Week in travel: Sweden admits meatballs are Turkish

And a London-Perth flight keeps on breaking speed records, while Scotland opens a real-life Hogwarts, and JetBlue flies pizzas from New York to Los Angeles…

The promise that their furniture is “easy to assemble” and that all screws and socket heads are “included inside the package” are not the only misconceptions Ikea will tell you. Apparently, the famous Swedish meatballs most families crave during their shopping sprees are far less Swedish than expected.  

The Scandinavian country has now officially recognised that the supposedly traditional dish comes from Turkey.

“Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century,” an official Swedish Twitter account has revealed. “Let’s stick to the facts!”

The king of Sweden, once known as the Lion of the North and the Swedish Meteor, experienced the spicy balls of minced beef and lamb, köfte, for the first time during his retreat to Moldova after an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Russia. Moldova was then part of the Ottoman empire, with its capital Istanbul.

And not only did Charles XII introduced köfte to Sweden when he returned, he also brought delicious Turkish coffee.

The longest non-stop flight smashes speed records

The air connection between Perth and London, currently the longest non-stop flight in the world, is still breaking records.

On Monday, the Qantas flight from the UK’s capital took only 15 hours and 45 minutes – one hour faster than scheduled. Thanks to a strong jetstream the average speed for the journey was 938 km/h. But just before the aircraft was reaching Perth its speed reached 1114 km/h. The typical cruising speed for a 787 is 900 km/h.

The Qantas flight between London and Perth keeps breaking records — Shutterstock Sweden admits meatballs are Turkish
The Qantas flight between London and Perth keeps breaking records — Shutterstock

Even the return flight to London is getting faster. On Wednesday, it took only 16 hours and 55 minutes, 25 minutes faster than usual.

According to Qantas chief technical pilot Alex Passerini, the wind plays a key role in the prediction of the flight time as the heavy streams could cause significant disruptions over air traffic control regions run by various countries.

“It is the most technically challenging route that Qantas flies today because of that complexity of the airspace that we deal with and some of the challenges that poses,” he said.

“It is very complex but we have a great team, very experienced and they do their jobs very well, so they contribute very significantly to the outcome of those flights.”

The London-Perth connection won’t be the world’s longest for too long, as Singapore Airlines are about to kick off their New York-Singapore route.

Scotland about to open a real-life Hogwarts-themed school

Harry Potter’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will finally be open to muggles, as Loretto School in Edinburgh, Scotland, is to organise a Hogwarts-like display for all visitors this summer.

The school will hold a three-day-long event featuring Quidditch matches, Dark Arts classes, wand-duelling lessons and cosplay competitions. Hungry Potterheads will also have the option to explore the flavours of chocolate frogs.

The real-life Hogwarts will also welcome actors from Harry Potter movies, such as Stanislav Ianevski (who plays Bulgarian hunk Viktor Krum), Josh Herdman (who stars as Malfoy’s sidekick), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), and Slytherin’s own Gregory Goyle.

The magic extravaganza runs from 3 to 5 August 2018, and tickets are already on sale.

Southwest launches new connections to Hawaii from 4 Californian cities

West-coasters will have far more opportunities to reach Hawaii as Southwest has announced launching new routes from four California cities: Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose.

The carrier will also operate at four Hawaiian airports – in Honolulu (island of Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Lihue (Kauai) and Kona (Hawaii’s Big Island).

The launch of the service has been long anticipated. Southwest announced the plans to connect the US mainland with Hawaii in 2017 but hasn’t yet set the particular date.

“The way we plan to serve Hawaii requires us to share these initial details now so that our facilities in the airports will be ready for all that we intend to offer,” Southwest president Tom Nealon said in a statement.

“We’re on-track with our plans to sell tickets this year and are respectfully engaged in the process to receive FAA authorization to operate between the mainland and the Islands.”

Shares in rival Hawaiian Airlines tumbled 6.5 per cent when the news broke.

JetBlue to deliver pizza from New York to Los Angeles

Not only can Californians soon sunbathe while wearing a grass skirt and playing the ukulele, they now have the option to order a transcontinental pizza delivery.

On Wednesday next week, American carrier JetBlue will launch their “coast to coast. Crust to crust” operation. The airline will ship pizza from New York’s Patsy’s Pizzeria of East Harlem straight to Los Angeles, enabling Californians to taste a bit of the East coast.   

“From 9 May to 11 May a limited quantity of 350 pizzas will be available for purchase each day. We’ll deliver to select areas in LA, right to your door,” the airline said.

“So act fast – ordering opens daily at 12:00 AM PDT.”

You can order a freshly baked cheese and pepperoni pizza here.