Free Ferris Wheel Spin, courtesy Finnair

Here’s a great perk of being a member of an airline’s mileage program.

A new 460-foot observation wheel – called the Finnair SkyWheel – began turning in Katajanokka harbour in central Helsinki on Tuesday and on Sunday, June 8th, all Finnair Plus members who show up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. will get to take a spin on the wheel for free. All other times, Finnair Plus members get a discount.

finnair skywheel

The big wheel has 30 climate-controlled blue-and-white gondolas plus a special VIP cabin with a glass floor, leather seats and Veuve Clicquot champagne service.

One trip on the Finnair SkyWheel lasts 15 minutes and costs about $16. The ride in the VIP cabin lasts 25 minutes and costs about $265.

Happy Birthday, Finnair

Finnair comic

Cover photo of the limited edition, Finnair-themed Donald Duck comic book distributed November 1, 2013 Finnair long-haul flights.

Finnair turned 90 on November 1 and kicked off a year of celebrations by handing out copies of this Finnair-themed Donald Duck comic book to passengers. The airline also had Finnish graphic designer Erik Bruun design a special anniversary poster.


Looking forward to more stylish and fun anniversary items from Finnair.

Finnair “forest dwellers” livery by Marimekko

Finnish airline Finnair and Marimekko, the Finnish design and fashion house known for bright colors and patterns, make a lovely couple.

Last October, the two companies got together to paint a plane in Marimekko’s Unikko (poppy) print.

finnair poppy

Next week another Marimekko-themed plane will take to the sky with this Finnish Airbus 300 adorned with a livery based on Marimekko’s “forest dwellers” (Metsänväki) pattern, in shades of green, brown and blue designed “to tell the story of Finnish nature and the views seen when looking down from an aircraft window.”

Finnair, Marimmeko

The Marimekko influence continues inside the airplane as well:

finnair marimekko dinnerware

Beginning next week, Business Class passengers will be eating their meals from new Marimekko tableware.
And this summer, Marimekko napkins, blankets, pillows and head rest covers will be introduced as well.
And, back in Economy Class, the same prints will show up on paper cups, headrest covers, fleece blankets and pillows.

Finnair Marimekko pillow

Like what you see? You’ll be able to buy some of the items on-line and on the planes.

Here’s a lovely video that includes details about the design of the patterns.

Travel tidbits: double miles, bonus points & more

American Airlines is sorry.

Sorry about a lot of things, no doubt, but definitely sorry about the service it’s been providing to passengers recently.

So in an effort to make nice, the airline is offering some nice bonus mile deals between now and the end of the year.

AAdvantage members will earn double miles on American Airlines, American Eagle or the American Connection carrier from November 16, 2012, through November 26, 2012 and earn double elite-qualifying miles and points for flights taken between now and the end of the year. You’ll need to register for the offer. Details here.

Want more bonuses?  Sign up for the “Thanks Again” program, which awards frequent-flier miles for parking, shopping or dining at participating merchants at the airports and at businesses in many towns. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport just joined the program and it’s a fair bet that your local airport has signed up too.  Do a search here to find out.

And here’s something fun:

This spring all Finnair airplanes will be decked out with special textiles and tableware bearing classic patterns from Marimekko, a Finnish design firm. Two of the airline’s long-haul aircraft will also be painted with a livery based on Marimekko designs. An Airbus A340 is already adorned with a floral print from 1964 and another plane will get its Marimekko marking in the spring.


Have an idea for improving the air travel experience?

Seven “Quality Hunters” recruited by Finnair and Helsinki Airport have spent the last five weeks traveling around in search of ideas to improve the air travel experience.

Now, during the final week of Finnair’s Quality Hunter campaign, Finnair and Helsinki Airport (home to a spa with saunas and a swimming pool)are inviting the public to send in more ideas.

There are prizes to be won for the most innovative submissions which, so far, include everything from in-flight karaoke to virtual chess games, ‘hush-hush’ seats, reserveable overhead bins and, something I’ve been advocating for years, airport speed dating.

The deadline for turning in ideas is November 29th, 2011. After that, Helsinki Airport and Finnair will choose some finalists and invite the public to vote on the best ideas.

See all the ideas – and add your own – here.