Harriet Baskas

World’s Best Airports – and the cleanest

The 2017 Skytrax World Awards have been announced and – no surprise – Singapore Changi Airport has been named as the World’s Best Airport for the fifth consecutive year.  The Crown Plaza Changi Airport was also named Best Airport Hotel – again.

Awards were announced in a wide variety of other categories – including cleanest airports and most improved.

A few of those lists are below. You can see the all the awards here.

The World’s Top 10 Airports

  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  3. Incheon International Airport
  4. Munich Airport
  5. Hong Kong International Airport
  6. Hamad International Airport
  7. Chubu Centrair Nagoya
  8. Zurich Airport
  9. London Heathrow Airport
  10. Frankfurt Airport

The World’s Cleanest Airports

  1. Tokyo Haneda
  2. Seoul Incheon
  3. Centrair Nagoya
  4. Taiwan Taoyuan
  5. Tokyo Narita
  6. Singapore Changi
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Zurich
  9. Kansai Osaka
  10. Doha Hamad

The World’s Most Improved Airports

  1. Soekarno–Hatta
  2. Hamad Doha
  3. Houston IAH
  4. Delhi
  5. Haikou Meilan
  6. Guangzhou
  7. Phoenix
  8. Tokyo Narita
  9. Paris CDG
  10. Los Angeles

The World’s Best Airport Hotels

  1. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
  2. Pullman Guangzhou Airport
  3. Hong Kong Sky City Marriott
  4. Hilton Munich Airport
  5. Regal Airport Hong Kong
  6. Langham Place Beijing
  7. Fairmont Vancouver Airport
  8. Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain
  9. Hilton Frankfurt Airport
  10. Sofitel Heathrow

The World’s Best Regional Airports

  1. Centrair Nagoya
  2. Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky
  3. Hamburg
  4. Denver
  5. Cologne / Bonn
  6. Durban King Shaka
  7. London City
  8. Dusseldorf
  9. Xi’an
  10. Gimpo

Fresh art at Denver International Airport

It’s easy to miss the Terminal Gallery at Denver International Airport, but it’s in the main Jeppesen Terminal, near the north security checkpoint, on level 5.

The space is used for changing exhibitions and through June 2017 the gallery is filled with work by Colorado metal sculptor Kevin Robb, who works in bronze and stainless steel.

On display are large photographic wall murals that give you a taste of some of the art’s monumental  public art pieces and his smaller, more intimate works.

(Photos courtesy Denver International Airport)

 

Flying somewhere? Winter Storm Stella may stop you.

Spring flowers are showing off their beauty in many parts of the country, but in the Midwest and Northeast United States there’s a blizzard on its way and that means thousands of canceled flights and big hassles for travelers trying to get from here to there.

Your airline may have already preemptively canceled your flight in advance of Winter Storm Stella – or may be about to.

Or your airline may be encouraging you to cancel your plans yourself – with the help of a change fee waiver – and fly another day.

Here are links to the current winter weather alerts from many airlines. In most cases you can make one change to your travel plans without incurring a change fee.

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

Frontier Airlines

JetBlue

Southwest Airlines

Spirit

United Airlines

Virgin America

As always, it’s a good idea to keep checking with your airline for updates and changes as the storm moves through.  Stay safe.

 

SXSW-bound? Start with music at Austin’s airport

If you’re headed to Austin for this year’s SXSW festival – lucky you!

If you’re flying to Austin for this year’s SXSW festival you’ll be able to get started on hearing great live, local music right away.

In addition to the 21 regularly-scheduled live music performances offered weekly in various spots in the terminal, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has added some extra shows to welcome arriving fans on March 13 and 14 and send them off on March 20.

Here are the extra shows:

Mon., March 13:
Akina Adderley (Classic-Soul) – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Jeff Plankenhorn (Blues/Soul/Rock/Roots) – 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tues., March 14:
Miss Lavelle White (Austin Queen of the Blues) – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Barbara Nesbitt (Folk/Rock/Americana/Country) – 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Mon., March 20:
Jackie Venson (Soulful Indie Blues) – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Cornerstone (Reggae/Soul/Jazz) – 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

And here’s the link to the full music schedule at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. 

(Photo above courtesy: Sandy Stevens; Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)

Let’s all go to the movies – at the airport

 

My ‘At the Airport’ column for USA TODAY this month is all about airports where travelers can watch movies.  All the time and on special occasions.

Here’s a slightly abbreviated version of that column:

In February, Oregon’s Portland International Airport hosted the official opening of a free microcinema on Concourse C.

A branch of the city’s historic Hollywood Theatre movie palace, the new Hollywood Theatre at PDX has a bright, 1920s-inspired neon marquee, seating for 17 (but capacity for 49) and a $200,000 state-of-the-art projection and sound system isolated from the roar of the planes and the shaking of the airport building.

The cinema replaces a rarely used post-security service center. Now, instead of sitting at work tables with power outlets, passengers can use this space to watch an hour-long reel of G-rated short films by Oregon filmmakers that will run around the clock and be refreshed quarterly.

The opening program reel includes the premier of an animated film, a music video, a documentary, mini-shorts about Portland by local film students and more than a half-dozen other features.

More airport cinemas

Portland International isn’t the only airport to offer movies to passengers who have a bit of extra time to spend at the airport.

At the end of 2014, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport opened its “See 18” Screening Room near gate C18 to show short films, documentaries, music videos and art programming by Minnesota filmmakers and shot predominantly in Minnesota.

All films are under 10 minutes, run 24/7, are curated by The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul and are refreshed three time a year.

Elsewhere, Lithuania’s Vilnius Airport promotes its free ‘cinema hall’ showing work by Lithuanian filmmakers and there’s a Cinema Time screening room showing a wide variety of free films at the Vaclav Havel Prague Airport.

Terminal 3 – Transit – Movie Theatre – Interior

Singapore’s Changi Airport has two 24-hour movies theatres (in Terminals 2 and 3) offering free screenings of full-length movies for passengers, with a line-up that currently includes ‘Star Trek Beyond,’ ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses,’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings.’ And there are movie theaters selling tickets to recent films in the public areas of Hong Kong International Airport, South Korea’s Incheon Airport and a few others.

Special screenings  

Airports without dedicated film-screening spaces have dabbled with movies events as well.

While the Toronto International Film Festival was underway in 2010, passengers at Toronto Pearson International Airport could watch movie trailers from the festival in a pair of 10×10-foot pop-up screening rooms. Free popcorn was provided each night.

https://vimeo.com/14827161

For the past three summers, Germany’s Dusseldorf Airport has hosted an outdoor cinema to show blockbusters on a giant screen set up on a concourse rooftop, with wireless headphones for each moviegoer. The series returns in July with ten screenings.

During 2016, Denver International Airport showed free outdoor movies on the outdoor plaza between the main terminal and the Westin Denver International Airport as part of a “Film on the Fly” series.

No program is set yet for 2017, but the 2016 line-up included “Top Gun”, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

And, at San Francisco International Airport, in Interim Boarding Area B, a selection from Laurie O’Brien’s Peephole Cinema features silent film shorts inspired by travel and the writings of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.

Back to the Future

While an airport movie theater may seem like a fresh new amenity, the idea is far from brand new.

From the early 1950s into the mid-1970s, there was a ‘regular’ movie theater – the Skyport Cinema – showing first-run films at Pittsburgh International Airport.

And when the new Dallas/Fort Worth International airport opened in January 1974, “all the major airlines moved their operations there from Love,” said Bruce Bleakley, director of the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, “That left a big empty terminal with only Southwest flying its 8-10 flights a day.”

In November 1975, a developer turned the terminal lobby into an entertainment center with three movie theaters, skating rinks, and other activities and called it the Llove Entertainment Center, said Bleakley, but the complex was closed by May 1978.