Posts in the category "Entertainment":

Alaska Airlines shakes its Beyond

Alaska plane at Museum of Flight_edited

To show off its new “Alaska Beyond” package of in-flight amenities and services, Alaska Airlines parked a 737 out in front of Seattle’s Museum of Flight on Thursday and welcomed aboard a planeload of frequent fliers, reporters and bloggers for a two-hour flight over Oregon and Washington.

I got to tag along.

During the flight passengers could test out the new on-board entertainment options, which include both free and for-purchase TV shows and films that can be streamed on personal devices and new inflight entertainment tablets (rented in the Main Cabin for $8-$10 and free in First Class) offering access to new movie releases, selections from the Seattle International Film Festival, TV shows, music, digital magazines and games.

ALASKA digital tablets

The Alaska Beyond program extends to the buy-on-board menu, which now includes Canoe Ridge Wines blended especially for drinking at 30,000 feet and dishes created by Seattle’s three-time James Beard award-winning chef Tom Douglas, who was on board serving his BBQ chicken sandwiches and coleslaw and, afterwards, helping to gather up the empty wrappers.

Alaska Airlines - Tom Douglas on Alaska Beyond flight

Alaska says that by mid-April, 70 percent of its planes will feature all the Alaska Beyond amenities (which also include power at each seat and leather seats by Recaro with adjustable headrests) and all the airline’s 737s will offer direct-to-your personal-device-entertainment.

Why is Alaska doing all this upgrading now? Some say it has to do with Delta Air Lines’ aggressive push into the market. No doubt. But who’s going to argue against welcome improvements in services and in-flight amenities, especially those that remind Pacific Northwest passengers of home?

Oasis at Philadelphia Int’l Airport

PHL OASIS

If you can’t actually be where the weather is warm, you can at least strike a warm weather pose in the summer-like lounging spots set up at Philadelphia International Airport.

PHL has set up Adirondack chairs, beach umbrellas and artificial turf at four spots inside the airport: Terminal A-West (by Gate A13), Terminal A-East (by Gate A-1), Terminal D (near Gate D-4) and Terminal E (by Gate E-1).

The lounging areas come courtesy of the New Jersey-based indoor/outdoor park, Sahara Sam’s Oasis and are part of PHL’s winter program called – are you ready: Oh, Say it Ain’t Snow!! Weather the Winter Blues at PHL.

The program includes free popcorn for passengers on Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the A-East “oasis” and music, demonstrations and giveaways at all the indoor summer spots at various times. Follow @PHLAirport for updates.

Free music & e-books at Toronto Pearson Int’l Airport

American Express - Entertainment on Cloud 10

There are some fresh new perks for travelers who touch down at Toronto Pearson International Airport:

In addition to a “re-vesting” area (Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport calls theirs a ‘recombobulation area’) just past the security checkpoint for domestic departures in Terminal 1, passengers at Toronto Pearson Airport now have access to a selection of complimentary ebooks from HarperCollins Canada and music from Sony Music Canada.

The books and music will be refreshed monthly and are available on the Cloud 10 website, which is accessible via the airport’s free Wi-Fi network – all courtesy of American Express Canada.

The perks at Pearson get better if you have certain American Express cards (Platinum, Gold Rewards, etc.)

Everyone gets free Wi-Fi and access to that re-vesting area, but other benefits include access to priority security lanes, Plaza Premium Lounge access, access to a priority lane for taxis and limos, complimentary valet service and discounts on parking and car care services.

(This chart shows which cards get you which benefits.)

This airport also offers some other worthwhile services and amenities:

The Samsonite shop not only sells luggage and travel accessories, but will store luggage and other things, including coats – which you can leave behind for $2 a day (or $9 a week).

And this past year the airport replaced 3,600 pay-per-use baggage carts with 5,000 free ones.

Alaska Airlines extends free in-flight entertainment

Alaska Tablets

Passengers on Alaska Airlines will be able to use their personal electronic devices to access the airline’s full range of ‘Alaska Beyond’ inflight entertainment for free through March 31st.

But starting April 1, it will cost $1.99 to get access to movies and TV shows beyond a basic selection of complimentary offerings.

The new entertainment service was introduced in mid-December and is available now on more than half of Alaska’s mainline aircraft and should be on nearly all of the airline’s planes by April 2015.

For those not traveling with their own personal electronic devices, starting Feb. 1, Microsoft-branded Inflight Entertainment tablets will be available to rent on long-haul flights for $8-10 and will feature movies, TV, XBOX games, music, digital magazines, and Internet access on WiFi-equipped flights.

As with Alaska’s old rentable tablets, First Class customers and MVP Gold75Ks will be able to use the new tablets for free.

Get smart: free classes on Virgin America flights

Classroom

Courtesy National Library of Australia, via Flickr Commons

You might learn something new next time you take a Virgin American flight.

Starting February 1, free audio and video lectures from the popular series The Great Courses will be available on the airline’s Red in-flight entertainment system.

The series library runs to more than 530 titles and covers everything from history and music to science, literature, language, health, nutrition and personal development.

Virgin America will be offering these course samples:

• Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Inexplicable Universe; from the course, The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries (video)

• Cook Like a Pro Chef: Lessons From The Culinary Institute of America; from the course, The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking (video)

• Sneferu – The Pyramid Builder; from the course, Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

• Um, Well, Like, You Know; from the course, The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins

• Did Slavery Really Cause the Civil War?; from the course, The Skeptic’s Guide to American History

• The Enlightenment and an Introduction to the Classical Era; from the course, How to Listen to and Understand Great Music

• What is Big History?; from the course, Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

• Junk-Food Monkeys: What Happens When Baboons Eat like Us?; from the course, Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science

• Becoming a Spy; from the course, Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History

• Making High-Stakes Decisions; from the course, The Art of Critical Decision Making

• Not All Carbs Are Created Equal; from the course, Nutrition Made Clear

• Creative Nonfiction: Writing Great Beginnings; from the course, Writing Creative Nonfiction

• How People Respond to Incentives; from the course, Thinking Like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision-Making.

 

 

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