More airlines get PreCheck
Spirit Airlines and Boutique Air are among 11 domestic and international airlines that joined the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program late last week, according to the agency. Spirit and Boutique both provide service from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Spirit is a popular low-budget carrier and Boutique is a charter airline that offers regular service between Thief River Falls, Minn., and MSP. Travelers enrolled in PreCheck get expedited security screening; the cost to apply for a five-year membership is $85, but availability is dependent on an airline’s participation. Thirty airlines now participate.
A two-for-one safari
On the Go Tours is offering buy-one-get-one-free overland camping safaris in Africa. The deal applies to nearly 20 trips across the continent. For example, the 14-day Cape to Namibia itinerary that starts in Cape Town, South Africa, and ends in Windhoek, Namibia, costs $628 per person double, down from $1,255. Add a $240 local fee. Price includes airport transfer; one night in a dorm room at Ashanti Lodge in Cape Town; two nights’ hotel in Swakopmund, Namibia; 10 nights of camping, including fees and gear; 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches and nine dinners; tours and outings, including canoeing on the Orange River; a guide, driver and cook; and park entry and a game drive at Etosha National Park. Monthly departures through December. Book by Feb. 15 (1-866-377-6147, onthegotours.com).
Mardi Gras in Mississippi
It’s Mardi Gras season once again, and while New Orleans is the American epicenter of this festive pre-Lenten celebration, there are plenty of other options for some fantastically fun Fat Tuesday (Feb. 28) revelry. N’awlins and other Louisiana celebrations have nothing on their Mississippi neighbors to the east — where from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis, cities and towns along Hwy. 90 throw Fat Tuesday celebrations that rank among the most festive anywhere. Biloxi, home to the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, is the center of festivities along the coast, and its King d’Iberville and Queen Ixolib serve as official royalty of the Gulf Coast Mardi Gras. The city hosts 24 parades and parties aplenty. If you go, take time to visit Biloxi’s Mardi Gras Museum, which traces the 300-year history of Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast (1-228-432-8806, gulfcoast carnivalassociation.com).
Tribune News Service
Hotels add private perks
Lodged in a former brewery with vintage-inspired interiors, the Hotel Emma in San Antonio attracts patrons from around the city to its restaurant and bar. But only guests who have checked in have the key to the two-story lobby library where a staff member mixes complimentary margaritas. In efforts to preserve some peace for paying guests, trendy hotels are adding private areas only for overnighters as special incentives. At the new Robey hotel in Chicago, a glassed-in bar on the 13th-floor rooftop offers space for 35 seated patrons. CitizenM New York Times Square reserves its top-floor bar and terrace for guests. After 4 p.m., the two-level library at the NoMad Hotel in New York is reserved for guests. And in London, only those staying at the One Aldwych hotel in Covent Garden have access to its ground-floor Lounge at One.
New York Times