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Happy Halloween. Fly Safe

Flying today? Steer clear of Halloween witches.

Drive Safe.

witch on motorcycle - Halloween

And don’t eat too much Halloween cake and candy.

And if you happen to be at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) today, you’re in for a real treat.

For Halloween, the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) Program will hold its 5th Annual Howling Halloween Parade with the pups (and some handlers) dressed in costumes.

The Halloween parade is scheduled to start today (Oct 31) at 11 a.m. inside Tom Bradley International Terminal and then continue into Terminals 4 and 5.

Other airports are going all out to celebrate Halloween as well.

Lilou the Pig visited San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in her Halloween costume.

And check out these images of “Red Skeleton” making his way around Witchita Airport (ICT) in the days leading up to Halloween.

Bigfoot spotted at Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

We spotted this collection of Bigfoot souvenirs at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport recently.

Note the small string of lights wrapping one of the Bigfoot items. It’s a charming signal that the holidays are coming right up. And a gentle reminder that there are lots of reasons to do all your holiday shopping at airports.

We agree. Stay tuned for more gift-worthy items we’re finding in airport shops this year.

Have a suggestion? Send it along.

Food festival today at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int’l Airport

If you’re passing through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) today (Oct 29), be sure to head to the Domestic Terminal Atrium for a fun food festival.

ATL is holding its fifth annual Taste of Hartsfield-Jackson event today.

The pre-security event gives travelers and locals a chance to sample dishes from more than 30 airport eateries.

Participants range from One Flew South, Cat Cora’s Kitchen, Atlanta Chophouse and Brewery, Atlanta Braves All-Star Grill and Paschal’s to Piece of Cake and Krispy Kreme.  

Tasting tickets are $15 for a book of 10 and you’ll need to hand over 1 ticket per taste.

You can purchase tickets on-site and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank, a local nonprofit that distributes millions of pounds of food to community kitchens, shelters, senior centers, food pantries and more throughout the year. 

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes music and a cooking competition with two airports chefs competing for the title of Taste’s Top Chef 2019,

Miniature houses have big role in KLM history

Well-known airlines such as Pan Am, TWA, US Airways and Virgin America are long gone. And in just the past two years more than two dozen other airlines went from soaring to shuttered.

So, it is noteworthy that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines turned 100 on October 7.

The Dutch flag carrier is not only one of the world’s oldest airlines, it is also the oldest airline still flying under its original name.

It’s also the only airline where the guest of honor at its annual birthday party is the newest version of the three-inch tall porcelain house gifted to business class passengers flying on the carrier’s intercontinental routes.

The history of the houses

Back in 1952, KLM began giving its first-class passengers a gift of a miniature Delft Blue pottery house portraying a historically or architecturally significant Dutch building.

Because there were rules and limits regarding the value of gifts to passengers, the airline filled the houses with gin so that they were technically not gifts but free cocktails that just happened to be served in souvenir containers.  

New editions of the souvenir houses were created on and off for many years until 1994 – KLM’s 75th Anniversary – when the airline commissioned a bonus catch-up batch of miniature houses so that the number of souvenir houses in the series lined up with airline’s age.

Now one of the airline industry’s most sought-after complimentary inflight amenity, a new miniature Delft Blue porcelain houses filled with Bols Genever, a popular Dutch gin, is unveiled at the carrier’s birthday party each October 7. The new house is cycled into the assortment of miniature houses business class passengers can choose from on each flight.

A handy app helps passengers and collectors track the KLM houses they have, or still need. Swapping is popular and there’s a robust secondhand market in Amsterdam shops and online, with prices ranging from about $15 for the common houses to upwards of $550 for some of the rarer editions.  

Over the years, KLM’s miniature houses have depicted everything from the home of Dutch exotic dancer and spy Mata Hari to the Anne Frank House and the Rembrandt House.

In 2014, KLM’s miniature house portrayed the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam.

Hotel New York in Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s Hotel New York, in the former headquarters of the Holland America line, was the featured house in 2016. And the home in Haarlem where Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker once lived was honored with a miniature gin-filled house in 2017.

KLM Delft miniature house #98 depicted the home of Dutch aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker in Haarlem

KLM’s 100th anniversary house

KLM’s much-anticipated 100th Delftware miniature building was revealed at the carrier’s 100th birthday party, held in a hangar at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on October 7.

The event was attended by more the 3500 people, some of whom had flown in just to be among the first to get their hands on the newest miniature house.

Courtesy KLM

The 100th house is a replica of Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague, the current home of the Netherland’s King Willem-Alexander and his family.

The palace was built in the mid-17th century for Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange and his wife Amalia van Solms and was chosen to be KLM’s 100th miniature house to honor the strong ties between the Dutch Royal Family and KLM since the airline’s early days.

The future of the KLM houses

While KLM’s Delftware miniatures are highly collectible and closely tied to the carrier’s branding, KLM is also committed to making aviation more sustainable.

To that end, the carrier uses electric baggage towing tractors, purchases carbon offsets, operates many flights using a biofuel mix and works to reduce waste and weight on flights.

But ditching the miniature porcelain houses to lighten loads has not been considered.

“There are things you should do and things which you shouldn’t do. Period,” said KLM’s President and CEO Pieter Elbers, “For sustainability, we are investing in lightweight containers, trolleys, cargo nets, bottles, glasses and many other things to reduce weight on our planes,” said Elbers, “But those houses, we won’t touch.”

(My story about KLM’s 100th Delft miniature house first appeared on CNBC.)

Air Canada & actress Sandra Oh school us in “Canadian”

Think you know what’s what in Canada?

One of the best parts of traveling is encountering the foods, traditions and quirky characteristics of another country.

Like, say, Canada.

You may think you know what Canada and Canadians are like.

But here’s a low-key, apology-infused airline promo from Air Canada that is educational, funny and charmingly Canadian, all at the same time.

To put together the promo, Air Canada teamed up with Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh, familiar to many from her roles in Killing Eve and Grey’s Anatomy.