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Soccer balls made from old SWA seats

(Airlines) Permanent link
SWA soccer ballSouthwest Airlines launched LUV Seat, a project to recycle 43 acres of leather from its old 737 seats into leather goods.

The carrier is donating the used leather to a non-profit in Nairobi to use the leather to produce shoes and soccer balls to be given to the local community, according to an announcement on its website.

Southwest also has partnered with a nonprofit organization in Malawi to develop a training program to teach school kids how to make leather items, such as backpacks, and generate proceeds for the school.

"With the pilot program of LUV Seat, we're embarking on a new vision of social impact through training, job creation and ultimately product donations," said Bill Tiffany, vice president of supply chain management.

The carrier is replacing the leather seats with a new seat called Evolve. The redesign to the lighter seat reduces the weight of each 737-700 by more than 600 pounds.

— Gay Nagle Myers

NYC promotes family travel with Curious George

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Curious George NYCAdventurous cartoon explorer Curious George has been named the sixth New York City family ambassador by NYC & Company, the city's tourism-marketing organization.

The Curious George partnership is a joint effort with NBCUniversal, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and PBS Kids.

The little monkey will highlight New York as a family-friendly destination.

In 2013, New York welcomed an estimated 16.7 million family visitors, up 3.1% over 2012 . They spent approximately $16.5 billion.

"Curious George is a beloved and amiable character known for his adventures," said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.

The insatiably curious George will encourage family travel to NYC's beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums and parks.

NYC & Company is collaborating with 16 cultural institutions to create and distribute a Curious George activity sheet that encourages kids and their parents to use their five senses to explore each attraction, such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, New York Botanical Gardens, New York Transit Museum and Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden.

Curious George is appearing on bus shelters, on weekly social media posts highlighting fun facts about NYC, in commercials on TVs in taxis, and in digital media campaigns in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Curious George follows the five family ambassadors for NYC that preceded him: Where's Waldo in 2013, the Muppets in 2012, the Smurfs in 2011, Dora the Explorer in 2010 and Sesame Street in 2009.

— Gay Nagle Myers 

Cayman Islands serves up ice cream in NYC

(Caribbean) Permanent link
Cayman Islands ice cream truckThe timing could not be better. With temperatures soaring into the high 80s this week, turning New York into a true melting pot, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism took to the streets, dispensing free ice cream.

Trucks adorned with scenes of white sand, blue waters and the iconic sea turtle appeared at various locations in Manhattan, from Herald Square to Grand Central, Times Square to Washington Square Park, and Union Square to South Street Seaport.

The trucks' locations could be followed on an interactive map.

The trucks also were promoting a contest to win a free trip to the Cayman Islands.

Anyone could enter the contest by sharing their #CaymankindNYC ice cream experience Facebook or Twitter.

— Gay Nagle Myers

State tourism slogans

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New York Times columnist Gail Collins discusses state tourism slogans, saying "it’s the states’ wildly different self-images and sense of specialness that makes places like Congress so interesting."

Spirit guide

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Spirit AirlinesSpirit Airlines has been in the news for having a relatively high number of complaints lately, and the airline takes these issues seriously.

You might think that would push Spirit to try to improve its offering.


Spirit thinks the problem is that people don't understand how it works before they fly. To solve that problem, Spirit is focused on changing perceptions with a new marketing campaign, injected with a bit of humor to explain its no-frills approach.

The Miramar, Fla.-based airline is rolling out a "Less Money, More Go" campaign aimed at better explaining its fee-obsessed unbundled pricing model.

Spirit 101 is the carrier's effort to give a basic overview of how the airline works. CEO Ben Baldanza said that fares average 40% cheaper on Spirit, but admitted that added fees infuriate some flyers who often feel duped.

"We know some people say they hate Spirit, but we're going to hug the haters," Baldanza said. "Spirit offers crazy low fares by providing a completely different product than 'old school' airlines.”

Spirit typically charges extra for bags, drinks and seat assignment, and crams in more seats per aircraft than any other carrier. Spirit has even trademarked names for its products:

Bare Fares: The fares are stripped down, and include a seat on the flight. A ticket gets a customer and a personal item from A to B. To learn how to strip down and save with the Bare Fare, see Jack and Theresa at

Frill Control: Spirit lets you pay only for the options you want, like a bigger seat or a checked bag. With Spirit, you're never stuck paying for someone else's "free" bag.

Fit Fleet: A lot of people assume that Spirit, as a discount carrier, flies old airplanes that might not be that safe. In reality, Spirit's aircraft are pretty young and purchased new from the manufacturer. It makes sense that Spirit would want to stress to people that cheap doesn't mean unsafe.

Plane Simple: In this case, Spirit is talking about its cramped seating and lack of amenities onboard. Yes, seats are packed and they don't recline. No, WiFi is not offered and there are no video screens. But that’s how Spirit keeps costs down and fares low.

-- Gay Nagle Myers
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