Harriet Baskas

Thanksgiving dinner at the airport? You can do that.

By this day next week many people will be pulling their chairs up to big Thanksgiving dinners.

But some of us may be traveling – or stuck at an airport.

Don’t worry, though. In many airports you’ll still be able to get some turkey. And in many cases, the traditional fixings that go with it.

Here are few ideas from HMSHost outlets:

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the Atlanta Chophouse (in the atrium) will be serving a  Thanksgiving menu with the choice of either deep fried Cajun turkey breast or oven roasted apple glazed pork loin, complete with dinner roll and the choices of two sides.

At Charlotte Douglat International Airport, the 1897 Market (in the atrium will be serving up roast turkey with Macaire potato hash, baby squash, gravy and cranberry and Brookwood Farms BBQ (also in the atrium) smoked turkey with sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, braised greens, turkey gravy, cranberry, and pecan pie will be on the menu.

Ikes (Terminal 1, in the airport mall) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, will be serving up its traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which include their sage roasted turkey with sage stuffing, Yukon gold mash potatoes and – a slice of pumpkin pie.

And, for those stuck at Los Angeles International Airport, consider the “The Pilgrim” sandwich at the larder at tavern (in the Tom Bradley International Terminal) which is made with roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Over Thanksgiving, many airport concessionaires will also be offering free meals or menu items to traveling military personnel. I’m gathering details on those opportunities now.

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Thanksgiving travel forecast: challenging for fliers

[My story about Thanksgiving travel first appeared on Today.com]

Whether your family will make its way over rivers and through woods or race across town to catch a plane, traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday can be hectic and stressful.

That will certainly be the case this year, as a record 28.5 million holiday travelers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines, an increase of 3 percent over Thanksgiving 2016, according to airline trade group Airlines for America.

A4A pegs the increase to a strong economy and low airfares. But while airlines are adding seats to accommodate the spike in demand, crowded airports, full airplanes and bad weather can easily turn the holiday weekend into a travel turkey.

The data teams at Google Flights and Reward Expert confirm that the busiest days to fly over this holiday will be (no surprise) Friday, November 17 and Wednesday, November 22 – before the official holiday – and Sunday, November 26, when everyone tries to make their way home.

Google Flights expects airports in 10 cities – New York City, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu – to be the busiest this holiday, while Reward Expert crunched Department of Transportation data from the past five years to predict which airports might give Thanksgiving travelers the most problems this  year.

While the Honolulu, Atlanta, Charlotte Douglas, Southwest Florida and Salt Lake City airports had the best on-time performance during Thanksgiving over the past five years, if you’re traveling through Sacramento, Houston Hobby, Oakland, Newark Liberty or San Francisco airports this year, the statistics says you’re likely to encounter delays.

Here are some tips that might make traveling during this holiday a bit smoother.

  1. Breeze through airport security

Some airport websites now have tools that report wait times at their security checkpoints, but assume lines will be longer than usual. Your best defense: get a good night’s rest and head for the airport extra early.

And keep in mind: If you haven’t yet signed up for TSA PreCheck you may still have access to some form of expedited lanes screening if you are 75 or older, 12 years or younger, in the military or a disability or medical condition.

  1. Pack for success

Thanksgiving is more about family (and eating) than showing off the latest fashions, so lighten up what you bring along and try traveling with just a carry-on.

Flying with food? Turkey (cooked or frozen) is permitted in carry-on and checked bags but check with your airline if brining a live turkey. Cakes, pies, bread, fruits and vegetables are also permitted in carry-ons, but gravy (a liquid) is not. TSA’s “Can I bring..?” tool can offer advice on other items you may want to bring along.

  1. Bring an emergency kit

Flares aren’t necessary (or allowed) in your carry-on bag, but a kit with some emergency supplies in case of a delay are advised.

Bring snacks (good options include fresh or dried fruit, nuts, energy bars and sandwiches), a refillable water bottle, charged gadgets and rechargers, books and magazines, toys for your kids and a print-out of the reservation information and phone numbers for your airline, car rental company, hotel and the friends or family members who have volunteered to pick you up.

Stash some “mad money.” If a delay gets especially infuriating you can use that cash to buy you and your traveling companions a massage, a fancy cocktail, chocolate or some other frivolous, stress-busting treat.

  1. Delights in the delays

Most people would rather get to their holiday destinations as soon as possible. But those who end up spending extra time waiting for their flights will find many airports offering holiday entertainment and many airport restaurants serving special Thanksgiving-themed dishes and full meals. And in dozens of airports there will be teams of therapy dogs and their trainers on duty to help calm jittery nerves.

Blame Trump: Alaska Airlines to drop its LA – Havana flights

Blame it on Donald Trump’s Cuba policy:

Today Alaska Airlines announced that  – effective January 22, 2018 – it will be canceling its daily flight between Los Angeles and Havana, Cuba.

The Seattle-based airline began offering the flight on January 5 of this year.

According to the airline, about 80 percent of the passengers who flew to Havana on Alaska Airlines visited under a U.S. allowance for individual “people-to-people” educational travel.

Last week, changes to U.S. policy eliminated that category of Cuba travel and, as a result, the airline said it will redeploy the aircraft and other resources it had been devoting to the Havana route to other markets instead.

“Travel is about making connections, and we were honored to have played a role in helping people make personal connections by traveling between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines, in a statement, “We continually evaluate every route we fly to ensure we have the right number of seats to match the number of people who want to go there.”

Other airlines may announce service cancellations in response to the most recent restrictions placed on Cuba, but even before this JetBlue, American, Southwest had trimmed their Cuba service, while Frontier, Spirit and Silver Airways had dropped Cuba service completely.

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Sky Harbor has a holiday gift catalog

I’m a big fan of doing all my holiday shopping at airports and this year Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has made it super easy and ultra-enticing to head there to get presents for everyone on my list.

The airport has created its own holiday catalog featuring items available in the shops at Sky Harbor. Flip through the catalog and you’ll see the price, airport shop name and location listed with each gift idea.

Arizona-centric and local gifts are featured and you’ll find items from local retailers such as Bunky Boutique and Roosevelt Row, holiday cookies from Tammie Coe and growlers of local craft beer from O.H.S.O Brewery.

There’s even a page featuring cactus candy and a variety of Arizona-themed chocolate ‘poop’.

It is only Tuesday, but airport holida catalog is definitely in the running for Airport Amenity of the Week.

 

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Denver’s old Stapleton Airport tower gets new use

 

Before Denver International Airport opened in 1995, the city was served by the closer in Stapleton International Airport.

A mixed-used neighborhood has been growing in the space formerly occupied by the decommissioned airport, and next week a new business will open in the building at the base of the abanonded air traffic control tower building.

Denver-based “eatertainment” company Punch Bowl Social is getting ready to open Punch Bowl Social Stapleton, with six bowling lanes, foosball, darts, ping-pong, private karaoke rooms, a photo booth, shuffle board, giant scrabble, a diner and a bar.

 

 

The outside space will offer more fun and games, including two bocce courts, an astroturf lined ‘pool’, a gazebo and a beer garden.

It’s hard to tell from these renderings how much the space really includes the promised nods to the ‘golden age of flight,’ but we’ll stop by for a visit after the grand opening on November 18 to check it out.

Thanks for visiting StuckatTheAirport.com. Subscribe to get daily travel tidbits. And follow me on Twitter at @hbaskas.