Anybody over 30 probably heard stories from their parents and grandparents about the gold old days when the journey by plane was as exciting as the destination. Even when the aviation industry became democratized in the early 1970s with the arrival of budget airlines and the onboard class system, it held a certain magic to it.
… Then life happened when consumers were making other travel plans. The emphasis shifted from customer service to the bottom line. This is why when an airline considers an upgrade to the general economy experience in some way, it makes news. Santiago-based LATAM, which serves Latin America to and from North America, Australia, and Europe, spent a good part of 2017 making a major splash in its development, creation and implementation of economy-cabin food service for long-haul travel (seven hours or longer), complete with a menu, three selections, healthier kids’ fare and even some snazzy improvements to the in-flight food tray.
Some may argue this carefully plotted and planned program is a wonderful throwback to the days where eating in flight was fun and the food a bit fresher. Others may say it could be a standard bearer for other airlines to follow in winning back customers. Regardless, the development of the new program has been a fascinating journey for the carrier.
When the rollout was fully completed in November 2017, LATAM invited a select group of travel industry players and journalists to celebrate with an exclusive tour of the airline’s headquarters followed by a luncheon that featured eight of the 300 new dishes the airline estimated would serve an average 4,000 passengers on 64 flights each day. Claudie Sender, senior vice president clients, LATAM Airlines Group, noted the program was developed over 16 months in collaboration with catering professionals at Gategroup Innovation Centre in Amsterdam. Naturally, several in-flight test meal services followed, based on passenger feedback.
The final product — offered to all economy passengers at no extra charge — is truly a “less-is-more” proposition, with one generous meal plate, roll and dessert replacing the five or six mini portions. The menu includes a choice of a hot meal with meat or fish, a vegetarian option and a cold selection akin to a salad one may order in a higher-end fast casual restaurant (think smoked chicken or salmon with crisp vegetables), along with a sweet native to Chile, Peru, Argentina or another South American country.
During the official launch event, guests got to sample a salmon dish, a beef brisket with corn pudding and asparagus, and spinach-ricotta cannelloni with saffron sauce. However, the ultimate proof of the concept working on board needed to be in the pudding. From what I could taste on the two flights from Santiago to Lima, Peru, and back to Los Angeles, the realization overall was impressive … and truth be told, the economy-class pasta dish was actually tastier than its business-class counterpart served on the inbound flight to Chile. And while LATAM’s business-class pods were pretty plush, the economy seats were as roomy as premium economy seats on other carriers.
With cooler weather and fall colors on its way, it’s time to plan your fall family travels. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort PA Wilds in Mansfield is the perfect destination, and with both scary and not-so-scary events, kids and parents alike can celebrate the festive season with trick-or-treating, fall crafts, fun with the Yogi Bear characters and more.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Oktoberfest is not all about beer. Although beer does play a major role, many of these German-themed fall festivals include activities fun for the whole family. You don’t need to travel to Munich to enjoy the oom-pah bands, lively dances, colorful Bavarian dress and traditional German foods; you can find them in almost all regions of the United States this October. Here are some good choices for families:
Rome is a city full of musts for visitors. You must visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps. And the list goes on, all the way down to trying gelato. No trip to Rome would be complete without the obligatory sweet treat, and for good reason. Gelato is delicious, refreshing and it comes in every flavor you can imagine. But while you can find it just about everywhere you turn in the Eternal City, it’s important to know not all gelatos are created equal. The city is brimming with fakes, and once you know how to tell the difference, not only will you see the fake stuff everywhere, but you will also refuse to settle for less than authentic.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Looking for a unique, fun and educational activity for the kids during your next family travels? Well, Kidzania has you covered. Located in Dallas, Texas, this city is not only built for kids but also run by kids. It’s unlike any other entertainment parks; in Kidzania, kids learn useful knowledge, skills and experiences, all while having the chance to be independent.