Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

“Inspiration of Japan” – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Air travel is a unifying force that brings people together. At the same time, it can be a great way to experience the differences between countries or cultures. I got to do just that during a trip to Japan, which had long been at the top of my destination list. My time on the ground exploring Japan’s teeming cities was amazing, but I also enjoyed experiencing Japan’s aviation world and how – in many ways – it differed from what I was used to in the U.S.

Read on for my two cents – or, rather, two Yen – on flying around Japan with one of its two flagship airlines: All Nippon Airways (ANA).

Coinciding with the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, Alaska Airlines has unveiled its newest special livery, a patriotic-themed scheme titled “Honoring Those Who Serve.”

The Oct. 26 event had all the seriousness and dignity of a military function, and attention was called to the airline’s Fallen Soldier Program, which is designed to ensure that a fallen soldier’s remains are treated with respect and dignity while being transported on Alaska’s aircraft. The livery includes a special crest near the rear cargo door that represents the program.

The event was held inside Alaska's huge maintenance hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The event was held inside Alaska’s huge maintenance hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The brand-new 737-900ER (registration number N265AK) entered revenue service the following day, and will be used across Alaska’s network.

Welcome to the KLM Pop-Up – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Welcome to the KLM Pop-Up – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

KLM: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … radio station, maybe? Actually you were right the second time. But despite its proud 97-year history in aviation, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines isn’t a recognizable brand name for some Americans (AvGeeks excluded, of course).

To fix that issue, the folks at KLM were excited to spread the word about their airline’s onboard product and customer service ethic. The result – a “pop-up” that just made an appearance in downtown San Francisco – featured seat demos, interactive displays, a chance to win flight tickets, and even a dose of virtual reality. What more could any aviation enthusiast ask for?

Join AirlineReporter as we count down our top five favorite parts of the KLM San Francisco Pop-Up.

Don't forget to grab a Dutch stroopwafel on the way in – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

Don’t forget to grab a Dutch stroopwafel on the way in – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter

An airport worker opens a cargo door on Hainan Airlines' Kung Fu Panda 787-9 as it arrives on its first visit to the U.S.

An airport worker opens a cargo door on Hainan Airlines’ Kung Fu Panda 787-9

A group of 97 students from Lincoln High School, in Tacoma, Wash., recently traveled to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is pretty awesome.

What’s even more awesome for AvGeeks was the aircraft that Hainan Airlines selected for the students’ return flight to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): a shiny new 787-9 decked out in a new Kung Fu Panda livery.