Paris

Here, kitty: Hello Kitty plane goes to Paris

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Eva Air’s Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet is on the move again.

This time, with a beret and a baguette.

Part of a fleet of Hello Kitty-themed jets, this Boeing 777-300ER is the airline’s first long-range Hello Kitty-themed aircraft and has a collage of 19 Sanrio characters joining hands the entire length of the aircraft.

On board, it’s all about Hello Kitty, starting with the boarding passes and baggage stickers. Inside the plane, the cabin crew wears pink aprons with Hello Kitty designs and there are more than 100 in-flight service items with Hello Kitty themes – including the headrest covers, pillows, napkins, paper cups, utensils, snacks and meals.

Hello Kitty economy meal

Want to ride on this plane? EVA operates the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet on three of its four weekly Paris flights as BR88 from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Return flight BR87 flies TPE – CDG on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Fancy a flight to Paris? Charles Lindbergh did.

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Spirit of St. Louis courtesy Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

So much chatter these days about amenities we want on long trip from say, New York to Paris, so let’s just take a moment today to tip our hats to Charles Lindbergh, who left New York for for Paris on the morning of May 20, 1927.

Thirty-three hours, 30 minutes, and 3,610 miles later he landed safely at Le Bourget Field, near Paris.

He was flying alone. So no one brought him a meal, a pillow a blanket or even a tiny bag of peanuts.

Read more about the plane and the flight here.

Free in-flight Wi-Fi and a chance to win free trips

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I’m a big fan of free. Free wireless Internet at airports.  Free admission to cool museums. Free samples.  And free travel.  And while I’m personally one of those “I never win anything” people, I keep that line (I think I saw it on a lottery commercial)  in mind – “Some lucky dog’s gonna’ win it” – and enter contests for the really fun stuff anyway.

So here are a few freebies you might enjoy and contests I’m sure I’m not going to win:

There’s free in-flight Wi-Fi for everyone November 15- January 15, 2009 on all Virgin America flights, courtesy of Google.

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www.FlyPittsburgh.com and Delta.com are giving away two round trip tickets to Paris to one lucky person who signs up for the Discount Fares E-Newsletter from Pittsburgh International Airport.  The prize includes lunch before the flight,  free airport parking at Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport but, alas, no hotel stay in Paris.

The contest runs thru midnight, Wednesday, November 4. and the winner will be selected on Thursday, November 5.  You’ll need register to receive the airport’s Discount Fares E-Newsletter.  Enter here.

Still want to get to Paris for free, but have a place to sleep after eating all those croissants?  Try entering this contest for a New Year’s Eve trip to London that includes a Eurostar train ticket to Paris.

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VisitLondon.com has a New Year’s Eve contest that includes airfare, 5 nights hotel accommodations, a New Year’s Eve dinner cruise, a day-trip on the Eurostar train to Paris, a VIP tour of Wembley Stadium and heaps of other fun stuff.  Enter here by November 19th.

Good luck! And if you win – bring home some fun souvenirs.

Love the layover: elevator ride in Paris

If I had a one-day layover in Paris, I’d probably spend a few hours at the Musée du Louvre and then head to the Eiffel Tower for an elevator ride to the top.

Or I might just save my euros and visit the new Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadéro and spend some time drinking champagne and riding the elevator there.

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The boutique hotel is housed in a former private residence in the 16th arrondissement and was the site of Paris’ first champagne bar. They’ve still got a champagne bar on site – and they have an elevator made from a single, vintage Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunk believed to have belonged to the Dokhan family, who were the original owners of the private residence.