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OMG OMG OMG. We have good news and great news, both related to Hello Kitty and a certain airline fond of covering their planes in the illustrated character.
First, the good news:
Taipei-based EVA Air will soon add another Hello Kitty aircraft to their fleet, bringing the total to 7 airplanes covered in Sanrio cuteness. The theme hasn't yet been leaked, but the planethe second Boeing 777-300ER to sport a Hello Kitty livery (the other five are Airbus A330s)will be delivered in May 2015. Inside will be 333 seats: 39 business class, 56 premium economy, 238 economy.
Now, the great news:
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Instead of a cosmetic rebrand, Alaska Airlines is investing millions to update their entire in-flight experience with huge benefits for the economy traveler.
Alaska Beyond begins rolling out across Alaska Airlines' 737 fleet from today through 2015, and it consists of several updates:
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Last year, we covered the fact that Emirates allows passengers in all cabins the ability to bring their pet falcon on the plane with them. Now, Lufthansa is responding to the uptick in popularity of falconry by also opening their arms to the birds of prey, even creating a nifty little stand for both bird and owner to be comfortable on a plane.
Starting later in 2015, falcons will be allowed to fly in Lufthansa cabins so long as they wear hoods and are tethered. In First Class, the birds can enjoy the Falcon Master, a perch-seat with safety and hygienic protection specifically for the bird, which secures in the tracks of Lufthansa's aircraft.
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Sometimes it seems like everyone around you has the newest, best smartphone, and soon that feeling will include all the flight attendants onboard United Airlines. The carrier just announced that they’re ordering a boatload Apple's freshest offering to aid with in-flight service efficiency.
United was sold on the awesomeness of these little—well, big—devices, as the carrier is bringing the iPhone 6 Plus to 23,000 flight attendants. It's not a holiday present, however; the iPhones will be used to record retail transactions and other purchases aboard flights. Access to corporate email, intranet sites, and even policies and manuals will also be accessed through the new phones. United is even ditching the traditional printed safety manuals, as everything will now be right on the screen.
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
· Air New Zealand:
For those who enjoy flying below the equator there’s a new exciting route heading towards the southern hemisphere thanks to the folks over at Air New Zealand. The new nonstop is planning to fly between Auckland and Buenos Aires beginning in December of 2015, so you have sometime to get those funds—or frequent flyer miles—saved up. Things could obviously change in a year, but it appears that the flights will operate back and forth three times each and every week aboard some Boeing 777s.
· Air Canada:
Time to head out of Canada, as Air Canada is getting ready to send some planes and people to and from Calgary International Airport. All in all there’s three new options—first is a daily nonstop between Calgary and Nanaimo—that’s in British Columbia—beginning on May 1. Around the same time the carrier will also be starting up some flights between Calgary and Halifax utilizing some Airbus 319s. Finally beginning on June 1 of next year it’ll be some new service between Calgary and Terrace-Kitimat—that’s in British Columbia too, and yes we had to look it up!
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If you consider that sleeping in a plane is probably the most popular activity on flights after lazy SkyMall browsing, you probably wouldn't guess that people would actually want to sleep in a plane not even going anywhere. But that's exactly what happened last month.
The KLM x Airbnb promotion, which saw the Dutch airline converting their last MD-11 airplane into an apartment for a few lucky contest winners, was apparently so popular that it's spawned a long-term partnership.
Today KLM announces that travelers will "be able to search for a place to stay on Airbnb through the KLM website along with their flight booking." The focus here is on offering unique accommodation experiences for KLM travelers once they've stepped off a plane, although the MD-11 will sadly not be one of the choices.
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Just because holiday travel has a reputation for frustration doesn't mean that the spirit of the holidays can't be part of the journey once you're in the sky. Airlines know that a little bit of merry can go a long way this time of year, and a few are introducing holiday-themed menus or little festive touches to make long lines and cramped planes a little more bearable.
Perhaps to apologize for opening a hotel in Chicago in the middle of winter, Virgin Hotels is nuzzling up with Virgin America to help surprise flyers on the airline's routes to/from Chicago.
Last night, VX's Chicago flyers enjoyed a Virgin Hotels Social Hour, with free in-flight WiFi and a complimentary cocktail. These things may cost at 35,000-feet, but Virgin Hotels plans to offer them free to guests. One passenger on each flight also won roundtrip tickets and a 2-night stay at the Virgin Hotel Chicago (which opens January 15, 2015).
The onboard fun was also a prime time for Virgin Hotels to announce what perks Virgin America's frequent flyers will enjoy when on the ground and in bed:
All Virgin America Elevate members will receive 1,000 points per stay at Virgin Hotels. They will also get a special introduction offer of double bonus points for stays from January 15 to March 31, 2015.
Elevate Gold members will get complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade, based on availability. Silver members will also receive an upgrade, if available.
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Did you hear the latest news from the folks over at Delta? We did, and it’s a little confusing. We’re here to help, of course, and we’ll do our best to explain it.
For the most part the airline is just throwing a little marketing spin and some new seating surfaces to already existing options, but here’s what you can expect from their different cabins classes beginning on March 1, 2015:
So "Delta One" is actually just their BusinessElite cabin by another name. Think of it as first class on the good routes, namely international flights and those primetime transcontinental flights—like New York to Los Angeles. "Delta One" means access to the Delta Sky Club, amenity kits, noise-reduction headsets, and lie-flat seating options.
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Be sure to stretch out those legs before hopping between islands on your next trip over to Hawaii, as Hawaiian Airlines is changing up the seating structure on the planes serving the inter island routes.
In the trend of most other airlines, Hawaiian Airlines is ordering up slimline seats, and as a result they’re hoping to squeeze in about 10 more passengers per plane. The thinner cushions should allow up to 128 passengers per jet—aboard the Boeing 717s—if you’re keeping count.
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So here’s the perfect gift for the frequent flyer in your life, and that’s especially the case if he or she is loyal to the friendly folks over at Delta.
The airline is cleaning out their closets this holiday season, and as a result they’ve noticed that they have a few too many up in the air goodies—specifically in-flight beverage carts. Delta is now offering up these galley carts to the public at a good deal, and they’ll be on sale this Friday, December 12, for just $75 per cart.
We don’t easily get choked up watching airline videos on YouTube, but once again WestJet has us reaching for a tissue to wipe away the tears this holiday season. The carrier from Canada is at it again, as this year they brought their own version of a Christmas miracle down to one community in the Dominican Republic.
The airline setup a little kiosk within the Puerto Plata community of Nuevo Renacer, and residents lined up one by one to share their wishes with a Santa on the screen. Well, sure enough Santa was able to grant each and every wish—from a washing machine to a horse.