British Airways

Travel Tidbits: new pre-check airline + fresh art at Miami Int’l Airport

Just in time for summer, we learn that the latest airline to join TSA’s pre-check program is British Airways, bringing to 53 the number of airlines participating in the program.

And Miami International Airport has some new, high-flying art:

The new work is called ‘Ando Volando’ (I’m Flying) and is by Miami-based artist Emilio Adán Martínez. Look for it in the Concourse E satellite. The new kite-like artwork has a companion display, ‘Andan Volando’ (They are flying), located inside Concourse D.

Both installations are constructed with paper, string and Australian pine branches and are meant to resemble kites and boats and suggest the idea of flight.

British Airways gets its 25th 787 Dreamliner

British Airways took delivery of its 25th 787 Dreamliner last week and I had the pleasure of riding along from the Boeing factory in Everett, WA to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Before the flight, everyone was treated to a tour of the Boeing factory floor, where we were permitted to snap a few photos along the way.


There was no plane-side ceremony, but there was at least one pre-flight surprise for the passengers taking the ride: we (along with our hand baggage) were all weighed before the flight. Ladies first!

The explanation was something about gathering some important data for this and other flights, but I made sure not to step on the scale without my (very heavy….) backpack.

Hand baggage weighed separately met us planeside and we were ready to board and take-off.

Eveyone on this flight got a Club World seat, which are configured in a ying/yang (and, in the center  – 3 across, in a ying/yang/ying) configuration with a panel between seats that passengers can choose to raise or lower.

My favorite feature of the seat is the the floor-level storage drawer, which was big enough to hold my shoes and a variety of other items I wanted closed by.

British Airways engineers on the delivery flight were happy to chat with media on board and confirmed that, as part of the pre-delivery inspection, one thing they do is sit in every seat, looking for scratches and other issues and making sure the wiring is correct for the in-flight entertainment system for each passenger.

On landing at Heathrow, the pilots invited passengers into the cockpit and insisted we take a seat and snap a photo, even adjusting the seat so that it looked ‘real’.

Thanks, British Airways, for the ride to London!

British Airways ready for Christmas

LAPLAND, FINLAND: Andrea Hatfield (Cabin Crew) gets into the Christmas spirit onboard a special charter to Lapland from London Gatwick on 07 December 2015

British Airways is gearing up for an onslaught of holiday travelers and is preparing some treats for those who fly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The airline will be serving a traditional British Christmas dinner to most passengers, consisting of sliced roast turkey breast, chestnut (available in First and Club World) or sage and onion (available in World Traveller) stuffing, cranberry compote, brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, carrot batons, mince pies, as well as other holiday favorites.

During those two days on flights departing from U.S. gateways alone, British Airways expects to serve:

*More than 294 turkeys;
*150 pounds of stuffing;
*1,029 sweet potatoes;
*1,283 brussels sprouts;
*234 parsnips;
*12 gallons of gravy;
*and 1,820 mince pies.

Other airlines also have holiday treats in store for passengers and, as we get them, we’ll be posting here and on Twitter as well.

 

 

 

Route round-up: more ways to get from here to there

suitcase

Increasingly, you can get there from here. Here’s a round-up of some new airline routes that may help.

British Airways will begin its San Francisco – London service with an Airbus A380 next summer. The airline began A380 service between Los Angeles and London last September 2013 and starts A380 service to Washington DC in October.

Air New Zealand announced it is adding more flights to its North American routes. with additional service from Vancouver and Los Angeles to Auckland.

Starting in April 2015, ANZ will fly LAX-AKL three times daily through October. Starting in June 2015, ANZ will fly YVR-AKL five times a week through September.

Southwest Airlines will add service between Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and San José, Costa Rica, starting in March 2015.

And Icelandair announced new seasonal non-stop service from Portland, Oregon to Reykjavik, Iceland beginning May 20, 2015 and continuing through October 21, 2015.

Travel Tidbits: guns, billboards and ugly sweaters

Guns at airports

PIT Firearm

Courtesy TSA

The TSA’s Week in Review is always a fascinating and somewhat frightening read.

In the latest issue, for example, we learned that 28 firearms were found at airport checkpoints nationwide this week – a tally that is not that unusual.

Of those 28 firearms, 25 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered. And among the loaded firearms was one discovered strapped to the ankle of a passenger at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

I wonder if that passenger gave the excuse most people do when found with firearms at airports: “Oops, I forgot that was there.”

British Airways billboards: how do they do that?



British Airways
is rolling out video billboards that show children pointing to the sky whenever a British Airlines plane flies by. The airline says there’s some sort of “digital “wizardry” involved that allows the billboards to “know” the flight number and city a plane is arriving from and display it on the screen.

The first billboard was installed in Chiswick, a suburb west of London. Bustling Picadilly Circus gets one as well.

Ugly Sweaters

And if you’re headed to Portland, Oregon this season – perhaps to the presentation about my new book Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You on December 6 at St. Johns Booksellers -then keep an eye out for downtown sculptures that will be “yarn bombed” by local fiber artists.

Portland ugly sweater

More than a dozen statues are scheduled to get yarn bombed this season as the city goes a little knit-crazy with sweater -themed events and ugly sweater promotions at several hotels.

At the Mark Spencer, for example, any guest wearing an ugly sweater at check-in will automatically receive a free room upgrade. And at the Heathman Hotel, ugly sweaters will be issued to all dogs checking in with their people.

More details about visiting Portland here.