Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Most And Least Loved Safari Tourists

Over 400 African safari operators participated in the largest survey of its kind to reveal the most and least loved safari tourists. The results are in and Americans are the clear winner., the largest online marketplace for African safari tours conducted this extensive survey. In similar surveys for other destinations, Americans are often one of the least favored tourists. But not in Africa. They love Americans. No less than 85% of the surveyed operators rated Americans as pleasant to very pleasant. They indicated Americans are friendly, have great humor, and tip generously.

Italians are the least favored safari tourists
Although operators appreciate clients from all nationalities, Italians were the least loved. More than 18% of operators found Italians to be annoying, or very annoying. They indicated Italians are ruder, seldom on time, and often completely ignore the guide's instructions. On the bright side, the survey also shows Italians are easy to please.

Brazilians are notorious latecomers and the Dutch are least likely to tip
The survey also included other stereotypes. Brazilians love life… and are the 2nd worst latecomers, after Italians. A stunning 45% of operators indicated Dutch to be the worst tippers. Of all other nationalities, only the French came close to them in the “poor tipping” department.

British are hard to please, Germans most punctual
Overall, British tourists did very well. Operators hold them in high regard. They said British are polite, on time, and pay attention to the guide's instructions. The only point of criticism was, according to 55% of operators, the British are most hard to please.  Germans are considered to be most punctual. Over 61% of operators indicated Germans are always on time. Regarding punctuality, British and Germans scored significantly better than other nationalities.

Native English speakers are more friendly and more fun
Surprising was that nationalities who have English as their native language scored much better than non-English nationalities. We were unable to explain exactly why, but we suspect that having English as the native language makes it easier to communicate with the tour guide.

Differences between operators in East and Southern Africa
Operators in East Africa are especially fond of American tourists. In Southern Africa, operators are more charmed by British and Canadian tourists. In South Africa they like their national tourists least, although they do think South Africans have a good laugh and are fun to be with.


Where To Go In Florence, Italy

Abutting Florence’s main train station, San Lorenzo is a maze of mostly dingy streets that locals typically avoided, especially after dark. But since the district’s historic Mercato Centrale opened its gorgeous upper floor  a gleaming space filled with vendors of Tuscany’s finest artisanal foodstuffs in 2014, the entire neighborhood has been looking better. By day, the streets surrounding Mercato Centrale are still packed with stalls peddling leather goods, cheap scarves and kitschy souvenirs to tourists. But at night,new spots with style and international flair are now attracting legions of foreigners and Florentines alike.
  1. Photo
    CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times
    La Ménagère
    The rambling old building that housed one of Florence’s oldest housewares stores reopened last June as a genre-busting gathering place. Still called La Ménagère and spanning over 16,000 square feet, it is a cosmopolitan complex with a coffee bar, flower shop, restaurant, cocktail bar and, in a nod to the previous tenant, a retail area with handmade ceramics and housewares.
    Via de’ Ginori 8r; 39-055-075-0600; lamenagere­.it
  2. Photo
    CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times
    Lo Sverso
    This convivial bar threw open its doors last May with live music, domestic craft beers on tap and creative cocktails mixed with house-made syrups and tonics.­
    Via Panicale 7/9r
  3. Photo
    CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times
    A trend that began in Milan is evident in this “burger trattoria” opposite Mercato Centrale. It focuses on quality ingredients, like a Chianina beef burger topped with pancetta, herbs and pecorino.
    Piazza del Mercato Centrale 22r; 39-055-286-770;
  4. Photo
    CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times
    Sabor Cubano
    The heady scent of mint and a call of “Hola!” from behind the bar welcome visitors to this intimate cocktail bar, which was opened by a Cuban bartender. The house specialty is the mojito, best sipped at an alfresco table.
    Via Sant’Antonino 64r; 39-331-773-1536; saborcubanofirenze­.com
  5. Photo
    CreditAndrea Wyner for The New York Times
    My Sugar
    Immediately after opening last July, this tiny artisanal gelateria catapulted to the top of best-gelato lists thanks to scrumptious flavors like melacotta (ricotta, apple, cinnamon and honey), which are made by hand daily on site. 
    Via de’ Ginori 49r; 39-393-069-6042

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pope Francis' Fiat Used In Philadelphia Sells For $82,000

It's official:  A car that has carried the pope is worth four times as much as a car that has not carried the pope.
Bidding for the shiny, black Fiat 500L that carried Pope Francis around Philadelphia in September began just after 9 p.m. Friday, at the Philadelphia Auto Show's Black Tie Tailgate at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
About 100 people filled the auction room, including Mayor Jim Kenney, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, and Bobby Hill, the 14-year-old singer who was a hit at the Festival of Families.  Before bidding began, organizers showed a video of the car and its famous passenger, to get the bidders' mouths watering.

The opening bid: $35,000.  In less than a minute it was up to $55,000.  $70,000.  $80,000.  $81,000.  The auctioneer, Max Spann, offered to throw in the cardboard cutout of Pope Francis.  That did it.

"Sold for $82K to the gentleman way in the back!"

— Brian X. McCrone (@BrianXMcCrone) January 30, 2016
After 11 minutes and 19 bidders, the winning bid went to both a local guy and a car guy:  Michael Chapman of Chapman Auto Dealers.  He says he'll put it on display at his dealership in Horsham.
The reason is obvious:  "I'm a Chrysler dealer," he says.
The car retails for about $20,000 new. This one, of course, was used.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reached out to the archdiocese in December to donate the two cars, which the Secret Service had returned to the company after the pope's visit to the World Meeting of Families in September.
Half of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Catholic Charities Appeal to help the homeless and poor. The other half will be split among Mercy Hospice, Casa Del Carmen and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's special education schools.
“What a magnificent spirit of generosity we witnessed this evening,” Auxiliary Bishop John J. McIntyre said in a statement. “This incredible outcome allows us to spread Pope Francis’ message of love and care in a concrete way by supporting the charitable works of the Archdiocese."
The second Fiat used by Francis in Philadelphia will remain on display at the auto show, which runs through Feb. 7 at the Convention Center. That car may be auctioned off later, said Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle briefly owned and signed by the pontiff -- a gift from a Davidson descendant -- sold for $327,000 at a Paris auction in 2014.
Staff writers Brian X. McCrone, Julia Terruso and Dana DiFilippo contributed to this report.


Friday, January 29, 2016

U.S. News & World Report Names Its Best Hotels Hotels For 2016

What Are The Best Hotels of 2016?
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Sea Island, Georgia may be an overlooked vacation destination. But its beloved Lodge at Sea Island has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best hotel in the U.S. for 2016.
The consumer advice and information publisher revealed its annual lists of the best hotels across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Caribbean Thursday, ranking the cream of the crop based on thousands of independent reviews from guests and travel industry experts.
In all, more than 2,500 hotels across the four regions were evaluated. 
The Lodge at Sea Island was followed by Washington, D.C.'s The Jefferson at No. 2 and third-place ARIA Sky Suites in Las Vegas made its top five debut. 
Representing Canada, The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal takes the top spot for the third straight year.
Here's how the top five break down for all four regions in 2016:
Best Hotels in the U.S.
1. The Lodge at Sea Island
2. The Jefferson, Washington, DC
3. ARIA Sky Suites
4. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu  
5. The Peninsula Beverly Hills
Best Hotels in Canada
1. Ritz-Carlton, Montreal 
2. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
3. Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto
4. Rosewood Hotel Georgia
5. The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Best Hotels in the Caribbean
1. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
2. Jamaica Inn
3. Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
4. Tortuga Bay
5. Jade Mountain 
Best Hotels in Mexico
1. Rosewood Mayakoba
2. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
3. One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos
4. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort
5. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
"The hotels on our list are adored by both travelers and expert reviewers for their high-quality amenities, comfortable rooms and exceptional services," said U.S. News Travel Editor Erin Shields in a statement. 
To determine its Best Hotels, U.S. News said it "combines a hotel's industry accolades with expert and guest reviews and hotel class ratings." 
Afterward, the top 10 percent in each region are awarded Gold badges, while the top 30 percent receive Silver badges.

Travelore Tips: How To Find First-Class Airfare For Under $1,000

Courtesy of Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific's first-class cabin.

Until recently, if you wanted to travel in first or business class you needed to have a stash of frequent flier miles, pay three to five times the coach fare, or deal with opaque consolidators who buy cheap fares in bulk.
But these days, the number of discounted first- and business-class fares is on the rise, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. But how do you find them? It takes some planning ahead—and some creative searching—but it’s possible to uncover round-trip premium-cabin fares for less than $1,000 for domestic flights and less than $2,000 for international trips.
Here are seven strategies that can help you find these well-priced premium seats.
Try one-way searches
There are often only a few cheap first-class fares per flight. Instead of flying round trip on a single airline, you may find better prices by flying one way with one airline and returning with another. (On domestic flights, it’s now rare that one-way trips cost more than half of a round trip.) On some domestic routes, first-class fares can be as little as $100 more than coach seats.
Get alerts
The best deals to international destinations are often short lived, so alerts can get you in on the has a monthly newsletter and curated fare alerts for paying subscribers. The Twitter feed of TheFlightDeal has nothing but low fare alerts, though most are for coach fares. And, if you want to do it yourself, the "Premium Fare Deals" forum on FlyerTalk is often the first source of some great offers.
Don’t scoff at a smaller airline
While you may balk at first, smaller carriers have upped their game in recent years. LOT Polish and Hainan Airlines, to take two examples, often offer very low prices from Europe and Asia to the U.S., and all of their international service is on brand-new aircraft with lie-flat seating. You'll need to shop carefully: Some airlines like Norwegian, Condor, and Air Transat offer a business-class fare, but the actual onboard amenities are not comparable to what you'll find on more established international carriers.
Get the right card
British Airways offers a $400 discount on many business- and first-class fares purchased via its websiteif you are an AARP member. If you have a World Elite MasterCard you can get up to 15% off all but the very cheapest fares on Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines; up to 30% off fares to South America on LAN and TAM; and up to 20% off Cathay Pacific flights to Asia.
Keep checking after you book
Some airlines, including United, will offer discounted first-class upgrades after you book your ticket. To find them, you need to login to your reservation online before you check in for your flight. (These offers might also pop up as you check in.) Delta will let you switch to a first-class fare on the same itinerary with no change fee, so if you see a good first-class fare open up after you book, call and lock it in.
Combine miles and the strong dollar
All of the major U.S. frequent flier programs now let you book one-way tickets with your miles for half the price of a round trip. If you have a stash of miles, consider using them one way and buying a return ticket that originates outside the U.S. Thanks to the strong dollar, there are many fares below $2,000 round tripto the U.S. this summer, like Copenhagen to New York for less than $1,400 and Dublin to Chicago for less than $1,600.
Fly the short legs in coach
For international trips, book a cheap coach ticket to a gateway before spending more for international business class. For example, fares to Europe from the Midwest or East Coast can be as much as $1,000 cheaper than similar itineraries from the West Coast. New York tends to have the most frequent discounted business- and first-class fares to Europe, so if you can get there economically, you can then fly the rest of the way up front.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Travelore Tips: 9 Things To Know When Visiting Cuba

Image result for cuba photos

January marks exactly one year since President Barack Obama expanded the categories of authorized travel 
to Cuba thereby inspiring an increasing number of Americans to add the largest – yet previously forbidden – 
Caribbean island to their adventure bucket list.  Jumping on the bandwagon are at least three U.S.-based
 cruise lines which have been advertising itineraries that leave from PortMiami this winter and spring.
Cuba expert and author Ted Henken, an associate professor at Baruch College, offers 9 essential tips
 to bring along on your Cuba trip besides your Visa.

1. Expect a warm welcome
Despite half a century of embargo and strife, Cubans love to engage with Americans. They are friendly
 and gregarious people, and will become even more so when they discover you are Americano.  So, 
return the warm welcome with a smile and a handshake.

2. Cash is king
It's still virtually impossible to use your American credit or debit card in Cuba, despite the Obama
 administration's efforts. Some hotels have developed workarounds that allow you to pay with a credit
 card via the Internet, but don’t count on it. Bring plenty of cash, but you’ll have to convert your
 dollars into convertible pesos (CUCs), Cuba's invented tourism script – at the painful rate of 87 
cents on the dollar.

3. Adventures in living offline
Internet access in Cuba is among the slowest and most expensive in the Western Hemisphere. Few
 Cubans have access at home, and an hour online costs $2, or about 10% of the average monthly
 wage of $20. Even at Havana's luxury hotels, access can be spotty and frustratingly slow. There
 are signs of progress: The government recently opened 35 wi-fi hotspots in public plazas and
 parks. Just look for the crowds and the glow of their digital screens in public places.

4. Freedom of the pixel, but not of the press
Cubans who do manage to get online have access to websites that challenge the propaganda flowing 
from Cuba's state-controlled mass media. There’s a loophole in Cuban law that criminalizes all private 
printed media as "enemy propaganda," but says nothing about media deployed in cyberspace. Examples include, & Periodismo de Barrio (the first three of which
 produce some content in English).

5. Diplomatic relations do not equal "normal" relations
While the Obama administration has reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba, the trade embargo
 still is in force. Lifting it would require new legislation, which is not likely in the Republican-majority
 U.S. Congress. So while official relations are indeed thawing, they are still quite "frozen" in some
 areas, and it's best to step lightly. 

6. Cubans mean it when they say “mi casa es su casa”
Skip the hotels, which are probably fully booked anyway, and use a service like Airbnb to reserve a
 room in a private Cuban home. It’s a rare win-win-win-win: You get a more authentic Cuban
 experience by staying with a Cuban family; that family gets hard currency directly in their pockets; 
the overloaded Cuban tourism industry gets to welcome more visitors; and President Obama gets
 a small boost for his policy of “empowerment through engagement.” 

7. A taste of capitalism at the paladars
After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Cubans desperate for income in hard currency set up
 tiny mom-and-pop restaurants called paladarsin their own homes, catering to foreign tourists. 
Since Raul Castro's economic reforms that began in late-2010, the paladar phenomenon has
 expanded beyond private homes, and Havana now has more privately run restaurants and hotspots
 than you can hit in a two-week trip. Start with these: L'Atieler, Doña Eutimia, Starbien, La Cocina
 de Lilliam, La Guarida, El Cocinero, El Gringo Viejo, 304 O'Reilly, Casa Miglis, Decameron,
 Le Chansonier, La Casa, Bollywood, Azucar, La Mulata de Sabor, and Cafe Laurent. 

8. You’re going to Cuba for research purposes, right?
Despite the improved relations, you can only legally go to Cuba from the U.S. if you fit into one
 of the 12 categories of traveler approved by the U.S. The categories include things like students,
 journalists, researchers – but "tourists" are still not permitted.  Of course, certain "people-to-people"
 trips are not really tourism, but rather “empowerment through engagement.” In any event, you no
 longer have to apply for a license to visit Cuba, you just "self certify" that you fit into a proper category.

9. Bring home (a little of) the legendary rum and cigars
You can now legally impress your friends at home by bringing back Cuban rum and cigars, but
 you’re limited to $100 worth combined.  Wait until departure to buy rum at the airport, as prices
 are the same everywhere in Cuba, but you may get a better deal for cigars at the cigar factory itself.

Contributed by Professor Ted Henken, an expert on Cuban culture and society and has been widely quoted
 in the news media, particularly since diplomatic relations were restored with the United States.  
 Henken has published numerous books on Cuba, including the recentEntrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing
 Policy Landscape, which he co-authored with Archibald R.M. Ritter.

Travelore Tips: 8 Credit Card Fees To Watch Out For

These days, credit cards and debit cards are almost as much a part of travel as planes, trains, and automobiles. Doing an entire trip with nothing but cash or checks seems almost quaint. But those of us who rely on credit or debit cards have to be on the lookout for gotchas from the card companies. Here are eight of the worst you're likely to encounter.

Currency Exchange Fees 
Charging extra for foreign transactions has had an up-and-down history. For a long time, transactions originating outside the U.S. were converted at a wholesale rate, plus a fee of about one percent to the MasterCard and Visa networks for the actual conversion, and posted to your account as converted. Later, cards started adding fees, generally three percent, to those transactions—even transactions conducted in U.S. dollars. 
Most recently, a fair number of traveler-oriented cards—especially premium airline cards—have removed the three percent surcharge, or at least reduced it to the one percent network fee. But plenty of banks still add their own fee of two percent or so. 
The foreign-purchase surcharge is one of those small fees that generate a disproportionate amount of consumer annoyance. After all, two to three percent is below the noise level for many travelers. But savvy consumers know that processing a billing already converted to U.S. dollars adds absolutely nothing to a bank's operating cost; the fee is pure gouge. And travelers hate pure gouges. But with many cards, you will be gouged unless you have a no-fee card. 

Cash Withdrawal Fees 
Some credit card issuers boast that you can use your card to get cash from an ATM when you're traveling. What they don't tell you is that using a credit card is a terrible way to get cash. surveyed 100 top cards earlier this year and found that taking a cash advance entails a fee, typically around three to five percent with a $10 minimum, plus an ATM charge unless you're using one from your own bank, plus a stiff interest rate with a median value of 24 percent even if your account is fully paid. All in all, you don't want to use a credit card for cash unless you have no alternative. 
Credit Card Rental Car Insurance May Not Cover You Completely 
Because of the natural fit of credit cards with travel, some card issuers have included no-fee coverage for collision damage to a rented car as a basic card benefit. If you use the card to reserve and pay for a rental, the credit card issuer will provide secondary collision coverage. That means, in theory, that you can avoid paying the rental company's gouge fees for "collision damage or loss waiver" (CDW) that they try to sell you at gouge prices. CDW can easily cost as much as $30 a day, and avoiding it is a great credit card plus. 
But, again, the rental car folks won't give up on the highly profitable CDW without a fight. As a result, your credit card coverage may not be as good as you think. Rental car coverage is universal with Visa and AmEx, but for some reason, MasterCard concluded that CDW coverage was not a "core" consumer benefit. Thus, whether your MasterCard includes rental coverage depends on the issuing bank: Some do, some don't. Ditto Discover. 
Also, rental companies have regularly added fees and charges to damage claims, and some credit cards don't cover all of them. 

User Fees 
Outside the U.S., you're likely to encounter user fees of two to five percent to pay a bill with a credit or debit card. You don't see much of that locally yet, but recent legal cases give U.S. merchants the ability to ignore contracts requiring them not to add fees. 
On a recent trip to New Zealand, I encountered it with local airlines and some hotels and restaurants. Although many U.S. companies say that adding a fee to credit card transactions is not consumer-friendly, don't be surprised to see more and more such fees in your future. 
The Former 'Best' Foreign ATM Deal Is Gone 
For several years, consumer advocates touted the "Global ATM Alliance" as the ideal way to get foreign currency. If you had a Bank of America checking or savings account, you could use a debit card to withdraw local currency with neither an ATM nor a conversion fee from ATMs at affiliated banks in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and the U.K. You could actually exchange currency at the rates the banks use. 
But banks really hate to see consumers get good deals. So they changed the rules: Withdrawals from Global ATM Alliance banks now get hit with a three percent exchange fee. 

Airport 'No Fee' ATM Gouges 
Until a few years ago, several big local banks provided ATMs in the arrivals areas of international gateway airports. Yes, you had to pay some fees, but the deals were relatively honest. Recently, however, foreign exchange outfits such as Travelex have been negotiating exclusive ATM arrangements with big hub airports--presumably for a share of the take--and installing their own ATMs. 
Those ATMs typically blare "no "fees" prominently, and it's true, they do not assess withdrawal fees. Instead, they sock you with a really lousy exchange rate, often as much as 10 percent worse than you would get with a big-bank ATM. In effect, you get about the same rate as if you exchanged currency at the notoriously gouging retail exchange counter. 
You May Need a Chip Card 
Travel writers are fond of warning you that your old-fashioned magnetic stripe card may not be accepted outside the U.S. Instead, they say, you need a "chip-and-pin card" that contains your data in an embedded chip rather than a magnetic stripe and requires you to enter a PIN rather than sign. Most of the developed world has adopted that system, but not yet the good old U.S. of A. 
Although banks had established an October 31, 2015, date for conversion of U.S. cards to a chip system, current compliance is under 50 percent. Moreover, most chip cards that U.S. banks issue are chip-and-sign, rather than chip-and-pin. So they're still not fully compatible. 
Fortunately, those warnings are a bit overhyped: In my most recent overseas trips, almost all airlines, rental car companies, hotels, restaurants, merchants, and gas stations easily coped with the old-fashioned cards, including magnetic-stripe cards, along with chip-and-sign cards. 
The only time I couldn't use my chip-and-sign Visa card was at an unattended gas pump in an area where the nearest gas station was about 50 miles away. (Mount Cook is pretty remote.) Even though the problem is overstated, however, you will still encounter a few cases where neither your old magnetic stripe card nor even your chip card will work. Plan for it. 

Chip-and-Sign May Not Solve Fraud 
While on the subject of chip cards, consider the fact that although chip cards can reduce some kinds of fraud, they aren't fraud proof. A substantial portion of credit card fraud originates with "card not present" transactions, such as when you buy an airline ticket or arrange a hotel or rental car online. As long as a crook can get your data, for example by hacking into a merchant account, that chip won't help you at all. 

Supersonic Aircraft Promises To Fly From New York To London In 11 Minutes

The Antipode would be able to reach Mach 24 or speeds of 12, 427 miles an hour. (Charles Bombardier/Imaginactive)
As the age of supersonic travel fast approaches, there is yet another concept aircraft that promises to go from New York to London in an unbelievable 11 minutes.
Called the Antipode, it would be powered by rocket boosters on its wings for takeoff and climb to 40,000 feet at Mach 5.
The acceleration boosters would then separate from the Antipod and fly back to the airbase by themselves. If that’s not impressive enough, the Antipod pilot would ignites its supersonic engines to hit Mach 24 – or speeds of 12,427 miles an hour, reports Forbes.  
The jet would be powered by liquid oxygen or kerosene rockets and in theory, it could carry up to 10 passengers.
(Charles Bombardier/Imaginactive)
Its designers say it would take a mere 11 minutes to fly from New York to London, 24 minutes to travel from New York to Shanghai and 32 minutes to get from New York to Sydney.
The industrial engineer behind the Antipod is Charles Bombardier, who designed another high-speed aircraft called the Skreemr jet – which was unveiled in October and claims to travel from London to New York in a half an hour.
Bombardier worked on the Antipod design in collaboration with Lunatic Koncepts founder Abhishek Roy.
To achieve speeds past Mach 5, the engineers had to solve the problem of extreme heat from air friction and the massive sonic boom it would create over land. Objects traveling at that speed can reach upwards of 170 F, and there are few materials that can sustain those temperatures.
To combat these effects, the hypersonic jet would use an aerodynamic technique called long penetration mode (LPM) that would channel air flowing over the aircraft, cooling it down and helping to muffle the noise as it breaks the sound barrier.
 “I wanted to create an aircraft concept capable of reaching its antipode — or diametrical opposite — as fast as possible,” Bombardier told Forbes.
Right now the design is just that—a design.  But Bombardier hopes the aircraft could be used for military or business travelers.  Let’s hope it comes with a frequent flier program, because the costs will be out of this world.

American Unveils New Amenity Kits For Premium Fliers

American Airlines unveiled a new collection of amenity kits on Wednesday that will begin appearing on flights this March.
American has collaborated with several big brands for its amenity kit update. The kits will feature designs and products from Cole Haan, 3LAB Skincare, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries and Clark’s Botanicals. The carrier says it designed the kits with the help of Buzz, a firm described by American as "in-flight experience specialists."
“We’re investing billions of dollars to customize and elevate the travel experience for all of our customers, and we know our premium fliers are looking for a refined and modern experience when it comes to airline service, right down to the amenity kits for long flights,” Fernand Fernandez, American’s VP - Global Marketing, says in a statement. “We want to set ourselves apart from the competition, so this year we teamed up with four amazing American brands to offer a variety of amenity kits for each premium cabin in a bag they’ll want to reuse.”
The kits will replace the airline's retro amenity kits that bore the colors of "predecessor carriers" like TWA, Piedmont and America West that have merged over the years to former the current American.
Amenity kits are offered by big international airlines in the premium cabins of international flights. Typically, they include items helpful for long flights – things like moisturizer, toothpaste and a toothbrush, mouthwash, ear plugs and an eye mask. Some airline’s first-class amenity kits even include pajamas and slippers for long overnight flights.
American’s new amenity kits won’t include pajamas, but they will include a number of other items for fliers. And there’ll even be amenity kits for first-class fliers on American’s three-class intercontinental routes connecting New York JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Business-class fliers on those transcontinental routes won't receive amenity kits, but will get a bundled package that includes socks, an eye mask and ear plugs.
As for the kits, American says all will feature a custom-designed bag from Cole Haan and will include a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, socks, and ear plugs. Also included in all kits will be will be discount codes that can be redeemed for purchase of certain brands included in the amenity kits.
The kits will be distributed in four rotations of various colors, ending in March 2017. The first rotation of colors will last 4-½ months beginning with the gray, blue and red kits.
The contents of the amenity kits will vary by cabin and by route. In American’s words, the kits will feature the following items:
International First Class (Cole Haan/3LAB)
Featuring perforated detail and available in six different colors, this kit’s bag is inspired by Cole Haan’s design and innovation collection, ZerØGrand.
+ 3LAB Skincare products (M Cream, Perfect Hand Cream, and Perfect Lips (Balm), tissues, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, pen and foam headphone covers.
International Business Class (Cole Haan/C.O. Bigelow)
+ This Dopp Kit design is versatile and is available in eight different color combinations.
+ C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products (lip balm, Lime & Coriander body lotion and mouthwash), tissues, pen and foam headphone covers.
Domestic Transcon First Class (Cole Haan/Clark’s Botanicals)
+ This kit’s bag resembles an envelope with its folds and stamped exterior and is available in six different colors.
+ Clark’s Botanicals skincare products (Smoothing Marine Cream, Ultra Rich Lip Balm, as well as Moisturizing Hand Cream and Refreshing Hand Wipe, both created exclusively for the American Airlines kit), toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshade, socks and ear plugs.
Source: Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY