A young kiddo wearing a santa hat and rides an airplane rocking horse and poses next to a christmas tree topped with a captain's hat.
An enthusiastic Jr. AvGeek is ready for the holidays – Photo: JL Johnson

Every year I’m told that folks like me are hard to shop for. This is surprising since a big part of the whole “AvGeek thing” is travel. So if you’re in a rush, or you’ve been sent this article by the plane nerd in your family, it’s quite simple: Travel.

Travel is the best gift you can give an AvGeek. That’s it. But don’t take it just from me. Numerous studies conclude that money spent on experiences has a bigger impact on happiness than money spent on physical things.

“Create memories, not clutter.”

Marie Kondo (probably, sounds like something she’d say)

Before folks run to the comments, travel doesn’t have to be expensive. With a gift card of whatever value to someone’s airline of choice, or a contribution towards an experience (like those below), I am confident your gift would be appreciated by your AvGeek(s). For those who want to dig into the exciting stuff, meet us below the line…

AvGeek Gift Ideas- Travel on Unique Planes

The Dornier 328JET has been on my to-do list for literally decades. Only 110 were built. Thankfully, there are still a few opportunities to fly them domestically in the U.S. Check out Denver Air Connection (DAC) or its new parent company Key Lime Air for details and routes. The number of 328JET operators has dwindled over the past few years so there is some urgency around enjoying this goofy looking bird before they are all gone. As for us, we’re hoping to cross this one off our list as early as this spring. Tickets on Denver Air Connection’s MSP-IWD (Ironwood, Michigan) J328 route can be purchased for as low as $110 each way.

RELATED: Check out this DAC review from our friend Jeremy over at Runway Girl Network.

A Vintage Tri-Motor takes to the Sky at OshKosh – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

The Ford Tri-Motor – also known as the “tin goose” – is another rarity. Fewer than 200 were produced when the final one rolled off the line way back in 1933. The fine folks over at the EAA generally take a Tri-Motor on tour across the U.S. each year. According to their site, tickets are $55 for those 17 and under, and $80-85 for adults. While tickets aren’t yet on sale for the 2023 season, an IOU is sure to be welcomed by any AvGeek. Bonus points for giving folks something to look forward to. Flying onboard a nearly 100-year-old plane is an amazing experience, and one we highly recommend.

RELATED: Ford Tri-Motor Flight Review

Beautiful Kenmore Air de Havilland Canada Beaver seaplane (N6781L) coming to pick me up at Friday Harbor
Beautiful Kenmore Air de Havilland Canada Beaver seaplane (N6781L) at Friday Harbor

Flying onboard a Seaplane is another experience that has long been on my to-do list. My AvGeek wife and I had tickets for a Kenmore-operated seaplane excursion while visiting Seattle a few years ago. Unfortunately, the weather got in our way so this fun experience remains on our to-do list. Kenmore is not the only domestic seaplane operator, you might also consider gifting a flight aboard Tropic Ocean Airways or Tailwind.

RELATED: Check out our Kenmore and Tailwind reviews

Doc, one of only two airworthy Boeing B-29 bombers left in the world, rests after a media flight at Boeing Field in Seattle on May 17, 2022 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

What about tickets to fly onboard a B-29 Bomber? There are presently two organizations in the U.S. with airworthy B-29s. Doc’s Friends sells gift certificates for this unique experience, with prices ranging between ~$600 and ~$1,500 depending on seating preference. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) sells tickets onboard FiFi (and many other historic aircraft) for fares ranging between ~$700 and ~$1,900. As an added bonus, CAF’s 2023 flight schedule is already loaded.

RELATED: Our B-29 “Doc” Flight Review

AvGeek Gift Ideas- New(ish) Airlines

Two Breeze Planes and Southwest's Missouri One at TPA.
Two Breeze Planes and Southwest’s Missouri One at TPA

Breeze Airways began operation during the summer of 2021 and has since grown to an airline serving 35 destinations. Breeze is also one of only three U.S. airlines operating the still new and exciting Airbus A220.

RELATED: Our Breeze Airways Review

N702VL, a former Southwest 737-700 departs BUR in September, 2021.
N702VL, a former Southwest 737-700 departs BUR in September, 2021. – Photo: JL Johnson

Avelo Airlines began operations during the summer of 2021 and now serves 34 destinations. Their fleet is comprised of super common (also see: boring) 737s, so the uniqueness here would be solely on flying a new airline.

RELATED: Our Avelo Airlines Review

Your Love Cloud experience awaits – Photo: Love Cloud

Love Cloud isn’t exactly an airline, but they do offer unique flights out of Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This organization caters to… “Romantically inclined” flyers, so this would be a great gift for friends or an AvGeek spouse/couple. A random browsing of their site shows flights for two around L.A. airspace start at around $1,100. Bonus partners can join in on the fun for an extra $200. What a deal!

RELATED: Ha-ha, you expected a link to a review? No one on the AR staff has done this one… Yet.

AvGeek Gift Ideas Conclusion

We hope this list offers some great ideas for your AvGeek family and friends. While some of these are a bit pricey, it’s important to note that even an earmarked contribution to one of the above experiences would likely be appreciated. As a bonus, thought really does count, so we are confident the AvGeek(s) in your life will love you for taking time to learn a bit about the unique travel opportunities currently on the market.

Did we miss any unique experiences? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Managing Correspondent - Lee's Summit, MO. JL joined AirlineReporter in 2012 and has since become one of our most tenured and prolific writers. He enjoys catalyzing AvGeek excitement in others, and semi-frequent travel. While he's always looking for the next big adventure, home is with his growing AvGeek family in Lee's Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. Find JL on Mastodon. Email: jl@airlinereporter.com

Exploring Etihad’s Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi
2 Comments

I love these legit gifts that AvGeeks will love, not just your run of the mill stuff you can find on amazon. I might be hinting some of these not only for Christmas, but any random reason a person might want to get me a gift… or I might want to get myself a gift (not the last one though… it is very cool, but as a single guy, it would be weird)

I would love to have a Havilland Canada Beaver seaplane (N6781L) too.

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