The 6 Top Airlines for Holiday Travel

 

Experience air travel at its best during the hectic travel season.

We all remember nightmarish winter travel stories from our favorite holiday movies. From rushing through crowded terminals to dealing with flight cancellations to losing luggage in transit, iconic holiday films remind us of epic travel blunders that arise during the busy holiday travel season. And while it’s tricky to dodge winter travel headaches altogether, there are some airlines that make travel during the holidays relatively smooth and pain-free. Whether you’re traveling with kids, seeking an airline with perks such as free Wi-Fi, elevated in-flight entertainment and cuisine or looking for a carrier with an easy rebooking process for weather-related delays, here are six top airlines for holiday travel.

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Delta Air Lines

In the last few years Delta has quietly done a commendable job bringing its cabins up to speed. High-speed Wi-Fi is available on nearly all of Delta’s planes. Plus, the airline has consistently delivered a high on-time performance during the holiday travel season in recent years. And Delta has made great strides to enhance its in-flight entertainment and cuisine, as well as general customer service, with added amenities such as free doughtnuts or bagels and coffee for early morning flights in most major hubs. Plus, if you hold Silver Medallion status (or higher) with the Delta SkyMiles program, when there are empty seats, you can enjoy a complimentary upgrade to a first-class seat.

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Air France

If you are going to endure a long-haul flight from the U.S. to Europe over the holidays, consider flying with Air France. The carrier has invested in upgrading its planes with tech-savvy entertainment systems that provide over 1,000 hours of on-demand programming. Also, Air France has a best-in-class premium economy cabin with spacious economy seats. Even better, If you fly in a business-class seat, feature films are available in high-definition, screens are an oversized 17 inches and you can enjoy delicious meal service with cuisine options developed by the Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud.

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Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific offers scheduled passenger and cargo services to nearly 200 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa. Seasoned international jet-setters praise Cathay for its impeccable airport lounges, superlative kid’s menu options (you can call in advance for any dietary needs) and innovative in-flight entertainment systems. And recently, the airline elevated its culinary offerings by partnering with celebrity chef Daniel Green to develop a vegetarian menu filled with options such as seared ahi tuna, edamame, butter lettuce and sesame soy ginger vinaigrette and Thai red vegetable curry in light coconut milk and Thai sweet basil, to cater to a variety of palates.

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Virgin Atlantic

Virgin America has won many best-in-class awards for its quality customer service and tech-forward amenities, including in-flight Wi-Fi and an in-flight entertainment platform with a touch-screen TV and an on-demand menu that allows fliers to order a cocktail or snack from their seat any time during a flight. Even better, Virgin Atlantic offers guests the ability to stream Netflix, making Virgin Atlantic the only airline to offer this service. If you’re willing to splurge (or you’re traveling with younger globe-trotters with picky preferences) Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy cabin boasts a wide selection of complimentary snacks, from candy to chips to fresh fruit and other select British goodies.

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Qantas Airways

If you’re heading to Australia to ring in the New Year with youngsters in tow, Qantas offers plenty of family-friendly perks. Kids have their own designated areas within airport lounges, a welcome amenity kit and their own entertainment channel. Meanwhile, adults can pick from more than 1,500 entertainment options on Qantas’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 planes, making the nearly 24-hour flight from the East Coast much more comfortable. Plus, Qantas offers service to Australia and the Pacific from hubs in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Honolulu. What’s more, you can enjoy a complimentary wine tasting on long-haul flights, thanks to the airline’s Sommelier in the Sky Program.

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Etihad Airways

Flying with Etihad Airways during the holidays (or any time of year) affords a lavish air travel experience. You can enjoy excellent cuisine, in-flight Wi-Fi and a top-notch entertainment system, regardless of which class of service you select. Plus, you’ll have access to more than 120 movies and 300 TV shows. If you’re looking to spring for the penultimate form of holiday travel, try the three-bedroom Etihad apartment in the sky, known as The Residence. Inside the first-class suite, guests can enjoy a private living room, a bedroom and shower room, as well as the service of a Savoy-trained butler, a gourmet in-flight chef and a concierge team, among other perks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Sery Kim of U.S. News & World Report

Source: U.S. News & World Report

 

 

 

This is How Much it Actually Costs to Shop at Whole Foods

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
© Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Whole Foods or Whole Paycheck?

Whole Foods Market Inc. is under scrutiny after a New York City investigation found that the upscale food market routinely overcharges customers. Whole Foods was recently fined $800,000 for similar practices in California.

A while back, the chain announced plans to start a sister chain of stores aimed at younger shoppers, as it seeks to ditch the “Whole Paycheck” sobriquet. Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey said the new chain will have lower prices, cost less to run and be “hip, cool, and tech-oriented.”

MarketWatch did its own sting operation to see just how high prices are. Here’s what prices look like on a random sampling of grocery items at Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Target .

The prices were taken at San Francisco Bay Area grocery stores, where grocery items are about 12% higher than the national average according to 2010 Census data. Safeway prices were calculated based on Club Price, which is free to shoppers who sign up. All prices were based on sale price, if applicable.

Bananas

Whole Foods: 99 cents per pound

Safeway: 79 cents per pound

Trader Joe’s: 19 cents each (approximately 73 cents per pound based on average weight of a banana)

Target: 24 cents each (approximately 92.4 cents per pound based on average weight of a banana)

Winner: Trader Joe’s

You could buy 1.36 Trader Joe’s bananas for the cost of one Whole Foods banana.

Chips

Whole Foods: $2.69 per 8.5 ounce bag (approximately 31 cents per ounce)

Safeway: $3 per 8.5 ounce bag (35 cents per ounce)

Trader Joe’s: $1.99 per 10 ounce bag (19.9 cents per ounce)

Target: $2.99 per 8 ounce bag (37 cents per ounce)

Winner: Trader Joe’s

You could buy 1.63 ounces of Trader Joe’s chips for the cost of one ounce of Kettle Brand Potato Chips at Whole Foods.

Peanut Butter

Whole Foods: $2.79 per 16 ounce jar (17.4 cents per ounce)

Safeway: $1.79 per 16 ounce jar (11.2 cents per ounce)

Trader Joe’s: $2.49 per 16 ounce jar (15.56 cents per ounce)

Target: $2.39 per 18 ounce jar (13.28 cents per ounce)

Winner: Safeway

You could buy 1.55 ounces of Safeway peanut butter for the cost of one ounce of Whole Foods peanut butter.

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Whole Foods: $6.99 per 12 ounce bag (58.25 cents per ounce)

Safeway: $2.50 per 8 ounce bag (31.3 cents per ounce)

Trader Joe’s: $4.29 per 12 ounce bag (35.75 cents per ounce)

Target: $6.29 per 16 ounce bag (39.31 cents per ounce)

Winner: Safeway

You could buy 1.86 ounces of Safeway cheese for the cost of one ounce of Whole Foods cheese.

Skim milk

Whole Foods: $2.29 per half gallon

Safeway: $2.49 per half gallon

Trader Joe’s: $1.99 per half gallon

Target: $1.69 per half gallon

Winner: Target

You could buy 1.35 half gallon cartons of milk at Target for the cost of one carton of milk at Whole Foods.

Canned artichoke hearts

Whole Foods: $2.99 per 14 ounce jar (21.36 cents per ounce)

Safeway: $2.99 per 13.75 ounce jar (21.74 cents per ounce)

Trader Joe’s: $2.29 per 14 ounce jar (16.35 cents per ounce)

Target: $3.29 per 14 ounce jar (23.5 cents per ounce)

Winner: Trader Joe’s

You could buy 1.3 cans of Trader Joe’s artichoke hearts for the price of one can at Whole Foods.

Kashi GoLean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble flavored cereal (14 ounce box)

Whole Foods: $3.29 (normally $4.39)

Safeway: $3.50

Trader Joe’s: $3.69

Target: $4.29

Winner: Whole Foods (if on sale)

Mac and Cheese

Whole Foods: $1.50 (if two boxes are purchased)

Safeway: $1.25

Trader Joe’s: $0.99

Target: $1.25 (if three boxes are purchased)

Winner: Trader Joe’s

You could buy 1.52 boxes of Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese for the cost of one box of Annie’s at Whole Foods.

Organic Carrots (1 pound bag)

Whole Foods: $1.99

Safeway: $1.99

Trader Joe’s: $1.49

Target: $2.14

Winner: Trader Joe’s

You could buy 1.34 bags of Organic Carrots from Trader Joe’s rather than from Whole Foods.

Hummus

Whole Foods: $2.39 per 8 ounce jar (29.88 cents per ounce)

Safeway: $2.99 per 10 ounce jar (29.9 cents per ounce)

Trader Joe’s: $2.99 per 10 ounce jar (29.9 cents per ounce)

Target: $3.19 per 10 ounce jar (31.9 cents per ounce)

Winner: Whole Foods

Written by Sally French and Jessica Marmor Shaw of MarketWatch

(Source: MarketWatch)