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King Cake: a Tradition of Mardi Gras

Along with many of the traditions and customs associated with the celebration of Mardi Gras in the southern United States is what is known as the king cake — which is arguably more of a sweet bread or type of roll than a cake — typically shaped in the form of a ring; flavored with cinnamon; and topped with a sweet glazed icing and granules of sugar colored in green, gold and purple to represent the official colors of Mardi Gras and the respective ideas of faith, power and justice.

Hidden inside of a king cake is…

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The True Spirit and Meaning of Travel: What We Can Learn From Christmas

After almost two months of what seems to be non-stop advertisements for endless sales and a continuous onslaught of music in celebration of one of the holiest days for Christians around the world, there are people who believe that the true spirit and meaning of Christmas is lost in a vast sea of commercialism and profit — and I could not help but wonder if a similar sentiment can be analogous to the true spirit and meaning of travel.

Although the miles and points of frequent travel loyalty programs can indeed be potentially valuable to being able to better afford travel; and while elite level status in a frequent travel loyalty program can result in enjoying the opulence of luxurious benefits and amenities — such as fine foods and creatures comforts at theoretically no extra cost — they are not the reasons why I travel…

…but…

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Must-Watch Video: WestJet Honors Residents of Fire-Ravaged Fort MacMurray For Christmas

I was genuinely touched by this comment written by DavidB — who is a reader of The Gate — in response to this article I wrote pertaining to the plight of the residents of the town of Fort MacMurray, as everyone was forced to evacuate due to the raging wildfires which consumed portions of their community.

At the time that article was written on Friday, May 6, 2016 — five days after the wildfire started — an estimated 88,000 people had already fled the area in what is considered the largest evacuation in the history of the province of Alberta, which was part of the greater than 250,000 acres of land that had already been scorched.

When the wildfires were finally declared under control on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, approximately 1,500,000 acres of land in Alberta and Saskatchewan were burned — and 2,400 homes and buildings were destroyed — in the costliest disaster in the history of Canada. Please read the article for more details on just how dire was the situation.

Many people lost everything to those wildfires.

Usually at this time of year, WestJet releases one of its classic videos for Christmas — but this year was extra special…

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Thank You — and Happy Thanksgiving 2016 to You

These days, realizing how fortunate we truly are can be taken for granted every day, as there is always something to challenge us and test our mettle. Will we be successful at resolving issues and incidents which have a negative impact upon us?

The answer is…

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Will 2016 Be a Happy New Year For You?

This is the bittersweet time of year in which members of both FlyerTalk and InsideFlyer have mixed feelings: those who have achieved elite level status in frequent travel loyalty programs are thrilled or pleased that they have at least another year to enjoy that status; while others dread checking their frequent travel loyalty program accounts on January 1 to see that big “goose egg” which…

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I Was Just Wished a Happy Eid-Al Adha From Avis; and I Am Not Offended

Earlier this year, I rented a car twice from Avis in Abu Dhabi — this article documents on what you need to know about renting a car from Avis in Abu Dhabi — and I was just wished a happy Eid-Al Adha from the staff at Avis in the United Arab Emirates via an e-mail message earlier today…

…and I am not offended.

In fact, I smiled, as I found it thoughtful that they included me in their wishes pertaining to a holy day in Islam — not that they knew whether or not I was Muslim, which I am not.

Admittedly…

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Will 2015 Be a Happy New Year For You?

This is the time of year in which members of both FlyerTalk and Milepoint have mixed feelings: those who have achieved elite level status in frequent travel loyalty programs are thrilled or pleased that they have at least another year to enjoy that status; while others dread checking their frequent travel loyalty program accounts on January 1 to see that big “goose egg” which indicates that it is yet time again to start over in working to earn and achieve elite level status for yet another year…

…especially when adding insult to injury is that for many people, it will be significantly more difficult to accumulate Delta Air Lines SkyMiles — unless you spend a lot of money on flights — starting tomorrow, January 1, 2015.

At least the new revenue-based policy does not take effect until March 1, 2015 with the United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program — not that its members are exactly universally happy about that, either.

Confusion still reigns pertaining to how frequent travel loyalty program miles and points are credited while traveling starting in December and completing in Janaury, as evidenced by…

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Airline Christmas Videos of 2014 — Plus Bonus Videos

It seems as though more and more airlines are delving into the holiday spirit by producing and posting Christmas videos for all — so as today is the first day of winter and Christmas day is only four days away, I thought I would treat you to the official Airline Christmas Videos of 2014 which are wishing all of us a very Merry Christmas…

…and without further ado, here they are in no specific order…

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