Travel Unpacked: A flight with no bags on board and a Sardinian village with free rent

The National rounds up the most interesting tourism news you might have missed

A Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A220 commercial plane with registration HB-JCF is landing at Geneva Airport on June 26, 2019 in Geneva. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)
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A flight from Switzerland took off for Spain with a plane full of passengers – but left their bags behind.

Elsewhere, former world-champion tennis player Maria Sharapova has joined forces with Aman Resorts to co-create wellness retreats around the world, and parts of Emirates' first Airbus A380 are being recycled as luggage tags.

Here's a round-up of recent travel and tourism news – in case you missed it.

Emirates’ first Airbus A380 becomes baggage tags

The first Airbus A380 delivered to Emirates, in July 2008, is having its parts sold as luggage tags.

The series of tags, made from recycled aluminium from the dismantled aircraft, which flew under the registration A6-EDA, have been created by Aviationtag in partnership with Falcon Aircraft Recycling.

They're on sale on the Aviationtag website for €59.95 ($64) and are available in 62 versions, each depicting a different airport the superjumbo passed through, and divided in collections by continent. There are 380 tags per version and a total of 23,560.

The tags also come with certificates of authenticity from the Dubai airline, which retired the jet in April 2020.

Part of the profits made from the sales will be donated to the Emirates Airline Foundation, which supports disadvantaged children around the world.

Flight takes off with no bags on board

Passengers who disembarked a Swiss International Air Lines flight from Zurich to Bilbao reportedly waited two hours for their bags to appear on the airport's conveyor belt before they realised they weren't coming.

The plane had taken off from Switzerland with 111 passengers but without any checked suitcases on board. The airline said it was due to a lack of ground staff.

Following a delay, staff decided to fly without any baggage so they could return to Zurich before its airport closed for the night because of the strict night curfew, which runs between 11.30pm and 6am.

“It was possible to deliver most of the luggage to Bilbao the following day,” a representative for the airline told CNN. They added: “We deeply understand the frustration and anger of the passengers” and “are currently reviewing our processes”.

Sardinian village offers digital nomads rent-free accommodation

Ollolai, a village in central Sardinia, has launched a two-year scheme that allows remote workers to stay, one at a time, rent-free for three months. As with several other Italian towns, Ollolai has a dwindling population and an economy in need of a boost. In the past century, its number of residents has dropped from 2,250 to 1,300.

Participants will stay in houses formerly occupied by farmers and shepherds, which have been renovated to include an office and high-speed internet. Rent and municipal service taxes are covered by the municipality, although travellers do need to pay for their own transport and airfare.

They also need to have proven background as a digital nomad and share their knowledge with the local community, whether that be in the form of a conference, essay, research paper or documentary.

This week, Clarese Partis, 39, a software designer from Los Angeles, became the first digital nomad to take part in the programme. Anyone else wanting to participate must apply online before the end of the year.

Couples' retreat to run during AlUla Wellness Festival

AlUla Wellness Festival, which takes place in Saudi Arabia's ancient city of AlUla, returns for its third year next month with a line-up of activities and industry experts.

This includes a four-night couples' retreat guided by specialised therapists. The package includes one tent per couple, airport pickup and drop-off, daily meals, plus one romantic dinner in a canyon.

Partners can also participate in activities such as stargazing and a tour of Hegra, the largest conserved site of the Nabataeans south of Petra and the country's first Unesco World Heritage Site.

The festival runs from October 19 to November 4.

Maria Sharapova to co-create wellness retreats

Former world-champion tennis player Maria Sharapova has joined forces with Aman Resorts to co-create wellness retreats around the world, the first of which will take place at Amanpuri in Thailand.

The group's flagship property, which is located on a private peninsula on Phuket's west coast, will host guests for its three-night Performance and Recovery retreat in February 2024.

Sharapova will curate and mentor fellow athletes through a series of activities, dining experiences and question-and-answer sessions with experts she's worked with during her 20-year career.

She's also designed a half-day Strength and Recovery retreat for Aman New York, which is now available as an add-on for existing bookings.

Details of her other retreats are yet to be revealed.

Japan Airlines' clothes rental service goes global

Since launching in July, Japan Airlines's trial Any Wear, Anywhere service seems to be taking off, literally.

The airline says it has received requests from travellers in more than 100 countries to partake in the service, which allows them to book a set of clothes and receive it at their hotel upon arrival. Users in the US and Australia have reportedly had the highest uptake.

The service, which runs until the end of August next year, is designed to potentially cut carbon emissions by reducing the weight on the Japanese national airline's planes.

Users can log on to the project's website, choose from a few options – whether women's or men's clothing, seasonal varieties, smart or casual, tops and bottoms – and put in dates for pickup and drop-off. The clothes are either pre-owned or from company overstock.

Prices are between $34 and $48 for the whole rental period and, at the end of people's stays, the garments are returned, washed and reused.

Updated: September 25, 2023, 10:24 AM