Airlines

On the bus with Air New Zealand

ANZ SEAT TOUR

If you’re out and about in the Bay Area the next few days keep an eye out for Air New Zealand’s glass-sided tour bus, which is parking around town and giving folks on the ground a chance to try out the airline’s Premium Economy Spaceseat and Economy Skycouch, which are on the airline’s Boeing 777-300 service between San Francisco and Australia (via Auckland).

The bus has been on the road a few days already, but here are the spots where you can climb on board this week:

October 6th – San Pedro Square Marketplace – San Jose (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
October 7th – San Francisco: Fillmore & California Streets (throughout the day) – Fillmore Art & Wine Festival (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 8th – Downtown San Francisco –SoMa StrEat Food Park (10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.) & Embarcadero Center (8 – 9:45 a.m. & 3:15 – 6 p.m.)
October 9th – San Francisco: Union & Fillmore Streets (throughout the day) – Union Street Wine Walk (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 10th – Downtown San Francisco – Embarcadero Center (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) & “Off the Grid” at Fort Mason (5 – 10 p.m.)

There are also prizes and gifts to go along with this promotion:

Anyone who spots the truck and shares Tweets, messages and photos with Twitter @AIRNZUSA, Instagram @AirNZ or Facebook @AirNewZealand using the hashtag #AirNZ777300 will have a chance to win “surprise and delight” Air New Zealand swag.

Visitors to the truck at any of its public stops will be eligible to win daily prizes.

And – for the rest of us – there’s an online sweepstakes for two Economy round-trip tickets from San Francisco to New Zealand or Australia.
Enter here.

Hello Kitty plane saying bye-bye to LAX

EVA HelloKit Hand in Hand Jet runway_CourtesyEVAAIR

Eva Air’s Hello Kitty “Hand-in-Hand” jet that has been flying between Taipei and Los Angeles since 2013 will change routes at the end of October and fly instead between Taipei and Paris.

Eva Airways said the charmingly liveried plane starts the new route  October 29, 2014.

The airline operates a total of four weekly flights between Taipei and Paris and in late October will add the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet to the regular schedule as BR87 from Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. On the return, it will fly as BR88, CDG-TPE on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Hand-in-Hand Hello Kitty jet, which is painted in a livery that features Sanrio characters holding hands along the length of the airplane, and EVA Air’s five Airbus 330 Hello Kitty-themed jets. which fly within Asia, will also be getting some new themed service items , including new some new Hello Kitty-themed meals.

EVA AIR NEW KIDS MEAL - coming this fall

Hello Kitty economy meal

Help Aeroflot get a new corporate jingle

AEROFLOT

Aeroflot, the state-controlled Russian airline, has put a call out for a new corporate jingle and is willing to pay the right musician 6 million rubles —$160,000 — for just the right catchy tune.

Details of the project were posted on the government’s official procurement website, the Moscow Times reports, and call for a short song that contains the word “Aeroflot” and phrases that sing the praises of the Aeroflot brand.

The winning jingle must also be catchy, encourage people to fly Aeroflot, be devoid of profanity and not reference any non-Aeroflot products and services.

Interested? Aeroflot sent a link to the site where project is posted – but you’ll have to search to search through the Aerflot listing – and you’ll notice right away that the site is only in Russian.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 24, 2014, with a contract winner to be announced on Oct. 9 and the completed jingle due Dec. 15.

“Many airlines use music as part of their branding and this isn’t the first time Aeroflot is creating a Western-style jingle,” said Cameron Fleming, a New York-based advertising copywriter and associate creative director who describes — and shares audio — from two 1960s-era Aeroflot songs on his blog, Fly the Branded Skies.

“They had some serous talent working on those songs,” said Fleming. “The composers were award-winning at the time and one of the singers was Eduard Khil, who later became the viral Internet sensation, Mr. Trololo.”

Aeroflot has five other airline-themed songs posted on its website and Russian airline Transaero has a jaunty downloadable theme song on its site.

(My story about Aeroflot seeking a new jingle first appeared on USA TODAY)

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.