On the bus with Air New Zealand


If you’re out and about in the Bay Area the next few days keep an eye out for Air New Zealand’s glass-sided tour bus, which is parking around town and giving folks on the ground a chance to try out the airline’s Premium Economy Spaceseat and Economy Skycouch, which are on the airline’s Boeing 777-300 service between San Francisco and Australia (via Auckland).

The bus has been on the road a few days already, but here are the spots where you can climb on board this week:

October 6th – San Pedro Square Marketplace – San Jose (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
October 7th – San Francisco: Fillmore & California Streets (throughout the day) – Fillmore Art & Wine Festival (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 8th – Downtown San Francisco –SoMa StrEat Food Park (10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.) & Embarcadero Center (8 – 9:45 a.m. & 3:15 – 6 p.m.)
October 9th – San Francisco: Union & Fillmore Streets (throughout the day) – Union Street Wine Walk (6 – 9 p.m.)
October 10th – Downtown San Francisco – Embarcadero Center (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) & “Off the Grid” at Fort Mason (5 – 10 p.m.)

There are also prizes and gifts to go along with this promotion:

Anyone who spots the truck and shares Tweets, messages and photos with Twitter @AIRNZUSA, Instagram @AirNZ or Facebook @AirNewZealand using the hashtag #AirNZ777300 will have a chance to win “surprise and delight” Air New Zealand swag.

Visitors to the truck at any of its public stops will be eligible to win daily prizes.

And – for the rest of us – there’s an online sweepstakes for two Economy round-trip tickets from San Francisco to New Zealand or Australia.
Enter here.

Tidbits for travelers: YVR’s Olympic rings & Air New Zealand’s Skycouches

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics kick off in just a few weeks and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is getting ready to welcome more than 230,000 athletes and Olympics-bound visitors. Actually, the airport has been sprucing up for quite a while. In addition to its swanky new Observation Gallery, the airport has had these giant Olympic rings on site since last spring.

The installation is almost 46 feet tall, weighs more than 9,000 pounds and has 20,385 individual LED lights. Here’s a video that shows the installation process and some of the colored-patterns that can light up the sky.

In other shiny news, the folks at Air New Zealand unveiled their “Skycouch” today. It’s a specially designed row of three seats that can transform into a flat space suitable for stretching out and sleeping.  That is of course, if you’re not too tall, you don’t mind snuggling up with your seatmate, and you have purchased the entire row.  (The airline says it will sell you third seat at a discount if you’ve purchased the other two).

(Photo courtesy Air New Zealand)

Twenty-two sets of Skycouch seats will be available on Air New Zealand’s new Boeing 777-300 ER planes, which will arrive in November.

And since this is the airline that sponsored a recent Matchmaking flight and created an adorable “nearly naked” commercial and safety video, I fully expect the airline to offer a program to find travelers the perfect snuggle-mate for these flights.

Otherwise- why bother?

Along with the Skycouch and other new amenities, the airline also introduced upgrades for the Premium Economy cabin, including the cool-looking “Spaceseats” you can see in the airline’s promo video.

So what do you think? “Groundbreaking” or just really darn cool?