Events

More Best Airport Amenities from 2016

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

We’re ending the year with a look back at some of the cool new amenities and events airports offered travelers during 2016.

During 2016, San Diego International Airport awarded its first performing arts residency to the Fern Street Circus, which spent several months at the airport creating, rehearsing and performing a new show about – what else – traveling – and just clowning around with passengers.

The train between Denver International Airport and downtown Denver finally started running.

And events on the plaza between DEN’s terminal and the Westin Denver International Airport got underway. Through January 1, there’s ice-skating on the plaza.

During 2016 airline and airport employees joined passengers at airports in Miami, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, North Carolina and other airports to stand very still and be filmed for the latest viral internet trend known as the mannequin challenge.

And, the first batch of the 100 sets of bathrooms being updated at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were declared winners in the 15th annual America’s Best Restroom Contest.

Here’s to more great events and amenities for travelers during 2017.

Travel Tidbits from DFW, YYZ & Delta

North Pole ice santa

A few travel tidbits for a Friday in December

Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport and Coca-Cola have teamed up to bring some holiday cheer to travelers this holiday season with surprise give-aways of Coke products, Coca-Cola bears and other gifts delivered by the Coca-Cola Polar bear – who will be hidden inside giant gift boxes.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is holding its fifth annual citizenship ceremony on Friday for 50 of the countries newest citizens and marking a milestone with the commemoration the first government-sponsored Syrian refugee flight at the airport on December 10, 2015.

Many of those refugees are now obtaining Canadian citizenship.

And good news for snack-lovers flying Delta Air Lines

Starting December 14, Delta will roll out a new, complimentary Main Cabin snack line up – with larger-size portions – of Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, Squirrel Brand Honey Roasted peanuts and NatureBox Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Bars – along with the carrier’s signature Biscoff cookies.

The complimentary snacks will be available in the Main Cabin on all flights over 250 miles.

Passengers on shorter flights within North America from 251 to 599 miles will now receive a choice of Biscoff cookies or Snyder’s of Hanover® pretzels; before this they were only only offered one choice.

Passengers on flights over 600 miles will have four choices of snacks instead of three. And customers on international flights will receive a choice of Snyder’s of Hanover® pretzels or Squirrel Brand Honey Roasted peanuts.

To celebrate the new snacks, Delta has set up branded vending machines in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York to offer complimentary samples.

KLM’s 97th miniature Delftware House

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I had the great pleasure of being on-site in Rotterdam for the unveiling of KLM’s newest – and 97th – Delftware miniature house: a likeness of the Hotel New York.

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The hotel occupies the former headquarters of the Holland American Line and for many years, beginning in 1872, the company’s ships sailed between Rotterdam and New York and several other U.S. cities.

You can read my story about the big “reveal” – and KLM’s tradition of gifting these gin-filled tiny houses to business class passengers, on USA TODAY, but in the meantime, here’s a photo of miniature house #95- a likeness of the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam.

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Beer garden returns to Denver International Airport

DIA BEER GARDEN BEER GLASS

It’s Oktoberfest season and that means the return of the “Beer Flights” beer garden at Denver International Airport.

DEN’s beer garden will be open from 11 am to 7 pm from September 30 through October 10 and not only coincides with worldwide Oktoberfest celebrations but also with the city’s Great American Beer Festival.

In the past, DEN’s beer garden was inside the terminal building, but this year they’re changing things up a bit and holding the event outside on the plaza between the Jeppesen Terminal and the Westin Denver International Airport.

Here’s how DEN’s Beer Flights works: The $10 admission ticket gets you a souvenir glass and 10, 2-ounce samples of Colorado-made beer.

There are more than 200 established breweries in Colorado and the state is home to over 10 percent of the nation’s craft breweries, so savor the carefully-selected samples from the 10 breweries which will be on site. (Each brewery will have two different beers to sample.)

· Avery Brewing – El Gose, Joes Pils

· Boulder Beer – Buffalo Gold, Pulp Fusion

· Epic Brewing – Tart ‘n Juicy, Lil’ Brainless

· Odell’s – Drumroll, Myrcenary

· Oskar Blues – Priscilla, Beerito

· Elevation Beer Co. – 8 Second Kolsch, Apis IV

· Tommy Knocker – Butthead-Bock, Pick Axe

· SKA Brewing – Steel Toe, Modus Mandarina

· Telluride Brewing – Bridal Veil, Wahcked Out

· Renegage Brewery – Pancake Maple, Consilium

The beer garden will also have live musical performances daily from 4-6 p.m., talks by brew masters, brew trivia, table games, giveaways and a Beer Flights “Passport” for attendees to make notes about the Colorado brews they taste.

Should we make this the airport amenity of the week?

Travel Tidbits: mariachi, dirndls & free cheeseburgers

Some fun Friday travel tidbits for you today…

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First – Sunday, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day and Delta Air Lines will be celebrating with Shake Shack and giving customers flying Delta One on select flights from JFK to LAX a complimentary ShackBurger.

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But wait, there are more cheeseburgers: all customers flying from JFK to LAX on Sept. 18 will receive a voucher for a complimentary ShackBurger at the LA West Hollywood Shake Shack.

Not up for cheeseburgers? How about some mariachi music at the airport?

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Mariachi music welcomed travelers to McCarran International Airport last year at this time as well. Photo: Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau.

McCarran International Airport is kicking off the busy Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend by welcoming passengers to Las Vegas with a special performance in the Terminal 3 international arrivals lobby on Friday morning by Mariachi Oro Del Rancho – a 19-member student band from Rancho High School.

Mexico is an important market for McCarran: from Thursday through Sunday, 41 commercial flights fly directly from Mexico to McCarran International Airport, including ten charter flights added specifically for this holiday weekend.

 

And Lufthansa is celebrating Oktoberfest season..

Trachten 2016, Trachtencrew

Keep an eye out for Lufthansa crew members dressed in special anniversary in traditional attire at many  passenger service stations in Munich and on some flights, including Munich to Shanghai September 20, Munich to Denver October 2 and Munich to Boston October 3 and, at the end of the Munich Oktoberfest, to European destinations  Belgrade, Birmingham, Cluj, Nice, Olbia and Sylt.

This is a Lufthansa tradition and over the past ten years the carrier has had different fashion houses design the yellow, blue and white dirndls.

This year’s costume is once again designed and tailored by the Angermaier fashion house, based in Munich.

 

(Dirndl descriptions: Outside and in the center: current anniversary costume. Other costumes from left: Traditional blue print dirndl from 2006, costume from 2009, dirndl from 2012 and the traditional dirndl from the 50s (2015 costume). Courtesy: Lufthansa/Stefan König)