Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.

Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.

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Sun Country adds flights for Citrus Bowl

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under Airlines Updated: December 17, 2014 - 3:43 PM

When the University of Minnesota’s football team lands a spot in the prestigious Citrus Bowl, people take notice. That includes the staff of Sun Country Airlines.

The Mendota Heights-based carrier announced Wednesday that it is adding flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Orlando International airports for people heading to the New Year’s Day bowl game.

The added flights from MSP to Orlando are scheduled for Dec. 31 and the morning of Jan. 1. Extra flights will return to MSP on Jan. 1, 3 and 4. The Jan. 1 return flight is a red-eye that departs at 11:30 p.m., landing in the Twin Cities at 1:45 a.m. on Jan. 2. These flights are in addition to regularly scheduled Sun Country flights between the two locations.

Shortly after the announcement, a round-trip with an outbound seat on the Jan. 1, 6:15 a.m. flight and returning on the red-eye flight that evening rang up at $373. Costs for other sequences were similar.
No need to bring the gold and maroon scarves and wool caps. The average high on New Year’s Day in the Orlando area is 68 degrees; the average low is a balmy 49 degrees.
 

No windows, but great view

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under Airlines Updated: October 28, 2014 - 3:41 PM

There is buzz this week about a recently unveiled airplane design. This new concept — let me be clear, no such planes are in production — has no windows in the airplane’s fuselage, including the passengers cabin.
It sounds claustrophobic, right? Don’t worry. The entire wall of the aircraft will become virtual windows, possibly displaying the view outside in large panels that wrap the plane’s interior. There’s you, buckled into your seat, and there’s the clouds outside, right beside you displayed on the wall. OK, you can worry if you like (claustrophobic or not).
 The idea comes from UK-based technology firm the Centre for Process Innovation. It’s flashy introductory video explains that such walls, beyond offering entertainment, would be thinner than those now used. In the company’s rosy view, that situation would lead to wider seats for passengers and reduced fuel consumption, which would naturally lower carbon dioxide emissions.  
“Every year, 3.1 billion people fly around the world … using 220,000 gallons of fuel and producing over 705 million tons of CO2,” the video intones. The company expects such a plane could fly in about a decade. 

Sidewalk sale at MSP

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under Airports Updated: October 13, 2014 - 11:43 AM

Today marks the launch of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's sixth annual sidewalk sale, with airport shops offering deals. The sale runs Oct. 13-19, to correspond with the Education Minnesota-inspired long weekend break, typically a busy time at the airport.

More than 20 retailers are participating, including The Body Shop in the Airport Mall, tech store BluWire on Concourses C and F, and Uptown Minnesota on Concourse G. Many retailers offer shipping.

A few notes of caution: Only travelers with a boarding pass are allowed to area of the sale. And, given the week's surge in travel,please arrive at least 90 minutes prior to your flight, but allow more time if you plan to shop the sales.

"Happy" on a road trip

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under Road trips Updated: October 9, 2014 - 11:36 AM

Alamo Rental Car UK teamed up with a music psychologist at the University of Oxford to understand what makes a catchy pop song, the kind that keeps kids singing and off their devices on road trips. Turns out, there are a few key ingredients, including an upbeat tempo, a memorable hook, an anthem that is life affirming and a harmony that revolves around this simple four-chord progression: I – V – vi – IV.
The car rental company’s survey of 1,000 drivers found that 83 percent of parents like to entertain children with music, compared to 19 percent who turn to iPods. For those music lovers, they have a couple of suggested tracks for the playlist.
“This year, hands down, the most popular family car song is ‘Let it Go,’ from Disney’s hit film, ‘Frozen’,” according to a news release about the survey. Other songs that hit chords with kids are Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and One Direction’s “Live While You’re Young.”
This nifty infographic reveals the secrets behind a great road song anthem. Study it, and you just may be able to come up with the soundtrack for your next road trip with the kids.So, what will you be singing during the upcoming long weekend school break?

Delta adds more warm-weather destinations

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under Airlines, Winter getaways Updated: September 30, 2014 - 10:18 AM

Delta announced new seasonal service from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Nassau, the Bahamas, this winter.

Nonstop flights between MSP and Montego Bay will operate on Sundays, beginning January 18.

Saturday nonstop service between MSP and Nassau begins January 17; Sunday service begins February 15.

The flights will be operated on Airbus A320 planes with 150 seats.

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