When you take to the skies this summer, there are some new amenities, routes, initiatives and perks to look out for when booking your tickets. Vacation deals, whether at your favorite resort or aboard the newest cruise ships, abound this summer, despite prices climbing higher due to skyrocketing demand. Whether it’s a tasty chef-inspired meal, free cocktails for everyone or a new route with discounted fares, here is some of the latest airline news to keep top of mind.
KLM launches new menus in business class
Passengers departing Amsterdam on KLM in World Business Class can now enjoy a new menu by Dutch star chef Jonnie Boer and sommelier Thérèse Boer of restaurant De Librije. Also new this year is a redesign of the tableware from the Dutch designer Marcel Wanders used on board. The rotating menus will change every three months and feature dishes like chicken thigh in a star anise gravy, baked salmon with broccolini and a traditional vegetarian stew with roasted bell peppers, compote of braised onion and tomato. Starters will include grilled zucchini in a cream of tahini, chickpea salad, garlic feta and nut salad. A new wine selection will also be added.
SkyTeam launches “sustainable flight challenge”
KLM kicked off this alliance-wide, eco-friendly effort by encouraging other airlines to participate in a “sustainable flight challenge.” Seventeen of the alliance’s 19 members will participate by operating a particular flight in the most sustainable manner possible. As part of the challenge, Air France flew an Airbus A350-900 flight from Paris to Montreal and KLM flew a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner flight from Amsterdam to Edmonton. The flight to Montreal was fueled with 16% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). KLM’s flight was fueled with 39% SAF. This non-fossil fuel is made from biomass such as used cooking oil and led to a 45% reduction in the carbon footprint of the flight.
Other onboard adjustments included asking passengers to pre-order meals in business class to avoid wasting extra food and the crew worked with air traffic controllers to plan the most efficient use. Artificial intelligence also helped the airlines determine how much water to carry to avoid flying with extra weight. The knowledge, findings and innovations gathered from these flights will be used to create more efficient operations across the airline alliance.
Qatar Airways adds Diptyque business class amenity kits
In the airline’s premium cabins, Qatar Airways now offers new male and female amenity kits packed with elegant Diptyque products. They include body lotion, essential face cream, nourishing lip balm and an eau de toilette fragrance. The kits are being rolled out on the oneworld airline’s medium and long-haul flights to and from its Doha hub, which will host the FIFA World Cup later this year. Qatar is the only airline in the world to partner with Diptyque for inflight amenity kits. It also offers the upscale line of toiletries in its lounges and onboard lavatories.
LATAM opens largest airline lounge in South America
Departing passengers from Santiago’s terminal two now have a new airline lounge to look forward to when traveling in the premium cabin or holding elite status. In addition to complimentary food and drinks, the lounge serves as an art gallery featuring work from emerging South American artists. Designers kept sustainability top of mind using recycled or sustainably sourced materials in the furnishings. It also relies on 80% renewable energy for its operation. The lounge has a children’s play area, rest area, showers, work stations and clothes pressing service.
Alaska Airlines adds another Disneyland livery plane
This is the seventh in Alaska’s series of Disneyland Resort planes and is named “Star Wars Transport to the Disneyland Resort.” Painted by a Disney designer and unveiled earlier this week in Seattle, the Boeing 737-800 took used nearly 228 gallons of paint and took 27 days to complete. The plane has the iconic Millennium Falcon on the tail as well as 4 TIE Fighters on each side. The winglets feature Porgs (the creatures from Luke Skywalker’s remote island) looking back at passengers and next to the main boarding door.
United offers complimentary spritzes on Italy flights
This summer, United Airlines is partnering with Spritz Society to offer premium sparkling cocktails onboard certain flights to Italy. From Chicago to Milan and Newark to Rome, United is serving free Spritz Society cocktails in economy and premium economy classes (already included in Polaris business class). Spritz drinks were born in the Veneto region of Italy and are a summertime favorite, which means that this partnership is a special way to celebrate the season. The canned drinks include only six ingredients or fewer in every can in tasty flavors like blood orange and grapefruit. Interested United Club members, no matter where they are flying, can purchase Spritz Society cocktails for $2 each this summer in Chicago and Newark lounges during part of May and June.
French bee adds Paris-Los Angeles flight
Opening its third U.S. destination, low fare carrier French bee began flying between Paris Orly and Los Angeles last week. Fares start at $321 one-way. The airline also flies Newark to Paris, San Francisco to Paris and San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti with domestic codeshares available on Alaska Airlines.
Turkish Airlines adds 12th U.S. gateway
Star Alliance-member Turkish Airlines is adding new service from Istanbul to Seattle/Tacoma later this month. The airline already flies to more countries than any other airline, and this new flight will allow Pacific Northwest customers the opportunity to connect to the carrier’s expansive route map across five continents. The airline will use a 300-seat Boeing 787-9 for the new route.
Cathay Pacific launches sustainable aviation fuel program
A first for Asia, Cathay Pacific launched a corporate sustainable aviation fuel program targeting business and cargo customers. They can choose to reduce their carbon footprint from business travel or air freight when they do business with the carrier. In honor of the eco-friendly program, the airline offset carbon emissions from every ticket sold on its website during the last week of April. The Hong Kong-based airline has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Tailwind Air connects Manhattan with more New England cities
Connecting to or from an international flight and headed to New England? Tailwind Air has some good news for you. The seaplane carrier is starting flights from Manhattan to Provincetown via Boston Harbor. It takes only 35 minutes from dock to dock, and a free water taxi takes passengers to and from the aircraft. There are also nonstop and one-stop flights from Manhattan’s Skyport Marina at East 23rd Street to Provincetown Harbor starting May 25. This is also great news for those traveling between Manhattan and other parts of the northeast.
Unclaimed Baggage Roadshow to visit every state this summer
If you have lost your bag on a recent trip, you may just be reunited with its contents thanks to the “Unclaimed Baggage” roadshow. The Alabama-based outlet collects unclaimed bags that could not be reunited with their owners after a period of time and sells them both online and in their store. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they’re hitting the road and visiting every state in the nation. The 14-week trip just started with pop-up shops and bag-opening experiences from its 1965 Chevy truck.