Posts in the category "Airlines":

Spirit Airlines: inviting venting & making crop circles

Hate how you’re treated by airlines?

Many travelers have horror stories to share or an airline they especially love to hate.

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines, one of the most complained-about airlines in the industry, is trying to harness that hate (and generate publicity) with a campaign inviting travelers to vent about any airline, including Spirit, in up to 140 characters.

“We want to change the way people think about air travel and educate them about the Spirit way of traveling,” said Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s CEO, in a statement. “We’re going to Hug The Haters.”

Each “venter” who participates in Spirit’s Hate Thousand Miles Giveaway will receive 8,000 of the airline’s frequent-flier miles, which is about 2,000 miles short of a free flight. They must have or sign up for a Spirit Airlines mileage account. Travelers who have the airline’s credit card can use those miles toward several free flights.

The promotion will end once the airline gives away one billion miles.

“So far, there’s been a lot of venting about delays, weather and all the problems you’d have on almost any airline,” said Paul Berry, Spirit Airlines spokesman.

Spirit Airlines is known for its a-la-carte, unbundled menu of charging fees for everything from pre-assigned seats to printing out a boarding pass at the airport. The airline has also come under criticism for some of its offbeat and, at times, off-color advertisements playing on scandals in the news.

Right now there’s a crop circle in a field next to Kansas City International Airport in the shape of a man covering his privates. No Spirit Airlines logo is present in the crop circle, but there are “Bare Fare” billboards up around the airport.

CROP CIRCLE

“The crop circle was created to promote our totally stripped down Bare Fares and the fact that we’ll be starting service to and from Kansas City in August,” said Berry.

While the figure in the crop circle has no clothes, he does appear to have a suitcase of some sort beside him. And unless that carry-on will fit under the seat, Spirit Airlines could charge crop circle guy up to $100 to check his bag.

(My story about Spirit Airlines first appeared on NBC News Travel)

Name-a-Plane and fly to Frankfurt

Lufthsansa Name the Plane

Betty, Bob, Brutus? What name would you give to an airplane?

In preparation for delivery of its first Boeing 777F in Frankfurt this October, Lufthansa is having a contest to name an airplane. Entries will be taken until July 15, 2013 and the winner will be flown to Frankfurt so they can be on hand when the new plane lands.

Find more details about Lufthansa’s “Name the Plane” contest here.

More snaps from Fiji Airways A330 send-off

Fiji Airways had a party at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Tuesday to celebrate this Airbus A330 airplane,  which will start flying between LAX and Fiji in July as the airline ramps up service between LAX and Nadi International Airport (NAN).

Fiji Airways new plane

I wrote earlier about the airline’s new livery, the Fijian artist who created the livery that’s on the airplane and the meaning of the symbols in the Masi design. And although I didn’t get to join the group that flew on this plane to Fiji, I wanted to share a few more images from the send-off event that took place at the Flight Path Learning Center – Museum at LAX.

First a few snaps from the Fiji Airways event. To kick off the evening, there was a short performance by a troupe of Fiji warriors.

FIJI WARRIORS

I was a bit intimidated by these fellows, until I spotted them later snacking on some of the cupcakes decorated with the new airplane’s logo that we’d all been patiently waiting to devour. Turns out these warriors are Fijiians living in Utah.

Fiji warrior eating cupcake

P1010003

Another surprise of the evening was being in the Flight Path Learning Center – Museum, which is adjacent to the LAX airfield and a superb spot for plane spotting.

There’s plenty to spot in the museum’s exhibits as well, including a great collection of airline purses and bags -

LAX MUSEUM BAGS

These charming Pan Am footies -

LAX MUSEUM PAN AM FOOTIES

All manner of airplane models and airline uniforms and some very collectible books.

LAX MUSEUM BOOKS

Maori send-off for new flight from Honolulu to Auckland

Maori_Dancers

Maori dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center perform a traditional ‘haka’ for guests departing on Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight from Honolulu to Auckland at Honolulu International Airport.

These Maori dancers from Honolulu’s Polynesian Cultural Center were on hand at the Honolulu International Airport on Wednesday to perform a traditional ‘haka’ for guests departing on Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight direct from Honolulu to Auckland, New Zealand.

Hawaiian is now the only U.S. carrier flying that route. The airline has partnerships with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, so if you’ve got miles on those airlines you can use them for this trip.

In Alaska: goodbye sled dogs; hello airplanes.

Alaska Aviation

Undated winter view of Wien Alaska Airlines airplane with musher and dog team in foreground. Image credit: Wien Collection/Anchorage Museum

 

One hundred years after the first powered flight in Alaska, the Anchorage Museum on Saturday opens a major exhibition celebrating the rich and remarkable stamp aviation has had on the Frontier State.

That history began as a spectacle. In 1913, several Fairbanks merchants got together to ship a biplane from Seattle to Alaska by steamboat. They then sold tickets so onlookers could watch two barnstormers fly the plane 200 feet above the ground at a lazy 45 mph.

Ten years after that first powered flight in Alaska, Anchorage officials declared a holiday so people could come out and help clear land for the city’s first airstrip.

“In the early days, Alaska was a very inaccessible, remote place, with very few roads and some dog sled trails crisscrossing the territory,” aviation historian Ted Spencer told NBC News. “With airplanes, though, mail could be delivered in hours rather than weeks. Remote village and towns could be connected. Life changed incredibly.”

The exhibit, Arctic Flight: A Century of Alaska Aviation, showcases photographs and artifacts — including leather and fur-lined outfits worn by bush pilots and the tires and handmade skis inventive pilots attached to bush planes to allow them to land on glaciers and frozen lakes.

Even empty fuel cans, fabric, crates and other flight-related items intentionally or unintentionally left behind had an impact in remote places. “Those items were used to make furniture, clothing and household objects that are still around,” said Julie Decker, the museum’s chief curator. “In Alaska, people are very practical.”

Bush pilots became heroes in small towns and villages, Decker said. “They were a connection to the outside world and they could deliver things to places where things could never get delivered before,” she said.

BIPLANE

This Stearman C2B biplane was flown by several legendary Alaska bush pilots including Joe Crosson, the first pilot to land on Mount McKinley, and Noel Wien, founder of the state’s first airline. Image credit: Eric Long/Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

 

 

Pilots were also real-life Alaskan characters that had to be skilled in the air and on the ground. “They needed to be able to not only fly the planes, but fix them. And they needed to be able to survive in the cold and in the wilderness,” said Decker. “Imagine how tough and hearty they had to be in the early days of flying when the planes had open cockpits and it was 40 degrees below zero – on the ground.”

Other artifacts on exhibit include a Stearman C2B biplane flown by several legendary bush pilots, ephemera and memorabilia from a variety of former Alaska-based commercial airlines, a 1927 film clip from the first airplane to fly over the North Pole, and bits of airplane crash wreckage, including pieces from the 1935 crash that killed famed aviator Wiley Post and entertainer-humorist Will Rogers near Barrow, Alaska.

And while improvements in technology have made flying much safer than it was when that biplane first came to Alaska, Decker says “weather trumps all” and that flying small or large planes in Alaska can still present a formidable challenge.

“The state is just so huge, with all sorts of water formations, vast and rugged landscapes and extreme, unpredictable weather. Even with modern airplanes, GPS and radio communications, there are still crashes and planes still occasionally disappear,” Spencer said.

“Alaska is still a dangerous place to fly.”

My story: Goodbye sled dogs, hello airplanes. Alaska marks 100 years of aviation history first appeared on NBC News.com Travel.

 

 

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