customers, providing real-time information on departure and arrival terminals and gates through the Fly Delta app, text messages, emails and additional channels.
“We don’t take lightly the responsibility of caring for our customers and employees before, during and after the move,” said Goswami. “A relocation of this scale is unprecedented, so we’re putting all our resources into planning, preparing, communicating and executing this move as flawlessly as possible.”
“This move furthers our progress towards our vision of a Gold Standard Airport,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “The coordination and cooperation amongst the airlines involved has been impressive and mirrors the importance that we all place on the guest experience at LAX. The immediate result is more efficient airline operations amongst partner carriers, and facility improvements that will be made in Terminals 2 and 3.”
The airline’s  Fly Delta app is a must download that helps you navigate LAX. Additionally, LAWA will update terminal information in real time at www.laxishappening.com and through social media using the hashtag #LAXontheMove. Delta and LAWA will also have hundreds of employees stationed throughout the impacted terminals to assist customers with wayfinding. Customers are strongly encouraged to arrive early and to check their terminal and gate information before arrival to the airport using the Fly Delta app and digital signage in the terminals.
 Delta is organizing customer and partner town halls to raiseg public awareness through out-of-home advertising in and around the airport, and meeting frequently with all airport stakeholders, including impacted airlines. Delta is also working closely with ground transportation operators and rideshare services to ensure drivers are aware of the move and is creating digital banners for Waze to remind customers to check their terminal on the Fly Delta app. Learn more at delta.com/skywayatlax.
 Photos courtesy of Delta media relations.

A play full of follies opens at Falcon Theatre

‘Parallel Lives’brings provocative performances with wit, musings an morals

A review  by Patti Pietschmann

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Parallel Lives opened last night (Aug.26)at the Falcon Theatre to  a sell  out crowd. Considering it is one of the best ‘way off Broadway’ shows I ever saw, that’s understandable. What comes to mind is’something different this way comes,’ as this most unusual and cleverly-written production  comes to life through two very talented actresses who captivate the audience with sketches that everyone can related to. The show opens with the two women bearing large golden wings P1and discussing, sort of, the beginning of  life. The archangel-like figures ponder pregnancy and how to accomplish it.  Should  the man or the woman carry a  child and where  and how would it be delivered? You have to see the show to  find  the answer. Although you  probably  know by  now.

Authors Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy’s script takes us on a mind trip through  a pair of capricious supreme beings (Crista and Alice)who create an energetic, mirthful montage that makes fun of modern life while celebrating it.  The two woman cast (Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter) proved perfect for the capricious odyssey portraying  numerous men and women struggling though the common rituals of life. Each skit evokes laughter with Crista’s malapropos (“smile and the whole world sleeps with you”),  the duo’s politically incorrect jokes and  serious moments of death lightened by humor. “Make sure grams gets a window seat,” Crista says to her sister who will be transporting the elder’s ashes to the burial grounds.”
The script also hits home  for some, with a well-acted bar scene between an over-worked woman and a besotted cowboy (played by Alice) p3that’s hilarious. There’s sibling rivalry with a twist, family matters everyone’s has faced, a very clever West Side Story parody, and much more.

Mo Gaffney by the way  wrote and starred in the Kathy and Mo Show off-Broadway, received an Obie Award for his acting. Kathy Najimy also won an Obie award for her performance in The Kathy And Mo Show OffBroadway.

The cast

Crista Flannigan, who plays Crista to the hilt was a delight  to behold and the perfect  companion for co-star Alice Hunter who well plays Alice.  Crista was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Evansville and a MFA from the University of California, Irvine.

Alice Hunter is an impossibly multi-faceted talent who almost steals the stage, but Crista’s performance is so sterling that’s it’s about a  draw. Alice, who is currently appearing in Comedy Central’s Another Period  moved to the US from Australia where she appeared in the TV series H20: Just Add Water.  Since arriving in America she made many appearances on Showtime’s House of Lies with Emmy-Award winning actor Don Cheadle.

Parallel Lives runs through Sept. 18, 2016. Tickets cost $37 and $40 on weekdays and $42to $45 on weekends (from Friday). Students can get in for $30.

The Falcon Theatre was co-founded in1997 by the late, great Garry Marshall and his daughter Kathleen. The beloved Marshall, known as one of the nicest men in Hollywood,  past away recently and will be honored by a memorial on his birthday Nov.13.  The comfy facility has great stage vision and  130-seats.

The Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 W Riverside Dr.,  Burbank, CA, 818-955-8101.

Learn to speak clearly with confidence

Take a course by Andrew Firta, a master of phonetics tolearn to speak more clearly and with confidence.

Patti's Prattles

With phonetics lesson on Skype

life-before-google

Andrew Firta, a young Los Angeles entrepreneur and master of phonetics has created  a brilliant, much-need and very unique company called Accent Confidence that focuses on individual sounds  and proper pronunciations that many people struggle no matter what their ethnic background. The course can also be a big  confidence booster for people who do a lot  of  public speaking. Sessions are held on Skype but house calls are available for an extra fee. You can  contact Andrew for arrangements and more information. (I just posted that Google cartoon cause I like it so much, hope you do, too).

The website explains that the program can take as few as eight weeks to complete and that it  begins with an initial assessment where patterns in your speech are identified. The program is then modified to suit your specific needs. As the course moves forward, you can expect…

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Cruise French Polynesia in style on the Paul Gauguin

Cruises in paradise

Patti Pietschmann: Cruise Diva

Book it now and get paradise for a song

By Patti Covello Pietschmann
The Paul Gauguin
is one spiffy little ship that sails year around in a tropical paradise known as French Polynesia. While on board you are served fantastic food and offered insights into  the  mystical culture of the archipelago.  And for a short time the company is offering  fares are so good that I am ready to book now. These summer blow sale fares include tips, drinks and round trip air from Los Angeles to Tahiti. Watch the video to whet your appetite.

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Paul Gauguin Cruises  get a savings of up to $4,750* per person off previously advertised rates on select cruises aboard The Gauguin  when booked by August 20, 2016:

Tahiti & the Society Islands (7 nights):

  • October 8, 15, 2016 – now  from $4,445 per person
  • December 21, 2016 – now from  $4,545 per…

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Crunch Fitness ice cream giveaway

Crunch it does a body good.

Patti's Prattles

  1. Be one of the first 50 members to hit the gym tomorrow & you’ll receive a pint of

    I caught this post on Twitter and had to pass it on. Crunch is all over the country including Puerto Rico so work out and get your ice cream. My favorite Crunch is West Hollywood, California. It has steams, saunas, locker rooms, Bliss bath and hair products, lots of equipment and wild and wacky workouts that  tone you up while having fun. There’s also personal trainers for ‘rent’.

    IMG_2255  Crunch it  does  a body good.

    Address: 8000 Sunset, 8000 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
    Hours:
    Open today July 16 · 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Delta vs Virgin America

A tale of First Class flights on two very different airlines

 

As members of  both Delta and Virgin America‘s frequent flyer programs we decided to  spread the miles for a June trip to Maui by flying Delta over and Virgin back. .  Wealso flew Delta later that month from Los Angeles to Alaska to catch the Seven Seas Mariner for a magical week-long cruise.

                                               Scene from Delta from Vancouver to Seattle

We flew in First Class on all three flights and what a difference an airline can make. We flew Delta First Class (scene from window of Washington) to Maui and Virgin America First Class back to Los Angeles. Both flights were thankfully uneventful and not to thankfully fair  for the  fare. Delta served breakfast, an omelette that was edible and great bread, one miserly glass of Champagne. The stew said hey only brought on bottle aboard. “In First Class,” I countered slightly irate but toned  down because I didn’t want to show any air rage.  The seats were okay  but hardly reclined. There was good leg  room though. Our bags were out fast in Maui,  too. Oh yeah and the earphones in First were those awful ear buds  I hate.

Flying from Maui on Virgin America was a huge disappointment for us Elevate  members. The food wasn’t edible, the service fair, the entertainment/WiFi system down,the wine  undrinkable but the seats really comfy. It wasn’t up to Virgin America muster at all. And to make matters worse we flew on June 19, 2016 and still don’t have our Elevate points posted to our account. Although the airline did give us some travel dollars credit  for our discomfort.

Now we just did  flights from LAX to Anchorage via Seattle  and back from Vancouver BC on Delta that was much more worth the First Class fare. The food was tasty, the seats comfy and the flight crew were just so happy and accommodating especially  on return leg from Vancouver.

 

Flying First Class has its privileges such as two free checked bags, free food (which is usually better on Virgin America than we got on the Maui  run) and drink, more leg room, wider, more comfy seats than in coach some that even drop into flat beds, priority boarding and baggage arrival. In all fairness Virgin America is new to the Los Angeles-Maui schedule having just launched in June so maybe it needs to get the kinks out. I hope so  because I love that quirky  airline that reminds me so  much of the old PSA Airlines which was the outrageously fun to  fly with.

Spa news:Valley Ho adds in room yoga

Patti's Prattles

yogaScottsdale spa buffs love  the VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho and now yoga fans will love it, too. The hotel recently added an  in-room yoga program called STAY.ZEN in addition to the movement studio classes at VH Spa for Vitality + Health. The new package includes a  a mat, a variety of classes that hotel guests can follow on the in-room TV, two water bottles, and a six-month membership to The Yoga Collective, including hundreds of online yoga classes. Each room comes ready with a STAY.ZEN kit, available for $40 (a $110 value). A second mat is available for $25.

Spa Director Josh Bredimus explains, “Our hope is that STAY.ZEN will improve the quality of travel for all of our guests and increase their overall level of wellbeing.”

VH Spa also offers one-hour, all-levels flow classes. Fridays at 9:15 a.m., class is held in the movement studio. On Sundays at…

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