Superbowl 2012 travel trends

indianapolis superbowl 2012For football fans, next weekend is the penultimate match up between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. What does that mean for travelers? Stay the heck away from Indianapolis!

Kayak just released data showing that searches from New England to Indianapolis saw an increase of 28 times the average immediately following the Pats/Ravens game. New York Giants fans accounted for a flight search increase to Indianapolis of 38 times the average.

Hotel searches for Indianapolis on January 22 were seven times the average hotel search share of the first two Sundays of the month.

Of course, that means hotels are raising prices accordingly – Staybridge Suites Indianapolis- Airport hotel is showing a rate of $312 and the Residence Inn Indianapolis Fishers is offering a rate of $179. Both are a 20 to 30-minute drive away.
Hotels up to 10 miles from the stadium are already beginning to sell out, if they haven’t done so already.

Of course, if you want to go luxe, you certainly can. Jetsetter is offering three packages for the game, which include overnight accommodations, VIP game passes and party access. Of course, the price goes along with the exclusivity – the most expensive package is $20,000 for two.

%Gallery-145899%


[Flickr via indywriter]

Touring Dallas Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLV Media Day

cowboys stadium

Super Bowl XLV. It was most certainly one for the record books. Well over 100,000 people flowed into Cowboys Stadium in the heart of North Texas to watch two of the NFL’s most storied teams do battle. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers put on an amazing spectacle, and I was able to take part in one small way. I made my way into Arlington for Super Bowl Media Day — a frenzied event that saw over 1,000 credentialed media crowd the field for their chance to interview their favorite players and coaches. Two of the league’s most historic teams, both on the field of the newest, most awe-inspiring stadium in the NFL. It was a spectacular scene, and a journey I won’t ever forget. The good news for you is that even though the Super Bowl is over, Cowboys Stadium remains open for business.

How so, you ask? The team has set up a program for tourists, locals and curious fans alike to actually take a tour of the new Cowboys Stadium. Tours are given seven days a week, with two primary options for entry. Of course, a general tour won’t involve speaking to players of the Packers or Steelers, but it will involve a thorough walkthrough of the NFL’s most astounding and technologically advanced venue. Read on to catch a glimpse of what you’ll see should you make the trip down (or up!).

%Gallery-116470%Aside from the fact that players were on the field and more willing than ever to sign an autograph rather than answer yet another question directly related to sports, a normal Cowboys Stadium tour isn’t too different than a Super Bowl Media Day tour. I was granted access to a special side entrance as well as a rear conference room, a look at the technology that powers the stadium (more on that angle here and here) and field-level access to the players, but other than that, my experience would pretty much mimic yours.

cowboys stadium

My first suggestion would be to splurge on the VIP Tour. If you make the trip over to Arlington, it’s worth the $10 per person upcharge to get a legitimate VIP experience. This runs $27.50 for adults (or $20 per person with a group of 20+ people), or $22.50 for children and seniors. The cheaper self-guided tour lacks the insider knowledge that the VIP Tour provides, giving you full access to the Pro Shop, field, locker rooms, Miller Lite Club and the post-game interview room. There are Tour Guides stations in each area to answer your questions, but the VIP Tour goes above and beyond. With that, you’ll begin at the Main club and then tour a private suite, the radio / print media press boxes, the Cotton Bowl offices, the Dr. Pepper Star Bar and the Ford Motor Company Fountain.

%Gallery-116469%
Following those stops, a guide will take you down to the event level where you’ll see all of the stops on the Self-Guided Tours. Afterwards, you’ll end the tour in the Pro Shop where you’ll get a complimentary 6- x 8-inch photo to remember the experience. Like I said, the $10 upcharge seems justified.

cowboys stadium

As for my experience? It was outstanding. The 72- x 160-foot Mitsubishi Electric HD display hanging from the roof is truly a sight that has to be seen to be believed. It’s an expansive place — the roof can be opened up if the weather is nice, and it’s very obvious just how new this place is. Being able to get on the field holds even more meaning now that the Packers and Steelers have christened it with a Super Bowl, and for fans of the NFL (or sports in general), it’s a breathtaking experience. You really can’t judge just how huge the place is until you’re there. I kept wishing that I could actually return for a game after being on the field with legendary players, and there’s no doubt that this tour will get you hooked and hoping to come back for more. There looks to be hardly a bad seat in the house, and from a tech perspective, there’s plenty to appreciate. Over 800 wireless routers are there to provide reliable internet access through games (for those who like to tweet or upload images / videos of the action), and there have been improvements made in wireless cellphone coverage for similar reasons.

cowboys stadium

During my tour, I also learned of things to come from Cowboys CIO Pete Walsh and systems architects from CDW. The organization is hoping to tie a good deal of technology into future events. Things like iPhone apps for ordering food (and potentially having it delivered to your seat based on GPS), real-time statistics and on-demand replays on your phone or tablet. These guys are gunning for “the ultimate fan experience,” and it shows. They’ve got the perfect venue to provide that, and if you’re halfway through a cross-country road trip, why not make a day to tour the NFL’s most technologically advanced stadium? Have a look at my tour in the images throughout to get a feel for what you’d get to see, and then head here to book a time and day that fits your schedule.

Galley Gossip: Flight attendants trained to spot human traffickers at the Super Bowl

flight attendants human traffickersWhat do hundreds of flight attendants, thousands of under-age prostitutes and the Super Bowl all have in common? Dallas. On Sunday they’re all traveling to Texas. American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta, United, and Qantas hope to help stop human traffickers from pimping out women and children by holding training sessions that will enable flight attendants volunteering their time on the ground to help spot signs of trafficking. According to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot in an article posted by Reuters, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States. During the previous two Super Bowls fifty girls were rescued. This year with authorities, child welfare advocates, and the airline industry all collaborating to fight under-age sex crimes, even more lives could be saved.

How did the airlines even come to be involved in human trafficking? It all started with Sandra Fiorini, an American Airlines flight attendant based in Chicago. Because of Fiorini flight attendants now know what to look for and who to call if they see something suspicious on board a flight. This after Fiorini tried to report a situation and no one responded. It involved an eighteen year-old boy on a six-hour flight carrying a newborn infant with its umbilical cord still attached. No wife. Just one bottle of milk and two diapers stuck inside his pocket. In 2007 Fiorini met Deborah Sigmund, founder of the organization Innocents at Risk, and soon they began working together with airline employees to become the first line of defense against human trafficking.




Flight attendants aren’t the only ones who can help. There are more frequent fliers now than ever before. Passengers should also be aware of what to look for while traveling.

Warning Signs

1. Someone who doesn’t have control over his/her own identification

2. Someone who has few to no possessions.

3. Someone who is not allowed to speak for themselves, or is made to speak through a translator

4. Someone who isn’t sure of where he or she lives or is or has no sense of time

5. Someone who avoids eye contact or appears fearful, anxious, tense, depressed, nervous, submissive.

6. Someone who rarely is allowed to come and go independently and may be accompanied by someone who controls their every movement

7. Someone who may be dressed inappropriately regardless of weather conditions.

Number to call

Human Trafficking Hot line 1-888-373-7888.

(Don’t wait until it’s too late. Put that number in your cell phone now!)

There are more slaves today than any other time in human history. A person can be sold several times a day for many years, opposed to drugs that can only be sold once. Because of this human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, only second behind drug trafficking. It generates 32 billion annually for organized crime. Each year two million women and children become victims. 300,000 children within the United States are being trafficked each year. Most are forced into a life of prostitution and pornography in large urban areas such as Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Florida. If it can happen on my flight, it can happen on yours. Open your eyes. Get involved. Write that number down!

Photo courtesy of The Consumerist

american delta flight attendant

You can still watch the Super Bowl if you’re traveling during the game

football superbowl airplaneYears back it used to be that if you were traveling by airplane you had very little chance of getting any updates about the big game. The best that you could hope for was for the captain to radio down to the towers during the flight to get updates — and to relay it back to the passengers.

Now that we’re in the information age that role might be switched. With TV and internet empowered users in the back of the airplane, many traveling this Super Bowl weekend will have full access to the game, from television in the back of some Jetblue, Virgin America and Delta aircraft and wireless internet (and updates therein) across a broad spectrum of other aircraft.

Our old friend Scott Mayerowitz over at the Associated Press (via Bloomberg) has a nice roundup of how empowered users can enjoy the game this weekend — it’s an interesting and hopeful ready for any football fan on the road.

What willl really be interesting is to listen to the chatter over the aircraft radio during the game — some carriers like United allow passengers to listen to the cockpit communication at their seats. How many scores will pass through the sky during Super Bowl weekend as airplanes crisscross the planet?

Super Bowl or Ice Bowl? Deep freeze following Packers, Steelers to Texas

The current winter weather pattern stretching from the Midwest to the Northeast is snarling travel plans for more than half of the nation and has been called one of the worst winter storms the country has ever seen.

For those heading to Arlington for this weekend’s Super Bowl, this travel could mean long delays and potentially canceled flights.

Teams arrived on Monday, but the Dallas-Forth Worth Airport was closed for a time on Tuesday due to sleet, ice and snow, The Washington Post reported and has currently re-opened only with one runway. Media Day, however, is still taking place as scheduled.

On the Monday after the game, some 40,000 people are expected to depart from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, possibly the single biggest day in the airport’s history, said American Airlines spokesman Ed Martell in Market Watch. Some have expressed fears that bad weather combined with extreme volume could snarl travel plans for many.

The Texas forecast for Sunday is currently 62 and sunny, according to Weather.com, but the lingering effects from other parts of the country earlier this week could affect flights.

Want to stay up-to-date? Be sure to follow all of our Super Bowl coverage.