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It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2014 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Now we take a brief look back at the best and worst of 2014 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
We’re always dreaming about getting away, and thankfully loads and loads of travel contests keep us daydreaming even when we're home on the couch. It seems like someone is always giving away a trip to Hawaii or to filming locations, and of course there's also those contests that have a charitable angle.
When it comes right down to creativity and, no contest in 2014 can beat that of KLM and their Airbnb overnight-in-a-plane.
Airline News / KLM / Airbnb / Hotels / Airlines / → All Tags
If you consider that sleeping in a plane is probably the most popular activity on flights after lazy SkyMall browsing, you probably wouldn't guess that people would actually want to sleep in a plane not even going anywhere. But that's exactly what happened last month.
The KLM x Airbnb promotion, which saw the Dutch airline converting their last MD-11 airplane into an apartment for a few lucky contest winners, was apparently so popular that it's spawned a long-term partnership.
Today KLM announces that travelers will "be able to search for a place to stay on Airbnb through the KLM website along with their flight booking." The focus here is on offering unique accommodation experiences for KLM travelers once they've stepped off a plane, although the MD-11 will sadly not be one of the choices.
In-Flight Meals / Economy Class Travel / TAM / Qantas / British Airways / ANA / Air France / KLM / Czech Airlines / Air Berlin / Food Travel / Airline Meals / → All Tags
Last week some great news for Economy passengers arrived from Down Under, as Qantas' introduced new meals for those flying in the back of the plane.
The Red Roo's overhauled menu includes more choices for in-flight grub via their Select on Q pre-order system, now with 50% larger meals and even special treats like ice cream snacks and a welcome drink. Meals not only do away with trays and feature more destination-based items (like BBQ beef sliders to North America and and full English breakfast to the UK), but they'll even surprise with items like a bread roll already infused with butter to eliminate buttery finger fumbling.
Airline Routes / Airlines / Airline News / New Routes / Lufthansa / American Airlines / Alaska Airlines / KLM / Finnair / → All Tags
Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
Good news for those trying to get to—or from—the Sunshine State, as Lufthansa is getting ready to make Tampa one of its newest nonstop destinations. The flights are scheduled to begin on September 25 of next year, so you have quite some time to get the funds in place. Things will begin by heading back and forth four times each and every week, but then things will bump up to five times per week when the weather gets warmer. It’ll be Airbus A340s doing the flying, but just note one thing—this will be one of the first flights operated by the carrier’s new low cost carrier arm.
Want to go to Finland? Finnair can take your there from all kinds of different destinations, but beginning next year Chicago becomes a new option. The plan is to start the flights beginning in June of next year, as it’ll be a seasonal affair between Chicago-O’Hare and Helsinki. Airbus A330s will do the back and forth thing, and it sounds like the flights will operate thrice weekly. Just be sure not to miss your flight, as things will end for the year on October 17.
Travel Contests / KLM / MD-11 / Aviation / AvGeek / AMS / Airplanes / Airbnb / Hotels / → All Tags
If you only do one thing today, let it be entering KLM's ingenious contest to travel to Amsterdam and have a sleepover inside their recently retired MD-11 airplane.
From now through November 20, KLM is asking all fans of the three-holer aircraft to book it for an overnight stay, as they've cleared out all the typical airplane seats in favor of cozy apartment-style furnishings.
The "Airplane Apartment" sports a master bedroom with king-size bed, a second bedroom with two beds, kitchen, living area, 8 bathrooms, WiFi, a cockpit, and 116 windows. There'll be one winner for each of the three nights, and each winner may bring up to three friends/family along for a total occupancy of 4 people in the Airplane Apartment. But wait, there's more! Winners will also receive international roundtrip flights on KLM to reach Amsterdam, and a 500 EUR Airbnb gift card.
Travel Contests / KLM / MD-11 / Aviation / AvGeek / AMS / Airplanes / → All Tags
When we talk about exciting, historical flights we typically talk about inaugurals. First flights are celebrated for a reason; they are a promise of travel to come and often a demonstration of the growth of a community or the prowess of new technology. Why, then, shouldn't we also celebrate the end of a service, after an airplane has delivered on its promise?
KLM agrees, and they're now holding a contest for one lucky AvGeek to join the final flight of their MD-11 on November 11.
KLM has been flying the three-holers since 1993, and will retire them from the fleet next month.
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Do you like doggies?
What about traveling to Europe?
And you appreciate having lost items returned to you, right?
If you've answered a hearty "yes" to the questions above, then the video below was meant for you. It highlights the newest customer service innovation at KLM: an adorable dog named Sherlock with the ability to sniff out items forgotten on planes to reunite them with their rightful owners within the confines of Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.
That's pretty much all there is to it, since the magic is really in the beautiful film. Enjoy, but do so knowing that was a one-time thing, and Sherlock isn't going to be a permanent member of KLM's team. For your real lost & found queries, there's always KLM's 130 social media agents ready to help.
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Humans of New York, the photography project with nearly 10 million Facebook fans, 1.6 million Instagram followers, and a bestselling book, went international this season. The man behind HONY, Brandon Stanton, headed out with UNICEF on a 50-day trip through 10 countries, designed to apply his style to a broader (and certainly more war-torn) base.
HONY also has another current international connection, as KLM has been inspired enough to adapt the Humans of New York style in the creation of their "Citizens of the Airport" (COTA) series. Through portraits and small interviews, the airline gets up close with individual travelers at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport to learn a little of their life around each particular journey.
Travel News / Airline News / Airlines / Boeing / KLM / LAN / Delta / British Airways / Air Malta / Virgin Atlantic / Nok Air / Airbus / South African Airways / Hawaiian Airlines / → All Tags
Ever heard of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line? We're guessing probably not, but the Smithsonian sure has; the seaplane carrier is classified as the world's first airline, which inaugurated commercial air service in 1914 when it took off with one paying passenger. It may have been a short journey (only 23 minutes!), but the Airboat Line's impact extends to today as commercial aviation has become a $2.2 trillion dollar industry, employing over 57 million people.
In 2014, the world celebrates 100 years of commercial air travel, but that's not all.
In this last century, airlines and airplanes have evolved into a fact of everyday life for travelers, and some of the pioneering companies will mark milestones this year. Here's who to wish "happy anniversary":
We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
In keeping with their commitment to promoting Dutch design, KLM partnered with fashion designer duo Viktor & Rolf in the creation of amenity kits. Each contains the basics for enhanced in-flight comfort, but they differ for male or female in zip pouch color. The strap which wraps around the kit then clips on the side to transform the bag from an amenity kit to reusable wristlet. The designs change each year, so you're looking at the 2014 pouches in these photos.
Passengers traveling on intercontinental flights in World Business Class will be given these bags at the start of the flight, and they won't be the only little presents along the way. Don't forget the end-of-flight goodbye gift of KLM's signature mini Delft houses filled with genever.
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We've said it before and we'll say it again now: KLM consistently kills it on Facebook. Even beyond Facebook, the airline does stupendously across the board with social media, and it's no wonder considering they employ 130 social media "agents" to answer the approximately 35,000 interactions on Facebook and Twitter every week.
With so much online action, KLM is now set to up their game by accepting payments via Facebook and Twitter, for everything from flight bookings and seat reservations to flight changes and extra baggage.
Christmas Travel / Lufthansa / Virgin America / KLM / SWISS / WestJet / Business Class Travel / First Class Travel / Food Travel / In-Flight Meals / Holiday Travel / → All Tags
Flying during the holiday season is frustrating at best, and you can better believe that the airlines and airports know travelers aren't exactly happy to be paying top dollar for packed flights, likely during winter weather. Thus, airlines attempt to create smiles for the season by introducing little festive touches to their inflight service.
The littlest things can go a long way to get passengers in a positive mood. Here is the list of those airlines going the extra mile, getting into the spirit, and giving back to their passengers with something special: