Lounges

United Airlines serving up Olympic super heroes & snacks

United Airlines is super excited about the Winter Olympics and, as the official airline of Team USA, is going all out with stateside celebrations.

On Friday, Feb 9, the airline will be giving out super hero action figures of a half dozen Olympic athletes at seven hub airports: Houston (IAH), Dulles, DEN, LAX, SFO, Newark and O’Hare. Details here.

United will also be serving up Olympics-inspired food and beverage at more than 50 club locations through February 24.

On Friday, February 9,  they’ll be serving a Perfect 10 cocktail made with prosecco and cranberry juice, garnished with blueberries and cranberries and a Super Sundae, made with vanilla ice cream,  strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream.

Through February 24, foods served will include a fruit bar with blueberries, pineapple, blackberries, honeydew and strawberries and a mix-and-match candy bar.

And in addition to specialty cocktails ($5 each) such as the The Rings (Vodka, triple sec, white cranberry juice and simple syrup garnished with lifesavers), on February 24 the menu will include a red, white and blue parfait, made with vanilla yogurt, fresh strawberries, blueberries and a sprinkle of granola.

 

Travel Tidbits: KLM holiday sweater+ Swanky Air Canada suite

Air Canada opens  a new 6,400 square-foot Air Canada Signature Suite on December 1 for full fare paying international business customers at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The swanky new suite is located by Air Canada’s international departure gates at Toronto Pearson, can accommodate up to 160 premium customers and offers a complimentary, full-service restaurant offering à la carte dining as well as a cocktail lounge space, hors d’œuvres, snacks, a quiet sitting area and concierge service. Nice!

 

Need a fun – or quirky – holiday gift for your favorite frequent flyer?

KLM is selling “Flying Home for Christmas” sweaters – for $35.55 (plus shipping)- in its on-line shop, where you can also find blood pressure monitors and snore stoppers along with other travel gadgets, electronics, perfume and gift-worthy items.

 

Northwest menu debuts at Delta’s Sky Club at Sea-Tac Airport

 

 

It’s been six months since Delta Air Lines opened a new Sky Club on Concourse A at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. And, from the views of Mt. Rainier to the in-house spa, the artwork, the soaring ceilings, the bar and the food offerings, it’s still quite a thrilling and surprising space to visit.

 

A few weeks ago Delta upped the Sea-Tac Sky Club offerings quite a bit with the formal roll-out of a seasonal and locally-inspired menu created by highly regarded Seattle chef and restaurateur Ethan Stowell, who has about a dozen eateries in the city, including four in my neighborhood alone.

The snacks I nibbled on when Delta’s new Sky Club at Sea-Tac opened were fine, but now club visitors will find a variety of salads, including a house-roasted chicken salad with Washington-grown jazz apples, cranberries, dill and mint; a weekly rotation of crudité and dips, including mixed Mediterranean olives with orange zest and fresh herbs; a tasty pasta dish, as well as fresh popcorn with a hard-to-resist fennel pollen topping.

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In a phone chat, Stowell told me his goal was to create a menu that leans towards “lighter, fresher, brighter foods” that are vegetable and protein-focused, rather than “rib-sticking heavy foods,” and to offer “a taste of the bounty we have here” in the Northwest, such as asparagus and peas, which are definitely fresh right now.

As you might imagine, Stowell is a busy guy. So he said when Delta asked him to get involved with the club menu he was only interested if he was going to be allowed to put his own spin on it.

“They’re definitely let me put my take on it,” said Stowell. “I’m not saying it’s an Ethan Stowell restaurant in the club, but it’s as close to having a branded restaurant in a club as you possibly can.”

If the airport club partnership works out well, the next logical step might be for Stowell to create menus for Delta passengers to dine on in the sky.

“We’ll probably get there,” said Stowell, “We’re in that getting to know each other phase.  We both want this first project to be successful, but that will be the logical next step.”

 

Alaska Airlines announces plans for Virgin America

Photo by Harriet Baskas

It comes as no surprise, but Alaska Airlines announced its plans for the Virgin America name and brand and has decided that it’s going to keep the Alaska’s name and logo and retire the Virgin America name “likely sometime in 2019,” according to a company statement.

That’s bad news for those who love the Virgin America overall brand, vibe and amenities. But the good news is that Alaska Airlines is keeping its word and bringing some of the best Virgin America amenities forward.

Alaska says it will adopt “enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests” as part of an overall goal to create “a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

Alaska says it will adopt some other Virgin America touches including introducing music by new artists  on planes, in airport lobbies and at gates (2017); redesigning the cabin with new seats and amenities (2018) and introducing new uniforms by fashion designer Luly Yang (mid-2019) for flight attendants, customer service agents, pilots, mechanics and ground crew.

Alaska also promises to upgrade the Wi-Fi connectivity fleet-wide, add more premium seats, expand the lounge network and offer other new amenities you can read about here.

What do you think?