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Air Travel Without The Air Travel – Airline-Themed Experiences For The AV Geek

Do you like to fly, except for the whole “leaving the ground” bit? Don’t have the time, or perhaps I’ve put you off with my cautionary tales of bed bugs and stinky people? Well, don’t let that stop you from geeking out on all the glamour and excitement of the air travel! Here are some ways to enjoy your air travel TSA- and turbulence-free.

Jumbo Stay Hotel – Stockholm, Sweden


A 33-room hotel built in a decommissioned Boeing 747-200 outside Arlanda Airport in the beautiful city of Stockholm, The Jumbo Stay, in its flying days, served Singapore Air and Pan Am before being bought by a Swedish regional carrier which later went bankrupt. The Jumbo Stay transformed into a hotel in 2009, which includes rooms such as the Cockpit Suite, for those who prefer the pilot’s eye view, and the ominously named but cheerfully decorated Black Box suite, both of which start at 1895 SEK/night (approx. $200) and offer flatscreen tvs and ensuite bathrooms. The more basic rooms, which start at 975 SEK/night (approx. $105), feature communal bathrooms, which are much more pleasant than the ones shared at 35,000 feet.

Hotel Costa Verde – Punterenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica

The Hotel Costa Verde is a high end San Jose-area resort which offers a two bedroom suite constructed from a 1967 Boeing 727, overlooking both the ocean and jungle. The interior is rebuilt with local Costa Rican teak wood, and features factory airplane windows all the modern conveniences including air conditioning. Overly talkative seatmates might not be desperately seeking your attention on this aircraft, but the same can’t be said for monkeys, which inhabit the national park where the hotel resides. Rates for this luxury experience run at about $500 in the high season.

The Pan Am Experience – Los Angeles, CA

Do you get really, desperately sad witnessing people board flights in pajamas? Do you wish your two-hour flight featured a four-course meal instead of three sips of Coke in a tiny cup and a $20 can of Pringles? Or are you a flight attendant who is going to snap if one more passenger refuses to remove his headphones while you are trying desperately to communicate with him, even though he is screaming responses to every question you aren’t asking? (Not that I’m referring to myself, here.) Well, pretend that modern times aren’t horrible and board the Pan Am Experience. This Pan Am 747 replica is located at Air Hollywood’s Los Angeles studio, which is a working airline-themed movie set but hosts the event between film projects. Guests are treated to a full-service inflight multi-course meal service provided by “stewardesses” dressed in retro Pan Am uniforms and served on real airline china. The complete experience is recreated as accurately as possible in every detail. Reservations are required and is only available on select dates. Tickets run from $245-690.

If that’s a little bit more buttoned-up and pricey than you like, then say no more – if you happen to be in New Zealand, anyway…

McDonalds – Taupo, NZ

When McDonald’s bought the Aeroplane Car Company in 1990 to build a new restaurant, along with the site came the dealership’s mascot for which is was named – a 1943 DC-3 aircraft which was all intact, but rusting on the lot. Today, owner Eileen Byrne has lovingly rebuilt the cabin using cheerful McDonald’s colors for customers to eat their meals in. The cockpit, which is completely intact, is closed off with a plexiglass door to keep thieves or greasy young toddler hands off of the vintage, collectible equipment. However, she will happily unlock the door for supervised visits from true aficionados.

Skypak Airline Trolleys

There is nothing more evocative to air travel than the trolley. Despite being my frustrating assistant on the job, which I regularly abuse by kicking shut and swearing at when the wheels don’t swivel how I need them to, I still would be thrilled to take one home and use one as a little bar. So, for crazy people like me out there, Germany’s Skypak took the banged-up, utilitarian beverage cart and redesigned it for home use. These gorgeous creatures will keep elbows and knees bruise-free and let you play hostess while allowing you to stay home. Pre-designed models start at $1,499, although Skypak also will help customers design their own for an additional fee. And if these fancy versions are more than you need, the plain old plane-old trolleys are readily found on sites like eBay and Etsy.

Looptworks upcycled leather airline bags

If you like fine, handmade leather bags, and don’t mind carrying around something that hundreds of people have sat (and heaven knows what else) on, then Looptworks has just the satchel for you. Featuring leather which used to cover seats on Southwest and Alaska Airlines, Looptworks offers surprisingly beautiful designs on products ranging from duffel bags to wallets. I love the idea of “upcycling” what would have otherwise gone to waste, and the bags are beautiful and well made, but being a flight attendant, I think I’ve just seen so much that I don’t really know how to feel about this one. Bags start at $160.

Comments are Closed.
CitizenWorld January 6, 2017

I'm a pretty serious avgeek who mostly flies out of pcket for leisure but I can't see the appeal in any of the above. For me, flying is more than just about being within an aircraft environment, it's about the idea of 'traveling' somewhere exciting. This seems more like airline dress-ups.

xaliasx December 1, 2016


AAJetMan November 30, 2016

Love it!!!!! Especially the Sweden hotel!