Virgin Australia Offers Frequent Flier Points To Pets

virgin australia plane
Aero Icarus, Flickr

Air travel is getting better and better – if you’ve got four legs, that is. Just last month we told you about first class airline lounges that had been designed especially for pets – now airlines are offering award miles to furry fliers.

Virgin Australia announced this week that it will reward its frequent flier members with an extra 300 points when they book a domestic flight for their pet. For the time being, the program applies to cats and dogs only.

About 30,000 pets fly with Virgin Australia each year and the carrier’s CEO says the initiative is aimed at enhancing the airline’s image as a family-focused carrier.Virgin is the first airline in Australia to offer mileage points to pets, but the concept isn’t entirely new. In 2005, Virgin Atlantic offered various rewards through its Flying Paws program and a few years later, JetBlue began providing frequent flier miles through its JetPaws initiative.

Photo Of The Day: Meeting A Local

Photo of the day - Friendly donkey
I am partial to a good donkey photo. Something about their sweet eyes makes them instantly loveable, and their inherent goofiness is charming. Today’s Photo of the Day caught my eye partially because of the subject, as well as the gorgeous landscape in Croatia behind him, but also because of the caption: “Staying Home.” Flickr user mmusnjak explains the donkey was uninterested in joining a mountain hike, and more into any food the photographer could provide. Staying home looks pretty good with surroundings like that, especially if guests bring gifts!

Meet any friendly animals on your travels? Share them with us in the Gadling Flickr pool, or on Instagram using hashtag #gadling and tagging @gadlingtravel for a future Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Marko Musnjak]

Photo Of The Day: Pashmina Goats In The Himalayas

The stark realities of winter are excellently captured in this photo by Flickr user arunchs.

Taken in the Himalayas, these Pashmina Goats grazing in Changthang Plateau, Ladakh, belong to changpa people residing in the nearby village of Puga. The photo is striking when you think of all of the Pashmina scarves – which are made from this special breed of goat, which is indigenous to the high altitudes of the Himalaya – that one often comes across in Southeast Asian markets. The scarfs are colorful and lively, much the opposite of this image. A good reminder of where things come from.

Have your own captivating travel photos you want featured on Photo of the Day? Submit them to the Gadling Flickr pool, or via Instagram by tagging your photos with #gadling and mentioning @gadlingtravel.

[Photo Credit: arunchs]

National Wildlife Week Begins Tomorrow

National Wildlife Week begins tomorrowTomorrow marks the start of National Wildlife Week, an annual event sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) with a goal of teaching young people about the extraordinary animals that live around us. This celebration of all the diverse life that we share our planet with will run from March 18-24.

The theme of this year’s National Wildlife Week is “Branching Out,” which puts a particular emphasis on the importance of trees to animals. Trees serve as protection, form habitats and provide food and other resources for animals and yet we don’t always recognize just how significant a role they play for the creatures that live in and around them. With that in mind, the NWF has provided educators with some suggested lesson plans and other activities for helping to convey this important message to their students.

2013 also happens to be the 75th anniversary of National Wildlife Week and the NWF wanted to do something big to commemorate the occasion. So, in keeping with the theme, the organization is also hoping to plant 75,000 trees across the U.S. With that goal in mind, they’ve given us the tools to host a tree-planting event of our own or donate some cash to the cause. For every $10 that is given, the NWF will plant another tree near schools, parks or on other public lands across the country.

The National Wildlife Federation is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitats. By educating young people about the importance of this cause, they hope to create the next generation of conservationists that will help steward America’s national resources throughout the 21st century and beyond. National Wildlife Week is one of their most important tools in helping to achieve that goal.

With spring just around the corner and much of the country on break this week, now is the perfect time to head outside and plant a tree.

Photo Of The Day: Saturday With The Giraffes In Abu Dhabi

Today’s safari-themed Photo of the Day was taken with Instagram and submitted by The Purple Passport, a travel start-up that publishes web-based guidebooks on the world’s most exciting cities. The Purple Passport already has guides to New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Beijing and Taipei. Might Abu Dhabi be next?If you have any great travel photos, you now have two options to enter your snapshots into the running for Gadling’s Photo of the Day. Upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool, or mention @GadlingTravel and use hashtag #gadling in the caption or comments for your post on Instagram. Don’t forget to give us a follow too!

[Photo Credit: Flickr user thepurplepassport]