Strange Smells And Lasers Cause Emergency Landings

Emergency landings card
Flickr, Tim Hagen

Two flights recently had to make emergency landings for unusual reasons. “Strong odors” caused a Lufthansa Stockholm-to-Frankfurt flight to stop in Copenhagen, where 129 passengers were rebooked onto alternate flights. The reason for the smell? A new carpet installed in the airplane.

Staff aboard a Sun Country Airlines flight from Minneapolis smelled smoke and made an emergency landing in Spokane. A passenger was carrying two homemade lasers (he is an unemployed chemist), causing several small burn holes near his seat. He was arrested for willful damage to an aircraft.

It’s been a busy season for emergency landings, mostly for precautionary reasons, but a few odd causes too. Most notably, a drunken passenger caused a cross-country flight to stop in Denver after he allegedly groped several passengers, drinking from his own bottle of vodka after he was refused service. A bird strike caused a Southwest flight to return to Raleigh and be taken out of service. Even rock stars have to deal with problems, as ’80s hair metal bands Ratt and Dokken had to trade their private jet for SUVs after smoke was detected. Better safe than sorry!

See more weird emergency landing stories from our archives, plus the story of a Gadling blogger who had her blog post used as evidence in a lawsuit filed by a “traumatized” passenger after a plane made an emergency landing at O’Hare.

Book A Night On An Airplane With AirBnB

AirBnB airplane hotel
HotelSuites.NL

Vacation accommodation website AirBnB has no shortage of unique places to stay, from a “boatel” aboard a converted ferry, to a private island in Fiji. For airplane nuts and those wanting the luxurious exclusivity of a private jet, AirBnB has a collection of airplane accommodations.

Accommodations range from a New Zealand two-unit motel inside a 1950s Bristol freighter plane (rates start at $180 per night, sleep in the cockpit or tail), to $10,000 for a night on a Gulfstream G5 jet in Beverly Hills (rate includes one hour of flight time and three hours of flight attendant service. Divide that by 18 passengers and that’s…still a lot of money, but a priceless experience. Don’t want to leave the airport? If you can find a flight into Teuge Airport in the Netherlands, you can stay aboard a former government plane, now fully tricked out into a private suite. If you’d prefer a more traditional place to stay, you might enjoy the Wine Country Airplane House in Sonoma county, which has not only an airplane tail on the front of the secluded house, but also a piece of the old Golden Gate Bridge.

Check out more unique AirBnB listings in their collection of wishlists.

How The Rich Kids Of Instagram Travel

Dom Perignon Champagne
Nicholas Y.F. Chen, Flickr

When it comes to vacations, most of us probably already knew that the so-called one percent don’t exactly fly cattle class, stay in Super 8 motels or slurp cheap Chinatown noodles to keep their budget under check. But we didn’t realize just how lavish their vacations actually were until a collection of snapshots titled “Rich Kids of Instagram” started making its way around the Internet.

The photos follow spectacularly wealthy young adults as they jetset their way across the globe, instagramming their every move so the other 99 percent can gawk, tsk, admire, envy or weep over, depending on their inclination.Helicopters and private jets appear to rule as the transport method of choice for this unapologetically rich crowd. One instagrammer even buckled a gold-plated champagne bottle into its own seat on his jet while another reserved a plush leather spot for his dog. Boats made an appearance too with one photo showing Louis Vuitton luggage piled high on a luxurious yacht bound for the island of St Barth.

As far as destinations go, the rich kids of instagram are lounging by the pool at their holiday homes (holiday mansions?) in the Hamptons, posing in their brother’s chateau in the French city of Cannes, or stimulating the economy in Monaco. All this while they double-fist bottles of Dom Perignon and spray themselves with Moet like a Formula 1 driver on a podium. It’s a fantasy world to say the least, but you can step into it vicariously by clicking over here.

Private Jet Travel For The 99 Percent: Book Your Private Jet Via Facebook Or App

jetsuite jet
Image via JetSuite

It’s easier than ever to travel like the 1%. Tech-savvy travelers know that they can use services like Uber in many major cities to call a town car or SUV on demand. But what about air travel? Historically, private jets have been reserved for the ultra-wealthy and celebrities who can afford to keep that G-4 on 24/7 call.

Companies like NetJets have attempted to democratize the private airline industry, offering purchase of private jet hours at much lower price points than full ownership, but the barriers to entry are still there. A NetJets Marquis Jet Card allows people to purchase as few as 25 or 50 jet hours, but the cost is still around $120,000 for just a few hours in the air.

Of course, this may not seem pricey to companies who need to get somewhere now or those people who are already used to chartering planes for private use – the cost has been proven to be money saving, in some instances, for groups of business travelers used to traveling first class commercially.

But now a new breed of private jet companies has infiltrated the marketplace. Names like JetSuite and BlackJet are revolutionizing private aviation, transforming the term “jetsetter” into something nearly anyone can afford.

JetSuite, a private jet airline that launched in 2009, offers a guaranteed price quote for flights to more than 2,000 airports across North America and the Caribbean. CEO Alex Wilcox, a founder of JetBlue, certainly aims high – his goal is to make JetSuite “the Southwest Airlines of private jet travel.”

He’s well on his way. Through the company’s “SuiteDeals,” released daily via Facebook and Twitter, consumers can find empty leg sales opportunities ranging from $499 to $1,499 for next-day, one-way trips. The price isn’t per person; it’s per aircraft – on a Phenom 100 (seats four) or a Citation CJ3 (seats six). The type of aircraft is confirmed after booking.

Today, for example, one could fly from San Diego to St. George, Utah, for $536.43. A commercial flight on Delta would be $406, economy, with one stop in Salt Lake City.

BlackJet is essentially the Uber of private jets. The company lets you book private flights via iPhone app, reserving seats two days in advance on flights between San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and South Florida. Other cities are coming soon, like Chicago and Washington, D.C. Well-behaved pets are even permitted. The company has generated some serious buzz, raising over $3 million in funding with names like celebrity Ashton Kutcher and SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff backing the company.

It’s a bit less populist than Uber. You have to be a “member” to book a trip – which means signing up online and waiting for approval. There’s also a $2,500 “member fee” for your first flight. You won’t get charged until you book that first ticket, but it’s there. After that the flying part is pretty easy. You travel, then pay, and members enjoy guaranteed seats on flights. The cost is a bit more than JetSuite too, but the planes are bigger and the flights often longer.

A seat on a flight from DC to San Francisco for next week would cost $3,351 per person, compared with commercial economy flights from $253 (with stop) or first class from $732 (with stop). It’s pricier than flying with the public, but still a lot cheaper than the comparable $20,000 to charter that plane on your own.

What do you think, readers? Would you try one of these new private jet models? We’d be thrilled to test either – but probably need to check our savings accounts first!

What Does A $100,000 Vacation Look Like?

private jet diningIf your summer travel budget is feeling a little skimpy at the moment, then indulge your fantasies for a minute and imagine you’ve got $100K to blow on your upcoming vacation. What does it look like?

Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is giving 50 travelers the chance to find out. The company, which offers high-end travel services to those with deep pockets, recently relaunched their private jet journeys in which travelers hop across the globe without ever having to come into contact with an economy class seat or gelatinous airplane meal.

In their latest (and most expensive) offering, Abercrombie & Kent’s founder Geoffrey Kent will accompany the passengers on a round-the-world adventure, which will take them to nine countries on a Boeing 757 decked out with plush business class seats, a lounge area, and a bar.Pit stops include an Amazonian river cruise, a visit to the Moai on remote Easter Island, dinner with diplomats in Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort, a game-viewing expedition on the Masai Mara, a swanky party in the wealthy nation of Monaco, and more.

How do you pack for a trip like that? Well, it doesn’t matter what you bring really, because you won’t exactly be wrestling for overhead bin space. Not to mention that joining the tour group is a traveling Bell Boy whose job it is to wheel your handmade Globetrotter suitcase around the planet. Nice, huh?

The 26-day tour departs from Miami next October … so you know, there’s still time to save up.