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If only Charles Lindbergh could see how easily we can all fly around the world these days. In fairness, he did live until the 1970s and did serve as a consultant with Pan Am, but much has changed in just the few decades since. In 1927, when he completed that history-making nonstop flight from New York to Paris, he won the Orteig Prize and its $25,000 pot. It was a lot of money for the 1920s, but considering four teams trying to win the prize spent $400,000 on their efforts, the money meant nothing.
What really came of all that innovation was a leap for commercial aviation, and now we're at a point where, for $100,000, a person may fly in private jets wherever they want. It's a little program called the Lindbergh Card, recently launched by Air Charter Service to allow movers and shakers with the means, "who have to strike while the iron is hot," to do so without the usual limitations and surcharges of private jet cards.
Sports Travel / Helicopters / Chile Travel / Lists / South America Travel / Wine Travel / Ski Travel / Snowboard Travel / Awesome Stuff / Santiago Travel / → All Tags
What countries do you think of when it comes to extreme sports? Costa Rica, sure. Switzerland, all right. Australia and New Zealand, definitely. But Chile? CHILE.
Though Chile may be known as the safest country in Latin America, it's not above gassing up a helicopter for some unique adrenaline-addled adventure. Here's the three that figure highest on our bucket list:
· Heli skiing & snowboarding at Valle Nevado
We'll start out easy as almost everyone's heard of heli-skiing, right? If you're experienced, taking a helicopter up to go off-piste means more than just bragging rights; it means stunning Andes views and natural snow conditions. Valle Nevado, being perched on a mountaintop as it is, offers heliski trips that lift off from less than five minutes' walk from the hotels, at a very low cost compared to what you'd pay in Aspen or the Alps.
What's that saying? Ah yes, "the best camera is the one you have on you." Since we're never without a camera and hardly ever not traveling, we've managed to capture a serious collection of travel photos in our numerous Photo Galleries.
Here at Jaunted, we devote a lot of enthusiasm to exploring the the premium airline lounges of the world, but we can't forget that other forms of air travel also warrant fancy-schmance lounges too. Like helicopters.
Peninsula Hotels are particularly well known for their devotion to having heliports and offering helicopter transfers and tours. Each of their properties with a helipad also has a departure lounge, and we've been fortunate enough to visit three of these luxurious helilounges, in Hong Kong (the flagship, named China Clipper), Tokyo (The Seven Seas) and Bangkok (Paribatra). Please enjoy our exclusive photo galleries of their interiors, chock-full of historical Pacific aviation memorabilia:
Retro Travel / The Way We Once Traveled / New York City / Helicopters / Vintage Travel / Architecture Travel / → All Tags
We'll fully admit that we save our ticket stubs even sometimes our bag tags. Of course travelers of decades ago were no different; in fact, they were worse. Sometimes we dig up vintage gems that deserve to be shared. All week, we'll look at a few lost pieces of ephemera that continue to inspire.
The 1960s were a great time to hop a helicopter ride in New York. These were the days when buying a First Class ticket on Pan Am or TWA meant the inclusion of a chopper transfer to the airport, and helicopters weren't yet clogging the skyways above the rivers, causing the accidents and concerns that exist today. In 1964 specifically, families keen on spending a day at the 1964-1965 World's Fair could take a scenic ride on New York Airways' helicopters from Manhattan out to the fair at Corona Park in Queens.
Landing was the fun part, actually; the choppers set down atop the first completed structure for the fair, the Port Authority Exhibit Building, which counted the helipad, a restaurant ("Top of the Fair"), cocktail bar and 360-film feature theater as attractions. Coincidentally, the 360-degree film shown was also shot by helicopter, as the cameras dangled and captured the beauty and geography of the New York region.
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The 34th floor may not sound like so high, but in an area with no other skyscrapers to challenge it, the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok's Helicopter departure lounge might as well be in heaven. Named "Paribatra" after HRH Prince Paripatra Sukhumbhand, Prince of Nakorn Sawan, the Pen's helilounge is one of those sweet secret spaces often heard of a city, but rarely visited. The only ways to access this one? You must either book a helicopter flight transfer for a grand chunk of change or rent out the place for a private function with others who appreciate aviation history; in other words, it's hardcore.
We managed to sneak around the helilounge recently, and though the helipads remained out of reach (for now), we did sink our heels into the rich carpeting, get up close with jet engine parts as wall decoration, and drink in what may be the best view in Bangkok, of Bangkok. You see, The Peninsula sits on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, opposite like 90% of the central district. Therefore, The Peninsula is essentially gazing over at the metropolis, with the helilounge winking.
Monaco Travel / Helicopter Travel / Holiday Travel / Monte Carlo Travel / Heli Air Monaco / Helicopters / France Travel / First Class Travel / → All Tags
How do you make flying to the Cote d'Azur even more glamorous? By taking a helicopter transfer from Nice International Airport to Monaco, of course.
We were lucky enough to hop this speedy leg of a long journey from the U.S. to Monaco on a recent work trip, and we can't recommend it enough. Sure, the drive from Nice to Monte Carlo doesn’t sound bad at around 30 minutes (or, we’re told, 20 minutes by scooter). But why not reduce that trip to seven minutes and throw in staggering views and the inimitable glamour of helicopter travel?
Heli Air Monaco has over 20 daily flights between the airport in Nice and the Principalityfrom 110 euros each way. For this price, you get the aforementioned speed, views, air of fabulousness, and the ease of checking your bags straight through from the helipad in Monaco to wherever your final destination may be.
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Army helicopters follow President Obama's copter off the Wall Street helipad
There once was a timenot too long ago at allwhen booking a tourist helicopter trip over New York harbor and around the Statue of Liberty was part of the usual Big Apple must-dos. Everything really changed, however, when an Italian tourist family was killed in summer 2009 after their helicopter collided with a small private plane over the Hudson River. Following this tragedy, more air traffic rules over water went into place and the 30th Street Heliport was closed to tourist traffic, although this latter development was mostly due to neighborhood noise complaints.
It's noise complaints that could continue to kill tourist helicopter flights over the city, as Brooklyn residents target the Wall Street heliportthe last Manhattan heliport offering quickie sightseeing flights. Thus far there's been rallies and petitions, but the choppers continue.
Presidential Travel / Helicopters / New York City / Barack Obama / Obama-Around-The-World / Travel Snapshots / → All Tags
Two Chinooks leave the heliport, with the Staten Island Ferry in background
One of the main roadways has been closed off by a police barricade during evening rush hour, emergency vehicle lights are flashing all over the crowded downtown business district and the river nearby is teeming with police boats, their blue lights echoing the red ones on land. What the heck is going on?! In New York City, there are a few quick assumptions you can make, surely one of which is that President Obama is in town, and with that you'd be correct.
This is what went down yesterday evening, as we took advantage of a gloomy, cold day to be the only ones strolling through the newish Brooklyn Bridge Park, directly across the East River from Wall Street and the Wall Street Heliport. It's a cute little heliport right on the water, one which we've flown from before, but a few years back when $99 8-minute chopper flights to JFK operated several times a day.
Photo Gallery / Hong Kong Travel / Hong Kong Field Trip / Peninsula Hotels / Hotels / Helicopters / Airport Lounges / Videos / → All Tags
A couple months ago we took you inside a place very few get the privilege to see: The Peninsula Tokyo's Helicopter Lounge. Although the hotel doesn't have the go-ahead quite yet to begin helicopter transfers, that didn't stop them from looking ahead and building the space, complete with vintage airplane parts and Japanese aviation memorabilia.
Today however we have something perhaps even bettera tour of the Peninsula Hong Kong's functioning dual helipads and helicopter departure lounge, which sees actual passengers paying actual hundreds of dollars for either sightseeing tours or super-quick flights straight from their hotel to Hong Kong International Airport. In fact, while we were checking out the place, two ladies were awaiting the arrival of their heli pilot before taking off on a snappy spin around Victoria Harbour.
Forgive us for even bringing it up, but Groupon Groupon Groupon. We're so tired of hearing about it, especially since we've never scored anything worth writing home about from the site (spa deals and meals at restaurants we've never heard of seem to make up the bulk of offerings), but there's a potential good that can come of group buying for discounts: cheap travel. We're always on the look-out for worthwhile travel groupons and while there haven't many/any, there comes an interesting one today from the Groupon-like site Travelzoo Local Deals, for a $99 Helicopter Lesson and 30-minute flight.
Photo Gallery / Tokyo Travel / Hotels / Peninsula Hotels / Helicopters / Airport Lounges / Jaunted Reporting Live / Tokyo Field Trip / → All Tags
If we ever win a prestigious international award or become US Ambassador to Japan, we know where we're having the after-party: The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo's Seven Seas Pacific Aviation Lounge. We're just going to call it the "heli-lounge" for short, because that's exactly what it's original function is, not to host parties. The Peninsula Hotel indeed has a private helicopter departure lounge tucked away on its top floors and we managed a rare peek inside.
Although we tried to give the best idea of the space with our photo gallery below, the heli-lounge is one of those places you must physically be in to properly appreciate the awesomeness (not to mention the open-air view over the Imperial Palace and Gardens). Peninsula Hotels are famous for the luxurious (and often, vintage) modes of transportation they have available for guests, and airport-to-hotel helicopter transfers are a signature service at The Peninsula Hong Kong, so why not in Tokyo too? Here's the thing: the Tokyo hotel may have this heli-lounge, but it doesn't yet have the helicopter flights. Bummer. Actually, great...
Helicopters / Airplanes / Boeing / Technology / → All Tags
Everybody's talking about new airplanes these days, specifically the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Airbus A380 Superjumbo and even the Boeing 737s with new "SkyInterior" (more on that tomorrow). But what we'd really like to see hit the blue skies above is something totally new, really fresh...like a helicopter/airplane hybrid called the "DiscRotor."
According to AviationWeek, Boeing has been working on this baby for over a year, along with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program. What that means is when/if the DiscRotor does lift off, it'll be for military use only, for a while at least. But take just a second to imagine what kind of fun travelers would have flying to their destinations in an aircraft that has almost the range and speed of an airplane, with the pinpoint takeoff and landing accuracy of a helicopter.