Swiss International Air Lines shows their flower power

Pretty Plane
In celebration of their new flights from Zürich to San Francisco and back, Swiss International Air Lines has decided to wear some flowers in their air (sorry for that pun).

The new nonstop service commences on June 2, and the A340 which will be making the inaugural trip (originating in Zürich) has been painted with a colorful floral design, as well as the words “San Francisco.”

The design was chosen from a selection of three by about 30,000 readers of Switzerland’s 20 Minuten daily paper. It took eight individuals, three days and “almost 400 square metres of special film” to turn the once normal aircraft into a hippie airbus of love. That’s right. I said “hippie airbus of love.”

Inside the airplane are additional surprises! No, there isn’t a mile-high love-in and drugs are still prohibited, but this A340 (registration HB-JMJ) is the first of the SWISS fleet to include the new SWISS Business cabin, which has a unique, spacious seating arrangement and all-new, firmness-adjustable cushions.

The inaugural flight is long sold-out, but to be one of the first to fly ZRH-SFO or SFO-ZRH on SWISS, visit the website.
Images courtesy of Swiss International Air Lines.

Eyjafjallajokull still spewing – exclusive pics from a trans-Atlantic flight

Eyjafjallajokull erupting

I was taxiing from my gate in Geneva, Switzerland on SWISS Air Lines when I was informed that due to some volcanic burps from the bane of Europe, Eyjafjallajokull, our flight to JFK would be an hour longer, as we would have to fly north of the Iceland ash cloud. The other passengers and I might have been disappointed if the pilot hadn’t informed us that we’d be able to see the active volcano erupting from the air. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!Active Eyjafjallajokull erupts! Ash cloud!

A few hours into the flight, the fancy individual video systems on our newly tricked-out SWISS A330-300 were paused and passengers, regardless of class assignment, bounded to the left side of the plane with cameras. I bogarted business class to get the closer shot above.

Eyjafjallajokull appeared to be spewing an ash cloud about twice as long as Iceland:

… And it’s nasty-looking stuff. My condolences if your flight was canceled, but you didn’t want to be flying through that. Yikes.

Check out more of Gadling’s ash cloud/volcano/Eyjafjallajokull coverage here.

My flights to and from Switzerland on SWISS Air Lines were sponsored by Switzerland Tourism, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are 100 percent my own.

Daily Pampering: Detox at The Dolder Grand

This Switzerland retreat knows you’ve had a rough winter. All those hot totties by the fireplace skewed your usual caloric intake, and the cold winter winds wreaked havoc on your skin. No worries, the healing process is about to begin.

Zurich’s Dolder Grand is offering “Detox” and “Retreat” packages with 30% savings to encourage health and wellness this spring. Whether you’re in need of a detox escape or just a relaxing spa getaway, experience one of the world’s most exceptional spas at Dolder Grand. The best part: both of these treatments are available through Dec. 31, 2010, so you have plenty of time to make your way to Zurich.

The Grand Detox Program:

  • Five nights luxury accommodations at the Dolder Grand
  • Complete five day detox nutritional meal plan, including introductory interview including “needs analysis” and daily coaching with the Dolder Grand Spa Team
  • Fitness and body composition analysis
  • Daily fitness and relaxation sessions
  • Daily treatments of Cleansing and Detox Rituals with custom massage
  • Consultation for continuation at home
  • Unlimited use of Dolder Grand Spa
  • Total cost: 8,600 CHF/ Double occupancy (approx. $8,000 USD) or 4,720 CHF/ Single occupancy (approx. $4,400 USD)

The Grand Spa Retreat:

  • Three nights luxury accommodations at the Dolder Grand
  • Daily breakfast at the Garden Restaurant per person
  • One dinner in the Garden Restaurant per person (beverages not included)
  • One 90-minute La Prairie Caviar Firming Facial per person
  • One 90-minute Grand Body Ritual, with replenishing scrub, therapeutic bath and massage application, per person
  • One 90-minute Bamboo Shiatsu Massage per person
  • One 60-minute Kerstin Florian Classic Pedicure per person
  • Unlimited use of Dolder Grand Spa
  • Total cost: 3,100 CHF/ Double occupancy (approx. $2,880 USD) or 1,770 CHF/ Single occupancy (approx. $1,645 USD)

Sit back, relax and detox.

Swiss vacations about to increase?

It looks like the Swiss won’t have to worry about how to look busy while they’re on vacation. If a referendum by Swiss citizens passes, the current standard of four vacation weeks a year may increase by 50 percent. The measure was good enough to pick up 125,000 signatures, but it still has a long way to go.

The group behind the referendum, Travail.Suisse, cites increased stress in the workplace as driving the increased vacation need. People are working harder, and they just need a bit more of a break. Well-rested workers are happier and more productive.

A date for the vote hasn’t been set yet.

So, if you’re Swiss and you need a few ideas on where to take your extra two weeks of vacation, come back to Gadling often. We don’t take vacations.

Daily gear deal – big Swiss Gear luggage clearance

Today’s daily deal is for a spring cleaning sale of Swiss Gear bags over at Amazon. The lineup includes a bunch of backpacks, some rolling luggage, messenger bags and laptop bags.

The bags start just under $20, and the discounts range from a measly $10 all the way up to well over $250 on the more advanced bags.

All orders over $25 will ship for free. When you find a bag you like, be sure to check the pricing on different colors of the same bag, less popular colors can often shave up to $20 off the price.