Airports

Greetings from Missouri’s Springfield-Branson National Airport

I’m visiting Springfield, Missouri this week to join the festivities for the opening of the Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium and had a while to explore the public areas of the Springfield-Branson National Airport on arrival while waiting for a ride into town.

In the soaring lobby/baggage claim area, there’s a replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer and  a 3/4 scale  Curtis Jenny, the first mass produced American aircraft. After World War I, stunt pilots used this type of plane in airshows and signage at the airport tells us  that in May 1918 the US Postal Service began using Jennys for the first scheduled U.S. Air Mail Service.

EZ-1, the first fire rescue vehicle used by the Springfield Municipal Airport, is also on display.

SGF airport has an art gallery with mulitple display areas in the pre and post-security areas.  The current exhibit  – Come Fly with Me – is up through mid-November.

artwork by Christine Riutzel

And in the newstand I found a great cow-tipping t-shirt.  Is that really a thing?

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Int’l Airport invites non-flyers past security

 

You may remember the ‘old day’s’ of flying, when friends and family could go with you to the airport – and to the gate – to send you off, and when they were there at the gate with hugs and kisses when you got home.

9/11 changed all that, but now Pittsburgh International Airport is bringing that airport amenity back.

The airport has worked with the Transportation Security Administration to get approval for a program that gives the non-flying public to access gates, shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint.  No plane ticket and, they emphasize, no reduction in security, will be necessary.

The ‘myPITpass” program starts at 9 a.m. on September 5  and will issue same-day passes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s how it works:

  1. Check in on 3rd Floor Ticketing Level (across from Allegiant)
  2. Show a valid photo ID (Driver’s License or Passport)
  3. Have your name vetted and get a stamped myPITpass
  4. Go through security checkpoint observing the same rules as passengers boarding flights.

The program builds on PIT’s successful Holiday Open House program and the Airside access for guests program offered by the airport Hyatt hotel.

In addition to giving non-flyers access to the gates for sending off loved ones and welcoming them home, the program gives the public access to the great artwork at PIT Airport.

Andy Warhol Wallpaper at PIT

An overnight ‘ride-along’ with United Airlines

My overnight ‘ride-along’ last week with United Airlines at Denver International Airport was exhausting – but exhilarating and extremely educational.

I’m working on a full-length slide show (so far, I’ve got 60 photo keepers) and report for my next At the Airport column on USA TODAY,  but sharing a few snaps today here on StuckatTheAirport.com to get the ball rolling.

At around 10 pm, my tour started at United’s Station Operations Center – a darkened room where about 50 people were seated in clusters at desks with multiple computer screens doing everything from making sure passengers made their connections to monitoring weather and  gate assignments.

Then it was off to the maintenance hangar, where 8 airplanes were undergoing service checks and repairs, included an engine swap for an Airbus 319.

 

While in the hangar, another airplane was visited by a fast-moving cleaning crew, who were doing everything from cleaning the lavs and galley (with different rags and cleaning solutions) to making sure seat back literature was refreshed and the tray tables were washed.

 

At 3 am it was back to the Station Operations Center, which was pretty much empty, except for Zone Controller Mike Lowrey, who I’d met earlier in the evening. He was checking with maintenance to see if all the planes they’d been working on overnight were ready for morning flights and doing what he could to make sure the first flights of the day would leave on time.

 

3:47 a.m. : A quick look in the concourse to see if anything was happening. Nothing. Yet.

The Flight Operations Center opens at 6 a.m.  That where captains and first officers such as Michael Daigneault can pick up supplies and plan for their flights.

My flight back to Seattle left, on time, at 8:08 a.m. I even got a set of plastic wings from the crew.

My full report on my overnight ride-along with United Airlines at Denver International Airport will show up during the week on USA TODAY.

 

 

And now: United will fly from Everett’s Paine Field

 

Courtesy Propeller Airports

First Alaska Airlines, And now United Airlines

United Airlines announced that it will begin flying six daily flights between Paine Field, north of Seattle, and both Denver and San Francisco beginning in the fall of 2018.

What’s the big deal about Paine Field?

It’s the airfield in Everett – 23 miles north of Seattle – where Boeing has a much-toured production plant and where there’s been talk – and debate – for  years of providing additional commercial flights for the traffic-clogged Seattle metro area.

The field was originally constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936 to create jobs and economic growth in the region and in 1939 United Airlines operated the first commercial flight from the airport, the carrier reminds us.

Paine Field has since become the center of Boeing’s production facilities producing many United aircraft including the 747, 767, 777, and the 787 airplanes and employing tens of thousands of employees:, the airline said in a release.

Back in May, Alaska Airlines announced it would be the launch carrier from Paine Field, with a planned nine flight beginning in Fall 2018.

Alaska Airlines to begin scheduled commercial air service from Paine Field in 2018

 

Delta breaks ground on its new LaGuardia terminal.

Maybe – someday – we’ll love New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Again.

Signs are pointing in the right direction.

On Tuesday Delta Air lines broke ground on its $4 billion, 37-gate facility at LaGuardia – part of the over-all transformation of the airport we’ve been promised.

Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, was there, along with New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a variety of local and regional dignitaries.

“The groundbreaking at Delta’s facilities represents another step forward as we build an entirely new airport at LaGuardia,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Together with our private-sector partners, we are making rapid progress to create the world-class gateway to the Empire State that New Yorkers deserve.”

Delta’s new terminal promises four concourses with 37 flexibly-sized gates to accommodate Delta’s full fleet; a new, larger Delta Sky Club with a Sky Deck; new hold rooms with more seating; 30 percent more concessions space; and “sustainable and scalable technology befitting of an airport of the future.”

“We know the new LaGuardia is one that New Yorkers will be proud to call their hometown airport,” said Delta’s Bastian. “And we are confident that this investment will further cement Delta as the No. 1 airline in New York, with the best customer service and experience on the ground as well as in the air.”

Here are some drawings released by Gov. Cuomo’s office showing what’s in store. Let’s hope the art and greenery makes it to the final cut.