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Right now, somewhere in Malaysia, a red skirt is being tailored to fit Sir Richard Branson.
On May 12, Branson will join Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes on a flight from Perth, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The six-hour trip is a special one, as it's finally the moment Sir Richard makes good on a bet he lost to Fernandes in late 2010, over whose Formula One race team would be ranked higher. Spoiler alert: Fernandes' Lotus Racing team won over over that of Virgin, and the plans to install Branson as a flight attendant on an Air Asia X flight began.
The event has been delayed many times, but finally seats are now for sale from $399 AUD ($420 USD) on the special, one-way flight, and may be purchased online. Be sure to book AirAsia Xís flight D7 237 on Sunday, May 12.
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The Jersey Shore has long been a summer destination for families but this year it is expected to be an even bigger draw for those who want to do good with their vacation time, too.
According to Habitat for Humanity's Maureen Mulligan, "New Jersey is hot now, there's so much interest in the Sandy recovery effort."
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Chalk one up for British Airways. Actually, chalk a few up for the airline since they have broken several world records and entered the Guinness Book of World Records for a (not so) little concert they hosted in the air. Lucky winners of the exclusive flight became part of the record books, all th while raising money for a great charity.
It's called "The Gig In The Sky" and it took place this last Sunday as part of BA's fund-raising for the 25th anniversary for Red Nose Day. Since the charity started in the 1980s, the music should be from the 80s, right? Kim Wilde, Spandau Ballet's Tony Handley, Bananarama and Go West performed for the passengers of a chartered Boeing 767 for 22 minutes, at an altitude of 43,000 feet, breaking James Blunt's previous "highest concert" record of 42,080 feet.
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The video, a cover of Blondie's hit, One Way Or Another was shot to raise money for British Charity, Comic Relief. Aside from dancing around various foreign locales including New York, London, Tokyo and Africa, the boys got to cut a rug with some well-heeled BA cabin crew. The idea is apparently to prove that not only do these guys care, they know how to have a good time, right?
A new year is about to hit and with it usual comes the start to a fresh year of travels. The winter months may mean you're prepping to jet off to warmer climes and, when you do, check your refrigerator first. Are there still perfectly good fridge and pantry items left? Donate them to a local organization who'll feed it to people who aren't fortunate enough to be off on a big trip.
In large cities, Food Banks will happily accept individual donations while, in small cities, you'll have to give your local soup kitchen a call. In New York City, where residents are constantly impulse-buying yummies at Duane Reade without remembering that they're jetting off on a business trip the next day, the Food Bank of NYC has clearly outlined rules for such donations:
Volunteer Travel / Cultural Travel / Washington Travel / Minnesota Travel / Voluntourism / Charity Travel / → All Tags
Think you can't have a culturally rich volunteer experience in the US? Think again. Global Citizens Network's 2013 schedule includes trips to Washington and Minnesota that match volunteers with local Native American tribes and provide an opportunity to not only give back, but also learn about their unique cultures.
The White Earth Reservation, located in Becker, Clearwater, and Mahnomen counties in north-central Minnesota, welcomes volunteers in partnership with the White Earth Land Recovery Project/Native Harvest. GCN participants will work on various projects, including cultural initiatives with the youth group and refurbishing/painting community buildings, while visiting the Reservation.
We knew that British Airways was giving its planes some Movember love, but it seems the pilots are getting in on the act as well. Take, for example, the gents who flew us last week; two out of three of them were sporting their finest facial hair.
Now, by and large, we like our pilots clean-shaven here at Jaunted. Like a tucked-in shirt, clean-shaven says said pilot didnít go out last night; he slept for a reasonable number of hours in order to get us safely to our destination. Unless itís carefully tended, stubble risks looking like he fell out of bed into the plane, which is definitely not something to ponder during take-off. But hey, since itís for charity, weíll let that fly.
Conan O'Brien is doing good this season by donating his time, and 4 tickets to his show, to a charity auction. The top bidder will receive four VIP tickets to a see a live taping of Conan at Warner Bros. Studios, and a meet and greet with Conan after the show.
But, before you starting bidding, keep in mind the tickets must be redeemed within one year, can not be transferred, and do not include transportation to Los Angeles, where Conan is taped.
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We spotted (and Instagrammed) this Flagship Independence yellow-ribboned jet at JFK recently
With so much awful press for American Airlines lately, we'd like to point out one very positive continuing agenda of AA: their honoring of both enlisted military and veterans. There's several specific ways we can think of where AA deserves a round of applause for this:
· Veterans Day may have been yesterday, but their Yellow Ribbon Fleet flies year-round. At least six of the airline's planes have been painted with a special livery featuring a yellow ribbon of remembrance on the tail and "In support of all who serve" on the fuselage.
· Honor Flights. Ever been in an airport and see the hallway lined with American flags for a procession? That's for one of American's special flights where, for free, they transport veterans to visit the landmarks and monuments to their service in DC. We actually encountered one arriving AA Honor Flight at SFO and it can be quite a moving moment.
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BA's mustachioed A319
If you can't tell by all the weird weather, it's definitely November. And that means Movember! "Movember" (moustache November) has, over the last few years, become more and more popular around the world as a time for guys to grow a moustache to draw attention to prostate cancer and men's health issues. It's essentially the male version of women wearing pink during Breast Cancer Awareness month (which was October), so just as airplanes love to sport pink tails, they too get in the spirit of Movember.
For 2012, four airplanes are sporting moustaches. In order from least to most facial hair:
British Airways' A319 (pictured above)
How much facial hair: A proper moustache in a style the airline calls "the connoisseur."
Why? To up awareness for the airline's November charity initiative to raise more than £80,000 for the Prostate Cancer Charity. It also hits home as BA's former CEO Lord Marshall suffered from the disease.
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Since Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey last week, donations have been pouring in and we've been telling you how to contribute to the relief. Still, there's quite a lot of help needed on the ground and it's not jut locals pitching in; tourists are helping out, too.
After last weekend's NYC Marathon was canceled, runners who had traveled to the city from around the world filled backpacks with supplies and dispatched to Staten Island, the Rockaways, and other hard-hit areas to aid in the cleanup. Other visitors to NYC have followed the runners' lead this week by donating their time and money while in town.
Maybe you're not in New York City and therefore the effects of Hurricane Sandy are way in the back of your mind, behind memory of your flight departure time, hotel room number, car rental agency and so on and so forth. Well, as travelers, we all actually have some of the best brains for thinking about one city while in another. Wherever you are, whatever your connection with the Big Apple, here's several ways to help:
· Buy a pizza for Staten Island **TODAY ONLY** **Anywhere donors**
Do this right now as it's a relief effort being coordinated by a single person for the immediate relief of hunger in the very destroyed area of New Dorp, Staten Island. Call Barrio's Pizza at 1-718-370-0100 and mention code "Yael." For $8 each, you may order pizzas which will then be picked up this evening by volunteer Yael Lewitinn and taken to New Dorp for dinner; it's just like ordering a pizza for yourself, except it'll be delivered elsewhere. According to her initial Socialisting entry, she's already rallied 140 donated pizzas. Now think about how many times cheap pizza has saved your hungry butt on the road. It's the ultimate comfort food.
· Donate money for bonus frequent flyer miles **Anywhere donors**
As we previously reported, four airlines are working to accept your donations and three of them will throw some bonus frequent flyer miles right back atcha as a thank you.