Aviation Experts Select Winning Birthday Cake!


A new tradition continues for the second year with our BlueCity cake contest, honoring our 13th Birthday! After poring through numerous creative submissions, we put together a group of three of the biggest, wittiest (and snarkiest) names in aviation to help critique the cakes. Meet the panel and read their thoughts on this year’s best cakes below.

The Panel

Brett Snyder, better known as Cranky Flier, is basically the world’s biggest aviation geek, with stints at USAir, America West, United, and even Eos (remember them?!) under his belt. He lives in Long Beach and can often be spotted volunteering at LGB Airport. Despite his name, Cranky is a really nice guy. Find him at crankyflier.com or on Twitter @CrankyFlier.

Henry Harteveldt is a travel industry analyst at Hudson Crossing. A true aviation veteran, Henry worked for many years at TWA and Continental. He lives in San Francisco — but spends most of his time in airplanes — and tweets his travel industry thoughts (and lots more) from @HHarteveldt.

Benet Wilson, affectionately known as the Aviation Queen, is one of the aviation industry’s leading voices. Currently eNewsletters/Social Media Editor at AOPA, the general aviation organization, Benet was previously a journalist with Aviation Week. An airline geek at heart, Benet has worked at Delta, Mesa Air, and Rolls-Royce North America. She lives in Baltimore, where she is currently learning to fly. Check out her blog at aviationqueen.com or her Twitter feed @AvQueenBenet.

Central Baggage Service – Salt Lake City

Henry: Very clever! They obviously gave this some thought. This can’t be mistaken for any other workgroup. I didn’t see anything related to acknowledging B6’s 13th anniversary. Did I miss anything from the photo?

Benet: I give them an A for effort. The detail of this cake is exquisite and clever, considering their department. But I agree with Henry – there should have been something to acknowledge the anniversary.

Cranky: Is this supposed to be a subtle hint to customers that they should bring much smaller rollaboards? Looks good to me, but, um how much of that is edible? I’d hate to get a zipper stuck in my throat.


Benet: Yes, I live in Baltimore, so I’m admitting my bias. That said, I love this cake!! It has JetBlue (my favorite airline), crabs done tastefully AND a shout-out to my Orioles and the Super Bowl champs, the Ravens. With all that, this cake could have been so wrong. Instead, it is SO right!! They also included the Maryland state flag, which looks great and adds a nice touch.

Henry: And now from the peanut gallery. I agree with Benet. The use of towers in the cake suggests upward growth, but with discipline. The crabs and use of the sports team’s emblems provide the sense of place. The use of the JetBlue iconography is tasteful and avoids being kitschy. The cake looks delicious; I hope it tasted as good as it looked.

Cranky: Can’t say I’m a fan of serif fonts, so somebody needs to eat those little curly-q’s off the ends of the “13.” Nice use of blueberries, and the orange of the crabs fits well with the JetBlue color palette while giving a nice nod to the local delicacy. The bottom layer is great for a little hometown pride, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the cake.


Benet: Except for the tiny Texas map, this cake could have been from any station. This is Texas, kids – I want to see BIG!! A big flag, a big map, some big steer horns, or some big hair – anything that would have connected the Austin station to JetBlue. Plus there’s nothing indicating that this is an anniversary cake. But it would have been a lovely cake for Henry’s birthday party!!

Henry: Was thinking along similar lines to Benet. Beautiful cake, but could have been for the station’s opening. Any station, at that. Austin is less vulgar than the rest of Texas, so I’m less concerned about the lack of “big.” But Austin has a strong sense of personality, and that’s absent here. Austin is a bit kooky, off-beat, and progressive/forward-thinking. That is absent here. PS: For my birthday cake I’d want a Braniff (“jelly bean” colors) or TWA (double globe logo) plane. Thank you.

Cranky: This cake is a little too schizophrenic for me. I get that it’s trying to incorporate the different tails, but there’s a reason you guys don’t put all the tail designs on one airplane. Is that glob of vanilla frosting on top supposed to be sitting on Austin? Just seems kind of weird to me. But then again, those crazy cats do like to keep Austin weird…

Sarasota Bradenton

Henry: Clever concept – a big puffy cloud, which I have seen dot Gulf skies. But no identification of the anniversary, and not enough about the city beyond the words. The smiley emoticon seemed out of place amongst the words; I’d feel differently about this if JetBlue had its social marketing, e-commerce, or digital marketing teams based in the SRQ area. The cake would have been so much better if it featured a photo or map of the city, its beach areas, or even airport on it.

Benet: I am NOT feeling this one. No acknowledgement of the anniversary and if you took away the JetBlue word, I’d have no idea what this cake was about. Sarasota had such potential – where were the beaches and palm trees? Where was the Florida map? And when I saw Ringling, I thought there should have been a clown or two coming out of a car – until I discovered it was a college of art and design. This one was my least favorite, kids.

Cranky: I hate Florida, but Sarasota is the one place I’ve been that I actually liked! Then again, I went to Longboat Key and that’s not even on here. (Bumped by some silly imposter where people sleep all afternoon?) I really don’t know what half these words are in reference to. May make a lot of locals smile, but everyone else is pulling up Google.

The Winner: Baltimore!

We loved all of your cake creations, and wish that we could taste each one! While everyone is a winner, our panel has the final word:

Benet: BALTIMORE!!!!
Henry: BWI. Honorable mentions to AUS and SLC.
Cranky: Baltimore has won enough this year. Let’s hear it for the Central Baggage Office!

More cake pictures