Virgin America 82.08 JetBlue Airways 74.18 Hawaiian Airlines 71.59
The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.
According to a report from CAPA-Centre for Aviation, 15 new airlines in China have launched or are scheduled to launch by the end of 2014—a 50% increase in the country’s passenger airlines. This sudden growth began late last year, when China began loosening restrictions on new LLCs and start-up companies. (Though according to the report, the reform initiatives “remain subject to interpretation and implementation.”)
The new bespoke travel company Beck & Score—which counts NBA all-star Steve Nash as a partner—is making it possible to travel to this summer’s World Cup in class. Created with the well-heeled sports lover in mind, it offers VIP packages to Brazil that start at $8,000 per person, including tickets to games, stays at stylish properties such as Hotel Fasano, transportation, dinner reservations, and even face time with Nash and pro surfer Garrett McNamara.
Berkshire Hathaway is shaking up the travel insurance industry with the launch of AirCare, which offers an inexpensive, fixed-rate plan covering delays, tarmac waits, missed connections, and lost or delayed luggage. But more than its $25 price, the latest from Warren Buffett’s corporation stands out because it streamlines the biggest insurance headache of all: filing claims.
Biking will meet air travel this September in Seattle, when the Pronto! Emerald City Cycle Share program launches with Alaska Airlines-branded wheels. The airline contributed $2.5 million to the program; in exchange, its name will appear on the first 500 green-and-blue bikes, which will initially be available in the U District, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Downtown. The price structure is $8 for a 24-hour membership, $16 for three days, or $85 for a year, and every station will have a kiosk to rent or buy helmets.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
The U.K.-based Audley Travel, known for creating bespoke vacations in more than 80 countries, recently launched in the U.S., with a new website and an office in Boston. Every trip is completely tailor-made with the help of what the company calls Country Specialists, who act as concierges and hand pick experiences, hotels, restaurants, guides, and more.
A new bill called the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 was recently introduced in the House, stirring much debate among airlines and consumer advocacy groups. Put simply, the law would allow airlines to list pretax prices rather than the total price including taxes and fees—making fares appear much lower than they really are (and completely undoing the 2012 law that forced airlines to be more upfront).
For the first time in company history, SC Johnson—maker of Ziploc, Windex, and Raid, to name a few—is opening up its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, to the public.
Free tours will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 27. On the Landmarks Tour, visitors will see the 15-story cantilevered Research Tower and the Administration Building—known for its lily pad-shaped columns—as well as the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall.
Attention all adrenaline junkies: Thanks to a new program from Kent Mountain Adventure Center, you now have the chance to camp out on a sheer rock face near Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park in Roosevelt National Forest