Travel: Amtrak rail pass; American invests in electric plane start-up; Southwest adds Syracuse flights; Water brand promotes arts at PHL

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Amtrak is offering a  nationwide rail pass for a limited time.

The  USA Rail Pass is for sale for  $299 and is valid for up to 10 segments over 30 days of travel. 

The pass is available for sale through June 22 and is not available on all routes. With the pass, a passenger could travel from coast to coast while making stops along the way.

Once the ticket is purchased, you have 120 days to complete the travel in coach class. Once the ticket is first used, the passenger has 30 days to use up the pass.

The pass is not available for Acela trains.

The Amtrak pass harkens back to promotions that came after the deregulation of the airline industry. 

American agrees to buy electric taxi  planes from UK start-up

American Airlines will buy planes and make an investment  in Vertical Aerospace, a  UK-based  engineering and aeronautical business developing electric vertical takeoff and landing  aircraft. American operates a hub in Philadelphia.

As part of its investment in Vertical, American has agreed to pre-order, subject to certain future agreed upon milestones and other terms, up to 250 aircraft, representing a potential pre-order commitment of $1 billion, and an option to order an additional 100 aircraft.

The airline also expects to make a $25 million investment. Vertical has announced a $2 billion stock offering and has already attracted other investors that include Microsoft and Honeywell. 

Vertical is developing the VA-X4, a zero-carbon aircraft that can carry four passengers and a pilot, and fly at speeds of  up to 200 mph with a range of over 100 miles. 

The  aircraft could potentially transport customers  from  city centers and suburbs  to airports. Vertical plans to conduct its first test flight of the VA-X4 later this year, with certification of the aircraft as early as 2024.

American, like nearly  all airlines, is looking at ways to become greener, since passenger jets and related activities are a sizable source of greenhouse gases.

Southwest adding Syracuse and U.S. gateway to Vancouver, BC.

Southwest Airlines Co. has added its 18th new airport since early 2020.

The pace of expansion grew during the pandemic as the discount-fare airline added smaller cities, often near outdoor attractions. Examples include Steamboat Springs, CO (skiing and scenery), Fresno, CA (Yosemite), and Bozeman, MT (Yellowstone).

In most cases, connections to these destinations are available from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The airline announced service to Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York, beginning on Nov. 14.

Syracuse will become the 121st airport for Southwest. 

Southwest initially will offer up to three daily flights each way between Syracuse and Baltimore/Washington, allowing upstate New York  travelers to reach more than 50 destinations across the Southwest network on the same plane or via connecting service. 

The service will not be of much interest to  Delaware travelers since Southwest is not likely to add service from Philadephia. In addition, Syracuse is about a five-hour drive from northern Delaware. 

Of more interest will be connecting flights beginning in November. from Baltimore-Washington to Bellingham, WA, a gateway to Vancouver, B.C.

As previously announced, Baltimore-Washington passengers now have connecting service to Honolulu.

LIFEWTR markets water and the arts at PHIL

LIFEWTR, a premium bottled water brand from Pepsi, partnered with the Philadelphia International Airport to introduce the first-ever LIFEWTR Lounge.

 The LIFEWTR Lounge debuts as an extension of the brand’s recently announced Life Unseen platform for the arts.

LIFEWTR Lounge last month introduced travelers to LIFEWTR Presents, a new monthly video series featuring emerging local talent spanning music, film, fashion, and the visual arts.

“For many years, our award-winning Airport Exhibition Program has highlighted the outstanding work of local artists through terminal art exhibits and performances,” said airport CEO Chellie Cameron. “The LIFEWTR Lounge provides PHL with more opportunities to introduce our passengers to artists from the Greater Philadelphia region – while they are in our terminal or on their journeys.”

In addition to celebrating local artists within the lounge, LIFEWTR is also making a combined $25,000 donation to local arts organizations.

Access to LIFEWTR Presents will be available through dedicated QR codes at various touchpoints within the lounge, including digital signage, bottle hangers, and at the point of purchase, as well as PHL.org and LIFEWTR.com.

 

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