Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I Love Continental Airlines by Michael Duffield

AND - I do!

The only airline that's never left me stranded anywhere. The only airline that still serves food [at no cost].

When I resided in New York and in Austin Continental was my airline of choice. Subsequent moves have made it costly to choose Continental. Now - I have had the chance, once again, to be welcomed onboard by my favorite airline on a trip from Greenville to Los Angeles.

There's something about the company - it's elegant, classic name, the timeless globe logo on the tail of the aircraft, the service... It all adds up to something I appreciate.

Continental was the first airline I flew from New York - one month after 9/11 - and there was something emotional about that particular flight that also informs my feelings toward the company.

The fact that they still service real food in coach during mealtime flights [they never stopped after 9/11 - when most airlines did] is nothing short of amazing. Cocktails remain $5. They are $7 on Delta. AND - if you purchase "Continental Currency" at the airport - you'll save even a little more. My flight from Greenville to Houston yielded a snack basket that included sliced sausage, a peppercorn/Parmesan cheese spread and flatbread crackers, cranberry fruit/nut mix and a little Hershey bar. It was nice for a 2 hr. 10 min. flight. On the return flight during the lunch leg we were treated to a BBQ turkey pocket and fresh green salad with a mini Twix. Not Jean-Georges, I realize - but nice and, again, a nice surprise.

Robbie - the air hostess with the mostest on our flight to Houston on the first leg of the trip - was a hoot, telling us that she was dimming the cabin lights because Continental has found that we look better that way. Before we disembarked at our destination - she quipped: "If you've enjoyed the service today, my name is Robbie. If you haven't, my name is Anita."

Connecting through Houston - while somewhat of an ordeal [not the easiest major airport] went smoothly.

With so many problems traveling and so many issues making me want to write more "Service with a Shrug©" entries - I thought I'd share a little good news.

Happy 75th Birthday Continental!
Dig the vintage paint job!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Goodbye old [delicious] friend...

Another sad sign of the times...

Condé Nast announced today that legendary food book Gourmet would cease publication [along with several other, less personal mags] after nearly 70 years.

In food PR you pitch all the books all the time and hopefully, over time, develop relationships with different writers at different magazines [except Saveur]. I remember some fondly.

What I remember most is my first BIG national hit. A FULL PAGE in Gourmet celebrating the opening of Oliviers+CO's first U.S. store at Grand Central. For those who don't know - Oliviers is a sister of L'Occitane that features artisanal and sommelier-selected olive oils [though now they call themselves a "Mediterranean Food Merchant," hmmm...]. Beautiful, TINY stores full of lovely olive-inspired goods. Imagine the tight media tasting with 35+ people crammed into a 500 sf shop on a summer evening. Hilarious. Great fun. My first big, national hit.

You will be missed Gourmet.