100,000 free gifts for travelers at Denver Int’l Airport

DENVER GIFTS

If you’re traveling to, from or through Denver International Airport this holiday season and purchase a meal or a gift, be sure to keep the receipt.

The airport is giving away 100,000 free gifts to passengers who spend a one-day total of $20 or more at any single or combined retailer or restaurant in the airport.

To get a gift, take your receipt to one of the giant gift boxes (located on level 6 of the Jeppesen Terminal and in the centers of the A, B and C concourses) from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m between now and January 4.

At the gift box stations you can trade your $20 receipt for a prize.

Many of the prizes are from concessionaires right at the airport, so you might win cookies and coffee, a massage, clothing, toys or a travel-related gadget. The prizes also include passes to Denver-area attractions and travel vouchers from Spirit and Frontier Airlines and a three-night stay at the Vail Cascade Resort.

So go ahead, do some shopping and snacking at Denver International Airport and leave time to trade your receipt for a gift.

Add Comment »

Giant cuckoo clock for Portland Int’l Airport

A giant chainsaw-carved cuckoo clock is helping to keep Portland, Oregon – and its airport – weird.

PDX CLOCK

A project of Travel Portland and created for a winter tourism campaign, this cuckoo clock is 24-feet-tall, nine-and-a-half-feet wide and weighs in at 7000 pounds, making it the largest freestanding cuckoo clock in the United States.

The impossible to ignore clock has taken up residence in the south atrium of Portland International Airport and is scheduled to be there through March, 2015.

The clock is fully functioning and is adorned with chainsaw carvings representing more than a dozen Portland icons and activities, including Sasquatch, Portlandia, Mt. Hood, beer and wine, roses and timber.

sasquatch reading

Portlandia

The main carvings on the clock were all made from a single tree, an Oregon maple, and were all carved by chainsaw artist Chester Armstrong. And every hour on the hour a cuckoo (in this case, a chicken) and several other carved figures parade between two little doors that open at the top of the clock.

CLOCK face

Add Comment »

2014 round-up of best new airport amenities

Aeroplane-Hat-Alice White

Convenience is king for travelers hoping to spend as little time as possible in an airport. But for those who must hang around a while, it’s amenities that matter.

And during 2014, airports around the country introduced a wide variety of very welcome amenities for travelers.

Here’s the round-up I put together from my ‘At the Airport’ column on USA Today.

More ways to get to and from the airport – legally

Airports around the country are struggling to work out policies and permitting programs for on-demand rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The services are currently banned at several airports, but in September Nashville International Airport became the first U.S. airport to officially recognize Uber and Lyft and in October San Francisco International signed agreements with Sidecar, Lyft and UberX. A few other airports have issued permits to some Transportation Network Companies as well, and we’ll likely see this amenity added to the ground transportation options at other airports during 2015.

‘Drinks on the go’

Nashville Intl smaller

This year, Nashville International Airport (BNA) introduced “drinks on the go.” Thanks to an airport-wide beer and liquor license, passengers no longer have to sit at the bar or in a restaurant to enjoy their alcoholic beverage but can take it with them anywhere in the secure side of the terminal.

Pot and airports

Pot amnesty box installed at Colorado Spring Airport this year. Not much use, but plenty of social media mentions. Courtesy of the airport.

During 2014, shops selling recreational marijuana became legal in both Colorado and Washington and the airports in those states had to decide how – or if – they’d go about enforcing rules prohibiting passengers from taking pot to and through security checkpoints and onto planes.

Most put up signs reminding passengers of the federal laws governing travel across state lines with marijuana – or did nothing – but in January, Colorado Springs Airport installed a pot amnesty box at the security checkpoint. Few travelers seem to be using the box to dispose of unused pot, but with images of the amnesty box being snapped and shared, the airport’s social media profile is certainly higher.

Airport workouts

Travelers can rent a bike at BWI airport and ride  along the BWI Trail. courtesy BWI

During 2014, SFO airport opened its second yoga room (in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E) and following last December’s opening of a yoga room at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, in September Chicago’s Midway International Airport got a yoga space as well.

In July, Philadelphia International Airport partnered with a local fitness equipment retailer to install stationary exercise bikes at several locations throughout the airport and this year Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was among several airports adding marked walking paths inside (and sometimes outside of) its terminals.

For those who would rather exercise outdoors, in August bike-share company Zagster installed a rack of 10 reservable bikes in a rack outside the international terminal at BWI Marshall. For $5 (good for 12 hours), passengers can borrow a bike and ride it around the 12.5-mile scenic outdoor trail that encircles the airport.

Wi-Fi milestones

Travelers have come to expect unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi at airports, and in 2014, the Houston airports (IAH and HOU) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport joined the team of major airports that provide this much-appreciated amenity.

JetBlue has offered complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi in Terminal 5 at JFK for a while now, but earlier this year the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced its intention to offer free 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions for all travelers at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports.

The Port Authority and Wi-Fi provider Boingo are still working on those plans, but in a statement earlier this week said that free Wi-Fi will be available in at least one terminal at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports by month’s end, with the free 30-minute service at all terminals anticipated by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

“Complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions are now available in JFK Terminal 4 and Newark (EWR) Terminal C, with free service on target to be available at LaGuardia’s Central Terminal Building by month’s end,” according to a Boingo spokesperson.

Events

In 2014 Reno-Taho International Airport gave out free compliments on National Compliment Day.

To show off a $10 million reboot of the shops and restaurants in the post-security AIRMALL at Pittsburgh International, PIT airport invited non-ticketed visitors to come out for a one-day holiday event in early December. More than 1,500 people attended the event, which may be repeated, and “someone tweeted us asking why the San Antonio airport can’t do the same,” said PIT spokeswoman Alyson Walls.

On National Compliment Day (January 24), the staff at Reno-Tahoe International Airport set up a booth to dispense kind words to passengers. Some travelers were complimented on their choices of glasses, colorful scarves and boots, said airport spokeswoman Heidi Jared, “and booth volunteers even admired a gentleman’s ‘confident gait’ as he rushed by.”

Let’s hope the smart, charming and lovely volunteers at RNO set up that booth again this year.

Airport trading cards

STL_TradingCard_FRONT

As a gift to aviation geeks and collectors everywhere, in September, more than 20 airports around the country teamed up to create the North American Airports Collectors Series of trading cards. Each card has an iconic image of an airport on the front, fun factoids about the airport on the reverse, and are being distributed in the terminals of participating airports. Twenty-three cards are currently in the series, with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport set to begin distributing its trading card after Christmas.

And then there are amenities that aren’t necessarily airport firsts, but are proud 2014 additions for the airports that have installed them.

Seattle-Tacoma International, for example, is proud that during 2014, it not only added handy cup holders to many seating areas, but brought branches of two iconic local brands, Metsker Maps and indie music label Sub Pop, into the airport.

New kids play area at STL Airport has a rental car center

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is still giggling with delight over the children’s play area that opened in May. The 1,500-square-foot Magic House not only has a kid-sized plane and an air traffic control tower with a slide, it has car rental counters, a luggage conveyor belt and an airport screening area with a pretend x-ray machine.

At Denver International Airport -Passengers interact with the new Open Windows display

Denver International Airport is proud of the popular water bottle refill stations it installed throughout the airport terminals this year, the new on-airport pet boarding facility, and its just-plugged in “Open Windows” experimental interactive digital customer experience on Concourse B that combines 128 LED rings of light and a 3D motion-detection camera to create an 11-foot-tall interactive tower of lights that react to a person’s movement.

Did I miss your favorite new airport amenity from 2014? Please add it in the comments below.

Add Comment »

Gadget glitch at ORD Airport? The Geek Squad is there.

geek squad at ORD

Pretty much everyone travels with an electronic gadget -or three – these days, and sometimes those gadgets get finicky.

If that’s what’s happening when you’re at Chicago O’Hare International Airport from now through December 23rd, there’s free help at the ready.

Best Buy Geek Squad Agents are stationed in O’Hare’s Concourse H from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST daily offering free tech tips and gadget advice, complimentary service on handheld devices, charging stations and tablets and desktop workstations for surfing the web, playing games or shopping for last-minute gifts.

geek squad

Not near Concourse H? Don’t fret. The Geek Squad is sending agents out into the terminals will backpack charging stations and advice.

Got a gadget glitch at the ORD Shoe Hospital, the airport’s aeroponic garden or while waiting for your meal at Tortas Frontera? Tweet to @GeekSquad with #MissionORD in the message and they’ll come to you.

Add Comment »

Free Wi-Fi at JFK, LGA & EWR? Yup. Sort of.

Free Wi-FI at airport

In June, 2014 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced its intention to revise its agreement with Boingo and offer complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi for all passengers at the JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International Airport and Stewart International Airport in Newburgh by fall.

Did that happen?

Not quite yet.

According to a joint statement from the Port Authority and Boingo, existing wireless networks are currently being upgraded at the Port Authority¹s airports and “free Wi-Fi will be available in at least one terminal at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia Airports by month¹s end, with the free service at all terminals anticipated by the end of the first quarter of 2015.”

Boing spokeswoman Katie O’Neill said that complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions are currently available in JFK Terminal 4 and Newark (EWR) Terminal C, with free service on target to be available at LaGuardia¹s Central Terminal Building by the end of December.

In the meantime, O’Neill said Boingo is getting sponsors to cover some complimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions and that Amazon, Citi/AA Advantage Card, Volkswagen and American Airlines, and others are lined up to cover sessions at the airports through the end of the year.

Upgrades are also scheduled for Stewart Airport’s Wi-Fi network, sometime in the first quarter of 2015 and O’Neill said Boingo has sponsors lined for complimentary 30-minute sessions there through the end of the year.

Add Comment »

Recent Tweets

  • Subscribe to Posts Via Email or RSS

    Subscribe Via Email
    Subscribe Via RSS
  • My USAToday Airport Guides


    • See all airport guides »

  • Posts by Category

  • Browse posts on the site by category:

  • See all categories »

  • Advertisers