Posts in the category "Airports":

Airport trading cards: collect them all

MKE Trading Card Front

Baseball teams have them, some police forces have them and the TSA’s K-9 unit has them.

Now more than 20 North American airports have trading cards too.

Unveiled earlier this month, each card has the look and feel of a traditional baseball card. But instead of portraying a rookie player at bat, the cards in the North American Airport Collectors Series feature an iconic image of an airport on the front and geographic information, fun factoids and historical tidbits about the airport on the back.

The card for General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, for example, tells passengers about MKE’s free ping pong table and “recombobulation areas.” The card for Pittsburgh International Airport lays claims to being the first large U.S. airport to offer free wireless.

The idea for airport trading cards started at Lambert-St. Louis International, where “like a lot of other airports, we get calls from collectors all over the world asking for anything with the airport code on it,” said STL spokesman Jeff Lea.

Lambert’s trading card has iconic pictures of the airport’s two terminals on the front and, on the back, historical information, including STL’s connection to Charles Lindbergh.

STL_TradingCard_FRONT

“The cards are inexpensive to produce in bulk, so airports can hand them out for free at information booths and other places” said Lea. “It’s an old way to tell a new story and we know people will hold onto that one piece of cardboard longer than if you gave them a brochure or a pen.”

More importantly, the trading cards remind collectors, aviation enthusiasts and passengers that local airports are part of the larger aviation network, said Kevin Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, the trade group for airports in the United States and Canada.

PIT Trading card one

“Airports don’t get the attention they deserve and trading cards are one way to illustrate the importance of an airport in a community, especially the airport’s economic contribution,” said Burke, who plans to hand out airport trading cards, perhaps instead of briefing papers, when visiting elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Here are some of the other cards in the series.

CVG_card

SJC_card

SAN_card

(My story about airport trading cards first appeared as part of my At the Airport column on USA TODAY.)

Travel Tidbits: Free Wi-Fi & More Fees

There’s good news and bad news for travelers this week.
Alaska Electronics

In Japan, rules have been eased so that airlines may allow passengers to use their personal electronic gadgets from gate to gate.

Free, unlimited Wi-Fi was introduced last week at Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

But as of today Allegiant Air follows the lead of Spirit Airlines in adding a fee to have an agent print out a boarding pass for you.

Here’s a link to my story about that Allegiant fee on USA TODAY, where I’m filling in on the Today in the Sky blog.

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Happy Birthday Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

AUS_Guitar

I admit it.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Maybe it’s because our birthdays are just one day apart.

Or maybe it’s because this was the first airport I visited right after my first book about airports – called what else but Stuck at the Airport – came out in the pre-9/11 summer and AUS was the first airport where I spotted the book on a store shelf.

Or maybe it’s just because, with almost two dozen live music performances a week and some great permanent and temporary art exhibits, including the ‘big hair’ etchings in the women’s bathrooms, the airport is so much fun to visit.

And, oh yeah, it’s in Austin. One hip, somewhat weird, city.

So, I’m sending Happy Birthday wishes to the airport, which is celebrating its 15th birthday on May 23 with cookies for passengers, a drawing for 15,000 airline miles and a special performance by Ray Benson, of Aleep at the Wheel, on Friday at 2:30 pm at the airport’s Asleep at the Wheel stage.

You don’t need to be there to be entered in the drawing for 15,000 airline miles (there will be two winners.) But you do need to enroll in the Thanks Again, customer rewards program by Thursday, May 22, 2014. Do it now.

Austin_Keep Austin Weird

Whales, sales & soccer at MIA airport

All sorts of news this week from Miami International Airport (MIA).

There’s a new exhibition of photography and video documenting the migration of whales from Alaska and Hawaii to Latin American, including Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, Panama and Peru.

Look for Giants/Rutas de Gigantes in the airport’s South Terminal international greeter’s lobby.

MIA WHALE Jason Isley

Jason Isley/Scubazoo/Fundación Albatros Media

This week MIA also opened an online store to sell caps and mugs with the airport’s classic logo.

MIA MUG“We actually got the idea from a celebrity we saw online wearing an imitation cap with our logo,” said MIA spokesman Greg Chin. “After we tracked down the store and took legal action against them to stop selling the merchandise, our Airport Director got the idea to sell the real merchandise ourselves!”

And, to celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which kicks off June 12 in Sao Paulo, MIA has an ambitious line-up of activities for all the fans that will be flying to Brazil through MIA.

 

MIA GATEWAY LOGO

From late May through mid-July, the airport will be hosting interactive pop-up soccer fields with professional soccer players, soccer-inspired artwork by local students from Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High, surprise musical performances (with a Brazilian beat) and Nintendo Wii Soccer game stations.  Shops will be selling soccer team souvenirs and gear and many of the shops will be having special offers.

Makeover in the making for LAX

LAX has put together a series of short videos to help travelers make their way through the airport during a multi-year, multi-billion dollar major makeover.

Here’s a sample:

Here too, is a great video promoting LAX back in 1963.

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