Harriet Baskas

Oktoberfest at Frankfurt Airport

It’s Oktoberfest season and a good time to check out pubs and tap rooms in airports.

I’m making a list of some travelers’ favorites – so send in y our suggestions, please.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a layover coming up this month at Frankfurt Airport, you can grab a beer in the airport’s traditional beer tent and be entertained daily by Bavarian brass bands.  There’s evidently even a ‘high striker’ on site where guests can test their strength.

Restaurants and bistros throughout the airport are serving special Bavarian specialties, including white sausage, giant soft pretzels and one-liter mugs of fresh tap beer and there are some Oktoberfest-themed items in the shops, including this Minnie Mouse in a dirndl and Mickey Mouse in leather trousers.

Icelandair’s in-flight immersive theater experiment

Last week Icelandair tried something new: an 11-hour immersive theater production that took place on a flight from London to New York, with an on-the-ground bonus performance during a short layover in Reykjavik.

I got to ride along.

The cast was a mix of professional actors from the London theater group, Gideon Reeling, and real airline employees, including pilots, engineers, accountants, ground workers and cabin crew, who had volunteered to attend a special stage school.

The characters ranged from film stars and flight attendants from various decades to a perky party planner, a stone-faced volcanologist, a ram farmer and a pair of barefoot, beaded hippies. And the plot was built around Icelandair’s 80-year history, its can-do philosophy and themes of empowerment for women.

The show – such as it was – took place on board, as the characters mingled with passengers, telling stories about their role in what turned out to be a kooky and somewhat complicated family all headed to a party for Edda who  (spoiler alert…) never appeared.

I’m finishing up a story for NBC News about the event, but here are some snaps from the flight.

At Boston Logan Airport: Visit the 9/11 Memorial

If you happen to be traveling to or from Boston Logan International Airport today- September 11 – or anytime – keep in mind that the airport has a 9/11 Memorial that honors the passengers and crews of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 – the two planes that left Logan for Los Angeles but were hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Towers in New York.

The Place of Remembrance – near the Hilton hotel at Logan – has landscaped paths leading to a large glass cube featuring two glass panels etched with the names of every person aboard each flight.

Visitors can go inside the cube and look up at the sky through a prism of reflective panels. At night, the cube glows with a soft light.

 

(Photos courtesy Boston Logan International Airport)

Hurricanes havoc for airports and air travelers

(Photo courtesy Keene Public Library, via Flickr)

Hurricane Irma, and the two hurricanes just behind it, continue to wreak havoc for airports, air travelers and airlines in the Caribbean and – momentarily – in the southeastern United States.

As thousands of flights to and from Florida airports and others in the hurricane’s projected path are being cancelled, some airlines are rushing to add extra flights to get passengers out of Florida and the Caribbean. Many airlines are also bringing in extra supplies for recovery efforts.

Miami International Airport released a statement reminding travelers that the airport is not a designated storm shelter and that the airport’s parking garage is already at capacity.

American Airlines has issued a statement saying it is planning to wind down its operations at Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers and West Palm Beach airports on Friday afternoon, with all operations canceled through the weekend. American Airlines’ operations at Orlando International Airport were scheduled to end by 2 p.m. Saturday, with all of its Sunday flights canceled; Orlando International Airport is planning to close for all flights at 5 pm.

In advance of the shutdowns, American added 16 extra flights out of Miami, including 12 from to Dallas/Fort Worth, one to Philadelphia, and three to New York.

Other airports are adding some extra flights as well.

Regarding fares, and the rumors of price gouging, American said it has capped fares at $99 each way for Main Cabin, and $199 for the premium cabin, on direct, single leg flights to/from cities covered under the Travel Alert, which is now in place for more than 40 airports. The carrier said the fares will apply for flights out of the affected area through Sept. 17, and returning to the affected area from Sept. 10-17.

Here are links to domestic airline travel alerts. Many airlines have considerably expanded the dates and the airports included by their advisories and are adjusting them as the storms progress.

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines. More than 40 airports currently covered by the alert.

Delta Air Lines

Frontier Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines

JetBlue

Southwest Airlines

Spirit Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin America

Ice-cream flavor honors Portland Int’l Airport

Portland, Oregon-based ice-cream maker Salt & Straw  has created a special ice-cream in honor of the award-winning Portland International Airport.

Called “PDX Rainwater and Spruce Tips,” the ice-cream celebrates the experience of arriving at PDX, which Salt & Straw describes as “being swarmed by the misty rain as Mt. Hood comes into view, soaking up a deep breath of spruce-laced Pacific Northwest air, being chilled to your bones and loving every moment of it.”

To make the ice-cream, Salt & Straw simmered Doug Fir tea and spruce needles in Oregon rain water and some Jacobsen Salt (harvested from Oregon Coast) and hazelnut bark brittle made with a some local Cocanu chocolate.

Sound intriguing?

Salt & Straw will be handing out free samples of the airport-themed ice-cream at PDX Airport on Wednesday, September 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m on Concourse D.

Larger, single scoop cups of the creamy treat will be for sale at the airport  – at Tender Loving Empire and Country Cat – and in town at the Salt & Straw shops from September 13–17 to coincide with Feast Portland.

 

(Photo courtesy Salt & Straw)