Spring Airlines, based in China, probably thought they had a fun promotion on their hands: Dress the flight attendants in themed costumes to liven up the flights from Shanghai. Their first idea, posted on the Facebook page? Classic, and maybe short-skirted, maid costumes. Folks like to feel that they're getting good service, right?
For Spring Airlines, the frilly-skirted maid joke clearly fell flat. Some bloggers and Twitter usershave taken the airline to task—for objectifying the crew members, certainly, and perhaps even for putting their onboard safety at risk, due to those teeter-y heels. The airline responded by posting on Facebook that “We'll never objectify any of our staff; in fact this idea came from our international crew of qualified Chinese, Japanese and Thailand cabin staff.”
A few years after JetBlue’s new-and-improved Terminal 5 opened at JFK, the airport has pumped $1.4 billion into Terminal 4, set to reopen this month. In anticipation of the expanded space, Delta Air Lines has launched an experiential pop-up in SoHo, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through May 22. Called "T4X," it comes complete with an upstairs Delta Sky Club (where you can charge your phone and relax with a copy of The New York Times), and an interactive digital 3-D model of the new terminal.
The pop-up is a preview of what’s to come in Terminal 4, where travelers will find Shake Shack and Blue Smoke from famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer; a street food-inspired concept and a New York-style brasserie from Marcus Samuelsson; and an outpost of Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery. To which we say: arrive early, arrive hungry.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
In what can only be described as one small step for space travelers, one giant leap for Virgin Galactic's publicity team, WhiteKnightTwo, a Sir Richard Branson-owned passenger aircraft, managed to reach an altitude of 46,000 feet over the Mojave Desert yesterday. The test flight lasted all of 16 seconds.
Branson called it "stunning" and "a critical day," according Reuter's Irene Klotz. The airline, mobile service, and music label magnate has been pushing for commercial space flights for almost a decade, even going so far as to accept deposits on the $200,000 tickets. Now that one of his craft's has achieved some small measure of escape velocity, Branson and his two grown children plan to fly in a second test of the WhiteKnightTwo scheduled tomorrow. Watch a YouTube video of the test flight above.
What does that mean for you? Well, as an air traveler it means fewer delays for your next trip. As a taxpayer? That all depends on what you think about the budget crisis that created those furloughs in the first place.
At last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Airbus announced that it would soon offer airlines the option of extra-wide seats in coach on its A320 fleet. Good news? Debatable.
Yes, the aisle seats in the new configuration would be a spacious 20” wide (two inches wider than the current 18” seats). But to make room for the extra width, the middle and window seats would each shrink by an inch.
Airbus aircraft interiors marketing manager Stefanie Von Linstow explained at the Expo that airline feedback has shown preference for the aisle seat to be the widest. "Passengers in the window seat are already happy, and those in the centre seat might not be willing to pay as much for the extra width," Perry quotes her as saying.
Von Linstow admits that the new configuration is a response to what she politely labels a "growing population," and that it would be a "revenue-boosting solution that keeps a lot passengers happy."
No doubt, passengers paying a premium to be in an aisle seat would be content. As for the two-thirds of "growing" coach passengers sitting in the narrowing seats, it remains to be seen just how happy they'd be.
On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration officially announced its approval of Boeing’s re-design for the 787 Dreamliner. Nearly four months after a series of alarming battery fires caused the FAA to the ground the aircraft, Boeing is eager to put its fuel-efficient fleet back in the air.
Modifications to the lithium-ion battery system include extra insulation around each of the battery’s eight cells to prevent short circuit fires from spreading, enhanced venting to move smoke from inside the battery to outside of the plane, and a strengthened box to further contain fires.
These changes, according to transportation secretary Ray LaHood, "will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers."
While many airlines—including All Nippon Airways and Japan Airways—are also awaiting the 787’s release, any return to service will have to wait until the FAA accepts Boeing’s completed work.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Remember when we used to be cordial? You’d show me a photo of your kid, I’d show you my dachshund, and we’d giggle while munching pretzels. I’m loath to admit it, but I don’t miss those days. Like a couple who’ve been together for decades, we’re way beyond chitchat. That’s why I brought my iPad.
Yet there are still a few simple rules of engagement that will keep us both happy. For starters, don’t order bottle after teensy bottle until you fall asleep on my shoulder. Don’t ask if your spouse/partner/mother-in-law can switch seats with me. I booked this spot for a reason (and won’t you see plenty of them on vacation?). If I offer you a mint, take it—please. And by all means, lay off the perfume! We’re sitting in an airtight container, after all.
Sorry to be so blunt. Even if this feels like public transportation, it really isn’t. But there’s no reason we can’t be civil. I’ll happily give you the armrest and lower the shade so you can watch your movie. We may never be Facebook friends, but you’re still my high-flying compadre, taking in the world with me from an awe-inspiring 36,000 feet, and if we hit some unexpected turbulence, you can bet I’ll be grabbing your arm.
Yours, The T+L Editors
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.
Q: How can I get a good seat on my flight if I don’t have elite status? —Anne R., Bozeman, Mont.
A: As airlines reduce their schedules and pack more people onto planes, economy passengers are increasingly feeling the pinch. Adding insult to (squashed-knee) injury, carriers also reserve covetable window and aisle seats for high-ranking loyalty-program members. But you needn’t get stuck in the middle. Here, some ways to find a better seat.
Choose your flights by cabin layout.
Seatguru, our favorite online airline-seat-map compendium, has recently added a new flight-search function that lets you filter results by comfort as well as the usual factors (price, duration, etc.). Mining the site’s trove of cabin data to assess both seats and in-flight amenities, Seatguru offers you an overall “G-Factor” rating of “Love it,” “Like it,” or “Live with it” for each flight—and tells you how much it will cost to trade up for a plane with more legroom or a seat-back entertainment system.