Airport Terminals

Drinks on the go – maybe – at St. Louis Int’l Airport

Looks like there will soon be one more airport – St. Louis Lambert International Airport – where passengers my purchase a drink at a bar and take that drink with them to their gate or somewhere else in the airport.

The Missouri House has passed a bill that allows a change in the liquor laws in the state’s airports, allowing people to order alcoholic beverages “to go” from a bar and carry them to their gates in a branded plastic cup, the Associated Press reports,  although travelers would not be able to take those drinks onto planes or through security.

While STL could adopt the rule, Kansas City International Airport probably wouldn’t as most bars at KCI are before security and the law would not allow passengers to take their drinks through security.

There are other airports around the country where “to go” drinks in the terminal are already allowed, including Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee.  Airports in Houston, Portland, OR and Tampa, FL allow this too, says AP.

Good idea?

Beer cans

An indoor forest for Vancouver Int’l Airport

(Note: I’m filling in on USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog this week. My story about Vancouver Airport first appeared there).

Like so many North American airports, Vancouver International (YVR) is looking forward to accommodating more travelers, more airlines and larger planes.

The airport, which was crowned Best Airport in America in the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards (for a record seventh consecutive year), served more than 22 million passengers in 2016 and expects to welcome more than 35 million passengers a year by 2037.

To get ready, the airport is fine-tuning a phased $5.6 billion “Flight Plan” that includes a variety of proposed amenities that were shared with the public last week.

“This plan is built to provide for the long-term capacity needs at YVR, while meeting and enhancing our sustainability goals and ensuring we build in an incremental fashion” said Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, speaking at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event.

As part of a terminal expansion, YVR is investigating the idea of adding a new geothermal plant that will greatly reduce the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions, an added plane spotting location and, inside the terminal, expanded food options and restaurant experiences and the addition of sleeping pods and showers for those with long layovers.

Vancouver’s airport already has an award-winning art program that highlights British Columbia’s landscape and people and includes two large aquariums and a public Observation Area with giant windows and great views. But to bring more of the West Coast beauty into the terminal, the Flight Plan proposes to add an indoor glassed-in forest that is open at the top.

YVR posted an animated “Fly Through” on Twitter showing what the forested international terminal may look like in the future.

“Looks beautiful!” wrote Andre Velez in response, suggesting the airport send their designers to fix “eyesore airports like Newark and LaGuardia.”

Polite Canadians that they are, YVR’s Twitter response: “Our pals at @lgacentral are doing big things down there. Bright future.”

Portland and Indianapolis top list of Best US Airports

Which U.S. airports please travelers the most?

According to J.D. Power’s 2016 North America Airport Satisfaction Study released earlier this week, Portland International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport top the lists as the favorite large and medium-sized airports, respectively.

Tampa International Airport ranks second in the large airport category, while  Las Vegas McCarran Airport ranks third.

In the medium-sized airport category, Buffalo Niagara International Airport sits in second place, followed by Fort Meyers/Southwest Florida International Airport.

“Winners have several things in common. They have modern or updated facilities that help increase the efficiency of moving passengers for one mode of transportation to the other, ” said Michael Taylor, director of the airport practice at J.D. Power, and “Winning airports care.”

Taylor admits that sounds corny, but says the airports travelers like the most “go the extra mile to make passengers happy, entertain them and/or solve their problems. The better airports have a local feel, that ‘sense of place’ we hear about so often in the airport industry.  The Indianapolis airport displays antique Indy race cars. The Portland airport has local references like fish, moose, deer in the floor itself.  Top airports aren’t cookie cutter.  They bring in local vendors and provide experiences to travelers they can’t get back home… or at the next airport.”

 

The J.D. Power study measures overall traveler satisfaction with large and medium North American airports by looking at six factors – in this order of importance: terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; food, beverage and retail, ranking the airports on a 1,000 point scale.

Top 5 large airport rankings:

Portland International Airport: 786

Tampa International Airport: 775

Las Vegas McCarran Int’l Airport: 759

Orlando International Airport: 751

Miami International Airport: 750

Top 5 medium airport rankings

Indianapolis International Airport: 794

Buffalo Niagara International Airport: 791

Fort Myers/SW Florida Int’l Airport: 790

Jacksonville Int’l Airport: 789

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int’l Airport: 783

“Overall, things are getting better,” said Taylor, “Airports are making significant improvements.  Miami has something like 200 food, beverage or retail options on the airport now.  It’s like a mall with airplanes parked outside  Who wouldn’t rather spend time at a mall than an airline gate?”

 

Which airports ranked at the bottom of this year’s list?

For large airports it was New York’ LaGuardia Airport (649 points); for medium airports: Cleveland Hopkins Airport (704).

You can see rankings for other winning – and losing – airports here.

New terminal at Calgary International Airport

new-international-terminal-check-in-hall-has-vaulted-ceilings-using-douglas-fir-reminiscent-of-albertas-forested-landscape

YYC Calgary International Airport opened its new International Terminal yesterday – October 31, 2016 – and it’s full of fresh new amenities and lots of great art.

bear-family_-example-of-artwork-at-yycs-new-intl-terminal_photo-bruce-mcfarlane_courtesy-yyc-airport

Here are some of the tweets the airport sent out yesterday celebrating the milestone and sharing some of the details.