If you're an airline enthusiast, it's easy to guess what’s on your wish list this season: anything that’s emblazoned with an airline logo, especially if it's vintage.
We’d especially love a couple of authentic airline posters showing our favorite aircraft (the Lockheed Constellation, the Boeing 707 and the Vickers VC-10). And there are a few books we’ve been meaning to add to our shelves. If you’re shopping for someone who’s just plane nuts like we are, Airfarewatchdog.com has some suggestions.
1. Retro Pan Am bags
We love the retro Pan Am bags sold by Panamone.com sporting the now defunct airline’s iconic logo in classic blue and white. They’re pricey, however.
2. American Airlines logo items
For something of a newer vintage, American Airlines sells logo items in its gift shop, including retro carry on totes from the forties and fifties starting at $28.50. American's t-shirts are not that attractive, in our humble opinion, but we do like the Blue Raised Logo Cap at $17.50 with the classic AA eagle logo in red, white and blue.
3. Gifts with JetBlue Airways' logo
Over at style-conscious JetBlue, you’ll find dozens of items subtly decorated with the airline’s logo, such as a laptop computer sleeve ($35), or a dog collar with the airline’s blue windowpane treatment ($7.99) and a pack of 50 stickers of various designs ($11.50).
4. Delta Air Lines gifts
How about a Delta crew tag or a nifty mug with a retro Delta logo ($4.99) from the Delta online store (for crew and passengers), where you’ll find a ton of Delta logo items and other useful gifts.
5. Airline-logo T-shirts
Airline-logo T-shirts, particularly t-shirts bearing vintage logos, are always fun. One of the best selections we’ve found is at Transportation Hobby Collectibles Online, which has a huge selection of t-shirts bearing the logos and pictures of airlines such as Braniff International, Pacific Southwest Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, and many other historic and current U.S. carriers. The company also has a sizable selection of t-shirts bearing historic and current logos for international airlines, including a T-shirt featuring the unforgettable "Royal Nepal Airlines Yeti Service!"
6. Airline and aircraft posters
Then there are posters, of course. Real (as opposed to reproduction) vintage airline posters sell for hundreds of dollars from shops such as International Posters in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-based Art and Posters Worldwide and New York’s Chisholm Larsson Gallery, but you can buy high quality repros for much less. Flyingclippers.com sells some classics. We’d give almost anything to own the originals, but many of them are almost impossible to find at any price. The site also sells aircraft models, books, and videos.
7. Air travel-related books
Books are another good idea. We got a kick out of "Airline Design" ($16.47 from Amazon), a beautifully illustrated tome showing the best and sometimes worst of airline uniforms, cabin interiors, and other design elements over the years. Or there’s "Design for Impact: Fifty Years of Airline Safety Cards", chronicling 50 years of seat-back safety and “seat occupied” cards ($19.80 from Amazon). For the little ones (or even curious adults) there’s the "Noisy Airplane Ride" by Mike Downs and David Gordon ($6.95), which explains all those curious sounds an airplane makes before, during, and after takeoff.
8. Airliner models
How about an airplane model for the aviation enthusiast on your list? A real Airbus A380 would cost you about $300 million, but a 1:200 scale model from Herpa Wings will set you back a mere $79.95 at The Airplane Superstore in Windermere, Fla., and can be ordered online from the store.
9. Vintage airline memorabilia
Authentic vintage memorabilia, such as playing cards, cabin service dinnerware and uniforms, also make a great gift. One way to find items is to do a search on eBay (“BOAC bag” for example, or “Pan Am crew tag”), but you can also buy them on sites such as CabinClass.com. A recent search there would have come up with a wonderful American Airlines hat box circa 1950 — was this for stewardesses to put their caps in or a giveaway to frequent passengers? — in fine condition for $125 and a vintage Continental Airlines woolen blanket for $60.
10. Other great ideas
Do none of these ideas fuel your jets? You’ll find lots of other great ideas by following the links in the aviation memorabilia and collectibles area of the Web site Thirty Thousand Feet. We wish everyone a peaceful holiday season.