Finnair

Fashion show on an airport runway? Yes.

Helsinki match made in HEL

A while back, Helsinki Airport and Finnair turned an airport runway into a skatepark.

That worked out so well, they’re doing it again:

On May 24, Finnair and Helsinki Airport (HEL) will host Runway 2 – a fashion show featuring work by top designers from around the world presented on an airport runway.

The event is a Match Made in HEL and will feature the work of yet-to-be announced fashion designers from China, Korea, Japan, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Sounds like great fun. Especially if the planes landing and taking off that day use the other runway…

Now it’s all about Santa’s trip

SANTA fruit label

Now that all that turkey business is over with, it’s time to start watching the skies for Santa.

NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – is already on the job with its NORAD Tracks Santa website, which has a holiday countdown, games, activities, Santa data and more in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Leaving no Santa-tracking stone unturned, NORAD is also tracking Santa with apps in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.

Why does NORAD track Santa?

The story goes that in 1955 a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. The phone number put kids through to the desk of the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD’s predecessor) Commander-in-Chief instead and that man, Colonel Harry Shoup, played along and gave kids updates on Santa’s progress.

A tradition was born and now, using the internet and a team of volunteer elves, the whole world can check on Santa via NORAD’s satellites and Santa cams.

NORAD isn’t the only organization tracking Santa this season. Finnair, which claims to be the official airline of Santa Claus since 1983, has two of its Airbus 321 Sharklet aircraft flying with Christmas livery.

Official airline of Santa Claus_edited

The airline also is also sharing this “secret of Christmas” video.

Frying with Finnair to the UN Climate Summit

FinnairAirbus 330 HR_edited

Smell that?

The Airbus A330 making Tuesday’s Finnair flight from Helsinki to New York will be running on biofuel partly made from recycled cooking oil from restaurants.

It’s perfectly safe – and Finnair and several other airlines have done it before – but this flight is designed to coincide with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York and draw attention to the fact that progress is being made on developing environmentally sustainable biofuel.

As Finnair reminds us, “most of an airline’s environmental impact arises from aircraft emissions during flight and switching to a more sustainable fuel source can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50 and 80 per cent.”

But while everything from used cooking oil to plants, algae, municipal waste, recycled vegetable cooking oil, animal fat and sugarcane have been considered or tested in aircraft in search of safe, alternative, sustainable biofuels, the cost to make that alternative fuel is still at least twice as much – or more – than conventional jet fuel.

But along with Finnair, other airlines, including KLM and Alaska Airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and a variety of governments around the world are working on ways to lower the costs of creating these alternative jet fuels.

So it’s possible that soon you’ll be flying on a jet burning fuel made with old frying oil too.

Airline amenity kits – part 2

Here’s part 2 of my round-up of cool, collectible airline amenity kits, originally produced for CNBC Road Warrior. See part 1 here.

7_JetBlue amenity kit

A complimentary amenity kit filled with deluxe-sized, beauty, grooming and lifestyle products chosen by the sample-savvy folks at Birchbox is one of the perks included with JetBlue’s upgraded, coast-to-to-coast Mint service introduced in June, 2014. The kit content will change quarterly but the mix of premium sample items started off with everything from Benefit Cosmetics mascara in the women’s kit to Ernest Supplies Cooling Shave Cream in the kit for men.

8A_Finnair_Eco-Friendly amenity kit

Finnair offers business class passengers a minimalist, eco-friendly amenity kit that includes socks, an eye-mask and earplugs packaged in a brown paper envelope. A more elaborate, but equally-eco amenities kit, with items in a green tea or birch scent, is available on request.

9_AirFrance_Business Amenity Kit

Business class customers on Air France now receive an amenity kit filled with Clarins cosmetics as well as mouthwash, slipper socks, toothbrush and eye shade. Passengers in the airline’s La Premiere cabins receive a leather cosmetics kit designed by Givenchy filled with skin care products by Biologique Recherche, including face cream, an anti-fatigue roll-on for the eyes, an eye mask, lip balm, hand cream and an oshibori hand towel.

10_Etihad_FIRST CLASS SOUGHA MALE

Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, gives passengers in economy, business and first class cabins amenity kits that feature patterns of Sadou, a colorful, intricate and centuries-old Abu Dhabi weaving craft traditionally used on blankets, cushions and Bedouin tents. In addition to the nice array of products inside the bags, “I love the fact that Etihad has invested in an authentic design for their kits, embracing their cultural roots,” said Jonny Clark, a commercial pilot who evaluates airline products and design at TheDesignAir.

Free Ferris Wheel Spin, courtesy Finnair

Here’s a great perk of being a member of an airline’s mileage program.

A new 460-foot observation wheel – called the Finnair SkyWheel – began turning in Katajanokka harbour in central Helsinki on Tuesday and on Sunday, June 8th, all Finnair Plus members who show up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. will get to take a spin on the wheel for free. All other times, Finnair Plus members get a discount.

finnair skywheel

The big wheel has 30 climate-controlled blue-and-white gondolas plus a special VIP cabin with a glass floor, leather seats and Veuve Clicquot champagne service.

One trip on the Finnair SkyWheel lasts 15 minutes and costs about $16. The ride in the VIP cabin lasts 25 minutes and costs about $265.