Finnair

Travel Tidbits from SFO + Finnair +Indiana State Museum

SFO’s Wag Brigade Gets a Bunny

Most airports that had them before the pandemic have now brought back their teams of stress-busting therapy animals to the terminals.

A great example is SFO’s Wag Brigade, which is made up of about a dozen cute pups, a pig named LiLou, and the newest member of the team, a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit named Alex the Great. Look for them all next time you’re in SFO.

Finnair handing out Nort Pole Diplomas

Yes, even adults love getting a set of plastic wings when onboard some airplanes. But Finnair has brought back a cool amenity for travelers: a certificate for passengers who have flown over the North Pole.

Back in 1983, when Finnair became the first airline to fly non-stop from Europe to Japan, passengers on the carrier’s Tokyo flights were given a certificate for flying over the North Pole.

Now, Finnair is using that polar route again in order to avoid flying in Russian airspace. And the carrier has brought back the certificate – plus some Moomin stickers.

On March 9, flight AY073 from Helsinki to Tokyo Narita headed towards the North Pole, instead of heading East. With this flight, Finnair resumed its service to Tokyo Narita, skirting around Russian airspace that closed on February 28.

Where We’d Go: Indiana State Museum

Now that the Stuck at the Airport museum team is back in the field, we’re adding a stop to the Indiana State Museum to our list so we can see the exhibit about Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World.

How to join Finnair’s virtual reality flights to visit Santa

What does Santa do after he finishes all that hard work delivering presents on Christmas Eve?

He’ll go up the last chimney, climb into his sleigh, and make his way home to Rovaniemi, Lapland.

That’s the Christmas story Helsinki-based Finnair, “Santa’s official airline,” believes. And they’re backing it up with a series of eight virtual reality (VR) flights to visit Santa once he’s home.

Finnair’s VR flights are open for booking and take place between December 25th and December 30. The cost is €10 per person, or about $12. And all the profits will go to UNICEF’s fund to help children adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The immersive 360-degree virtual reality flights are created by Finnish VR studio Zoan and will be viewable on VR headsets, mobile phones, or laptops.

For these special flights, Finnair is giving all travelers virtual business class seats. And from that vantage point, it should be easy to look out the window and take in the starry skies and incredible views of the northern lights.

The VR experience also promises flight soundscapes, festive decorations, and, for those who have been nice and not naughty, a “glimpse of a familiar festive figure sitting in one of the other seats.”

Who could that be??

Once the virtual flight lands in Rovaniemi, Finnair says travelers will be able to virtually cross the Arctic Circle and visit Santa in his cabin.

If you show and he find him sleeping after his long night out, please don’t wake him up.

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.