All Things Travel: Notes For Visiting The Pacific Northwest

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – Is a trip to the northwest in your future? In case it’s your first trip, here is some advice to help you plan all aspects of your trip.

TRAFFIC JAMS – Moving through Eugene and Portland Oregon, along with Seattle Washington on a trip this month, you realize that car and truck traffic is everywhere, not just in Boston. Express lanes are not enough to handle it. More roads are needed in the next decade.

SEATAC NUMBERS – While Seattle Tacoma is a smaller market than Boston, their airport handled 37 million passengers, 20 percent more than Logan last year. Their growth in international travel has most of the same carriers than fly from Logan. In Boston, JetBlue ranks number one, out there it’s Alaska Airlines in first place.

SECURITY STATEMENT – If you plan to do a couple of trips a year, or more, you need to get international Global Entry clearance that also gives you pre-check. Washington cutbacks have hurt both Customs and TSA staffing, causing passenger delays.

SKY Wi-Fi – The next big thing coming to jets is free wi-fi on flights. JetBlue pioneered seat-back video, but when you check, over half of the passengers are on their own computers or tablets, working or watching a movie.

SEAHAWK NUMBER – For the Seattle NFL team, jersey number 12 is the most popular. But it’s not a player; it stands for the 12th player on the field, which is the crowd noise. On the back is the slogan: “Louder Prouder.” No mentions of the Pats Super Bowl win last year in the state of Washington.

CASCADE TRAIN – Rode the Cascade train from Seattle to Portland. Amtrak is making real progress with their longer distance trains. The train arrives 10 minutes early in Portland. In the dining car, the only thing they ran out of was New England style clam chowder.

POWERFUL PORT – When you travel by train out of Seattle, you get to see up close the sprawling Port of Seattle that is 10 times the size of Boston. 50 car freight trains seem to be everywhere with ships arriving from Asia every day.

POT LUCK – Oregon has just legalized recreational marijuana this month. First week sales topped $11 million, easily beating Colorado starting out. There were 250 medical marijuana dispensaries starting out that helped get things rolling.

WHISTLE STOP – The trains run right through the center of town in Eugene, a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. If the whistles bother you at night, the hotel gives out ear plugs. The bedside card reads: “Sometimes the engineer gets a little carried away.”

HOLIDAY TRAVEL – Based on what I saw in the Northwest, if you plan to travel over Christmas, you should make your reservations now. The airlines are not adding much capacity and with the holidays falling on a Friday, travel is going to be for longer stay. In the Northwest, leisure travel is all about Hawaii and Mexico.

PET PEEVE – Too many people carrying too many bags on the plane. Boeing, which is based in Seattle, needs to figure out a better on-board experience.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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