Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads StuckatTheAirport.com, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.
 
runways

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.

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How to cut costs on airports parking

valet parking iconHow often have you spent hours scouring websites for savings on airfares and hotel rooms only to get dinged with sky-high costs for parking at the airport.

If you know where to look, you can often find deep discounts, free parking and, in some cities, even get paid for parking your car at or near the airport.

Near the airport

Private parking lots with airport shuttle services ring just about every airport but can differ in price, security, convenience and added perks provided.

To get an overview of deals and discounts on lots near your airport, check comparison websites such AirportParkingReservations.com or CheapAirportParking.com.

Discount coupons for airport parking lots also can be found online, in newspapers and travel magazines, on Groupon-type sites and through membership clubs such as AAA, AARP and Costco.

Many lots will offer discounts for reserving, and in some cases, paying for your parking spot ahead of time. But even if you’re only shopping by cost, be sure the lot you choose is well-lit, secure and offers 24-hour on-call shuttle service to and from the airport because you never know when a scheduled afternoon flight arrival will end up delayed until 2 a.m.

Some off-airport parking lots compete by offering extra services, such as complimentary jump starts and tire change or inflation. Others, such as The Parking Spot, with lots near more than 20 major airports, offer customers free newspapers, bottled water and valet service.

Many off-airport lots also have frequent parker programs that offer everything from preferential spots and fast check-out to free days after a set number of paid ones.

Beyond traditional off-airport lots, many hotels near airports offer stay-n-park deals which can be both economical and convenient for early morning departures. Other options include driveway-sharing apps, such as JustPark and ParkingPanda, and peer-to-peer car-sharing services such as FlightCar and RelayRides, which let you park your car for free near an airport in exchange for making your car available for rent to another driver while you’re out of town. If your car is rented out, these companies will also give you a cut of the fee.

parking lot

 

At the airport

Revenue from parking fees plays an important part in airport operating budgets.

Airports reported making approximately $3.1 billion, or 41.2 percent of their non-aeronautical revenue, from parking and ground transportation fees, according to the most recent concessions survey conducted by Airports Council International–North America.

So while the price to park closest to the airline terminal is generally higher than at off-airport lots, many airports offer discount coupons, frequent parker programs and other perks in an effort to stay competitive.

Weekly parking rates in the garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, are currently $130. But a quick search of the airport’s website brings up a coupon for a full week of parking, including taxes and fees, for just $99.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airpor
t, which earned $78 million from parking fees in 2013, offers early bag check-in for those parking in its East Economy parking facilities and discounts for prepaid parking reservations.

At Nashville International Airport, where parking fees represented 34 percent of the airport’s fiscal 2013 operating revenues, the frequent parker program offers fast access in an out of a reserved section and free parking days for earned points.

Sometimes what you drive or where you’re going can make a difference.

 

witch on motorcycle - Halloween

Long Beach Airport, for example, offers free parking for electric vehicles and throws in a free car wash for travelers who pay the $24 daily fee for valet parking.

Bicycles park for free at Portland International Airport, while in Milwaukee (home of Harley-Davidson), motorcycles park for free at General Mitchell International Airport.

Parking is always free at some smaller airports such as Chicago Rockford International Airport and Peoria International Airport and a promotion currently underway at Pittsburgh International Airport offers up to seven days of free parking for travelers flying non-stop on JetBlue or Southwest Airlines to Ft. Lauderdale between Nov. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015.

My story about saving money on airport parking first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior

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Snack Saturday: Armadillo eggs & Texas Taffy

It’s Snack Saturday – when Stuck at The Airport shares snaps of some of the yummy and/or unusual snacks we’ve spotted at airports.

Here are some armadillo eggs and Texas Taffy sold at Dallas Love Field:

TEXAS SNACKS

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May I take my pony on the plane?

The TSA has a handy “Can I bring my … through the security checkpoint” tool on its website which makes it clear that ice hockey sticks, field hockey sticks and “sports equipment that can be used as a bludgeon (such as bats and clubs) is prohibited in the cabin of the plane and must be transported in your checked baggage.”

But what about the stick ponies I spotted being sold in at least three shops at Dallas Love Field?

During my three hours hanging out at DAL earlier this week I didn’t see any small children (or adults) throwing tantrums for being relieved of their ponies at the aircraft doors, so I assume traveling with stick ponies is just fine.

But I’m still scouring the TSA app and will ask for a formal ruling…

Love Field ponies

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Restaurant Week at PHL Airport & beyond

phl restaurant week 4

From October 20 to 27, Philadelphia International Airport joins cities around the country in celebrating Restaurant Week, with pre-selected, three-course menus for $20 per person offered at these in-airport restaurants:

· Cantina Laredo (Concourse E)

· Chickie’s & Pete’s (Terminal A West, Concourses C, D & E)

· Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar (Concourse B)

· Jack Duggan’s Pub & Restaurant (Concourse A East)

· Jet Rock Bar & Grill (Concourses B & D)

· Legal Sea Foods (B/C Connector)

· Local Tavern (Terminal F)

· Re:Vive Bar (Terminal F)

· Sky Asian Bistro (Concourse C)

· Vino Volo (Terminal A West, Concourse B, B/C & D/E Connectors)

Restaurant Week at an airport is a great idea, of course. And unlike Restaurant Week in most cities, the one at PHL Airport continues through the weekend.

But a week is so short.

And your travels may not take you through PHL.

Never fear. Throughout the entire month of October, HMS Host has brought the restaurant week concept to selected restaurants in airports around the country. See the list of participating airports and restaurants here

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