Tag Archives: JetBlue

Story Links From My Other Writing Jobs

While post one isn’t a story I wrote for AirwaysNews.com, our #FlashbackFriday feature is one of my favorites. Correspondent Luis Linares did this great post — complete with wonderful photos — celebrating the 15th anniversary of JetBlue.

And speaking of JetBlue, every year for the past four years, I have been one of three judges – along with Henry Harteveldt and Brett Snyder — of the airline’s annual anniversary cake decorating contest. JetBlue’s Blue Tails blog reports on this year’s winner and runner-ups.

After a recent United Airlines fare glitch that posted prices as low as $50 roundtrip (which were not honored), my friends were asking me how they could score these deals in the future. It became a column for the Travel section at About.com.

We’ll end this with this little exchange on Facebook. Read my original post on great airport restaurants here. And read my review of One Flew South here. Enjoy!

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I recently had the chance to go up to New York City to visit JetBlue’s new international extension at JFK Airport’s Terminal 5. As part of the tour, the nice folks at JetBlue allowed me to take a peek inside a brand new Airbus A321 withe Mint product aboard.  Below is a photo of one of the premium Mint seats. Enjoy!


Best Of Aviation Queen: Aviation Queen’s Top 10 Favorite Airports For Shopping

Last week, the “Today” show website’s travel section included an article polling writers for Sherman’s Travel on their favorite airports for shopping.  I have been to –and shopped in — more airports than I care to remember, so I thought I’d share my top 10, in no particular order.

  1. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – I could spend my life in this airport, and I think they designed it like that on purpose.  I have bought everything from tulip bulbs to sunglasses.  It’s also a great airport to pick up that last-minute souvenir you forgot to get when you were actually in Amsterdam.  The prices are fair, so you don’t have to feel like you’re being ripped off.
  2. London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 – I know, I know: everyone calls this place a shopping mall with an airport terminal attached.  That said, I really enjoyed the shopping. Heathrow is known for its alcohol tastings and they have great duty-free liquor selections.  I switched from Tanqueray 10 to Bombay Sapphire gin after a tasting at Heathrow.  And the selection at Harrods is pretty good.
  3. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — Back in November 2006, the facility rebid its retail concessions contract (my Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that is here), that brought in a bounty of new stores, including Sean Jean, Kiehl’s, Ermenegildo Zenga and Lather, among others.  And Hartsfield was the first airport to get ZoomSystems’ vending machines, which at the time sold Apple iPod products.
  4. JFK Airport JetBlue Terminal 5 — I just love the feel and design of this terminal.  And the shopping is pretty good too.  I’m a BIG fan of the Harmony Pharmacies, which sell over-the-counter drugs, beauty/cosmetics and will fill a prescription.  I went a bit nuts in Japan’s Muji store, which sells everything from travel accessories to office supplies.  I just love the shrink-wrap tshirts that are compressed into a cube that fits nicely into a carry-on bag.  I could spend hours in the Techshowcase looking at the latest in geek toys.
  5. Pittsburgh International Airport — Back in the day when it was still a hub for US Airways, the facility decided to go all out and revamp its retail concessions.  I bought shoes for the man at Johnston & Murphy and toys for my godchildren at Creative Kidstuff. They also have a Clinque store and the fabulous Pajama Shop.
  6. Orlando International Airport — The airport for amusement park central has stores from Disney, Sea World and Universal Studio.  It also has beauty/bath store Lush (a favorite from my time spent in London), the Kennedy Space Center store, Harley Davidson and Swatch watches.
  7. Incheon International Airport — a girl could lose her MIND in this airport.  The airport authority went all out to attract all the major luxury brands to the facility, including Channel, Burberry, Christian Dior, Missoni, Guess, Max Mara, Dunhill, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, Calvin Klein and  Samsonite, among others.
  8. Changi Airport — see Incheon.  Plus a bonus — if you go to the Singapore Visitors Center in any terminal and you have at least 5 hours to kill, you can get a FREE 2-hour colonial or cultural tour.
  9. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – I know this one is a surprise, but I like the shopping choices in this airport.  The Authors Bookstore is not to be missed, and there’s a nice balance of national and local brands.
  10. Vancouver International Airport – I had to include this airport.  I just love The Gourmet Shop and La Cava del Cigarro, which sells gourmet foods and has a great selection of cigars.  Although not shopping per se, Vancouver also has the Plaza Premium Lounges, which features a place to nap, eat and shower.

My list only includes airports that I’ve actually seen and experienced.  I know there are plenty of others out there, so what did I miss?

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/aviation-queens-top-10-favorite-airports-for-shopping/#sthash.4OsrFKKX.dpuf

Random Aviation Photo

On Nov. 8, 2008, new runways opened at three airports: Chicago O’Hare, Seattle-Tacoma and Washington Dulles. As the airports editor for Aviation Week and Aviation Daily, I got to cover the opening of the fourth runway at Dulles.  As part of that event, I got rare access to hang out on the runway, which allowed me to get the shot below. Enjoy!


Final Highlights From The #BoydBWI Aviation Summit

It was a tale of two airlines at Mike Boyd’s recent International Aviation Forecast Summit.  JetBlue CEO Dave Barger and Gail Grimmett, senior vice president of New York City for Delta Air Lines offered updates on their carriers.

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Barger used the event to talk about Mint, the carrier’s new long-haul product that debuts in 2014.  When asked by Mike Boyd why a premium cabin, Barger said you have to change over time.

“We’re excited to have the [Airbus] A321 in the fleet. You have routes like LAX and San Francisco that aren’t performing,” said Barger.  “Customers tell us they’re flying American, Virgin America and Delta because we don’t have a premium experience.”

JetBlue will not out-corporate the network carriers in New York City, bit there are still opportunities, said Barger.  “It can cost up to $6,000 to fly coast-to-coast on network carriers.  We will have Mint or core service – not coach or premium,” he said.

The carrier has aircraft equipped with the new product now that is being tested, said Barger. “We’re investing because we need to bring in revenue and not leave money on the table,” he said. “We need to have more brand customer loyalty.”

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Grimmett said her carrier is working hard to set itself apart from a crowded marketplace.  “When I started at Delta 18 years ago, I did not have an airline background. I was in economics,” she said. “I was told that the airline was a commodity and a seat was a seat. But you have to be different because people will pay more for a higher-end product.”

Delta has invested $1.6 billion in New York, and you can’t invest that much without talking to the board about a return on that investment, said Grimmett.  “One lesson we learned is that you can never stop investing in the customer. On the operations side, the product side, and the experience side, we have to be ahead of things with passengers.”

Grimmett used Delta’s facilities at JFK as an example. “Terminal 3 by itself was handling five million passengers a year, and it was never meant for that kind of traffic,” she said. “Delta has also invested in its International Terminal and its Sky Clubs.”

By summer 2014, Delta will have new lie-flat seats on all its widebodies, said Grimmett. “All of our domestic aircraft have WiFi.”

Delta’s partnership with Virgin Atlantic is a “huge opportunity,” said Grimmett. “You can’t get business traffic with three flights a day between JFK and London Heathrow,” she said. “The Virgin deal strengthens our portfolio. To buy that would have taken a lot of time, and it would have been costly. Now we have an airline partner with a great brand.”