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Here's another chance to haul out those giant markers and brush up on your airplane designing skills. The scarlet low-cost airline, AirAsia, is giving fans a chance to paint one of seven new aircraft. And while it's super cool to be able to walk through an airport and say, "see that plane, I designed that!," the grand prize is even better than just having your art taking to the skies.
The Asian LCC is calling on its most creative passengers to come up with a new livery for its newest Airbus A330s. Each of the seven birds are already named and the paint job should reflect that theme, but with names like XKLusive, Xiao Long Bao, Xeoul Mate, Xiaolin Spirit, Xcintillating PhoeniX, Harmonious DiverXity, Xakura Blossom, the creativity will be free flowing. The winner of the best livery will not only have their design on the side of a plane, but be flown to the Airbus factory in France to see where these babies are born.
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For the past week, Singapore's skyline has been hidden by a cloak of smog due to forest fires over in Indonesia. Fortunately for Singapore, Monday has brought some relief and sunny skies as winds blew all the smoke up to Malaysia, but they're not quite in the clear yet.
Officials are warning Singapore's residents and visitors not to bet on better weather, as the situation can easily go pear-shaped again as the smoke relies on weather patterns. With this in mind, here are some tips for braving the poor air quality in both Malaysia and Singapore:
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: A mangrove swamp in Malaysia
This week's Travel Cat comes from Michelle & Ed of West By Sea. This inspirational traveling duo recently had their Kickstarter project fully funded, with the goal of sailing around the world in 104 days and turning their voyage west from Australia into a "treasure book."
They're off and sailing, and already reached Malaysia as we can see from this shot they sent along from a mangrove swamp. Check out those cat eyes!
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Now that Malaysia Airlines has become a full-fledged member in the Oneworld Alliance, they've enhanced the experience for hungry premium passengers by letting more people in on the Chef-On-Call service.
Originally only for Platinum level frequent-flyers in their Enrich program traveling in first and business class, the perk was eventually offered to all who could pay the big bucks for a first class seat. Now, the folks in the business class cabin get to pick their meal before flying. Unlike the chef programs of a few other airlines, however, there's not actually a chef on-board.
Last year, we talked about Air Asia X's plan to incorporate a section of their economy cabin specifically for those flyers that would prefer to not sit near children. After quick mention that sparked some heated discussion over the topic, the LCC have committed to the passenger enhancement.
Joining the likes of Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways, both of which have some sort of restriction on flying children, Air Asia has reserved the first 7 rows of its forward economy cabin for passengers that can cough up an extra $15 for advance seat selection, not specifically this cabin and sit amongst passengers that are older than 12 years old.
We knew it was happening, but now it’s official. Your travels around the world have just gotten a little bit easier, as Malaysia Airlines is now the newest member of the oneworld global airline alliance. They’re joining buddies like American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific—along with plenty of others. Plenty of stuff will remain pretty much business as usual now that Malaysia Airlines has found a new family, but there’s also a few changes that will improve the way you get around.
One of the newest things we find most useful is the ability to burn frequent flyer miles on Malaysia Airlines flights. All those flights on American Airlines to spots like Dallas-Ft. Worth and Chicago just got more valuable, as they’ll now jet you all the way over to Kuala Lumpur. From the United States options are somewhat limited, but redeemable flights exist out of Los Angeles International Airport to both Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. After that you’re in Malaysia, so your options to travel even farther are plentiful.
Media outlets and blogs from the Philippines are reporting that Miss Philippines Rizzini Alexis Gomez was also crowned the 2012/2013 Miss Tourism International in a pageant held over New Year's Eve in Malaysia. According to reports Ms. Gomez credited her win to preparations she conducted over the course of months.
The contest, which we promise is real and not just something we made up so we could run pictures we poached from the winner's Facebook page, has been running every year since 1994 with the exception of a few here and there. It even has a webpage, which admittedly is hilariously bad and doesn't seem to have this year's results. But it's a webpage on the Internet, so you can be sure that it's real.
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Lion Air isn’t exactly a pricey carrier if you’re looking to bop around Asia, but it looks like they might just be getting a little bit cheaper. Clearly they’re sensing a little bit of unwelcome competition from other carriers, so they’re doing what everyone else is doing—they’re starting up their very own low cost carrier.
The plan will be to go up against AirAsia in Malaysia, as Lion Air will look to compete for your hard earned money. The new airline will take to the skies around May of next year, and it’ll be known as Malindo Airways. Obviously they’ll start small, but they’re already looking big with hopes of reaching around 100 planes within a decade or so.
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If you know the magic of bubble tea, you understand our excitement. If you haven't tasted it's refreshing goodness with little surprises, let us tell you, you are missing out. You may have seen people toting clear plastic cups of tea with black 'pearls' on the bottom, usually punctuated with a brightly colored fat straw. It's flavored tea, mostly chilled, usually served over large black tapioca pearls. The sweet, balanced and exotic flavor of the tea is kind of a big deal in Asia and international cafes.
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Round up your friends, because Air Asia X has the contest for you! The Kuala Lumpur-based airline is sending out a call for their latest contest, Friendsy, for one person to win a flight from Sydney, Australia to the Malaysian capital. Sounds like a normal contest, but not so fast. Here is the twist: you can elect up to 302 Facebook friends to fly with you.
Only Facebook fans of the airline can enter to win the dream trip. Once you put together the ultimate travel group, you and your buddies will fly in your very own Airbus A330. Don't worry if you cannot find that amount of people with whom you are willing to travel; the empty seats will not be sold to the public.
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When Malaysia Airlines promised that their new Airbus A380's would showcase bleeding-edge innovations in passenger comfort, we assumed they were just referring to the impressive engineering lengths to which they'd gone: 2 decks and 494 seats' worth of new chairs and USB-enabled entertainment systems. But while technology is importantand no one appreciates slick travel rollouts more than we dothere's more to in-flight coziness than extra legroom and the ability to watch your illegally downloaded House MD episodes on the screen in front of you.
"Noise-sensitive passengers," by which we assume they mean "everybody," will now be able to reserve those seats secure in the knowledge that screaming babies will be at least one full plane deck below. Thus the first lesson of this post: if you're flying from Kuala Lumpur to London or Sydney this summer, consider Malaysia Airlines.
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After a challenging year for some of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance, 2012 will surely be brighter. In 2011, the alliance saw American Airlines file for bankruptcy and Qantas' chief grounding the entire network to challenge labor disputes, plus Iberia closing out the year with rounds of employee strikes.
There were some shining stars, however, with the finalization of International Airline Group (the conglomerate that combines British Airways and Iberia), Cathay Pacific offering overhauled cabins and in-flight amenities, and Japan Airlines emerging from bankruptcy stronger and more stable.
As we get going with 2012, we can't help but notice the huge changes happening amongst these airline buddies. Oneworld is the world's smallest of the major airline alliances, yet consistently hits the high marks in passenger ratings. With the addition of 3 new carriers, Oneworld will gain a fighting chance to excel in years to come. Here's what's happening meanwhile: