contests

Win a seat on United Airlines’ Apollo 11 party flight. Eat like an astronaut on the ground.

Courtesy NASA

Celebrations are already underway to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the first steps taken by humans on the moon.

July 20 is the official anniversary day, but United Airlines and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport are among the groups that have a planned more than a month’s worth of activities to mark the lunar milestone.

Win a seat on a special United Airlines celebration flight

Top among the events is a special flight from Newark to Houston on July 17, the anniversary of the day astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Buzz Aldrin made their first TV transmission from Earth to space.

On that day, United Flight 355 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Houston will be a celebratory flight with space-themed entertainment, inflight gifts and special guests who have been to space.

Want to go along? United is hosting a social media contest on Twitter with a prize that includes seats on board the Apollo 11 celebration flight as well as a behind the scenes tour of NASA facilities in Houston. Deadline to enter is June 22, 2019 at 10:29 a.m. CT.

Click here for rules on enterting United’s contest.

Beginning July 1, members of United’s Mileage Plus mileage program can bid miles on space-themed experiences such as VIP access to Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 50thAnniversary Celebration featuring the band Walk the Moon. More information on that here.  

Courtesy NASA

No contest entry needed for these Apollo 11 activities:

There’s more: Starting July 1, seatback and personal device entertainment on United flights will include a channel with dedicated space-related program from NASA, including action cam footage of astronaut spacewalks.

In United’s Terminal C and E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), there are lots of activities planned as well:

In Terminal C, gate lounges will display digital photographs from the Apollo 11 mission on the monitors.

From July 9-11 Space Center Houston will provide Apollo 11-themed pop-up science labs in the terminals. In the United Clubs, customers will have a chance to meet and take photos with retired Astronaut Ken Cameron.

During July, travelers will also have a chance to eat like an astronaut at In United Airlines’ at two restaurants at IAH, one in Terminal C and one in Terminal E.

What did the astronauts eat?

Courtesy National Air and Space Museum

Between liftoff and touchdown back on earth, astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins were running experiments, taking pictures, gathering samples and making history.

They also took time to eat.

“More than 70 items comprise the food selection list of freeze-dried rehydratable, wet-pack and spoon-bowl foods,” NASA explains in the 250-page typewritten press kit for the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission on July 6, 1969.

The press kit lists the day-by-day, meal-by-meal menu for each crewman and explains how some of the meals were prepared.

“After water has been injected into a food bag, it is kneaded for about three minutes. The bag neck is then cut off and the food squeezed into the crewman ‘s mouth,” the release explains.

Freeze-dried ice-cream isn’t on the list, but powdered fruit-drinks (not Tang; NASA doesn’t use brand names), along with bacon cubes, shrimp cocktail, beef stew, frankfurters, fruit cocktail, tuna salad and many other familiar foods are.

Familiar foods, or even just fresh foods, are often hugely satisfying in space for the memories they trigger and warm feelings they generate,” said Jennifer Levasseur, Museum Curator, Department of Space History at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which has 13 packets of food the Apollo 11 astronauts didn’t eat.

Like modern day travelers, food is one of the few things astronauts can control during a journey far from home. “Food must have had a very important role on Apollo 11 because they were doing things that had never been done before,” said Vickie Kloeris, NASA Food Scientist Emeritus.

Dine like an astronaut

Many of the foods found on those original Apollo 11 menus are featured during July on a special menu at OTG’s Ember Tavern and Tanglewood Grille in United Airlines’ Terminal C and E at IAH.

To ensure authenticity, OTG’s culinary team visited NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston to learn about and taste food prepared by NASA’s food scientists.

“We wanted to understand what food meant to astronauts having that experience and what it means now,” said Dan O’Donnell, OTG’s Head of Culinary, “We wanted to know the science and philosophy behind space food; where they were then and where it is now.”

The biggest take-away, said O’Donnell was that the astronauts could choose a lot of the foods they wanted to eat. “It wasn’t just about sustenance. Much of it was food that reminded the astronauts of home; like beef and potatoes, tuna salad and sugar cookies. Our menu is a play on those items.”

Travelers who order from the Apollo 11-inspired IAH menu won’t be served meals that need to be reconstituted and squeezed into their mouths from bags. Nor will they find 1969 prices.

Instead they’ll find modern-day versions of many menu items from the Apollo 11 mission.

“For instance, our take on the Tuna Salad uses seared ahi instead of regular tuna, but we prepared it in the same way with walnuts, grapes, celery, apple and some fresh yogurt,” said O’Donnell, “The Beef & Potatoes is made with grilled ribeye, scalloped potatoes and parsley pesto.

Although there was no alcohol on Apollo 11, there’s are cocktails on the IAH Apollo 11 anniversary menu.

“The original menus said, ‘orange drink,’ ‘grapefruit drink’ or ‘citrus drink.’ They were very flavor focused and on the sweeter side, because people taste things differently in space,” said Allison Kafalas, OTG Beverage Director, “I took those flavors and translated them to cocktails that are a bit more relevant and modern for today’s eater, including a peach bellini, a martini using an orange vodka from Texas and a pineapple margarita.”

JetBlue giving away ‘Hamilton’ tickets in Puerto Rico

Have you seen Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit play Hamilton yet?

Me either.

But here’s a cool contest that not only includes tickets to the play – with Lin-Manuel Miranda back in the role of Hamilton – plus plane tickets from New York to Puerto Rico, where the play is being performed.

JetBlue’s Duel Seats: JetBlue’s Hamilton in Puerto Rico Ticket Giveaway starts January 10 at 9:00 AM and runs through January 16.

it’s a new contest each day.

Winners get two roundtrip flights from New York City’s JFK International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico; two premium tickets to Hamilton; and a one-night hotel stay in San Juan.

This is a ‘last-minute’ type of contest. So read the rules carefully.

A winner will be chosen each day at 9 a.m. If you win you’ll have just an hour to respond to a phone call and email prize notification. And you’ll need to be ready to take the trip to San Juan the next day.

If you don’t live in New York, you’ll need to get yourself there in time to fly out of JFK on a 5:40 a.m. flight on the day of the performance. And if you do live in or near New York, you still have to get yourself to and from the airport in time for that early flight.

Good luck!

Cash in on that middle seat on the plane

 

Whether or not you end up a middle seat on an airplane this holiday season, or just live in fear of finding yourself there, Stella Artois has a contest for you.

The beer-maker will be granting “upgrades” in the form of gift card vouchers and free Lyft ride codes to frustrated travelers who post a photo and a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about getting stuck in a middle seat. 

To be entered in the contest, be sure include a photo and include #StellaUpgrade, #Contest and @StellaArtois in your message. (More instructions here).

The contest runs through December 21. Social media posts will be judged during 29 posted entry periods, with prizes to include gift card vouchers worth up to $500 for upgrades on return flights, $500 e-card for adventures on the ground, and codes for free rides on Lyft. 

Judging criteria includes creativity, originality and relevance to the contest theme of  showing the woes of travel.

Let the grimacing begin…

JetBlue’s new contest will fly you home, wrapped.

Thinking about what to get your family for as a gift this holiday? JetBlue has an idea.

 

Five winners in JetBlue’s Go Get Gifted contest will get flown home on Christmas Eve (12/24) and then gift wrapped from head to toe for home delivery.

Sound like fun?

The contest is open through December 12. To enter, go to Go Get Gifted, where you’ll be asked to put in your “shipping” information, including your name, email, departure city and destination city.

You’ll also be asked to choose how you’d like to be gift wrapped, including the wrapper paper print and bow style.

Then you’ll need to come up with a good reason (in 280 characters) why you should be wrapped and delivered.

Ready? Here’s the Go Get Gifted link.

If you win, please share a photo.

Travel Tidbits: free flight on JetBlue for do-gooders

Happy Friday!  Like surprises and volunteering for good causes?

Here’s a fun promotion from JetBlue you might want to consider.

 

As part of its “Destination Good”  free-flight promotion, JetBlue will be flying a plane full of contest winners to – somewhere – on November 27.

Once on the ground, all winners will be participating in three days of volunteer activities.

To enter: fill out a questionaire by October 26, 2018 or find one of the pop-up check-in kiosks JetBlue will be intalling in suprise locations in New York Ciity and Los Angels.

50 winners – and their guests – will be chosen to join JetBlue employees and other volunteers to head out from JFK for a surprise locaton on November 27 (Giving Tuesday) and will return November 30.

It’s not a totally random contest. According to the official rules, entries will be judged and winners selected based on the following judging criteria:

A. Connection of Philanthropic Answer to the Contest theme (30%);
B. General clarity and composition of the Philanthropic Answer (20%);
C. Use of creativity and originality in the Philanthropic Answer (20%);
D. Suitability of Philanthropic Answer for future promotion/presentation by Sponsor (20%);
E. Submitting an answer to the multiple choice questions (all complete Entries will receive the full score for Criterion E)
(10%)

So read the rules and spend some time thinking about your answers.

Winners will be notified on November 20 and will have to keep the destination a secret until November 27.

“Service is built into everything we do at JetBlue. It’s part of our DNA. Doing good can make a powerful impact any and everywhere,” said Icema Gibbs, director corporate social responsibility, JetBlue, said in a statement, “We’re excited to offer our customers the chance to once again roll up their sleeves and join us in giving back.”