Deals

Name that airport; win free travel

Convention centers, sports fields, museum wings and all sorts of public spaces bear the name of rich people and/or companies. So in 2008, when Detroit Metropolitan Airport opened up the new North Terminal, selling naming rights for the shiny new structure seemed like a good – and lucrative – idea.

But, the economy being what it was – and is – there have been no takers. So according to this article in Crain’s Detroit Business, the airport authority has decided to nix the naming rights project for now.

Times are tough for everyone. But doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Win one of these travel contests and someone else will foot most or all of the bill.

Airplane wing - Courtesy Daniel Incandela

As I learned from a cross-Canada bike/train trip heading east-to- west a long time ago and a more recent plane/train trip in the other direction, there are plenty of unusual and incredibly lovely places to visit up north. Want to see for yourself? The Canadian Tourism Commission is sponsoring a Canada Now sweepstakes for US residents that has a prize a CN $5,000  travel voucher.  Deadline to enter: July 31,2010. So hurry!

Know any good jokes?

The national airline of Isreal, El Al Airlines, is jumping into the social media world with a two contests, one on Facebook, the other on Twitter. From now through August 13,2010, El Al Airlines is asking its Facebook Fans to post jokes on its wall. The person who posts the funniest, non-offensive joke will win two round trip tickets from Los Angeles or New York to Israel. Deadline: August 13, 2010. Winner announced on or around August 16, 2010.

The airline will also be giving away one round ticket to Israel from Los Angeles or New York to one Twitter follower. Follow and contact @ELALUSA for details. Deadline: August 4.

And Shell Vacations Hospitality is having a Share a Pic, Win a Trip contest. Top prize includes photo supplies and accessories and a 3-night stay at any of their resorts. Deadline: August 11, 2010.

Good luck! And if you win, no need take me with you. Just bring home a souvenir.

Sweet stuff at San Antonio Int’l Airport

I got three notices from the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) today.

One was about Delta reinstating service from San Antonio to Cincinnati. That’s good.

One was about the airport jumping into the world of social media with Facebook and Twitter accounts that will be used to keep travelers up-to-date on weather, flight delays, cancellations, and other airport news such as contests. The airport is already promising prizes to its 500th Facebook Fan and its 500th Twitter follower.

SAT also promises to use Facebook and Twitter to alert travelers to concessions specials and discounts, like this week’s candy sale at Natalie’s Candy Bar in Terminal 1 by Gate 10, where there are 16 different candies in 1 lb bags selling for $2.99 each.   (Not that I would admit to buying a pound of candy at an airport, but I’m pretty sure that’s a good deal.)

While you’re at the airport, snacking on candy or just hanging around, be sure to check out the airport art, including Gary Sweeney’s neo-retro tourist tourist posters at the entrance to the parking garage.

They look just like vintage travel ads, but on second glance you’ll see that they’re pleasantly, wackily, off.

Tidbits for travelers: holiday news from airports around the country

Christmas week is always a big deal for airports and air travel.

This year, as usual, lines are long, people are cranky, and there’s a storm wreaking havoc with schedules and everyone’s best laid plans.

So, it’s a good bet that if you’re traveling by air this week, you’re going to spend some time being stuck at an airport. Remember to bring supplies such as books, snacks, a charged cell phone, and some extra cash to buy a few last minute gifts.

And remember to look around: some airports are hosting complimentary gift wrapping stations and many airports have scheduled holiday events and entertainment.

Here are just a few examples:

The Chicago Airport System’s schedule of “Holiday Delights” continues at both O’Hare Airport and Midway through Wednesday, December 23rd with performances by local blues, jazz, international, R&B performers, barbershop quartets and carolers. There will also be children’s workshops and a visit from Santa Claus.

Both airports are also offering free gift wrapping, past security, on December 21 and 23 with wrapping paper and gift bags created by students from the After School Matters program.

On Monday December 21st, Southwest Airlines and The Container Store join forces to offer free gift wrapping at Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Denver International, Saint Louis Lambert International, and Baltimore-Washington International airports. Here are some details about locations and times.

Free gift wrapping continues in various spots around Phoenix Sky Harbor airport through December 24th and through Wednesday at San Diego International Airport. Check your airport’s Web site to see if free gift wrapping is being offer there as well. Keep in mind that many airport shops also offer fee gift wrapping and many will have piles of pre-wrapped items ready to grab-n’- go.

If you find yourself hanging around Detroit Metroplitan Airport (DTW) Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (Dec 21 – 23rd), head on over to the stage next the water feature in the center of Concourse A (near Gate A40). The airport is partnering with local Delta Air Lines folks to host a holiday karaoke event called “Sing Because you Care” between 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day.

Anyone, or any group, that sings is being asked to donate $5 to support the local Salvation Army.

And here’s a great gift for anyone flying to or from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): the airport light rail station opened, as promised, on Saturday, December 19th. Just in time to save a lot of holiday travelers a lot of hassle and money.

It’s now possible to ride between the airport and downtown Seattle for $2.50.

Thanks, Santa!


College-bound? It’s time for Travel Deals 101

Heading to college or sending a kid off to school?

back-to-school

Once tuition, room, and board bills are paid, there may not be much cash left over for actually traveling between home and the college campus.  But, as I write in my Well Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com today, some airlines offer a little help.

abcs

Lufthansa, Air Tran, United, JetBlue and American offer some sort of perks for students.

Here are some of the more popular travel discounts:

AirTran Airways has a discount standby program not just for college students, but for anyone 18 to 22 years old. (College student or not: on your 23rd birthday, you age-out of the program.)  AirTran U lets young people fly standby for $69 on short segment flights and $99 on long-haul segments.  There are some blackout dates and a variety of restrictions, but during 2008, more than 83,000 young people took advantage of the program.

Lufthansa’s GenerationFly program offers any U.S. college student with a valid .edu email address discounted fares to Germany and most every destination the airline flies. As a nice bonus, part-time students, teachers, and faculty members are also eligible to participate in the program.

bag

Several other programs have special airline offers for students as well.

The discounts promised by the Student Advantage Card (about $20/year) include a 10% discount on American Airline flights. And on its Web site, American Airlines offer discounts on vacation packages to students at about two dozen participating universities.

JetBlue offers an 11% discount to students who have an ISIC card (International Student Identity Card), which costs $22 a year. Holders of that card can also book special discounted fares with STA Travel, one of the major discount student travel agencies, which offers tickets that allow changes for just $50.

And, while United Airlines United Airlines doesn’t offer any special discounts for college-age students, the carrier’s College Plus program gives students enrolled in both the College Plus program and the Mileage Plus frequent flier program a graduation present of 10,000 bonus miles.

The deals for student travelers don’t end at the airport. Amtrak and Greyhound and even some hotels also offer discounts to students who have either the ISIC or Student Advantage card.

schoolbus

To find out more – and learn about some hotel deals for parents of college students, see the full column Travel Discounts for the college-bound on MSNBC.com.

Indianapolis Airport auction big success

Looks like yesterday’s auction at the old Indianapolis International Airport terminal was a big success.

According to this article, about 2,5000 people showed up and snatched up most all the “furniture, furnishings and fixtures” put on the auction block.

IND AUCTION INCANDELA

(Photo courtesy Daniel Incandela)

Evan Strange, who’s just finishing up his Communications & Marketing Internship at the airport, attended the auction and sent along some notes:

I have been to auctions before, but nothing quite like this.  Not only were there thousands of items, but they were all being sold in an abandoned airport, which added a sense of eerie nostalgia that is hard to explain…. One of the best parts of the auction was seeing all the people that came out… People from all walks of life, locals and internationals, serious bidders, and souvenir searchers were all there looking for their “piece” of the old IND.

The people I talked to at the auction seemed to be surprised about all of the different items being auctioned, from aerial photographs of the old terminal, to water coolers and refrigerators.

Wish you’d been there?   Dan Incandela was and he was kind enough to post some of his photos from the event on Flickr.

Here are my favorites:

IND Airport Dan Incandela

IND XMAS TO GO INCANDELA

(Photos courtesy Daniel Incandela)

If you attended the auction, please let us know what you saw – and if you bought anything!