The PDX Carpet – now a jam & a parade leader

2_PDX_Foot-forward selfies with the PDX carpet are very popular at Portland Int'l Airport

The carpet at Portland International Airport gained cult status long before the announcement that the flooring was being replaced.

T-shirts, water bottles, caps, socks, a beer and other souvenirs bearing a copy of the carpet pattern were created and the airport recently announced the distribution of large patches of the original flooring to local companies and creative-types for repurposing.

The latest news came Friday during the airport’s “Carpetfest,” where it was announced that the carpet will be the grand marshal of the Starlight Parade on May 30, 2015 during the city’s Rose Festival.

Also unveiled yesterday: the newest product created to honor the carpet: “Preserve The Memory” Triple Berry Preserves jam – from Columbia Empire Farms and now on sale in the airport at the Your Northwest store.



Drink up: liquor store opens in baggage claim at Las Vegas airport

Smoking lounges, children’s play areas, an aviation museum and 1600 slot machines are among the popular passenger amenities at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

This week there’s a brand new amenity for arriving passengers who are ready to party: a liquor store in the baggage claim area in Terminal 1.

Called the Liquor Library, the store is the first packaged liquor store located within the baggage claim area of any airport in the country.

On the shelves: beer, wine, spirits, cigars, cigarettes, small packaged snacks, mixers, travel cups and glasses. The store also stocks wine and beer openers, wine and beer insulated bags and ice.

According to Liquor Library spokeswoman Diane Boyle, there will be product tasting most days of week and, to go with the library-inspired decor of dark hardwood floors and shelves reached by library ladders, there are “librarians” on duty who wear “charcoal grey pencil skirts, white button down shirts, black stockings, and very cute spectacles” while working on the sales floor.

Gambling on Singapore’s casinos

On my visit to Singapore last week to visit Changi Airport and the Singapore Airlines training center, I stopped by the resort casinos that had opened since the last time I was there.

I was surprised to learn that even though it has just two resort-casinos, each less than two years old, Singapore is on pace to generate more gaming revenue than Las Vegas, which has 41 casinos on The Strip alone.

“The final numbers for 2011 aren’t quite in yet,” said Holly Wetzel, spokesperson for the American Gaming Association. “But it is anticipated that this year Singapore could surpass Las Vegas as the world’s second-largest gaming market.”

The world’s number one gaming destination is Asia’s Macau, where 33 casinos raked in $23.5 billion of gaming revenues in 2010. “That’s more than twice the total revenue of every casino in the state of Nevada,” said David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Las Vegas and Singapore, with 2010 gaming revenues of $5.8 billion and $5.1 billion, respectively, still lag way behind Macau. But that No. 2 spot is highly coveted, and analysts are predicting that in 2011 the combined gaming revenues for Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa could total $6.4 billion versus $6.2 billion for Las Vegas.

How have Singapore’s two casinos managed to beat the odds?

It may have a something to do with what’s outside the casinos.

When the Singapore government issued the licenses for these first two casinos, it did so with the understanding that gaming would be just one amenity available at “Integrated Resorts” offering a wide range of dining, retail and other non-gaming activities. (As a social safeguard, the government also ruled that Singapore citizens must pay a $100 daily fee or a $2,000 annual membership fee or a to enter the casinos; visitors enter for free.)

The strategy was designed to broaden Singapore’s existing mix of offerings, “enrich the overall visitor experience and strengthen our appeal to business and leisure travelers,” said Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Integrated Resorts, Singapore Tourism Board.

To that end, the sprawling Resorts World Sentosa is home to six hotels, including a Hard Rock Hotel and one designed and named for iconic architect Michael Graves, and Southeast Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, which recently debuted TRANSFORMERS, The Ride. Trendy shops and restaurants, a huge maritime museum, a Las Vegas-style stage show and a marine life park said to be the largest oceanarium in the world are also onsite. A six-star spa and wellness retreat is scheduled to open soon.

The 57-floor Marina Bay Sands has three giant hotel towers capped by Sands Sky Park, a cruise ship-shaped park the size of the three football fields with an observation deck, night club, restaurants and an infinity-edge swimming pool that is the world’s largest outdoor pool at that height. On the ground, the resort has a lotus-shaped museum, entertainment venues, upscale retail stores and restaurants and, of course, a casino.

“Before the integrated resorts opened, people were wondering if Singapore was taking too many chances and trading its squeaky clean image for the sleazy version that unfortunately comes with casinos,” said Robin Goh, assistant director of communications for Resorts World Sentosa. “But here no one needs to pass through a casino to check-in or get to their rooms.”

(This story originally appeared on’s Overhead Bin)

Make the best of America’s busiest airports – part 2

Here’s part 2 of the recent slide show I put together for Bing Travel highlighting some of the best amenities at the country’s busiest airports. (Part 1, which includes the airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth can be found here.)

No. 5: Denver International Airport
Some travelers are still smarting from Christmas 2006, when a blizzard closed Denver International Airport for 22 hours, stranding more than 3,000 passengers. The airport’s snow-removal skills have vastly improved, but weather-related delays can still happen. Wait those out with free Wi-Fi or a self-guided tour of the art collection (brochures are available at any information booth).

Defeat the delay:
If any planes are moving, watch them on the active taxiway that runs beneath the glass and steel pedestrian bridge linking the A gates to the main terminal. (That bridge also leads to security checkpoint lines reliably shorter than those in the main terminal.)

No. 6: John F. Kennedy International Airport

When winter weather hits, all of the always-busy New York-area airports — LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International and John F. Kennedy International — quickly become zoos. At JFK, seven separate terminals mean delayed travelers must make do with services at hand. That’s not a problem in JetBlue’s amenity-rich T5, which offers free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal and more than 40 shops and restaurants, including Deep Blue Sushi — all after you go through security. Elsewhere, it’s a post-security challenge. Your best bet is Terminal 4, which has the most pre-security options, including public art by Alexander Calder and a retail hall with shops and restaurants, such as the Palm Bar and Grill.

Defeat the delay: When planes are grounded, the AirTrain from JFK to the New York City subways usually keeps running. The trip to the city might take an hour, but will cost less than $10 and can be its own adventure.

No. 7: George Bush Intercontinental Airport
At Houston’s Bush Intercontinental, delayed passengers can view space-related exhibits on loan from NASA and shop for their own space-themed souvenirs at a branch of NASA’s Space Trader store. There’s also a revolving steakhouse restaurant, CK’s, at the Houston Airport Marriott located in the center of the terminal complex, and an interterminal train below the terminals designed in 1981 by the Walt Disney Co.

Defeat the delay:
It may be an airport, but you can still get a taste of Texas. Three Stelzig Ranch shops offer boots, hats and other Texas-style accessories, while Texas Trail Boss Jerky sells beef, pork, turkey and bison jerky.

No. 8: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
In addition to free Wi-Fi and complimentary recharge work stations, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas offers delayed travelers entertainment in the form of the Howard Cannon Aviation Museum, art exhibits, an aviation-themed kid’s play area, an interactive Dance Heads video booth and bars serving oxygen cocktails.

Defeat the delay: McCarran also has approximately 1,200 slot machines. And, as the saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play.

Part 3 tomorrow…