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[Update: Your registration money goes to benefit the JFK Rotary Club, which donates to the Boy Scouts. Currently the Boy Scouts pursue a homophobic agenda, and we will not be running until this changes. Please consider this when deciding whether or not to run in 2014]
Have you ever wanted to walk on a major airport runway? Hopefully you never have to because of emergency circumstances (see an example of that here), but there is a legal (and safe) way to take a stroll one of New York-JFK's runways, and that's by registering for the JFK Runway Run 2014.
Okay, so its not so much a stroll as it is a full-fledged 5K race, but a portion of it does indeed include tramping on the longest runway at JFK, while aircraft are re-routed to land on a different runway during the race. Apparently the race has been around since the mid-1970s, which is pretty neat-o.
We did it ourselves in 2013. Why? Oh, just because it was, like, one of the coolest things we did all year (and we do some seriously cool stuff). See photos and read all about it.
It may be the boring bit of January right now, between the fun holidays and the meh ones, but International No Pants Subway Ride Day was this past weekend, but there are more than a few dates of whimsical excitement to add to your calendar for 2014:
International Pillow Fight Day: Saturday, April 5
Hundreds of people lob pillows at each other, all for fun, and the cops are aware and present at this (at least in New York City), so no putting "extras" in your pillowcase. Take a look at the details from 2013 to get an idea of what cities are participating, and where exactly the action will go down in those cities.
Airport News / Vending Machines / CMH / Ohio Travel / Columbus Travel / Ice Cream Travel / Dessert Travel / Awesome Stuff / → All Tags
Port Columbus Airport is actually quite lovely and not a desperate ghost town airport like neighbors to the west, Toledo-Express and Cincinnati-Covington. For a brief period it even boasted JetBlue service and was the hub for a sadly departed little-budget-airline-that-could called SkyBus. Still, exciting things are happening in Columbus, as evidenced by the arrival of gourmet ice cream vending machines.
The airport plugged in the machines earlier this year, and the small servings by hometown company Jeni's Ice Creams have been selling like hotcakes. Or, rather, coldcakes? Anyway, it's a unique amenity considering how obsessed airports have been with cupcakes and only cupcakes of late.
Each machine stocks 12 different flavors (6 cups, 6 sandwiches), and currently travelers may take advantage of the machines in both Concourses B and C, and coming soon to Concourse A.
Awesome Stuff / Qantas / Frequent Flyer Miles / Frequent Flyer Programs / Airline News / Flight Simulator / A380 / 747 / → All Tags
If you're one of those frequent flyers who hoard miles for the ultimate trip, now is your chance to burn some of them for a once in a lifetime experience, even though you won't even leave the ground. Kinda.
Qantas is opening up something typically only reserved for their own pilots, and giving members of its frequent flyer program the opportunity to play in one of their A380 flight simulators in exchange for a substantial chunk of earned points. For those jetsetters who have at least 275,000 points, the super-jumbo simulator could be yours (and you can bring a friend).
Wedding Travel / DTW / Airports / Airport News / Honeymoon Travel / Runways / Avgeek / Awesome Stuff / → All Tags
It's not every day you see a wedding at an airport, but they do happen. Hey, those chapels are there for more than just a few minutes of pre-flight prayer. Still, it's even rarer to have an entire wedding ceremony out on the airport tarmac itself. In fact, it may have only happened once: last week, at Detroit-Metro Airport.
The nuptials of Joe and Ilona occurred smack dab on runway 9L at DTW, their "I dos" delivered with a soundtrack of jet engine noise as aircraft continued to take off and land on a nearby runway.
A wedding this like may never happen again, and for the details on why exactly the couple chose Detroit Airport for their special day, and how this all came to be, we spoke with the best man, also the Airport Authority's Public Affairs Manager, Scott W.:
EVA Air Hello Kitty / Hello Kitty / Sanrio / EVA Air / LAX / Airplanes / 777 / Boeing / New Airplanes / Airplane News / Livery / Cartoon Travel / Taiwan Travel / Taipei Travel / Los Angeles Travel / TPE / List / Awesome Stuff / Cute Travel / Star Alliance / Business Class Travel / Premium Economy / Economy Class Travel / Seats / in-Flight Comfort / In-Flight Meals / Flight Attendants / → All Tags
"This Hello Kitty jet is for everyone. On it, every day is a happy day. We are spreading a message of happiness." - EVA Air's Chairman (and Captain) K.W. Chang
In 2005, EVA Air painted Hello Kitty on the side of a plane. Then they did it again in 2006. The two planes turned frowns upside-down for a few years, but went away in 2008. Then, in 2011, we showed you the return of the Hello Kitty planes, though these newest versions only flitted around Asia at the time. Now, the US finally gets in on the kawaii action as the airline debuts their first Hello Kitty Boeing 777 and a first trans-Pacific route for the cute Sanrio character: Taipei to Los Angeles.
"Other airlines only do the exterior job [of theming a plane], but we've done it all," says Chang. "We want everyone to share our world," before connecting to other Star Alliance flights and returning to their world. You've already read the 11 coolest facts about these airplanes, but see exactly what Chang is talking about in our 77 original photos of outside, inside, and all around the new 777:
EVA Air Hello Kitty / Hello Kitty / Sanrio / EVA Air / LAX / Airplanes / 777 / Boeing / New Airplanes / Airplane News / Livery / Cartoon Travel / Taiwan Travel / Taipei Travel / Los Angeles Travel / TPE / List / Awesome Stuff / Cute Travel / Star Alliance / → All Tags
It's not every day you see dancing on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport, but when that dancing is to celebrate the arrival of a Hello Kitty-themed airplane, it's completely warranted.
Slipping into a gate alongside the tails of 787s, 747-8s and A380s yesterday was EVA Air's brand new Boeing 777-300ER, its body painted all over with the cheery cartoons of Sanrio's Hello Kitty and friends.
Over 70 Hello Kitty enthusiasts were on the inaugural flight, joined by a troupe of Hello Kitty dancers, characters, artists and Hello Kitty's creator herself, Yuko Yamaguchi. The arrival marks the beginning of regular, nonstop flights between LAX and Taipei-Taoyuan for this aircraft, which is arguably the most kawaii addition to aviation since Pokémon showed up on some 747s. Even as Alaska Airlines' Mickey Mouse plane passed by, all eyes remained on EVA's Kitty.
Before booking a flight, however, there's some things you should know about EVA Air's Hello Kitty 777:
Design Travel / Airports / Art Travel / Runways / Travel Gifts / Awesome Stuff / DFW / HKG / Avgeek / → All Tags
It doesn't matter if you're a frequent flyer or an avid armchair traveler so long as you're a lover of good design when it comes to what we've got for you. Picture this: your walls, decorated with schematics of airports, but in more of a minimalist-Apple sort of way and less back-of-the-inflight-magazine.
The Chicago-based NOMO Designs fulfills this fantasy, with the runway layout (and pertinent facts) of some 30 international airports printed in white ink on 18" x 24" steel gray sheets. The two newest? Dallas-Fort Worth and Hong Kong. There's even a few available on T-shirts if your airport allegiance runs truly deep.
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Imagine having flown everywhere, but never actually anywhere. It's confusing, but it's the case for our editor, Cynthia, who recently headed out on her first private plane flight after years of commercial plane travel. Here's her story:
"It's just like driving a car," he said. "You won't ever look at flying the same way again."
Sid passed his hand down the wing, pausing here and there to look over and under, squinting with the sun's glare on what was a sparkling clear day in southern California. We were in a kind of parking lot, after all, except one that had us surrounded by private jets on the tarmac at Van Nuys Airport. And we were double-checking that all was well before setting off for a weekend trip, except that trip would be over mountains and cities in a teeny-tiny, seafoam green 1962 Beechcraft Bonanza V-Tail.
This would be my first flight in a private plane.
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Changing plans at the last minute is hard to do, but what if a little flexibility and some courage could turn your flight to Chicago into one destined for Chiang Mai, Thailand? All you had to do was press a button.
This was the challenge recently posed to travelers departing from New York's JFK International Airport Terminal 8, when beer company Heineken decided it was time to change some lives.
We won't spoil the results of the experiment (watch the video above), but we will admit that it's brilliant and hope it becomes a regular thing, even if only twice a year.
Money / Singapore Travel / Awesome Stuff / Airports / Airport News / Hong Kong Travel / SIN / HKG / → All Tags
Just last week we detailed 21 countries that use the "dollar" other than the United States. Although they share the name of the US' money, almost all were far more colorful and richly illustrated. Indeed, travelers will be delighted to find that airports take pride of place on two currencies.
First, there's the $500 Hong Kong Dollar bill from the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. You may know them better as HSBC. This note depicts a view of HK's Chek Lap Kok Airport (plus the control tower and tail of a 747) with such detail that terminal and maintenance buildings, and even aircraft taxiing to the runways, are clearly visible. Too bad they didn't throw in an easter egg, like a "Where's Waldo?"
Awesome Stuff / Fourth of July Travel / First Class Travel / Hamptons Travel / Uber / iPhone Travel Apps / Helicopters / New York City / → All Tags
Believe it or not, a few years ago there existed a helicopter transfer service from the Wall Street Heliport in New York City out to the city's airports. It was awesome. For $120 (or $99 on sale), travelers could zip from downtown to their awaiting airplane flight in 10 minutes.
And then the recession happened. US Helicopter is no more, and those big ballin' heli rides to the airports are over and done with unless you're President Obama or making it rain with thousand dollar bills.
The magic may be back, however; ride booking service Uber just announced that today (July 3) only, from 12-8pm, New Yorkers will be able to open their Uber apps and book a freakin' chopper to the Hamptons. There's just one thing: it's $3,000 one-way for five people (including Uber SUV transfers to the Manhattan heliport and from the East Hampton heliport).