Travel Tidbits from Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic

Here is are some travel tidibts from Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus

VR on Alaska Airlines

First Class passengers flying Alaska Airlines on two routes – Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego – will be able to test out virtual reality headsets for inflight entertaiment.

The Seattle-based carrier will be piloting SkyLights’ new Allosky Cinematic VR with a selection of 2D and 3D movie titles such as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Spielberg’s Ready Play One in 3D and the kids title, Ferdinand.

360° films subjects will showcase freediving, classical music and acrobatics.

Virgin Atlantic and Aviation Gin

Virgin Atlantic announces today its that it will begin serving Aviation American Gin in its clubhouses and on its planes.  The gin is owned by actor and producer, Ryan Reynolds and batch-made by House Spirtis Distllery in Portland, OR.

To kick off the partnership, on September 30 some passengers on board Virgin Atlantic flights will be served cocktails mixed up by bartenders from some of the world’s super “in” bars, such as The Dead Rabbit in New York and Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.

Here’s a video Sir Richard Branson and Ryan Reynolds made to promote the partnership.

Not flying Virgin Atlantic? House Spirits Distillery  has a tasting room at Portland International Airport.


A marvelous mascot at Japan’s Centrair Airport

It’s not unusual for airports to have mascots, but I’m especially charmed by mascot at Chubu Centrair International Airport near Nagoya, Japan.


Centrair Airport mascot

The mascot appears at the information desk, in signs, posters and in airport advertising. But to my delight, the mascot also appeares in many forms of souvenirs for sale in the aviation-themed shop in the pre-security Sky Town shopping mall on the top floor of the airport.

centrair airport mascot

Centrair Airport

Of course, now I need to make a list of airport mascots. Please help me get started by sharing any that you know about in the comments section below.

Burning Man fans head home via Reno-Tahoe Int’l Airport

About 7,000 of the 70,000 or so ‘burners,’ who attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert over the weekend started their journey home on Monday through Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Another 10,000 or so festival goers are expected to head home via RNO on Tuesday.

To help make the transition from the playa to the plane as smooth as possible, Reno-Tahoe International added extra customer service staff, extra trash bins, therapy dogs and a Burner bike collection area.

The local Kiwanis Club cleans up and refurbishes the discarded bikes that were used at the fesival and distributes them to kids in the community.

Because dust from the playa can muck up the airport baggage system, Burners are asked to put their luggage into bins and/or big plastic bags.

“The day went extremely well,” said airport spokesman Brian Kulpin on Monday evening, “Stores and restaurants were full of Burners getting their first taste again of modern civilization. And airport custodial staff did a phenomenal job keeping up with the Playa dust and the exodus from the desert.”

Did you attend the Burning Man festival this year? Please share a photo.

Souvenir Sunday: 2019 paper calendars that invite travel

2019 still seems far off, but it’s not too soon to pick out a few travel-themed paper calendars from the new crop of calendars already appearing in stores.

2019 calendars

Workman Publishing surprised me with a few samples of the travel-related calendars from their 2019 catalog, including one from Atlas Obscura (which comes in both a wall and desk version) and a cool Islands page-a-day calendar and a few others.

2019 calendars

It is tempting in these modern times to rely on the electronic calendars in our smart phones. But keep in mind that planners, page-a-day calendars and classic wall calendars with beautiful images of a favorite city you’ve been to, or of far-off places you’d like to visit, are a great way to ‘travel’ somewhere everyday.

2019 calendars

The popularity of digital calendars has challenged paper calendar publishers like Workman to be more creative in designing and packaging these products.

“We do publish wall calendars differently than we used to,” Janet Harris, Publisher,Workman Calendars, said via email, “We’ve found that the more consumers rely on digital calendars for their day-to-day tasks, the more they want a wall calendar that is breathtakingly beautiful or irresistibly cute.”

I’m already thinking about and shopping for the planner I’ll use and the wall calendars I’ll hang up in my home and office in the new year. I know they’ll be travel-themed, but beyond that it’s going to be a tough decision.

Do you still use paper calendars? If so, how do you choose which ones to live with for the year?

National Aviation Day and the 3rd Wright Brother

At Seattle's Museum of Flight

In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed August 19  – Orville Wright’s birthday – to be National Aviation Day.

It’s a great excuse (as if you really need one) to celebrate aviation, aviation history, aviators through the ages and how fun it is to fly.

But ever since I learned the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s sister, Katherine, I make sure to pay homage to her on this day.

Few people even know the Wright Brothers had a sister. But without Katherine who, for example, kept the bicycle shop running while her brothers were out doing their thing in the Kitty Hawk dunes, National Aviation Day may have had a very different back story.

Here’s a link to a radio piece titled Katherine Wright: The Forgotten Wright Brother,  that I put together for National Public Radio (way back in 2003!) on Katherine Wright. When the Wright Brothers were all the rage, Katherine was known as the 3rd Wright Brother and most certainly should be remembered on National Aviation Day.

Take a listen and let me know what you think.