trading cards

Airplane swag

[This is a slightly different version of a story we first prepared for The Points Guy site.]

Airplane etiquette frowns on passengers taking home the blankets, the pillows, or the plates meals are served on. But some items are perfectly OK to swipe from your next flight.

Delta Air Lines’ ‘secret’ airplane trading cards

Delta Air Lines says that when they’re not busy preparing for a flight or flying the plane, their pilots are happy to pass out a collectible trading card featuring one of the airplanes in their fleet to “any customer that asks nicely.”

The carrier says there are 11 card types in the current collection and six total Delta collections since the beginning of the program, which has been active for more than 20 years.

Airplane Wings

If you are a kid – or an adult – stepping on a plane for the first time and a pilot or flight attendant hands you a small wing pin with the airline’s insignia on it, that’s going to make an impression.

Delta, Alaska, and Southwest Airlines still have airplane wings for kids and first-time flyers. Most are plastic, but the wings Alaska Airlines hands out are metal.

KLM’s little Delft houses

Long-haul business class passengers on KLM get to take home one of the more unusual and collectible items: a miniature Delft house.

The little blue-and-white houses are in the shape of historic and notable buildings in the Netherlands or abroad and are filled with Bols Genever, a liquor made with corn, rye, and wheat.

KLM commissions a new little house each year and releases it in October to coincide with the anniversary of KLM’s founding in 1919. This year’s house – the 104th in the series – portrays Valkenburg Station, the oldest existing railway station in the Netherlands.

Salt and pepper shakers

Airlines know that many passengers pocket salt and pepper shakers. And some carriers have fun with that.

Virgin Atlantic’s salt and pepper shakers say “pinched from Virgin Atlantic” on their feet.

And the little see-through airplane (above) filled with salt and pepper on Condor Airlines (remove the propeller for pepper) says “aeroplane souvenir” on the underside.

Amenity kits

Premium passengers on international flights are issued some swanky amenity kits.

United’s new Polaris amenity kits are filled with products from the Therabody wellness brand. And Emirates has a collection of Bulgari amenity kits for First and business-class passengers with a wide variety of upscale products, including an engraved Bulgari mirror.

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Welcome to all the new Stuck at The Airport subscribers who have signed up over this past week. We suspect many of you found us through the mention of our site in this recent New York Times article about airport lounges.

But however you found us, we’re happy you’re here.

Here are some airport amenities we’re been researching this week.

Cruise to SEA airport luggage-free

Thnking abot taking a cruise to Alaska? Good for you!

More than a million cruise passengers pass through Seattle – and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on their way to and from Alaska each summer.

And they all seem to bring along a lot of luggage.

When all those people finish their cruises and head back home, the bag check-in lines at the airport get really, really long.

In fact, Port of Seattle officials often point out that it is cruise season, not the Christmas/New Year holiday when the airport experiences its peak passenger count.

A good solution is the complimentary Port Valet service.

Cruise passengers can check-in for their flights and check their bags before they get off the ship. Port Valet does the bag transfers and the cruisers can hang around the city luggage- free before heading to the airport.

Whle the luggage transfer is free; regular checked bag fees apply.

Learn how to save a life while waiting for a flight

Los Angeles International is the latest airport to get a Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosk from the American Heart Association.

More than a dozen other airports have these kiosks as well and in just five minutes – the time it takes scroll through your Instagram feed (again) – you can watch a short instruction video (in English or Spanish), practice on a rubber manikin, get feedback on your technique and learn how to save a life.

 Get coffee made by a robot

In two locations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and, starting this week, in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport, travelers can have coffee drinks prepared and delivered by robotic baristas in a Briggo automated Coffee Haus kiosk. 

Orders can be sent ahead via the app, no pre-caffeine chit-chat is required, local coffee blends are featured, and there’s a robot on duty 24 hours a day.

Sensory-friendly Space with real airplane seating

Going to the airport and getting on a plane can be stressful for anyone, but kids or adults with autism or other special needs may need extra help acclimating and adjusting.

To help out, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) just opened Presley’s Place on Concourse A.

In addition to a calming transition foyer, family room, soundproof adult area, and restroom with adult changing table and adjustable sink, Presley’s Place is the first airport sensory room to also have the walls and floor of a real jet way and a seating section from a realistic airplane cabin, courtesy American Airlines.

Have you come across a new airport amenity during your travels? Let us know in the comment section below. If your tip is featured, we’ll send you a fun travel-themed souvenir.