Flying in the Belly of the Blimp

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a … dirigible? Zeppelin NT is now offering scenic rides over southern Germany. Floating serenely over forests and lakes, the aircraft delivers a taste of the romance and luxury enjoyed a century ago by transatlantic air barons. It carries just 12 people, is kept aloft by nonflammable helium and sports giant picture windows that offer breathtaking 360-degree vistas. As long as a Boeing 747, the mammoth ship lifts off from Friedrichshafen, the lakeside town where Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin invented his famous flying machine in 1900. A "Diamond" flight tour includes three nights at a four-star hotel in nearby Meersburg, all meals, a 90-minute flight and tours of the Zeppelin hangar and museum. The company also runs spectacular day and night flights over Tokyo, with tours of London and San Francisco planned for this year or next. For guilt-free cruising, the company will even offset your carbon emissions (€1,475 per person for the Diamond tour;