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Travel tidbits from airports and airlines

Soon, maybe not very soon, but soon, you will go to an airport and board a plane.

In the meantime, here are some newsy tidbits from that world.

Alaska Airlines is staying active. And a bit fishy

You may be sitting around and not getting many frequent flyer miles from flying.

But Alaska Airlines has a fun campaign that will award you some bonus miles for staying active.

The airline is buddying up with fitness app Strava to give away 250,000 miles to Mileage Plan members as part of the Miles on the Ground Challenge.

Get the app, do 360 minutes physical activity by May 30, 2020, and you will qualify to enter a drawing to win up to 100,000 miles.

Alaska Airlines also did a nice pivot with the annual fly-in of the first Copper River salmon from Alaska to Seattle.

Instead of heading to area restaurants, part of the first planeload of copper river salmon became meals for health care workers. The rest was used for a salmon dinner fundraiser that generated enough money to buy 77,000 meals for people in the community.

COVID-19 testing at airports

There is a lot of chatter about doing thermal cameras and temperature checks at airport security checkpoints and boarding gates.

But that is not a foolproof method of determining if a passenger has a case of COVID-19.

So, several airports and airlines are going beyond that and requiring passengers to either have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or take a test on the spot to avoid quarantine.

In mid-April, Dubai-based Emirates began requiring passengers departing Dubai International Airport to underdo rapid COVID-19 blood tests, with results in 10 minutes.

Testing at Vienna Airport

Anyone traveling to Austria right now is required to either have a recent medical certificate showing they are negative for COVID-19 or go into a 14-day quarantine.

For arriving passengers without a medical certificate but with a residence in Austria and a valid resident permit, Vienna International Airport (VIE) is offering the opportunity to get tested for COVID-19 on the spot.

The tests are not free. They cost EUR 190 (about $207), but the results come back in three to six hours and, if negative, allow the passenger to skip the quarantine.

All other arriving passengers without a health certificate are sent immediately to quarantine, according to the airport, and “must arrange for themselves to be tested by a laboratory at the quarantine location, which may involve longer waiting times.”

Iceland planning on the spot COVID-19 tests at KEF Airport

The government of Iceland expects to begin welcoming back international flight no later than June 15. And when it does, the plan is to give travelers the option of getting testing for COVID-19 on arrival at Keflavik Airport (KEF) to avoid a two-week quarantine.

Details are still being worked out on how that will play out.

Quito Airport cueing up it COVID-19 testing too

Quito International Airport (UIO) expects commercial flights to resume on June 1.

But it already has stations installed for rapid COVID-19 testing of passengers.

10 temporary testing stations are set up now and were first used on May 18 to test passengers on a charter Aeromexico flight from Mexico City carrying 120 repatriating passengers.

Airport Restaurant Month

60 airport restaurants participating

October is Airport Restaurant Month at more than 60 HMSHost restaurants in more than 40 airports around the country.

And this year there’s a fun contest on the menu.

Airport Restaurant Month features tasting menus much like those you’ll find in many cities this time year: diners can select from three appetizers and a variety of entrees.

Menus may vary slightly by restaurant, but some of the core Airport Restaurant Month dishes include: 

·      Orecchiette Pasta featuring sautéed super-food greens, parmesan, and buttered herb breadcrumbs

·      Shrimp Scampi Flatbread with garlic shrimp, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes

·      Harissa Burger topped with arugula, pickled red onions, harissa aioli, provolone cheese, and smoked bacon

·      Crispy Chicken Sandwich with crunchy Asian slaw, gochujang BBQ sauce, and pickle chips

Now here’s the contest part, which runs through October 31, 2019:

When you eat at one of the participating HMSHost restaurants, ask for an Airport Restaurant Month Passport.

Collect a passport stamp for each Airport Restaurant Dish you purchase.

When you have four stamps, snap a photo of the completed passport and post the image to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #airportrestaurantmonth. Be sure to also tag @HMSHost.

At the end of October 2019, HMSHost will choose a winner at random. The prize will include airfare, a hotel stay and dinner at a James Beard award-winning restaurant in New York City for the winner and a guest. See the full contest rules for Airport Restaurant Month.

Still time to help Brussels Airlines choose a special livery

Brussels Airlines has planes with special paint jobs celebrating four Belgian icons (Rackham, Magritte, Trident and Amare), and has a contest underway till the end of August inviting suggestions for a fifth.

Here are just a few of the suggestions that have been submitted so far. There’s still time to send in your own.

Smurfs!

 

The Atomium – a cool leftover from the World’s Fair held in Brussels in 1958.

And of course, a version of the famous Mannekin Pis statue:

Have a better idea? Be sure to send it in.

Brussels Airlines contest for a new special livery

Brussels Airlines has a special livery series going featuring icons from Belgian culture.
They’ve painted Airbus A320s to honor the surrealist painter René Magritte and created a special livery to look like the shark submarine from the Tintin story, “Red Rackham’s Treasure.”

 

The other specially painted planes include Trident, the official plane of Belgium’s national soccer team, the Red Devils, and Amare,  dedicated to the Belgian music festival called Tomorrowland,

Now the airline is ready to create a livery for the fifth plane in the series and seeking nominations for the new theme from the public.

Anyone with an idea for which Belgium icon image should be celebrated on the next plane is invited to send in idea.

A jury of well-known Belgians will pick two finalists and then the public will get to vote on the winner. The person whose idea is chosen will get to go behind the scenes to follow the process of painting the design on the plane and get to fly on the maiden voyage of the freshly-painted aircraft sometime in March 2018.

Deadline to submit ideas is August 21, 2017. Here are more details on how to enter the Brussels Airlines contest.

Stuck at The Airport  wishes you good luck!