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Middle East, Africa, US Railroads and Family Flying Qatar Airlines Ranked #1, Four Seasons Serengeti Opens, Railroad Splendor Renewed By Sherman Fridman

Qatar Airlines, the world’s best airline It’s only 15 years old, and it’s an airline you have probably never heard about. But, millions of international travelers have; enough, in fact, for the airline to win three prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards including the coveted, “Airline of the Year 2012.” The young upstart, which also won “Airline of the Year 2011,” is Doha-based Qatar Airways; and, in addition to being recognized as the world’s best airline, Qatar Airways also received two other awards: “Best Airline in the Middle East” for the seventh consecutive year and “Best Airline Starr Service” award for the Middle East. The awards are given by Skytrax, a global aviation research organization that polled over 18 million business and leisure travelers from more than 100 countries.

with the recent signing of a management agreement between the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts and Bilila Lodge, a resort in Serengeti National Park. The property is now being upgraded and will be renamed Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti this fall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park covers about 5,700 square miles. The landscape features the largest concentration of plains animals in Africa and is acclaimed for the best game drives and abundant year-round wildlife, including the famous migrating herds of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and gazelle as well as lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and abundant bird life. The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is located in the Central Serengeti, entirely within the Park and boasts 60 rooms, 12 suites and five villas – all of which have direct views over the Serengeti. Designed with contemporary African architecture sympathetic to the natural landscape, the centerpiece is a two-story great house offering several dining options with indoor and outdoor seating, a spa and an infinity-edge swimming poll overlooking an active wildlife watering hole. Guests have the opportunity to witness nature at its best, day or night, including a herd of nearly 30 elephants that are frequent visitors. Truly, the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti offers experiences that will last a lifetime.

View from the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

The Unfriendly Skies If you’ve noticed the skies becoming a bit more unfriendly lately, now is your chance to speak up. There is a bill in Congress (H.R. 6124) called the “Families Flying Together Act of 2012.” The purpose of the bill, written by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) is to make airlines seat families together (if requested) while on the airplane.

Seems like an easy agreement; but the airlines disagree. They see the bill as infringing on their rights to offer premium isle and window seats at an additional fee. Families, if they now want to sit together, must pay extra if there is a premium seat that will be occupied if the family sits together on the flight. You know the drill; call your congressperson.

Rio Grange Scenic Railroad Adds 1948 Dining Cars Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways The survey covered more than 200 airlines, from the largest international airlines to smaller domestic carriers. Air travelers were surveyed during a 10-month period by telephone, questionnaires and online about their experiences with airlines on the ground and in the air. The survey measured passenger satisfaction across more than 38 key performances indicators of airline front-line produce and service, including check-in, boarding, on-board seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food, beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service. However, you may have to go a bit out of your way to board a Qatar Airways flight. Currently, the airline only offers service in the United States to New York, Washington, D.C. and - no surprise – Houston.

Four Season Safari Lodge Serengeti Opens this Fall Think of luxury hotels and chances are you are not thinking about bush-covered, animalsroam-free Africa. But that’s about to change

Alas, the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Railway, founded in 1878, is no more. Overtaken by truck traffic and over flown by airplanes, its history is entwined with the growth and development of the Rocky Mountain region. But, all is not lost for those who rather travel through breathtaking scenery than fly over it. Headquartered in Alamosa, Colorado, re-living the nostalgia of now extinct railroads is the mission of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. In keeping with their tradition of running historic rolling stock, the Rio Grange Scenic Railroad has announced the addition of a classic 1948 dining car from the New York Central Line to its collection of historic trains that will run on all trains departing Alamosa. These trains will be treated to a truly classic collection of cars pulled by a steam engine that just celebrated its 100th birthday. The addition of the New York Central Dining Car will give all guests the opportunity to enjoy an expertly prepared meal in a stylish dining car like the ones seen in movies such as Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” starring Cary Grant. The menu aboard the Dining Car includes such selections as elk burgers, Philly sandwiches and Asian Quinoa Salad. And your wallet can enjoy as well: no dish on the menu is more than $10.

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Desert Star Weekly


Desert Star July 26 issue  

Desert Star weekly July 26 issue, Diane Morgan, Master Artist, Bhakti Fest 2012