Wed05042016

News

Councilmembers hold open office hours

eduled open office hours at locations throughout the city. Each week, one councilmember is available for a two-hour period to answer questions, receive input and discuss topics of interest with local residents.

Upcoming sessions are slated 1-3 p.m. ...

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Schools

School Briefs

Loyola K-Kids continue eyeglasses drive

The Loyola School K-Kids Club, sponsored by the Los Altos Kiwanis Club, is attempting to set a club record during its 10th annual “Share Old Spectacles” drive – and it is close.

Students set...

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Community

Los Altos Library presentation focuses on Islam

The Los Altos Library and Los Altos Voices for Peace have scheduled Islamic scholar Shaykh Alaeddin El Bakri to discuss “One God: One Humanity” 7 p.m. May 19 at the main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

Educated in both Islamic studies a...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

St. Francis hosts HOF dinner in June

St. Francis High’s Hall of Fame Induction Celebration is set for 5 p.m. June 11 at the school’s Makley Event Center. Honorees include seven teams and 11 athletes, including baseball player John Gall...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

LAH history should be documented

I am writing to express an alternative view to that presented in the article regarding the proposed expenditure by Los Altos Hills to expand the anthology that was begun for the town’s 60th anniversary celebrat...

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Special Sections

If my registered car doesn't run, do I need to report it?

Q: My vehicle is currently registered, but I blew the engine and it’s not being driven, so I canceled my car insurance. Do I need to report that to the DMV?

A: Yes. If your registration fees are due within 60 days of the vehicle registration e...

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Business

Business Brief

City hosts discussion with local merchants

Los Altos Economic Development Manager Jennifer Quinn has scheduled a Business Coffee Chat with merchants 12:30-2 p.m. Tuesday at Curves, 2069 Grant Road, Los Altos.

Quinn will present a summary of current...

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People

Stepping Out

Arts Briefs

Pacific Ballet hosts ‘Spring Showcase’ this weekend in MV

Pacific Ballet Academy has scheduled four performances of its “Spring Showcase” this weekend on the MainStage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 ...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

LAUMC sponsors rummage sale

Los Altos United Methodist Church has scheduled its annual rummage sale 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 13 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 14 at the church, 655 Magdalena Ave.

The sale will feature a large selection of household and garde...

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Airport lounges offer travelers comforts of home – for a price


Photos Courtesy of American Express
The American Express Centurion Lounge at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport features comfortable seating, left, as well as lounge chairs, right, for travelers facing long layovers. American Express cardholders can purchase day passes for the lounge for $50.

As we rushed to make our connecting flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Tampa, lugging our carry-ons, cameras and food, we stopped at the boards.

Our next leg wouldn’t take off for another four hours. Nearly 300 flights ended up canceled or delayed Nov. 24 because of violent storms. We joined the rest of the Florida-bound passengers sprawled in the tiny waiting area on hard chairs at the gate. Thanksgiving vacation was off to a slow start.

My Mac didn’t feel like air to me, and I realized that we had to take shifts stretching our legs by doing laps around the shops. As my eyes started to glaze over under the ugly fluorescent lights, I recalled an email sitting in my inbox promoting the flashy new American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal D.

Even with all the traveling I do, I have stayed away from airline club lounges, thinking them unnecessary status symbols or only for VIPs. While that may be true, it turns out that cardholders with $50 to spare can buy a day pass. The passes are a real boon for cranky adults or families with tired children, and you can even buy them online as gifts for frequent travelers.

With four extra hours looming ahead of us, and the realization that every hard-plastic chair around us was filling up with bodies, I asked for directions to the Amex lounge.

The club was a bit hidden. Despite having the exact location, even airport employees directed us to the nearby American Airlines Admirals Club. We stopped there. The greeter at the front desk seemed less than friendly, informing us that it would be $100 for a day pass for the two of us and then more for bar drinks and lunch. To be fair, the club featured the usual free Wi-Fi and showers. The menu was barebones – sandwiches and quick eats only.

I was determined to try out the new Centurion Lounge, which supposedly had a celebrity chef. Named after the highest level of Amex card, the invitation-only black Centurion card, the deluxe club costs the same for a day pass but boasts more free features.

When we finally found the lounge, it was an oasis that helped us weather a really tough day. The excellent food was free (well, after the cost of the day pass), and they were giving out 15-minute massages and facials at the lounge’s salon. Needless to say, the signups filled almost immediately, with all the plane groundings. Chairs and comfy couches make the free Wi-Fi that much easier to use, and special children’s stations feature computer games of all sorts.

The daily Amex pass runs $50 per person, with no extra charge for food or drinks.

If you’re an Amex Platinum member, which means you think this kind of comfort is worth $400 a year, admission is free for yourself and your family. The Priority Pass card that comes with it allows you to access more than 600 global lounges, including the American Airlines Admirals Club, the Delta Sky Club and the US Airways Club.

To read detailed reviews of airline clubs, visit skytrax.com. Centurion Clubs seem to generate more positive comments, but take a look for yourself.  If you’re a business traveler, you can probably expense the passes.

This is one status symbol that I would definitely recommend. You can also buy one-day and 30-day passes online as gifts.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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