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Let's race! Running shoes? Check. Healthy breakfast? Check. Warm-up stretches? Check. A runway course at New York's busiest international airport? CHECK.
This past Sunday, April 14, nearly 1,000 runners and aviation enthusiasts resisted hitting the "Snooze" button and got their butts to JFK Airport for the 41st Annual JFK Runway Run. The 5K course actually closes a major runway to air traffic, while the rerouted aircraft continue landing and taking off like normal on other runways. No earplugs needed, but most runners had a camera in hand.
Registration was $25 in advance and $30 onsite. We were lazy and showed up at 7am for the 9am race to ensure we secured a last-minute spot. Come to find out that our worry was all for naught; anyone who showed up and paid was welcome to race.
The 963 participants were runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels, and even those in wheelchairs were welcome to have a pusher. We watched as one little girl, who couldn't have been older than 8, spent her time walking the runway and taking iPhone photos of planes. Very cute. Meanwhile, the serious runners were probably well into their lunches; the fastest times were just over 20 minutes while the slowest (ours) was 1 hour and 20 minutes. Yes, we proudly finished 963rd on account of all the aircraft distractions.
We’re sure that airline ticketing agents have heard every excuse under the sun when it comes to why passengers need a better seat, an upgrade, or just a spot that’s a little more convenient. Instead of just ignoring our need to whine our way into a better seat, El Al has embraced it—kind of. The carrier just posted a video illustrating some of their favorite upgrade excuses, and we’ve got to admit it might have given us a chuckle.
There’s a pretty bad impersonation of JFK, as someone tries to get a discount to business class since the airport’s named after him. There’s a woman pregnant with a basketball and also a guy who stands on his buddy to show how uncomfortable he’ll be on the flight thanks to his long legs. Just check it out above if you want to get the full picture.
Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Japan Travel / China Travel / Israel Travel / Egypt Travel / Australia Travel / Japan / China / Israel / Egypt / Australia / ANA / Japan Airlines / El Al / Qantas / Emirates / → All Tags
It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel. It's an even more unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel so much that we have to write about it on a Friday afternoon instead of easing you into the weekend with baby animal pictures. And yet here we are, with flights being emptied or cancelled across three continents because of a variety of geopolitical flare-ups.
The most dramatic bit of travel politics comes out of Japan, where no less than 40,000 seat reservations to China have been canceled. China has been on a bit of a tear recently, claiming a bunch of islands that by and large aren't straightforwardly quite theirs. The campaign has put them on a collision course with various other countries in the region (obviously) and one of those countries is Japan. There have been anti-Japan protests in China and, apparently, lots of Japanese people are sufficiently pissed off to cancel vacations to China.
Social Media / El Al / Israel Travel / Tel Aviv Travel / Airlines / Airline News / Facebook / Expedia / → All Tags
I am going to Tel Aviv. I've never been to Tel Aviv, nor to Israel as a whole. I am going for 10 days and flying around 27 hours without factoring in layovers. Total decision and booking time was about 15 minutes and the flights are only costing me $353.60.
Why? Because, in case you haven't already heard, El Al Airlines had an error in their online bookings earlier this week that left the fuel surcharge off of ticket prices, making a roundtrip from New York to Tel Aviv less than a roundtrip from New York to Las Vegas.
I scored this deal on Expedia as soon as news of it hit social media, as did thousands others. A friend who attempted to book after me had the deal pulled as soon as she clicked "purchase"; the trip price had rocketed up to $999. What compels me to discuss this now is not joy or bragging over grabbing the ultra-cheap flights, but to point out how El Al has handled the potential catastrophe and inadvertently turned it into what is quite possibly the best thing to happen to them in a while.
What's more surprising: the news that El Al's female flight attendants have been voted the most attractive in the world, or that El Al still uses the word "stewardesses?"
The Israel-based airline announced on their blog today that an organization called World Air Hostesses Association has named El Al's in-flight crew the best looking. However, a quick Google search turns up no such survey, and El Al reports that the survey was published so far only in the Chinese media. The post closes with "You read it here first!"
Well, um, mazel tov, ladies.
[Photo: El Al on Flickr]
Heading to the holy land for a whole lot of summer fun? If you're flying on El Al, and there's a very good chance you might be if you're going to Israel, then you get a free phone for use in the country!
The promotion comes directly from the airline, who are giving away 1,000 free Motorola V3 (aka the Razr) loaded with sixty free minutes to passengers holding roundtrip tickets to Israel with departures before June 30, 2010. You don't even have to give the phone back; it's yours to keep, along with the phone number in Israel, both to be used on any future trips to the country.
Airport Security / El Al / Israel Travel / TLV / Security / Airlines / Airline Industry / Airline News / → All Tags
We think of El Al getting Global Traveler's Best Airline Security award the same way we approach The Amazing Race winning the annual Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Emmy: who else would get it? The designation, voted on by over 25,000 of the magazine's readers, has been around for three years and has never gone to any airline but El Al. This year's poll was no exception.
The striking thing about Israel's national airlineand this is a point we've tried to make again and again in the context of TSAis that while their upfront security measures are obsessive, once you get past screening everything goes smoothly. This is true whether you're flying to Israel from a tiny airport or leaving the country from Tel Aviv. Passengers are asked to show up three hours in advance, every individual is interviewed in line by an agent, all baggage is screened, and so on. But once you've been cleared, that's that. No nonsense about taking off your shoes, no school-teacher scolding about when you can or can't touch your bags, no scribbled codes on your boarding pass. If you begin with basic competence, everything else falls into place.
Tsa The Season / Holiday Travel / In-Flight Meals / Celebrating In The Skies / El Al / Hanukkah Travel / Airline News / → All Tags
A tray of freshly baked Sufganiot from El Al
Welcome to our new feature on the ways that the airlines are making you more comfy and less cranky this holiday travel season"Celebrating In The Skies." Some airlines just want you to sit down and shut up, but thesethanks to extra treats and smileswill show you how much they appreciate your flying with them.
Happy Hanukkah! Today being the first day of the Jewish holidays of Hanukkah, we're looking at the extra special offerings onboard El Al flights from JFK and Newark. Over the next couple weeks, El Al anticipates using 1,375 potatoes, 6,600 ounces of raspberry jam, and 68 cups of cinnamon to make sufganiot (jelly donuts) and latkes (potato pancakes) for lucky passengers.
Pet Travel / El Al / Airline News / Airlines / → All Tags
Israeli airline El Al is very proud of having a pet frequent flyer club, where your dog or cat will get a free trip for every three round-trips they survive. What's more, El Al has been kind enough to offer us some tips on flying with our pets, and speaking as people who've never done it, we think they sound like good ideas.
The most important tips seem to be to exercise your pet shortly before the flight, but feed him a few hours beforehand to avoid a poor air-sick doggy. El Al also suggests getting the appropriate pet carrier far enough in advance that your pet can get used to the contraption before they're stuck in it on a flight.
Cheap NYC / New York City / Events / Central Park / Beaches / Tel Aviv / Israel / El Al / → All Tags
New York City may not be the first location that comes to mind when you think "tropical vacation," but for those who don't mind sandy strolls lacking the exotic, the Big Apple is fast becoming the worldwide leader in faux beaches.
Already featuring three locations of Water Taxi Beach, NYC will be trucking in yet another sandy lot this Sunday for the one-time-only Tel Aviv Beach in NYC event.
As part of the city of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary celebration, organizers will bring a slice of the Mediterranean to Manhattan, putting together a 1,300-square-foot beachfront by the bandshell in Central Park. The beach vibe will come complete with backgammon and paddle ball (omnipresent activities along the Tel Aviv shore), while sunbathers will be serenaded with live Israeli music and a midday DJ set pumping out Euro club hits.
And for those who aren't quite sated by Israel-on-NY, representative of El Al will be on hand offering special airfare deals. L'chaim!
· The Tel Aviv Beach in NYC [Official Site]
· Marathon on the Mediterranean [Jaunted]
· Where Does Bar Refaeli Dine When She's Home in Tel Aviv? [Jaunted]