Archive for the ‘Airlines’ Category

Discovering the World of Global Entry

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Monday, September 10th, 2012

In the world of luxury travel, there are many things I have learned.  First, my job as a travel advisor is to give advice based on my first-hand experiences so I know what works and what doesn’t.  Next, that well-traveled individuals HATE, and I mean HATE, to stand in line.  Most hotels and cruise lines make a conscious effort to help travelers avoid lines, however, US Customs and Immigration was different.  Traditionally travelers could spend a small eternity (anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes or more) waiting on line to be welcomed home after long international flights.  This was a sad fact because as advisors, we would spend hours planning the perfect trip, carefully selecting the itinerary, choosing the hotels and arranging flights on the airline with the best on-board experience.  Only to have our precious travelers left holding their bags in an endless line when re-entering the US.  Traditionally, this was out of our control to advisors, however, now, with the new Global Entry program, we can make those lines disappear and the trip home seamless.  So, as all good travel advisors do, I took the two hour ride to JFK Airport to complete my Global Entry application, so I can test the system and make a recommendation.

The Global Entry membership allows travelers to walk past the long lines at immigrations and customs, breeze up to a kiosk, insert their passport and have their fingerprints scanned.  They then bypass the immigration agent, for they have already been pre-qualified as a Global Entry traveler.  For those of you who travel internationally and are unfamiliar with Global Entry, you need to pay attention because this information will change your traveling life forever.

The Global Entry membership program allows travelers to go through an application and screening process in order to bypass immigration and customs lines when you re-enter the US from abroad.  The application is quite simple and only takes a few minutes online and the interview, which is scheduled in advance with the Global Entry Officer, is only about 15 minutes long. Once the interview is complete, you are photographed and fingerprinted, which allows you to use the kiosk in the airport when re-entering the US.  The membership fee is $100 and lasts for 5 years AND, as if that wasn’t good enough, you are automatically qualified for TSA PreCheck clearance, which allows you to keep your shoes on and laptop in your bag at certain domestic airports when you travel domestically.  Also, anyone paying with an American Express Platinum card will receive reimbursement for the charges.

There are a few qualifications for Global Entry, however, as long as you haven’t broken any laws, smuggled snails in to the country or lied on your application, you should be all set.  For more information on Global Entry, you can CLICK HERE for a Global Entry brochure or go online to

Later this year Largay Travel will host a Global Entry Day in our headquarters in Waterbury, Connecticut, where Global Entry Officers will be on site to perform interviews.  If you are interested in participating, please email me at and I will let you know the details when they are available. 

So, this October when I return from hosting a Voyager Club group on the Silver Spirit, I will test the system once and for all.  And maybe I won’t skip past all the weary travelers waiting in the endless line at the airport like I imagined during my long drive to JFK.  Maybe, instead, I will just smile and walk on by knowing that all of MY travelerswill do the same.  Safe journies my friends!

Link your United and Continental Mileage Accounts Today and Save Time Later

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Friday, October 7th, 2011

As a travel specialist, I just love to save people time and keep them informed on things in the industry.  Therefore, I am sending this quick note to remind you that you need to link your Continental OnePass number to you United Mileage Plus number, since these airlines have combined.  The new mileage program for the combined airlines will be called United MileagePlus, therefore the former Contintnal OnePass program will go away as of December 31st, 2011.  It will help to avoid issues, if you link the two accounts together now, while they are both valid.

Below you will find the instructions to link the two mileage accounts together into one account, which will be the New United MileagePlus program.  If you need assistance, you Largay Travel Specialist would be glad to assist and once again, save you time and create a seamless travel experience.

How to Link your United and Continental Mileage Accounts

Link your United and Continental Mileage Accounts

When vacation begins with the journey ~ My Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Experience

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Gary enjoying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Gary enjoying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Over the years I have trained myself to believe that my vacation truly begins the moment I touch down at a destination.  Driving to the airport, parking, waiting for my flight and sitting on the plane were nothing more than a necessary evil.  Sometimes painful and sometimes uneventful, it just wasn’t something I looked forward to.  Even when I was lucky enough to enjoy a business or first class seat, I never looked forward to my flight experience and reveled in my time onboard…. until I found the promise land in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class.

With a new agreement and special pricing for our clients, I felt somewhat obligated to try out this service.  Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic’s founder, had always been known for creating those “over the top” experiences and I had to find out if he had once again lived up to his reputation for turning something ordinary into something extraordinary.  So I boarded my eighteen plus hour flight from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, with a scheduled seven and a half hour layover at London Heathrow.  “What could possibly be enjoyable about this twenty-four hour enduro-flight”, is what I was thinking, but knowing that my ultimate destination was Ulusaba Rock Lodge in South Africa, I knew I could endure. 

Now, I know I sound dramatic but when you only have six days on the ground, almost forty-eight hours of total travel time is somewhat scary for even the most traveled road warriors.  But the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK was quite comfortable and the food was amazing and as we were whisked by the hundreds of travelers standing in line at the security line, I begin to be somewhat hopeful. 

Boarding the flight I was a bit surprised by the seat configuration.  Rather than facing completely forward, as you would on any other airline, the seats were angled with half wall dividers between them.  Gary and I realized quickly that having seats one in front of the other was actually a nice thing for a couple traveling together, since we could easily converse back and forth over the wall rather than across the aisle.  The flight attendant came over; offering a nice glass of champagne and asked what size we would like for our “sleeper suits”.  Initially I was a bit weary of the black pajama outfits she was giving us but as I glanced around the cabin I realized that I wouldn’t be the only ninja looking passenger, so I hurried into lavatory, changed into my “jammies” and gave my clothes to the flight attendant to hang in the closest to remain perfectly pressed for my arrival into Heathrow airport.  As we lifted off from JFK and I had a chance to admire my surroundings I began to realize the thought that had gone into my individual seat environment.  The storage space, TV and music system, lighting and movie selection were absolutely amazing.  As the flight attendant set up my space for dinner I realized that my footrest converted into a seat for Gary, so we could have dinner facing one another instead of side by side.  This was so civilized and once you added the linens, china, fine wine and gourmet food, we felt as though we were having our first romantic vacation dinner.

After a nightcap at the bar and turndown service by the flight attendant, I retired to my seat which had been transformed into a sleep environment.  My seat, slash dining room, slash movie theater was now a sleep catacomb.  It was private and comfortable and was a lie flat bed with a feather duvet and down comforter.  As I lay in my bed the half walls took away the fear that I would snore too loud, drool too much or lean into the seat next to me.  So as I drifted off to sleep, I savored the comfort of my flying hotel.

As we descended into London, enjoyed our breakfast and changed from our sleeper suits back into our fresh, clean, well pressed clothes, I could not believe that I felt so good.  This was truly enjoyable and one of the best flights I have ever had in my twenty plus years in travel.

Upon arriving in Heathrow we ventured out to a local pub with my favorite local driver/guide.  This was a nice break in a long journey and still left enough time to enjoy the benefits of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse including a massage for Gary and a hair cut for me.  After a hot shower in a private spa suite and a few games of billiards, we once again boarded our flight to “repeat step one” on my way to Johannesburg.  I was amazed how quickly the time passed in London with a short pub-crawl and the luxuries of the Clubhouse, which was included in the cost of our Upper Class ticket.

Honestly, I now know why Virgin Atlantic is rated so high in passenger satisfaction and with Largay Travel’s new pricing contract, I know the value I give to every passenger on Virgin Atlantic is money well spent.  A month after returning from my trip to South Africa I recommended Virgin’s Upper Class service to a client and in an email following their trip they included:  “I could not imagine a flight being so relaxing but the Upper Class experience was wonderful, thanks so much for recommending it.”

And so my philosophy of my vacation starting once I land has been forever changed, for as I ended my safari in South Africa I actually looked forward to my journey home.

For more information on special pricing on Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class service and private driver and guide service in London, you can contact Amanda directly at