2,200-room Baha Mar development in The Bahamas – Image: Baha Mar
After an amazing tour of the new Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport, we took the brief drive to the new Baha Mar development. As I mentioned in a prior installation, Baha Mar is a massive $3.5 billion development project which, when completed, will add nearly 25% capacity to Nassau’s lodging – all of it high-end. It seeks to compete not only with the “destination” resort on The Bahamas (Atlantis) but with the likes of Las Vegas.
The complex is a massive undertaking, with thousands of workers on-site and the majority of the project is financially backed by Chinese investors. Included in the development is a giant casino, high-end restaurants, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and many other luxury touches.
BONUS: Part 1 of my trip to The Bahamas, which included the journey there and my amazing first night welcome.
Although getting a status update on the progress of the Baha Mar, I was also excited to get a tour of other must-see-things in Nassau.
Even in The Bahamas, the view is always better with AirlineReporter! And no, I did not end up vandalizing the hotel – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter.com
Recently, the Nassau Airport Development authority in The Bahamas opened a new $83.5 million terminal to serve all non-US international destinations, as well as ’œFamily Island’ domestic travel (a new US-preclearance terminal opened a few years ago). AirlineReporter.com was invited by the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism to come tour the new airport and view the sites and some new developments in Nassau (including the $3.5 billion ’“ with a ’œB’ ’“ Baha Mar development project). Note: While I was a guest of the Ministry of Tourism on this trip, all opinions are my own.
In this part, I will cover the “experience” of getting to Nassau, as well as the amazing cultural exchange opportunity I was afforded on the night of my arrival.
Mark and his wife on an AirTran Boeing 737's wing.
I wrote about Mark being on AirTran for 30 days near the begining of the his journey and wanted to catch up with him at the end of his long journey. He was able to connect while over Ohio to answer some questions I had for him:
TheAirlineBlog.com: Where are you right now (“in an airplane won’t cut it” 🙂 )?
Mark Malkoff: I’M IN THE AIR USING GOGO WIFI HEADING TO CANTON, OHIO FOR A TAILGATING PARTY ON THE TARMAC. I’M HANGING WITH THE PRO FOOTBALL HOF AND HOF LEGEND ANTHONY MUNOZ.
TAB: What is your favorite picture taken during this whole experience ?
MM: I REALLY, REALLY LIKE THE PHOTOS OF MY WIFE AND I HAVING OUR ANNIVERSARY DINNER ON THE WING OF A PLANE. AIRTRAN SET IT UP AND CATERED THE MEAL. IT WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE.
TAB: Tell me a little bit about the person sitting next to you right now.
MM: THE PERSON CURRENTLY SITTING NEXT TO ME IS MY CAMERA PERSON. HE MOST LIKELY SMELLS BETTER BECAUSE HE GETS TO SLEEP IN A HOTEL A NIGHT THAT HAS A SHOWER WHERE AS I SLEEP ALONE ON THE PLANE AND HAVE TO USE BABYWIPES IN THE AIRPLANE BATHROOM.
TAB: Who is the most interesting person you have met on this experience?
MM: IT WAS FUN SITTING NEXT TO FOOTBALL HOF LEGEND FRANCO HARRIS ON A FLIGHT TO PITTSBURGH. I LATER FOUND OUT THEY HAVE A STATUE OF HIM IN THE PITTSBURGH AIRPORT. WE TALKED THE ENTIRE FLIGHT AND HE EVEN TAPED A VIDEO WITH ME. I SHOULD ALSO MENTION THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK TO. THE STORIES THEY HAVE ARE ENDLESSLY ENTERTAINING.
TAB: What is the most interesting conversation you have had?
MM: FOR ME PERSONALLY IT WAS TALKING TO THE PILOTS ONE ON ONE. THEY REALLY BROKE DOWN MY FEAR OF FLYING INTO TERMS THAT HAVE FOR THE MOST PART CURED MY ANXIETY. MY MAIN ISSUE WAS TURBULENCE. ALL OF THEM SAID THE SAME KIND OF THING, “IT’S LIKE BEING IN AN OCEAN AND GOING OVER A WAKE. IT’S LIKE DRIVING OVER GRAVEL.” SO WHENEVER TURBULENCE HITS I DON’T LIKE IT, BUT I’M ABLE TO TOLERATE IT.
TAB: Do you prefer the Boeing 737 or the Boeing 717?
MM: I LIKE THE 737.
TAB: Will you ever eat pretzels ever again?
MM: I’VE CONSUMED MY WEIGHT IN PRETZELS. I THINK I MIGHT TAKE A FEW YEARS OFF FROM EATING THEM.
TAB: At this point do you have the SkyMall magazine memorized? Off the top of your head describe the Litter Robot (no cheating).
MM: I HAVE ALMOST THE ENTIRE SKYMALL CATALOG MEMORIZED. THE LITTER ROBOT I’M FAIRLY CERTAIN IS WHAT I REFER TO AS THE CAT SPACESHIP. IT WAS DEVELOPED BY NASA TO SEND CATS INTO SPACE WHERE THEY CAN NAP IN ZERO GRAVITY.
TAB: What is your favorite airline related joke?
MM: IT’S A BAD JOKE BUT MY DAD HAS BEEN TELLING PEOPLE THAT MY CAREER IS “TAKING OFF”.
TAB: This is not your first stunt like this; you lived in Ikea, lived in a Boeing, what’s next?
MM: NEXT IS A THIRTY DAY PROJECT WHERE I SLEEP IN A BED IN MY APARTMENT. I’M GUESSING IT WON’T BE AS INTERESTING.
Pretty amazing journey Mark has had over the last 30 days.
That’s right! 24/7, comedian Mark Malkoff will be hanging out on an AirTran plane, travelling to about 12 cities per day, sleeping, eating — even washing himself on an airliner for thirty straight days. The beauty? He has a fear of flying.
Not only does he want to conquer his fear of flying, but he is also trying to break the Guinness record for continuous flight. And since AirTran has WiFi, Mark is able to relate his journey through his website and on his Twitter account.
His great adventure started this Monday and will go to the end of the month. I wonder if he is able to earn frequent flier miles through Airtran — I will try and ask him — stay tuned.
Update: Mark’s response: “I hope so!”
Update2: He has earned so many miles he got a big Elite airmiles card.
Landing at Branson, MO's BKG airport.
Branson, Missouri is the home to the United State’s first privately supported airport. The $155 million airport is the first of 552 airports with commercial air service to receive no federal funding.
The town only has about 6,000 residents, but has over 50 theaters, ten museums, and a few other odds and ends that draw about 8million tourists to the area each year.
In 1996 Congress changed legislation that allowed airports to try and win over private investors and Branson will show if this is a feasible business plan. SO far two other airports have unsuccessfully tried to make airport privatization work (Midway Airport and Steward Airport). Currently only low-cost carriers Sun Country Airlines and AirTran Airways fly into Branson Airport (BKG).
There seems to be a lot of money making potential in airports (selling name rights, hotels, shops, restraunts, business deals, etc) and although airports around the globe have made leaps and bounds as far as amenities avliable, I wonder what new ideas a privatly-held, purely profit driven, airport can come up with.
Source: Dallas News Image: FlyBranson.com