Wednesday, August 31, 2016
The U.S. government on Wednesday granted eight U.S. airlines permission to begin scheduled commercial flights to Havana starting as early as this fall, with American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) being awarded 35 direct flights a week.
JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O), Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) were among the winners, with most proposing to begin services later this year or early in 2017.
The U.S. Transportation Department granted 20 daily Havana flights now after previously assigning routes to several Cuban provinces. The announcement was timed to coincide with the first scheduled commercial flight to the provinces, as JetBlue flew from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Cuban city of Santa Clara on Wednesday.
Improved air travel resulted from U.S. President Barack Obama's opening toward Cuba. The Cold War foes restored diplomatic relations a year ago following a 54-year break. However, the Communist-led island is still subject to a U.S. economic embargo that prohibits most other commerce.
Wednesday's final decision confirmed tentative assignments made on July 7.
American, the biggest U.S. airline in Latin America by flights, was granted four flights a day from Miami and one from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Its rival for Caribbean travel, JetBlue, was granted 27 weekly flights from New York, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
The department also authorized 21 weekly flights to Havana on Delta, with daily flights from New York, Atlanta and Miami.
United will fly daily from Newark, New Jersey, and weekly from Houston. Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) will fly from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa; Alaska Air Group Inc (ALK.N) from Los Angeles; Spirit Airlines Inc (SAVE.O) from Fort Lauderdale; and Frontier Airlines from Miami.
In June, the Transportation Department gave airlines approval to schedule flights to other cities in Cuba for the first time in decades. Until now, private air travel to the island just 90 miles (145 km) from the United States had been limited to charter services.
A U.S. ban on tourism to Cuba is still in effect, but the United States stopped prosecuting individuals for going to Cuba when Obama became president. Americans can legally travel to Cuba if they meet one of 12 criteria, such as for educational, cultural or religious purposes.
Obama has expanded commerce with Cuba using executive authority, but only Congress can lift the embargo. The Republican leadership has blocked any such proposal from coming up for a vote.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
A test drive of Aston Martin’s DB11 $212,000 super-sports luxury coupe. Nail the gas pedal and the landscape runs to watercolor
The 2017 Aston Martin DB11 is what they call a grand touring car, or gran turismo—not small and spare like a proper sports car, but big, kingly and fast, with accommodations for two, or 2+2, and light luggage. Front-engine, if you please. Gran turismos branch along the lines of road and racing models. The all-new DB11—even with the prodigious 600-hp V12 in its snout—is the former, while the latter is something like the Nissan GT-R. Track riffraff.
The DB11 is a road car, a big, voluptuous road car, a strider, a pacer—always graceful in the moment, untaxed, always a sense of great latency. I thought driving it was like saddling up on He-Man’s Battle Cat, though I grant that isn’t a very good advertising strapline.
But it’s emphatically big. From front splitter to tailpipes, the DB11 is about an inch longer than the DB9 but wider by 2.7 inches, and the extra width seems more like a foot stretched across the DB11’s tumescent hood. Honestly, from the driver’s seat, the hood looks like the Jolly Green Giant’s tongue as seen from his tonsils. Placing the DB11 on narrow English lanes—the tongue lolling from corner to corner—took more than the usual attention.
Wieldiness is a thing GT cars should have; the DB11 has rather less of it than one would hope.
Replacing the long-serving DB9, the DB11 (DB stands for Sir David Brown, the company’s postwar owner and savior) is a super-sports luxury coupe costing $211,995 in the U.S., just to get the paperwork rolling. The public servants at the headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, will be delighted to upsell you on fabulous paint, upholstery and trim options, of which there are multitudes.
For example, the DB11 offers a new personalization flourish in the roof strake, in gloss black, metallic or body color. This may or may not be tarty. I haven’t decided.
The interior color and trim options include morally reprehensible choices such as blue mica door and dash trim, and you can order the leather with more quilting than a Lutheran fundraiser. Our test car’s Sahara Tan/Bitter Chocolate was trimmed in broguing like an English wingtip. And…just stop. You had me at broguing.
Aston is one of the few companies that builds its own seats from scratch. In a world with a lot of 600-hp cars, frankly, the company aspires to the same handcrafting as Savile Row cordwainers.
The DB11 steps into the bullring with such preening, trouser-stuffed matadors as the Bentley Continental GT. The Aston is roughly bracketed in price and prestige by the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta on the high end (in the neighborhood of $325,000) and the Mercedes-AMG GT S, a screaming bargain in this company at $131,200. The Mercedes has a twin-turbo V8, though, and everybody knows you can’t be truly gran with one of those.
The talking points for DB11 include a new more space-efficient aluminum skeleton relying more on pressed aluminum substructures than large-section aluminum extrusions. Sure enough, the DB11’s front cabin luxuriates in more interior inches overhead and at the heel and elbow. The trunk is a bit larger and more usable, a fact with outsize importance for a road GT. The rear seats remain vestigial.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Sunday, August 28, 2016
As summer draws to a close, American Airlines Group Inc. is hastening the pace at which it sends aged McDonnell Douglas MD-80s to the aircraft boneyard. Five years into a revamp of its fleet, the world’s largest carrier on Tuesday retired 20 MD-80-family aircraft, “one of the largest single-day aircraft retirements in airline history,” according to American.
“Summer is the busiest time of the year for airlines, and with summer flying winding down, we can go ahead and park these aircraft,” the company said in a statement. The planes sent to the Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico are, on average, 28 years old, about five years older than the carrier’s overall MD-80 fleet.
American plans to retire 45 MD-80s this year, most of them in the third quarter, and be rid of all of them by the end of 2017 as part of a fleet renewal project. Economically, the MD-80 is no match for the newer Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family of aircraft that have replaced it. American, which ordered 460 new Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co. jets in 2011, says the 737-800 and A321 jets replacing the MD-80 are 35% more fuel efficient on a per-seat basis.
Two other U.S. MD-80 operators, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Allegiant Travel Co., both plan to quit the jet in the next few years.
The MD-80 is a modernized version of the Douglas DC-9, which gained range and weight capabilities in the DC-9 80, dubbed by McDonnell Douglas as the Super 80 Series. The first Super 80 (a moniker only American chose to retain among U.S. carriers) flew in October 1979. American took its first of the 140-seat jets four years later, and at its peak had nearly 375 of them in service, the largest operator of the almost 1,200 MD-80s sold to airlines across the globe. Later variants added fuel and performance enhancements.
The model has enjoyed a strong safety record, with two of the most high-profile MD-80 crashes attributed to human error. In August 2008, a Spanair MD-82 crashed while departing Madrid, killing 154 people, after pilots had incorrectly configured the plane for takeoff. In January 2000, an Alaska Airlines MD-83 crashed off the California coast while trying to divert to Los Angeles. The accident was blamed on improper maintenance, which caused a key horizontal stabilizer component to fail in flight. That crash killed 88. Last year, a Delta Air Lines MD-80 slid off a snowy runway while landing in New York City. No one was injured seriously.
Pilots who fly the MD-80 cite the airplane's quirks but praise it for a mix of old-school flight controls and modern technology. Aviation enthusiasts occasionally refer to it as the “mad dog,” owing to the MD designation, or even the “angry puppy.”
“You really earn your pay,” flying the MD-80, an American pilot told Bloomberg Businessweek in a 2008 interview. In a twitter message Tuesday, the airline was more wistful: “We’ll miss our silver birds.”
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Friday, August 26, 2016
It's almost enjoyable when people who don't live in L.A. make sweeping proclamations about the way Angelenos eat. Because they always say we love to eat healthy. That is a dirty lie.
As a city, we're always going after one nutritionally dubious dish or another. We're currently in the throes of a Southern-inspired doubleheader: fried chicken and pimento cheese. So that's protein and fat covered. Where are we getting our carbs?
Bagels! Is L.A. finally catching up to New York on this? Or better yet, are we creating our own version?
This is the common origin story of the bagel: in 17th-century Poland, King Jan Sobieski helped save Austria from Turkish invaders. To celebrate the horse-riding king, a baker fashioned a bread product in the shape of a stirrup and called it a beugel, the Austrian word for stirrup. But, of course, bagels are not stirrup-shaped. So the story isn't exactly true, but that's OK, it's a nice little tale.
Bringing it back to the contemporary era, Los Angeles has recently had a bagel boom. These little boiled-and-baked treats from a collection of newcomers around town are high-quality: malty, chewy and small. However! Against east coast common wisdom about bagels, bakers here aren't offended by toasting. And, they often come absolutely stuffed with sandwich fillings.
Here are four of the new bagel-slingers, plus an insider tip for those who miss Brooklyn Bagel Bakery:
Yeastie Boys: This moving facility (sometimes it's at Alfred Coffee in West Hollywood, sometime it's on a truck in front of other cool coffeeshops) makes truly excellent bagels. Yeastie is somewhat in the tradition of Larchmont favorite Sam's Bagels, in that they make huge sandwiches out of their well-made bagels.
Milo & Olive: This is the one exciting new bagel that isn't made by a bagel specialist. But Milo & Olive creates excellent pastries, so it isn't a total surprise that they're doing thoughtful bagel work, too.
Belle's Bagels: Perhaps the hippest of the bunch, Belle's sells their bagels out of a storefront window in Highland Park. They sell out early, of course.
Maury's Bagels: The owner was previously general manager at Gjusta and Gjelina Take Away, so he has great food cred. Maury's is currently only available at Smorgasburg LA, which is fine, because Sunday is the best day for bagels.
And now for the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery tip: They recently closed their retail location temporarily, guess what? You can totally still get the bagels. You just have to pick them up and their temporary location in Montebello.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Flights to San Francisco out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport next summer will have some competition that may lower fares.
Airport officials announced Tuesday that for the first time in more than 25 years, United Airlines will be providing daily nonstop flights to the northern California city starting June 8, going up against Delta Air Lines, which has been the only airline to provide nonstop service between the two cities.
According to airport officials by way of the International Air Transport Association, the San Francisco market was the largest without at least a second airline service of nonstop flights from Metro Airport.
“Ensuring our community has excellent access to air service in our top markets has been a priority for our team,” said Thomas Naughton, CEO of Wayne County Airport Authority. “The addition of United’s new service to San Francisco is a tribute to the rising strength of our economy and our team’s hard work and diligence in addressing the growing demand for air service here in our region.”
The first flight in June would depart at 5:30 p.m. EST and arrive in San Francisco at 7:50 p.m. PST. Another flight would leave San Francisco at 8:30 a.m. PST and arrive in Detroit at 4:20 p.m. EST, officials said.
“We want to make United Airlines the preferred airline for our customers in Detroit,” said Annette Zappala, director of sales for United, in a statement. “United’s new flight to San Francisco will provide business and leisure travelers with convenient access to the Bay Area and easy connection opportunities to business centers throughout Asia.”
The news is welcomed at Metro Airport, which has seen an explosion of growth this year and last, and is on pace to reach close to its peak annual passenger traffic. Last year, Metro Airport saw 33.4 million passengers come through its gates, up from roughly 32 million each for five years prior.
Airport officials have been growing new routes and more competition to ultimately lower fares. Frontier Airlines added seasonal flights to Fort Myers, Florida, and Phoenix, while Spirit Airlines is providing nonstop flights to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Southwest Airlines announced in recent months it will resume weekend Orlando service in early 2017.
Joe Cambron, the airport’s director of air service development who had been working on expanding the San Francisco service, said officials have been seeing an increase in “expanding ties” between Detroit’s automotive engineering base and the technology centers in the Bay Area.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
The launch of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class historically brings along fresh technology and new features, many with marketing-rich designations. The latest W213 E-Class is no different. As such, we’re spending 30 days with the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic, digging into the depths of all the technology and seeing if changes such as powertrain downsizing dilute the model’s long-standing brilliance.
Pre-Safe Sound encompasses “pink noise” played by the audio system during an impending accident, reducing hearing damage in a crash. Car-to-X communication is a Waze-like feature allowing new E-Class models to communicate with each other regarding accidents and other travel issues. Add in three different options for controlling the large infotainment display plus the latest radar cruise control with steering assist, and the new German sedan certainly carries a learning curve. There’s also a new four-cylinder gasoline engine, a clear break from tradition under the hood.
The E-Class traditionally isn’t the sportiest offering in the segment. Initial impressions reveal that the W213 stays true to this placement among its peers. The torquey, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four is stolen from the C-Class but is hitched to a new nine-speed automatic. We’ll see if two extra gears in the transmission can make up for the loss of 61 hp and gain of 66 pounds compared to the outgoing base E-Class, the E350.
Owners of the outgoing W212 E-Class will be surprised and, quite possibly, overwhelmed when they first sit inside the new car. It’s taken on very much a baby S-Class feel and design in the cabin. Gone is the button-happy and restrained Germanic interior design of the old E, replaced with a far more modern, flowing design. The 12.3-inch center infotainment screen is gorgeous and our test car features a second, equally sized $850 display replacing the standard instrument cluster. The combination fills much of the dashboard with brilliant displays and allows an array of user-configurable options. We spent nearly an hour playing with all the features in a parking lot, and we’re still quite sure there are more settings and pages to be found. The standard infotainment screen is controlled by either a traditional rotary controller or a touchpad with handwriting recognition, both living in the center console. Alternatively, you’re able to keep your hands on the steering wheel and utilize smartphone-like thumb controls to navigate both screens. Ironically, initial impressions reveal one particular issue with the new interior: a distinct lack of some basic and much-needed buttons. There are no preset buttons or simple track or station forward and backward controls. Also, you can no longer toggle through the various radio bands or media inputs by pushing the function buttons multiple times, as in the old E-Class. We love the modernization of the interior design on the new E, but Mercedes possibly went one step too far in certain areas. Outside, Mercedes’ latest sedan looks nearly identical to both the C-Class and S-Class and has lost some of the controversial but distinctive details of the old E. The new car may hover in the world of too restrained.
We’ll continue to engross the full experience of the new E-Class over the next month. We’re excited to further delve into the technology and features through its extended stay, and we certainly hope our knowledge of the Pre-Safe Sound feature is strictly limited to the Mercedes press material.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Monday, August 22, 2016
Southwest Airlines Co. plans to launch new nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport and three airports in Mexico’s coastal resort regions of Cancun, San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.
The service is scheduled to begin Dec. 4, subject to approvals of the Mexican government.
Southwest(NYSE: LUV) said to celebrate the launch, it is currently offering special fares for tickets purchased between now and through Aug. 21 for travel Dec. 4, 2016, through March 2, 2017. LAX to Cancun and Los Cabos flights will be offered twice daily while the flight to Puerto Vallarta will be once a day, with fares currently as low as $129 one way.
"Southwest's approval from the DOT to operate these new routes made history as the first authorities granted in a new agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to allow more service between the countries," Paul Cullen, vice president and executive sponsor of Los Angeles for Southwest Airlines, said in a statement.
"Los Angeles and Mexico share an unbreakable bond, and today our cultural and commercial connections become even stronger," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "These new Southwest flights from LAX to Mexico will expand L.A.'s global reach, bring Angelenos closer to the people they love, and help our city's economy continue to grow."
Late last month, Dallas-based Southwest received U.S. Department of Transportation approval to fly between Oakland International Airport and both Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Also subject to Mexican governmental approval, this new service in Northern California would begin on Feb. 12, 2017.
Southwest already flies daily between LAX and Liberia/Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and the five new daily flights to and from Mexico will be flown in addition to the carrier's international service offered at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
Southwest operates more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season across a network of 98 destinations in the United States and seven additional countries with service to three airports in Cuba expected to begin later this year, subject to governmental approvals.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air sometimes irks fliers with its “pre-reclined” seats and carry-on bag fees, but the low-cost carrier showed its generous side on Wednesday when it gave the one millionth Allegiant passenger flying out of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport a pass good for two people to take a flight a month on Allegiant from CVG for a year.
The winner, Angela Stewart of nearby Lima, Ohio — who was onboard the 1:45 p.m. flight to Orlando with her family — also received a voucher good for a year of free parking at the airport, courtesy of CVG.
The celebration at the gate included balloons, Allegiant-branded cookies, goodie bags and one other surprise: All passengers on the flight to Orlando received two vouchers, each worth $200, good for future flights on Allegiant.
“Allegiant began flying out of CVG a little more than two years ago, and their growth has been tremendous,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer of CVG, in a statement, “Not only have they increased to serving 14 nonstop markets, but they’ve established a base of operations here in Cincinnati.”
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
A formal agreement announced earlier this week could finally allow LAX to connect to L.A. Metro, and free up funds for other projects that have been stalled in litigation for years.
The proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC), a community group against capacity expansion at LAX, would free up funds for projects that have been stalled in litigation for years.
The agreement would allow LAWA to build a People Mover to connect the airport to the forthcoming Crenshaw/LAX Metro light rail line. A new rental car center, two transport facilities, and roads to access the new infrastructure are also included in the plan.
Councilmember Mike Bonin represents the 11th district, which includes Pacific Palisades, Venice, West Los Angeles, and Brentwood. He helped announce the agreement Wednesday, and says that it allows the airport to make meaningful improvements without ignoring its neighbors.
“It removes all the roadblocks to everything we’ve wanted to do at that airport for a long time, and that’s hugely important to Los Angeles,” Bonin said.
“What we discovered during these negotiations is that essentially there was nothing the airport really wanted and needed and could do over the next fifteen years that the neighbors found objectionable. There’s nothing that the neighbors really didn’t want to see happen that the airport was planning or hoping to do.”
ARSAC will agree to not take legal action to delay these projects, which together would cost $5.5 billion.
Denny Schneider, who is the president of ARSAC, said that this sort of cooperation between LAWA and the communities surrounding LAX is unprecedented.
“This is the first time in forty years that the community has been on the same wavelength as the airport, and we are thrilled,” Schneider said. “It makes this airport an airport we can all be proud of. It’s going to be safe, secure, and convenient for everyone.”
A proposed shift of LAX’s northernmost runway toward the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey has been scrapped. ARSAC sued in 2013 to block that project. Instead, airport officials would have three years to make several safety upgrades to the runway.
Bonin said safety and speed are top priorities for those backing the agreement.
“What this does is allow us to do airfield improvements right now...We get safety more quickly, more efficiently, and less costly -- more bang for our buck. This is a really good plan to get safety there right now.”
Still, Schneider warns that this agreement will not fix all of Southern California’s airport troubles.
“[LAX] is going to grow,” he said. “It’s important to this community and the whole region. But even more important is that we need a whole network of airports around Southern California.”
Los Angeles' City Council will review the MOU at a meeting next Wednesday.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
U.S. News and World Report today released results for its annual survey of airline (and hotel) rewards programs and, for a second year in a row, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan got top honors.JetBlue’s TrueBlue program was ranked No. 2.
“By rewarding points based on the number of miles flown rather than dollars spent, [Alaska Airlines] makes it easier for budget-conscious travelers to earn free flights on its vast partner network,” U.S. News and World Report said in a statement, adding that JetBlue’s program gains high marks “because of its multiple ways to earn points, high airline quality performance and elite member perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding and expedited security.”
The survey ranks 10 airline rewards programs using six weighted categories: ease of earning a free round-trip flight, added benefits, network coverage, flight volume, award flight availability and airline quality ratings.
“We’re honored to be recognized as the No. 1 airline rewards program by U.S News & World Report,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska’s vice president of marketing, noting that this year the Seattle-based airline’s mileage plan was also ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction for the third consecutive year in the J.D. Power 2016 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report.
Here’s the full list of U.S. News and World Report's Best Airline Rewards Programs for 2016-2017:
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Virgin America Elevate
United Mileage Plus
American Airlines AAdvantage
Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Monday, August 15, 2016
In eight years, Arizonans may be able to drive just a few hours to see the world’s top athletes compete in the Olympic Games. Los Angeles is making an aggressive bid to host the Olympics in 2024.
The city’s delegation visited during the first week of the Olympics to drum up support for its bid to be the host city for the third time.
“L.A. is one of the premier destinations of the world for holidays and vacations. So we don’t have any concerns about visitors coming to L-A to enjoy the Paralympic and the Olympic Games”, said Terrence Burns, chief marketing officer for the LA 2024 committee.
Los Angeles is going up against Rome, Paris and Budapest, but L.A. organizers believe they have the edge because it already has the venues ready to host the events. The committee says 97 percent of the venues need to host the Olympics are already in place. That would keep the reported budget to around $6 billion, which would easily be covered by ticket sales, sponsorships and broadcast rights.
“We have such an incredible foundation of infrastructure, housing, and facilities. We can spend seven years worrying about delivery”, said Casey Wasserman, Executive Director of the LA 2024 committee.
The city is expected to release more information about how it would pay for the Olympics during the next phase of the bidding process in October. The host city of the 2024 games will be announced in September 2017.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Sunday, August 14, 2016
BMW is planning to ditch the hybrid and range-extender powertrains in favor of pure electricity.
BMW's i models have sold in fewer numbers than anticipated, but the fully electric i3 and the i8 plug-in hybrid have at least paved the way for a new generation of electrics from BMW, and they have served as technology trials for a number of mainstream models. Using those metrics, the i brand has been deemed a success for BMW, and the company is committed to move it forward with a new generation of fully electric vehicles.
Right now, BMW is working on three new models: replacements for the i3 and the i8 and a four-door sedan slotted between them. That car has been confirmed by BMW as the iNext.
Fun to drive is high on the agenda for the iNext. It will feature a fully electric powertrain that could make a lot of power. Besides the battery-electric model, which is confirmed, there is the strong likelihood of a hydrogen-fueled version with a fuel cell. What's also decided is that there won't be a plug-in-hybrid version of the iNext. "By the time it launches, range won't be a problem," we were told.
The iNext sedan will be a stand-alone model with a unique design, but it won't be as far removed from BMW's other models as are the i3 and the i8. The brand is looking to achieve significant economies of scale by sharing technology with BMW's conventionally powered sedans.
The iNext also will be available with cutting-edge autonomous-driving technology—a key point of development for the division moving forward. BMW is committed to offering a comprehensive package of self-driving features; how much of that will be possible to use depends on the legal environment. The car will come to market by 2021 or 2022, and subsequent years will see the i3 and the i8 replaced. Details on those remain scarce largely because many of the key decisions have yet to be made.
For the next i3, though, BMW may decide not to use an expensive carbon-fiber structure as in the current model; the car likely also will look sportier and less ungainly. Power may increase to around 200 horsepower, and the range-extender option is sure to be dropped.
Meanwhile, the i8—currently a plug-in hybrid that BMW misleadingly touts as an "electric" on its website—is likely to lose its hybrid powertrain and become a fully electron-fueled machine. With power ratings that should exceed 500 horsepower, it is poised to take a leading role in the segment of fully electric supercars. And with that much power, it might actually morph into a credible successor to the famous M1 supercar.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Saturday, August 13, 2016
With a population exceeding 18 million and access to plenty of hillside hiking trails, rugged canyons, leafy trees and gardens, the Los Angeles metro area has rightly earned a reputation as an urban jungle.
And, of course, many outdoor lovers in Los Angeles consider the beach part of their backyard, even if experiencing the beach in exclusive communities such as Malibu or Rancho Palos Verdes is out of reach. “Most of the beachfront in Los Angeles is very exposed to the public," says Richard Schulman, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Los Angeles.
However, finding a home with ample access to the outdoors isn't always easy, and beachfront real estate is in high demand. To help you find a place to live within easy reach of hiking trails and shorelines, we contacted a few of Los Angeles' top real estate agents as identified by OpenHouse Realty, an agent referral company (and a U.S. News partner). Here are the neighborhoods they recommend for buyers craving some fresh air.
Topanga. An inland community about 11 miles northwest of Santa Monica, Topanga is a rural residential area perched on the edge of Topanga Canyon and surrounded by miles of hiking trails. Homes in this area sit on the edges of several wilderness areas, including Topanga State Park and Tuna Canyon Park. In much of the area, ranch-style properties occupy large, remote lots, giving the impression of permanent retreats in the woods.
Residents of Topanga may be communing with nature, but they also find themselves commuting – almost everywhere. “Topanga is lovely, but you’re putting yourself out there," says Mark Mullin, a real estate agent with Tracy Do Real Estate and Compass. "For someone who has a job other than being a writer in a cabin, you’re pretty far.” There is limited access in and out of this isolated, forested community, with one two-lane highway providing access into and out of the canyon.
Baldwin Hills. In South Los Angeles, the affluent neighborhood of Baldwin Hills offers a more suburban setting than Topanga, with large, single-family homes lining hilly streets and views overlooking the city to the north and the ocean to the west. It also borders one of the city’s only remaining undeveloped hillsides, the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. This sizable park encompasses a fishing lake and dozens of hiking trails – one of the most popular being the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, which includes a climb up 282 stone steps. “That is one of the toughest stair climbs in the city, and they’re made of jagged concrete. It’s daunting climbing, but perfect for outdoor lovers,” Schulman says.
Unlike Topanga, Baldwin Hills is a neighborhood within Los Angeles city limits. Although it’s a mostly quiet, residential area, residents can access other parts of the metro area more easily, by car or by public transit. Property values are climbing in this part of town, but buyers can generally find lower prices here than in more popular neighborhoods farther west.
Hollywood Hills. Just west of Los Angeles' beloved Griffith Park is the neighborhood of Hollywood Hills, an expansive area comprised of several residential communities. In the center of the hills is one of the city’s most famous hiking trails, Runyon Canyon, while a little farther east is the the Hollywood Reservoir, a serene, tree-lined lakefront.
“There are some great urban hikes near Lake Hollywood," Mullin says. "Although it’s very easily accessible from studios in Burbank and Hollywood, you feel like you’re in another place.”
The homes in Hollywood Hills range dramatically in price and privacy. While some areas are quiet and secluded, others – particularly those that are home to popular trailheads – can feel congested when the weather is nice. “The parts of the Hills that are impacted by tourist traffic are very limited, but they are heavily impacted,” Schulman says.
Los Feliz. Just east of the Hollywood Hills is an even older Los Angeles neighborhood, Los Feliz, where homes range from little Craftsman bungalows to estate-style manors built in the 1920s. Like those who live in the Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz residents also have easy access to the 4,310-acre Griffith Park.
“You can do anything there," says Tracy Do of Compass's Tracy Do Team. "There’s recreation for young kids at the zoo or the playgrounds, hiking trails for older kids and families, horseback riding, jogging – anything you want.” It is also home to an observatory and planetarium, the Autry Museum of the American West and a number of other family attractions.
Los Feliz is walkable, with attractions, parks, shops and restaurants located near residential areas. Compared with other central L.A. neighborhoods, houses on this side of town are affordable, especially for first-time buyers. However, prices vary dramatically between the 80-year-old mansions on hilly streets north of Los Feliz Boulevard, adjacent to the park, and the more modern (and modest) properties on flat lots south of the boulevard.
Mount Washington. Better known as an artist community with funky architecture, this hillside neighborhood in eastern Los Angeles is a hiker’s paradise.
“We market homes in Mount Washington as 'above it all,' but it’s very accessible to the city, too," Mullin says. "It’s got hillside views, hiking trails and an unplanned feeling – yet you’re never more than 10 minutes away from a supermarket or a great place to eat.” Meanwhile, at the top of the hill is a meditation and yoga center with tranquil public gardens that Mount Washington residents consider a secret extension of their own backyards.
However, many of the homes here are traditionally small. Do warns that structural improvements might be necessary on many of the homes. “There was a lot of construction here in the 1910s, 20s and 30s," she explains. "And many times, those foundations and systems have not received any upgrades since they were built.”
Still, Mount Washington is a considerably affordable area to live in, especially given its proximity to downtown and its prime freeway access. Buyers can often find homes starting at around $650,000. Do tells her clients, “It’s the Laurel Canyon of the Eastside: rustic, but so close to everything.”
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Friday, August 12, 2016
We curate an LA weekend itinerary of the city's best concerts, culture and cuisine, every week, just for you.
Dive head first into your weekend during a Sunset Swim at the Annenberg Community Beach House. Though the evening open swim session and the beachfront pool are for adults only, it's anything but serious business with free fruit bars and s'mores.
See what's cutting edge in the film world on the opening night of Sundance Next Fest. Friday night's program at the Theatre at Ace Hotel includes a screening of the Jena Malone and Riley Keough heartbreaker Lovesong with a performance from dancey crooner Shamir.
Dress up in appropriately "surrealist fantasy" attire—which, we presume, covers pretty much anything—for HM157's Cloud 9* party. The oddball dance party celebrates the Lincoln Heights Victorian home's ninth anniversary with an evening of eccentric music and vaudevillian performances.
Start your Saturday with a belly full of beer at the LA Craft Beer Crawl. This Downtown binge fest is serving more than 100 craft beers across seven different bars, like Casey's Irish Pub and Seven Grand. The event begins with a brewers-inspired workout to fend off all those carbs.
Fess up to your pop music guilty pleasures at Pandora Summer Crush. This free concert from streaming radio service Pandora is taking over LA Live with performances by 5 Seconds of Summer, Fergie and Daya.
If you need proof that Frogtown is happening, then make your way to the Frogtown Art Walk. The Elysian Valley neighborhood—tucked between the 5 and the LA River—is mounting its annual evening of art across 30 different venues between Fletcher and Eads streets (plus across the river at the Bowtie Parcel).
Stay up all night at Cinespia's Annual Movie's All Night. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery series is screening two Winona Ryder cult classics in this after-hours event: Heathers and Edward Scissorhands.
Start your Sunday on two wheels during CicLAvia: Wilshire Boulevard. The popular car-free festival is charting a course through Downtown, Westlake and Koreatown on this now annually occurring route.
Scope out works from up-and-coming local artists at Open Call 2016: Play. The monthlong exhibition kicks off with an artists reception, from ambitious students to talented hobbyists, at Barnsdall Art Park's Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.
Spend the rest of the day in Little Tokyo for the beginning of Nisei Week. This two-weekend event celebrates Japanese culture with displays of martial arts, tea ceremonies, flower arranging and more. Head to the plaza outside of the Japanese American National Museum for the Tanabata Festival—or Star Festival—followed by the Grand Parade along Central Avenue.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Thursday, August 11, 2016
American Airlines Group (ticker: AAL) announced Tuesday it would offer free premium entertainment across its seatback entertainment-equipped or Wi-Fi-streaming domestic flights, in a move that will surely please consumers and investors.
Out of all American's aircrafts, close to 300 include seatback entertainment. The company says that number grows each month. According to its website, its entertainment perks include more than 160 movies, more than 700 music choices, 300 TV shows and more. USA Today points out that the company indeed had certain free programming before, though new release movies and other premium content cost consumers money.
AAL customers can enjoy this big free push starting this month. It highlighted in its announcement consumers can now watch HBO's (TWX) "Game of Thrones" and "Silicon Valley" for free, in addition to new movies like "Captain America: Civil War."
The airline isn't the first to go against the seemingly insurmountable fees airlines have grown to be known for: Delta Air Lines (DAL) said in June it would make in-flight entertainment free for its passengers in two-cabin aircrafts, reports Forbes.
American Airlines' stock has been down almost 20 percent on the year, though this move may help bolster its future. Besides, its chief competitor in free entertainment, Delta, has much more to worry about than letting consumers watch free TV.
MGCLS - LAX Car Service
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Delta Air Lines Inc.’s efforts to restore normal service Wednesday stumbled as cancellations that snarled the carrier for two days left flight crews out of position, adding to travel disruption.
The Atlanta-based airline said 255 flights were canceled Wednesday after an earlier projection only about 90 services would need to be scratched. Normal operations after the disruptions from Monday’s computer system failure now are expected to be restored in the afternoon, the No. 2 U.S. carrier by traffic, rather than midday.
“We’re in the final hours of bouncing back from the disruption,” the airline’s senior vice president for operations Dave Holtz said in a statement Wednesday.
The airline canceled about 800 flights Tuesday after about 1,000 were annulled the day before when a systems failure occurred in the early hours of Monday. Delta chief operating officer Gil West said on Tuesday that a “power control module” at the airline’s technology center malfunctioned “causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power.” Backup systems didn’t kick-in as expected.
Delta said its computer systems now were functioning normally. Delays and cancellations were largely because crew members were in the wrong location or reached the end of their legally allowed duty time.
The disruption has angered passengers. Delta said it would continue its policy of allowing some passengers to rebook without a fee for another day, and said unaccompanied minors wouldn’t be permitted to begin traveling on Wednesday.
The airline said it had dispatched reservation agents to its busy Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hub, the world’s busiest, to bolster the staff available to assist passengers.
Scattered thunderstorms in the eastern U.S. could slow recovery operations, the airline warned.
Delta is the latest U.S. carrier to be hit by major disruptions from technical problems. That has raised questions about whether a recent wave of four U.S. airline mergers, which created four large carriers controlling 85% of domestic capacity, has built companies too large and too reliant on IT systems that date from the 1990s. Delta merged with Northwest Airlines eight years ago.
Joe Leader, chief executive of the Atlanta-based Airline Passenger Experience Association said the high degree of automation in airline systems and the push by airlines to get passengers to embrace online check-in or smartphone applications has made it more difficult to recover from system outages when they occur. “We have become so reliant on the technology that people have genuinely forgotten how to go to manual mode.”
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
After the Model 3 unveiled in April, Nissan Motor Co. openly attacked Tesla Motors Inc. on the reservation process of its compact sedan, the Model 3, through its new ad campaign. Now, BMW AG is trying to attract the Model 3 reservation holders via its new commercial.
Electrek reported that the German luxury carmaker released a 30-second video commercial for its plug-in hybrid 3 Series, dubbed as “BMW 330e,” urging Model 3 customers that they should not have to wait so long for a vehicle. The commercial attracts them to purchase its new hybrid merely because it is available now.
The Model 3 is expected to launch late 2017 in the US and in 2018 in the rest of the world, if everything goes as planned, which implies a wait time of at least two new years for reservation holders as mentioned in the video. This, along with “that other electric car company’s new model ever even arrives” clearly referred to Tesla’s Model 3 and implied that BMW now considers itself an EV maker too.
Given Tesla’s history with the Model S and the Model X, the market’s skepticism on timely launch of the Model 3 appears reasonable. However, directly advertising that it will be delayed by stating “and maybe more” seems like a direct attack on the Californian EV maker.
The Model 3 base-version has an estimated EPA-range of over 215 miles and a tag price of $35,000 (excluding incentives). Conversely, the BMW 330e has a 14 mile-range on electric and costs $44,000. Perhaps the German automaker fears that its all-electric 3 Series, the Model 3’s real competitor, will not hit the roads before 2020.
With over 373,000 reservations, Model 3 customers are unlikely to purchase another vehicle over the next few years. Thus, it is understandable why BMW and Nissan are using cheap ads to attract those people. However, the company should consider that while availability could be one of the major factors considered while buying an electric vehicle, it is certainly not the only one.
Interestingly, BMW has started a new campaign dubbed “wait or drive” under which it released an ad which includes a dummy Tesla Supercharger. The video below talks about waiting in lines to pay a deposit and waiting for a vehicle to arrive, which is another direct attack on the Model 3.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Monday, August 8, 2016
Los Angeles International Airport will receive a federal grant of about $4 million next month to help reduce pollution from airplanes on the ground.
The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners voted Thursday to accept the grant, which is part of the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions, or VALE, program, created by Congress in 2004 to help airports meet air-quality requirements under the Clean Air Act.
This is the airport’s first ever VALE grant, and it will be used to partially fund the installation of nine 400 Hz electrical ground power units at overnight aircraft parking spaces on the west side of LAX. The units will be placed so that planes on the tarmac can draw from airport electricity rather than diesel ground units or on-board auxiliary power, sources which are noisy and produce more emissions.
Power is needed while planes are not in service so that cleaning personnel can run vacuum cleaners and other equipment, and crew members can turn on air conditioning to cool the cabin after a plane has been sitting in the sun, according to Nancy Castles, public relations director at Los Angeles World Airports.
Castles said that the power units look like tall lamp posts. In addition to having electrical cables, the posts provide high-energy, cost-efficient lighting and dispense water so planes can fill their tanks. They also feature fuel hydrants.
The project is priced at a total of $6.5 million, and the VALE grant will cover 75% of that cost.
Airport staff began working on the VALE grant in the spring, collaborating with the Federal Aviation Administration Airports District Office, as well as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, to ensure the project qualified. Castles said the airport has not applied for the program in the past because other construction projects were not considered eligible.
A recently released sustainability report found that in 2014, LAX was responsible for a total of 88,698 metric tons of carbon emissions from ground operations.
The airport adopted a new emissions reduction policy in 2015 that will require ground equipment operators to reduce emissions by about 20% by 2021. LAX also reported recycling over 25,000 tons of materials in 2014 and committed to purchasing partially recycled paper products.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Dogs that travel on planes now have a bathroom to use at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Dogs traveling on planes now have a bathroom just for them at the airport.
The Los Angeles international airport is introducing their newest animal friendly bathroom on Friday. The airport is calling them "relief areas" past security checkpoints inside eight of their terminals.
The airport cut the ribbon Saturday, allowing passengers to care for their animals without the hassle of leaving the terminal. The relief areas can be used by police canine teams and the airport’s 55 volunteer therapy dogs used to de-stress passengers before they fly.
“This is a very effective and efficient way of our passengers being able to come through security one time and then when needed, have a facility here for their pets to find relief," explained Los Angeles World Airports CEO Deborah Flint. "We know that our guests, who travel with service animals and pets, have the convenience of staying inside our terminal concourses, not leaving the concourses for their pets to be relieved and go through security"
LAX now has more animal relief areas than any other airport in the country.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Newton's Third Law of Motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – comes in handy when travelling with kids.
As airlines squeeze every extra dollar out of passengers, there's an increasing variety of ways we can say, "Enough!"
The latest scam (I mean, legitimate revenue-generating concept) is charging family members to sit together.
US Airways and American Airlines add a fee to secure seat assignments, something budget airlines Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier have been doing for years.
It costs between $US6 and $US11 per person to select a seat, according to the website for Frontier Airlines: "We'll try to keep your party together, but the only way to ensure that you'll sit together is to select seats at time of booking."
Molly Todd paid $US4000 for her and the two kids, aged seven and 10, to fly from Philadelphia to Cancun on usairways.com. "I was told I could have seats together if I paid for the choice seats, which cost $US30 extra each," Todd tells Frommer's.
TripAdvisor has announced an upgrade of its options to review flights, in a bid to "demystify" a complicated marketplace.
You can rate the overall experience, or individual aspects such as children's meals, entertainment, in-flight Wi-Fi and power ports.
"What can I expect onboard? Will bassinets be available? Will we be seated together? What is it like to transit with this airline?" These are all questions covered in Airline Reviews to give insights to families on how they can plan, organise and choose the airline. There are also thousands of photos," says Andrew Wong, head of airline review partnerships at TripAdvisor Global Flights Business.
Remember what happened when Airbnb began? Hotels suddenly started catering to families.
If you feel penalised by fees, shout it out loud. For example, you have to use a credit card to buy entertainment on Hawaiian Airlines: For Mum, Dad and two kids, that means four international charges for each movie. "Zoinks!" as Shaggy used to say on Scooby-Doo.
Hundreds of carriers have been rated on TripAdvisor, many with more than 400 comments.
The top airlines for families seem to be Emirates, Singapore and Air New Zealand.
Some low-cost carriers are awarded, including Jet2.com and JetBlue. Unsurprisingly, Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant are rated among the worst.
The good news is that Australian airlines are higher than the global average: Virgin is around four-out-of-five. Qantas is also lauded. "Glen C" writes about a brilliant flight, from Brisbane to LA and back, with three grandkids, aged three, six and 10, plus his daughter and son-in-law: "On both flights they booked us in a single row across the plane. This suited us perfectly as any one of the adults could keep an eye on all the little ones while the other adults slept."
Check out TripAdvisor's redesigned search service and "flyscore", which displays a one-to-10 score for individual flights based on qualitative reviews.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Friday, August 5, 2016
Los Angeles International Airport will receive a federal grant of about $4 million for a project that reduces airport ground emissions.
The city’s Board of Airport Commissioners voted Thursday to accept the Federal Aviation Administration grant as part of the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions program, created by Congress in 2004 to help airports meet emissions requirements under the Clean Air Act.
“Anything Los Angeles World Airports can do to reduce the carbon footprint of our airports is a step in the right direction,” BOAC President Sean Burton said. “Being recognized with a VALE award affirms LAWA’s hard work to create a sustainable and environmentally responsible airport for generations to come.”
The grant will partially fund a $6.5 million project that will feature the installation on nine 400Hz electrical ground power units at aircraft parking slots on the west side of LAX. Aircraft parked at these slots will draw power from the airport’s electrical supply instead of running the planes’ onboard auxiliary power or diesel ground power unit, which both produce more emissions and noise.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Travelers from Wichita can fly nonstop to Seattle on Alaska Airlines, beginning April 13, 2017. Alaska will offer one daily round-trip flight, seven days a week. Flights are scheduled as follows:
· Depart Seattle @ 11:55 am, arrive ICT @ 5:13 pm
· Depart ICT @ 6:10 pm, arrive Seattle @ 7:55 pm
Tickets for new routes will go on sale today. To purchase tickets and capture savings, please visit www.alaskaair.com . Media are invited to attend a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. today in the media conference room of the Eisenhower terminal.
“We are thrilled that Alaska will be bringing its award-winning, top-quality service to Wichita,” Mayor Longwell said. “Alaska is a perfect complement to our first-class terminal and mix of air service offered at Eisenhower National Airport. This much-needed nonstop route will benefit our aviation businesses in particular.”
Alaska will fly to Wichita with 76-seat Embraer 175 jets, operated by SkyWest Airlines, which feature 12 seats in first class, 12 seats in premium class and 52 seats in the main cabin. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi internet access, and Beyond Entertainment, which includes free and premium entertainment direct to customer devices and power outlets in the first-class cabin. Food and beverage includes hot meals and picnic packs for purchase, in addition to Northwest microbrews and wine.
“Alaska Airlines is excited to add Wichita to our growing list of nonstop destinations served from our Seattle hub, now at 89 and counting,” said John Kirby, vice president of network planning at Alaska Airlines. “As the Air Capital of the World, Wichita is a natural addition to our ever expanding service offerings.”
Alaska Airlines, together with its regional partners, offers service to 110 destinations with an average of 970 daily departures in the United States, including Hawaii, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Alaska has partnerships with 17 airlines, who fly more than 800 destinations worldwide. Among its many accolades, Alaska Airlines ranked highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers for nine consecutive years in North America.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Travelers can now enjoy the ultimate in culinary creativity for breakfast, lunch and dinner when flying in or out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) thanks to the opening of the new California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) at Southwest’s Terminal 1. Open daily from 5 a.m. to the final scheduled flight of the day, the new CPK at LAX offers travelers a wide range of high quality, fresh and innovative menu items, including CPK’s new breakfast menu developed exclusively for LAX, hand-tossed artisan pizzas, premium main plates, items under 650 calories, hand-crafted cocktails and more. In addition to a full-service dining room and full bar featuring CPK’s newly reimagined look, CPK at LAX also offers a quick and convenient to-go counter where guests can grab a fresh and flavorful meal and a cup of Intelligentsia coffee before a flight. Operated in partnership with Areas, a leading provider of food & beverage and retail services in the travel industry, the new CPK at LAX is a continuation of the $508 million overhaul of Terminal 1 spearheaded by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Southwest Airlines and Westfield. When finished, Terminal 1 will feature 24 world-class dining and retail concepts with a bold new terminal design spanning 25,252 feet—nearly double that of the old terminal.
“As a hometown brand born in Los Angeles, we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the exciting transformation underway at LAX with the opening of our new, full-service restaurant in Southwest’s world-class Terminal 1,” said G.J. Hart, executive chairman and CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. “Host to millions of travelers from around the world each year, it’s the ideal place to showcase our creative, globally inspired dishes, served with a distinctly Californian vibe.
“Local guests and global travelers who pass through LAX have high standards when it comes to cuisine – after all Los Angeles is one of the foodie capitals of the world – so we have created an outstanding menu that offers exclusive items found only at LAX,” Hart continued. “Prepared with high-quality ingredients like locally raised cage-free eggs, seasonal produce and premium proteins like North Atlantic salmon, the offerings at this new location are steps above what you might normally expect to find in an airport setting. We are proud to partner with Areas and Westfield to open the new CPK at LAX Terminal 1 and look forward to welcoming Southwest passengers to relax and dine with us soon.”
“We’re pleased to welcome California Pizza Kitchen to LAX as we reach our next milestone in the modernization of Terminal 1,” said Don Ostler, Southwest Airlines Senior Project Manager. “This next phase continues the enhancement of the dining experience available to our Customers, and we look forward to having CPK’s culinary creations and superb customer service offered right here at LAX Terminal 1.”
“We are excited to partner with California Pizza Kitchen, a restaurant whose globally inspired menu using locally sourced ingredients truly captures the spirit of LA we are helping to convey in T1. It is an integral part of making an amazing passenger experience for our Southwest guests,” said Xavier Rabell, CEO of Areas US.
“The Terminal 1 transformation offers a reimagined airport experience, featuring a hip, modern California feel that taps into Los Angeles and the energy of the Southwest Airlines brand,” said Keith Kaplan, Westfield’s Vice President at LAX. “Along with our partners at LAWA, Southwest and Areas, we’re seeing that transformation take shape every day. The opening of CPK at LAX marks yet another key milestone in the overall transformation.”
CPK at LAX is the latest step in CPK’s “Next Chapter” transformation, which is currently rolling out to the restaurant’s 190+ domestic, company-owned locations as well as 83 global franchised units in airports, stadiums and full-service restaurants overseas. The transformation, which includes a reimagined menu and upscale, yet relaxed new look, celebrates CPK’s 30+ years in business and continues the restaurant’s legacy of introducing inventive food and drink items.
LAX Car Service - MGCLS