Posts Tagged With: Layover

The Best Two-hour Layover in the U.S.

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All rights belong to Yahoo, Men’s Journal, and Melaina Juntti

By Melaina Juntti | Men’s Journal – Thu, Sep 12, 2013 12:53 PM EDT

Photo courtesy of Ike’s Food & Cocktails

Sometimes, flying direct just isn’t an option, and you’re stuck kicking around some airport terminal before boarding a plane to your final destination. Less than ideal? For sure. Painful? Totally depends on which airport you’re trapped in. La Guardia‘s filthy, LAX is jam-packed, O’Hare is a known nightmare, and most mid-sized stopovers offer little more than Dunkin’ Donuts or Panda Express.

But if you wind up with a layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul International, you’re not only in for a breezy transfer experience – quick lines, easy-to-navigate layout, mostly on-time flights – but you have all the spoils for a damn good time. If you’ve got more than an hour before takeoff, you may as well latch the laptop shut and take full advantage of MSP‘s surprisingly vast, very un-airport-like selection of top-notch restaurants and cocktail lounges.

Sure, you’ll find the usual fast-food chains and coffee carts, but MSP hosts several secondary outposts of favorite Twin Cities haunts – and they truly don’t feel like cheesy, crammed mockups of the originals. There’s Ike’s Food & Cocktails, a retro-themed joint that serves up steaks, ribs, a seriously amazing burger, and a bunch of interesting small plates and apps, along with killer cocktails. For lighter fare, French Meadow Bakery & Café delivers unique and locally sourced salads, sandwiches, and entrées with a great wine selection set in an open, inviting space. Axel’s Bonfire is another winner, with wood-fired Southwestern-inspired nosh and the restaurant’s signature Bull Bites.

Surdyk's Flights restaurant in Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (Photo: M C Morgan / Flickr)

Surdyk’s Flights restaurant in Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (Photo: M C Morgan / Flickr)

Rather stretch your legs than belly up to a bar? The terminal is huge, so there are many miles to cover, and the layout makes it so you can walk casually without getting stuck in a stream of hurried travelers or having your ankles nipped by baby strollers. Just be sure to stop by Surdyk’s Flights, a fully stocked wine and gourmet cheese shop and tasting room based on the renowned, nearly 80-year-old Minneapolis liquor store.

If you must cram in some work during your stopover – or maybe you’re only a few hours out from dinner and drinks with clients and would be wise to just chill – MSP has you covered there, too. Despite its size, several parts of the terminal are sectioned off into several smaller areas, almost like rooms or mini-terminals, so there’s no shortage of spots to hunker down and not be bothered. The one knock is there’s currently a fee for wireless access, but MSP plans to offer free service by the end of this year, according to the airport’s website.

Obviously, you’ll never plan a trip around a layover, but if you’re bound to make a brief Midwest stop and can choose between Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, or Minneapolis, you’ll know what to do.

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Categories: Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Charles de Gaulle Airport

8/6/11

I see my suitcase get unloaded. At least I know it made it to Paris. I take the shuttle to my correct terminal. I use the restroom and have to go through security. Their security is worse than New York’s. They wind up breaking the wheel on my carry on. That bag had lasted through a 12 day trip to Israel and a 9 day trip to Egypt (not to mention all my little side trips) only to break due to a careless security agent. Not cool. Time for my broken suitcase and I to explore the airport.

I look for my mom’s makeup first. They don’t have it. I then look for postcards. I buy some individual ones and a book of them. I also get a magnet, chocolate, and a mini Eiffel Tower. I want to buy a book on Versailles and another one on Paris, but I decide not to get them. I buy two pretty prints of Paris. I go to the food court, which sucks. I buy water and pita bread. I try to go to the lounge and get rudely denied despite having all the right cards to get in. Thus, I sit and wait in a chair for five hours. I eventually buy macaroons at La Maison Du Chocolat. They are expensive, but I hope they are worth it. I still feel sick and I am beyond exhausted at this point. I stop by Swarovski to take a look and to tell my mom I saw it.

They eventually begin to board us. However, we don’t get far when we find out that our plane has issues and we need a new one. No idea how long that will be. We switch to a different gate. I’ve been up for 15 hours after a week of no sleep and 14 of those hours have been spent traveling. I am tired and bored out of my mind. I decide to buy the Paris book to keep me awake. Two hours later we get a plane and board. Thank goodness because otherwise they were going to make us stay overnight at the airport and take a plane in the morning.

Macaroons

 

Categories: Europe, Food, France, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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