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I remember, as a child, sitting on the levee, watching the planes depart from Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, and promising myself that one day I'd be up there, too. Oh, how I wish I still had the same enthusiasm for traveling. Today I basically live at 33,000 feet, and I've had to figure out the best place...

To Get a Good Night's Sleep: The Westin at Detroit Metro Airport. There's nothing like a Heavenly Bed right off the concourse to guarantee I spend most of my layover in dreamland.

To Find a Great Meal: George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. I can buy wilted salads at any airport, but only here can I get finger-licking ribs at Pappas Bar-B-Q. They give you a taste of Texas, and that's special.

To Have the "Uh-Oh" Moment: Pittsburgh International and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airports. I always forget things, but when I'm going through Pittsburgh or Atlanta, which just opened 80 new shops (they sell everything from shoes to pearls), I relax, because I know I can replace whatever I left behind.

To Watch the Sunset: Kona International Airport, Hawaii. You exit the plane onto the tarmac, with views of lava and ocean. The air smells like pineapple instead of jet fuel. The Kona airport is like a vacation in itself.

13 in-flight essentials no traveler should leave home without


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