Entertainment

CLE Airport & Superman welcome RNC attendees

superman

Superman was created in Cleveland! This exhibit in CLE baggage claim tells the story.

Cleveland is hosting the Republican National Convention this week and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – and Superman – welcomed many of the 50,000 or so attendees with art, entertainment and helpful information.

And now that everyone has arrived, the airport is getting ready for everyone to depart. This advice is posted on the CLE website:

  • The heaviest departure days for convention participants and media will be July 21st, 22nd and 23rd.  If you are also travelling at these times PLEASE leave early for your flight!
  • In anticipation of a very busy departure day following the convention on Friday July 22nd, we would highly recommend the following 5-4-3-2-1 action plan:
    • 5 Hours Check out of hotel; travel to the airport
    • 4 Hours Return rental car
    • 3 Hours Check-in at airline ticket counter
    • 2 Hours Be at the TSA Security Checkpoint
    • 1 Hour Arrive at the airline boarding gate

Circus arrives at San Diego Int’l Airport

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

It’s going to be a circus at San Diego International Airport.

Clowns, stilt walkers, jugglers and other characters from the San Diego-based Fern Street Circus will be performing at the airport today and then, as part of SAN’s new Performance Arts Residency, they’ll be sticking around for eight months to create, rehearse and perform monthly.

Full-on summer performances are scheduled for June 7 in the T2 West End Gallery, July 21 in T2 baggage claim and Aug. 19 in T1 post-security, but airport officials expect the troupe to be out and about in the terminals quite often.

“They are creating content inspired by the traveler experience, so they will constantly be visible, trying out new ideas and interacting with passengers,” said airport spokesman Johnathan Heller.

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

 

(Photos: Gary Payne)

Airport amenities to be thankful for

My At the Airport column on USA TODAY each December is a round-up of some of the best new amenities airports have introduced through the year.

Here are some of the highlights from 2015.

SFO airplane cocktail shaker

 

Taming transportation

During 2015, a wave of airports around the country, including those in Chicago, Las Vegas, Louisville, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. (both DCA and IAD) hammered out deals with ride-hailing services such as Uber/UberX, Lyft, Sidecar and Wingz to legally pick up and drop off passengers at the terminals.

Look for that trend to continue in 2016.

Helping others

Following the lead of airports in Denver and Columbus, Ohio, in January 2015 — when all the Super Bowl fans were flocking to town — Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport put out spare change collection boxes to begin raising money for the on-site USO hospitality center. In April, Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) in Allentown, Pa., added change collection stations to raise funds for a variety of local charities.

Helping moms

During 2015 many airports made space for properly equipped lactation stations for nursing mothers. Chicago O’Hare International Airport now has three Mother’s Rooms, while lactation stations and nursing rooms have been added at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, Jacksonville International, Spokane International, Newark Liberty, JFK, LaGuardia, Pittsburgh International, Boise Airport and others.

Soothing stress, helping health

More airports are adding pet therapy programs to help fliers deal with the stress of traveling.

In September, Sacramento International Airport introduced the Boarding Area Relaxation Corps, (B.A.R.C.), which welcomes pet therapy dogs and their handlers to the airport twice a week, while in October, Denver International Airport introduced the Canine Airport Therapy Squad, referred to as C.A.T.S.

Other stress-reducing and health-inducing amenities we noted during 2015 included the beach oasis — complete with Adirondack chairs, umbrellas and artificial turf — set up inside Philadelphia International Airport during snowy February, and the healthy eating campaign at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that handed out free fruit for travelers, along with prizes.

Complimentary treadmill desks were installed this year at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and, at JFK Terminal 5, JetBlue opened a rooftop lounge complete with dog walk, and created a farm out in front of the terminal where a wide variety of herbs and vegetables are now growing.

Fuel for the flight

Healthy airport dining options — both sit-down and take-away — are on the rise  and, in addition to the many upgraded great restaurants (and bars) rolled out this year, we saw the introduction of several free apps, including Grab and AirGrub, that allow travelers to order ahead, skip the line and streamline the task of purchasing a meal inside the airport to take to the gate or onto the plane.

Unique amenities, events and milestones

While SFO and DEN airports offer a mobile car-washing service in their airport parking lots (fees range from $24.95 to $49.95), travelers who park in the garages or in the outside parking lot at Spokane International Airport can get their cars washed for free. (Technically introduced at the end of 2014, I learned about this unique amenity in early 2015 and hope it catches on.)

In addition to being named the Grand Marshal of the Starlight Parade for the Portland Rose Festival, during 2015 the quirky carpet being replaced at Portland International Airport continued its reign as a social media darling, leading passengers to take a closer look at airport flooring nationwide.

To help with the year-long celebration marking the 20th anniversary of Denver International Airport, the Colorado Lottery created a special edition $2 scratch ticket game featuring four iconic images of the airport and, picking up on the newest old-fashioned craze, this year Dallas Love Field has a giant coloring wall in the terminal. Whenever the picture gets filled in, all they have to do is wipe the surface clean and start over.

Dallas Love Field _coloring wall

 

Did you spot a cool new amenity at an airport during 2015 that I didn’t mention?

Please share your fave in the comments below.

Delta toasts Sinatra’s 100th birthday with whiskey

1950-Frank-Sinatra

Here’s a nomination for airline amenity of the week:

On Saturday, December 12, in honor of what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, Delta Air Lines will be pouring complimentary tastes of Jack Daniel’s – the crooner’s favorite whiskey – on all flights departing JFK to LAX.

And not just any Jack Daniel’s. Passengers in all cabins will be able to sample Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century, a special-edition 100-proof whiskey sold in a special collector’s box for about $500 (at duty free stores and elsewhere) that includes a 1 liter bottle, a small hardbound book about Sinatra and his music and a replica Sinatra tie clip you can plug into your computer that plays a concert recording of Frank at The Sands Hotel and Casino in 1966.

Drink up! And let’s hope they serve seconds…

Sinatra Jack Daniels