Bradonregional first

The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, a Review of Paradise in Costa Rica


My wife and I recently visited the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica.  It is a lovely new hotel in a beautiful part of the world.  Here is my review.

The reception area of the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo.  Photo credit:


It's already been almost 2 months since our trip to Costa Rica, but I'm finally getting to this report.  We wanted to find a nice getaway without ...

13 Comments Read more

One Million Miles on United


I ended 2013 with about 910,000 lifetime miles on United.  Despite countless issues with United, one of my goals for this year was to get over the million mile mark since I was so close.  I've done more flying this year than I originally expected, so I hit 1MM on August 1.

I now have lifetime Gold status with both on United and Starwood. 

13 Comments Read more

The Concourse Hotel at LAX: Frequently Asked Questions



There seems to be some questions about The Concourse Hotel at LAX here and elsewhere.  In addition to answering a few of those, I stayed there again recently and have some more information to share.  

LAX sign near hotel via Flickr Creative Commons license

Since my first stay soon after the rebranding from Radisson, it seems the property is getting better integrated with Hyatt and ...

The Concourse Hotel at LAX, now a Hyatt Affiliate


The Radisson at LAX airport has recently been rebranded as The Concourse Hotel at Los Angeles Airport and will eventually fall under the Hyatt flag. This property was originally built in the 1960s as a Hyatt and has been rebranded a few times.  

Nighttime view from the Concourse Hotel towards LAX


I needed a hotel near LAX before a morning ...

4 Comments Read more

United Airlines: "Operational Difficulties"


Yep, another post about United's poor operational record.  This isn't the first time I've written about issues like this.  Nor is it the second, or the third, fourth, fifth or sixth instance.  

I believe it is better to laugh than to cry, and I was entertained by this, so I'll give due credit.  At least this time the delay was classified in an honest manner in the United app:

Hence the title ...

6 Comments Read more

United 787 Dreamliner BusinessFirst from Lagos to Houston


After a great time in Ghana, and a long layover in Lagos airport, I finally was headed towards the gate for the flight back to the US.  

United from Lagos to Houston on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner



Boarding time was listed at 7:30pm for a 9:45 departure.  That seemed a bit crazy, but it is at least partially due to poor boarding lounges.  I got to the gate about 8:30, and ...

1 Comment Read more

Arik Air from Accra and lounge hopping during a long layover in Lagos


A short flight on a tired 737 built for AirTran then a nearly 12 hour layover in Lagos.  Not my best travel day, but I tried to make the most of it.  Due to limited flight options between Accra and Lagos, I ended up with along layover before my flights home. Like my outbound trip, I remained in transit in Lagos, so I'd be stuck in the airport.  I knew about this long layover  ahead of time as opposed to my previous visit to Lagos where I had a much longer stop than ...

1 Comment Read more

Travel to Kakum National Park and being the only obruni on the bus to Accra


From walking among the treetops, to an hour long sermon on a bus ride.  My last few days in Ghana had some unique experiences, and only some of them were intended.   Since my time in country was pretty brief, I didn't get to explore too far, but I tried to make the most of the time I did have.

Kakum National Park, Ghana

A group of us went to Kakum National Park to partake in a canopy tour.  It was ...

3 Comments Read more

Exploring history of the slave trade in Cape Coast, Ghana


Besides being in Ghana for the wedding, we wanted to do some local exploration.  Ghana does not have much of a developed tourism industry.  There are several worthy sites, one of them was rather close to where we were staying, so we hired a tro tro (minibus that functions similar to a taxi for more people) to take us there.  I'll talk more about transport options in my next post.

Cape Coast, Ghana

4 Comments Read more

Around the world in a week - preview of Germany, Malaysia, Cambodia, Costa Rica

I recently returned from another fun trip.  It really was 2 trips, and I'll provide a full report for each, but for now, while trying to settle back into work and finish up other reports here, I'll provide a preview of my trip thanks to some photos I posted to Instagram.

It was my last Star Alliance First Class reward with United miles booked before the devaluation.  This trip started when Lufthansa opened up space on their new Munich to Toronto ...

2 Comments Read more

A stay at the Ko-Sa Beach Resort, Cape Coast, Ghana


We had a long, but fun road trip from Accra, and we finally made it to our destination and the site of the wedding, the Ko-Sa Beach resort.  This is unlike any other beach resort I've been to, much more simple but perfectly nice, and rooms are less than $70 per night even for their best rooms.  It is definitely not over the top, and its not hard to forget you are in a remote spot in Africa, power occasionally comes and goes and not surprisingly, only cash is accepted.  It is a ...

Road trip from Accra to Cape Coast in a van


It is maybe 100 miles from our hotel in Accra to where we were staying for the wedding, but due to heavy traffic getting out of town, and along the way, it took several hours to cover that distance.  A big portion of the wedding party and guests traveled together to the site of the wedding, on the beach at a resort near Cape Coast.  We were all packed into a van.  It was a fun trip that reminded me somewhat of riding the school bus

2 Comments Read more

Cash only in Accra, Ghana and Africa in General

Independence Arch

Now that I was finally in Africa, I had one short night to relax in Accra, meet up with friends, and then head up the coast to the site of the wedding.  After my extended layover in Lagos, I was one of the last to arrive at the hotel in Accra, but it was good to see some familiar faces after a long trip to get here.  



Great photo of Independence Arch in Accra by George Appiah ...

1 Comment Read more

Extended layover in Lagos Nigeria and flying Africa World Airways


Many travelers have heard horror stories about the experience of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos Nigeria.  Here is my story, I don't think it was necessarily a horror, but I'll let you decide.  Others have alleged some major issues when flying through Lagos, including bribes from immigration officers and baggage not being transferred between flights.  I didn't encounter either of these, but here are a few examples of some horror stories others ...

4 Comments Read more

United Airlines 787 Dreamliner BusinessFirst from Houston to Lagos


Although I was flying to a new and exciting destination, the initial part of this trip was pretty typical for me, with domestic flights on United. Thankfully, they were uneventful, and actually arrived ahead of schedule.   I got to Houston with plenty of time to relax before the long flight to Lagos.  Unfortunately, when I checked this status upon landing, this flight had already posted a delay.  It was strange in that the inbound flight (from Heathrow) had arrived on ...

7 Comments Read more

Winners of Singapore, Turkish Austrian amenities and United Club pass giveaway

My giveaway of items from Singapore, Turkish and Austrian Airlines seems to have been quite popular, at least based on the number of comments.  Thanks for reading, and especially the many kind words.  

Using, I drew numbers for the 7 prizes plus a few alternates just in case.  The comment number in the original post was selected at random thanks to  Those selections are listed below, and the 7 winners have been notified.  

Stay ...

1 Comment Read more

Giveaway: Amenity kits and pajamas from Turkish, Singapore, and Austrian premium classes

Singapore pjs

I'm an avid collector of airline amenities, especially amenity kits and other goodies from premium cabins.  I've collected much more than I need for myself on various trips, so I thought I'd offer some up as a giveaway to readers.

Each item is unopened condition, and in most cases is sealed.  I have photos of each item, plus a link to the trip report and in some cases a review of the kit itself.

Update 5/21/14:
Thanks for all of your entries.  Winners have ...

63 Comments Read more

Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class from Istanbul to Houston


The last portion of my trip report of my Business Class award on Turkish Airlines is the return trip between Istanbul and Houston.  I had already had an eventful day, getting up early to see some of the sites in Istanbul.  I then returned to the crowded airport and had a brief visit at the famous Turkish Airlines Lounge before departure.  Turkish Airlines is a frequent topic on Upgrd, and James just reviewed his flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul.

 I ...

4 Comments Read more

A new take on the Turkish Airlines CIP Business Class Lounge Istanbul Airport

IST lounge

While there is no doubt that the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is excellent, but after 2 visits there, I'm am not as impressed as I hoped or expected to be. The experiences I had did not match the hype.  

The lounge design is beautiful, Mike was more fortunate than me for it not to be packed.

 Both times on the two separate days I visited it was terribly crowded.  Despite very tasty fresh food being prepared, it is ...

4 Comments Read more

United's poor social media strategy

United Twitter team

Clearly I'm not alone in my annoyance with United these days or with airline social media teams.  Matthew's recent post on the complete lack of trust in United leadership is excellent and on point building on the HuffPo piece he linked. I discuss how that affects other aspects of the United operation.  Also, Rocky had a poor experience with the USAirways twitter team, and my post is about more general frustrations with the United social media team over time. ...