In my msnbc.com column this week –Fresh airport amenities make the wait fly by – I offered a run-down of some of the programs and services air travelers can take advantage of this summer.
One amenity that didn’t make it into the story is self-service ice-cream sundae machine at Boston Logan International Airport.
Using a touchscreen, customers choose a flavor (12 are available) and a mix-in. The machine then prepares and delivers the dessert. Boston Logan Airport has two MooBella machines installed: one is at Terminal C at the Back Bay Café (Gates 11-21); the other is at Lean & Green (Gates 40-42).
If you test it out, please send a report – and a photo.
What else is fresh and new at airports this summer?
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) now has free wireless and a Passenger Chillin’ Zone with sofas, tables, chairs, ottomans and foliage (Gate D-3). Throughout the summer, PHL is also hosting a Just Plane Fun program with live music, appearances by mascots from local sports teams, contests and other activities.
From now through the end of August, Miami International Airport is throwing weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) parties with a different theme each week. This weekend’s theme is Havana Nights, with domino tables, mojito demonstrations, a DJ, rumba dancing and cigar rolling. August 20-23 you’ll find a flamenco dance show, Latin food sampling and more.
At Los Angeles International Airport, the outdoor observation deck on top of the Theme Building in the center of the airport is finally open. Closed since 9/11, and during the building’s $12.3 million renovation and earthquake retrofit, the deck is open weekends, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free telescopes offering great views of arriving and departing aircraft, the airport grounds and the surrounding area. Pink’s, an iconic Hollywood hot dog stand, has also opened a branch in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
At Outagamie County Regional Airport (ATW) in Appleton, Wisconsin, they’re still lining up to get candy from the giant purple machine with flashing lights.
Located pre-security, the Willy Wonka candy machine is one of 25 such machines in the country (there’s one at the Mall of America) and is currently the only one at an airport.
Passengers had so much fun during the special events held at Vancouver International Airport during the 2010 Winter Olympics games that the airport decided to host Take-off Fridays festivals all summer, complete with face painting, DJs spinning music, prize drawings, meal specials and frees samples from a variety of airport shops.
And San Francisco International Airport is presenting You are Hear concerts again this summer. Performances take place every Friday through August 28th between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at three different stages in the airport. This week the line-up includes Quinteto Latino in the International Terminal, Lavay Smith & The Red Hot Skillet Lickers in the United hub and, in Terminal 1, Threeocracy. See the SFO website for the full season schedule.