Airline updates you won’t want to miss for international summer travel

When you fly this summer, there are new amenities, routes, initiatives and benefits to consider when booking your tickets. Vacation deals, whether at your favorite resort or on the newest cruise ships, abound this summer, despite prices soaring due to soaring demand. Whether it’s a delicious chef-inspired meal, free cocktails for everyone, or a new itinerary with reduced fares, here are some of the latest airline news to keep in mind .

KLM launches new business class menus

Passengers departing from Amsterdam on KLM in World Business Class can now enjoy a new menu from Dutch starred chef Jonnie Boer and sommelier Thérèse Boer from restaurant De Librije. Also new this year is a redesign of the tableware by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders used on board. Rotating menus will change every three months and feature dishes like chicken thigh in star anise sauce, baked salmon with broccolini and a traditional vegetarian stew with roasted peppers, braised onion compote and of tomatoes. Appetizers will include grilled zucchini in tahini cream, chickpea salad, garlic feta and walnut salad. A new selection of wines will also be added.

SkyTeam launches ‘Sustainable Flight Challenge’

KLM kicked off this alliance-wide green effort by encouraging other airlines to participate in a “sustainable flight challenge”. Seventeen of the 19 alliance members will participate by operating a particular flight in the most sustainable way possible. As part of the challenge, Air France flew an Airbus A350-900 from Paris to Montreal and KLM flew a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner from Amsterdam to Edmonton. The flight to Montreal was fueled with 16% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The KLM flight was fueled with 39% SAF. This non-fossil fuel is made from biomass like used cooking oil and has reduced the carbon footprint of flying by 45%.

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 has also helped airlines determine how much water to carry to avoid flying with extra weight. The knowledge, discoveries and innovations gathered through these flights will be used to create more efficient operations across the airline alliance.

Qatar Airways adds Diptyque comfort kits in business class

In the airline’s premium cabins, Qatar Airways is now offering new amenity kits for men and women filled with stylish Diptyque products. They include body lotion, essential face cream, nourishing lip balm and eau de toilette fragrance. The kits are being rolled out on the oneworld airline’s medium and long-haul flights to and from its hub in Doha, which will host the FIFA World Cup later this year. Qatar is the only airline in the world to partner with Diptyque for in-flight comfort kits. It also offers the premium range of toiletries in its lounges and onboard restrooms.

LATAM opens the largest air show in South America

Passengers departing from Santiago Terminal 2 now have a new airline lounge they can expect when traveling in the premium cabin or holding elite status. In addition to free food and drink, the lounge serves as an art gallery showcasing works by emerging South American artists. The designers have kept sustainability in mind by using recycled or sustainably sourced materials in the furniture. It also relies on 80% renewable energy for its operation. The lounge has a children’s play area, a rest area, showers, workstations and a laundry service.

Alaska Airlines adds another plane in the colors of Disneyland

It is the seventh in the series of aircraft from Disneyland Resort Alaska and is named “star wars Transportation to the Disneyland Resort. Painted by a Disney designer and unveiled earlier this week in Seattle, the Boeing 737-800 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) watching passengers and next to the main boarding gate.

United offers free spritzes on flights in Italy

This summer, United Airlines is partnering with the Spritz Society to offer premium sparkling cocktails on board select flights to Italy. From Chicago to Milan and Newark to Rome, United serves free Spritz Society cocktails in economy and premium economy class (already included in Polaris business class). Spritz drinks were born in the Veneto region of Italy and are a summer favorite, which means this partnership is a special way to celebrate the season. Canned drinks have only six or fewer ingredients in each can in tasty flavors like blood orange and grapefruit. Interested United Club members, no matter where they travel, can purchase Spritz Society cocktails for $2 each this summer at lounges in Chicago and Newark during part of May and June.

French bee adds a Paris-Los Angeles flight

Opening its third destination in the United States, low-cost 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 a 12th gateway in the United States

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 customers in the Pacific Northwest to connect to the carrier’s expansive map of routes 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 in Asia, Cathay Pacific has launched a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Company program targeting business and cargo customers. They can choose to reduce their carbon footprint from business travel or air freight when doing business with the carrier. In honor of the eco-friendly program, the airline offset the carbon emissions of every ticket sold on its website during the last week of April. The Hong Kong-based airline has pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tailwind Air connects Manhattan with other New England cities

Connecting to or from an international flight and heading to New England? Tailwind Air has good news for you. Seaplane carrier begins flights from Manhattan to Provincetown via Boston Harbor. It takes just 35 minutes from pier to pier and a free water taxi takes passengers to and from the plane. There are also nonstop and one-stop flights from Manhattan’s Skyport Marina at East 23rd Street to the Port of Provincetown starting May 25. This is also great news for those traveling between Manhattan and other parts of the northeast.

Unclaimed Baggage Roadshow Across All States This Summer

If you lost your bag on a recent trip, you may be able to find its contents through the ‘Unclaimed Baggage’ tour. The Alabama-based outlet collects unclaimed bags that have not been able to 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 hit the road and visit every state in the country. The 14-week journey has just begun with pop-up shops and bag-opening experiences from his 1965 Chevy truck.

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