Holidays

Free airport meals for military during Thanksgiving

In airports around the country, restaurants and concessionaires will be offering complimentary meals and menu items for traveling military personnel over Thanksgiving.

Here are the offers from Delaware North restaurants:

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Free meals for active duty military during Thanksgiving week at participating Delaware North locations: Earl Campbell’s Sports Bar, Schlotzsky’s Deli, Maudie’s TexMex, Salt Lick BBQ and Saxon Pub

Boise Airport

Holiday meal will be provided to airport police and EMTs on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

10% discount for uniformed military personnel during Thanksgiving week

Detroit Metropolitan Airport

On Thanksgiving Day, active duty military can receive a free sandwich from Subway in the McNamara Terminal or from Le Petit Bistro in the North Terminal

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

10% discount for uniformed military personnel during Thanksgiving week

Los Angeles International

Preparing holiday meal and carving traditional turkey for active military at Bob Hope USO post on Thanksgiving Day (starting at 11am)

Nashville International Airport

Preparing and serving traditional Thanksgiving meal for active duty military at Swett’s (beginning at 10:30am)

Richmond International Airport

Serving traditional Thanksgiving meal (roast turkey with gravy, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and salad) for traveling military at the airport’s USO post

Tampa International Airport 

Free meals (entree and a drink) will be offered to active duty military on Thanksgiving Day at participating locations: RumFish Grill, Four Green Fields, Chick-fil-A, Auntie Anne’s, Plane Box kiosk, Panda Express, New York New York Pizza. Free pizza will also be brought to the airport’s USO post on Thanksgiving Christmas Day

Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)

Holiday meal will be served to active duty military, airport police and USO staff

Ontario International Airport

Holiday meal will be served for active military at airport’s USO post on Thanksgiving Day

In addition: 20 restaurants operated by Paradies Lagardère in 10 North American airports will offer active or retired military to a free meal through its Food and Beverage Division’s Treat Our Troops program during Thanksgiving weekend, Thursday, November 23, through Sunday, November 26.

Show your military identification when ordering or checking out to take advantage of this offer.

Participating airports/restaurants:

Asheville Regional: Blue Ridge Tavern

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta: Sweet Auburn Market

Long Beach: Long Beach Marche, 4th Street Vine, The Boathouse

Austin–Bergstrom: Second Bar + Kitchen, Ruta Maya Coffee, ThunderCloud Subs

Northwest Arkansas: Smokewood American Grill, Say Si Bon! Gourmet Market, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Core Brewing Co.

Denver: Say Si Bon! TravelMart, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Big Bowl, The Magic Pan Crepe Stand, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs

Pittsburgh: Bar Symon, Bottega dei Sapori

Reagan National: Say Si Bon! Gourmet Market – Center Pier and North Pier, The Magic Pan Crepe Stand, Wow Bao, Washington Pour Bar, U Street Pub

Eagle County: Townie Tavern, Alpenglo Grille

 

And HMSHost offers a 15 percent discount year-round or military with valid identification on food and non-alcoholic beverages at HMSHost airport (and travel plaza locations) throughout the United States.

Find a list of locations here.

 

Thanksgiving dinner at the airport? You can do that.

By this day next week many people will be pulling their chairs up to big Thanksgiving dinners.

But some of us may be traveling – or stuck at an airport.

Don’t worry, though. In many airports you’ll still be able to get some turkey. And in many cases, the traditional fixings that go with it.

Here are few ideas from HMSHost outlets:

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the Atlanta Chophouse (in the atrium) will be serving a  Thanksgiving menu with the choice of either deep fried Cajun turkey breast or oven roasted apple glazed pork loin, complete with dinner roll and the choices of two sides.

At Charlotte Douglat International Airport, the 1897 Market (in the atrium will be serving up roast turkey with Macaire potato hash, baby squash, gravy and cranberry and Brookwood Farms BBQ (also in the atrium) smoked turkey with sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, braised greens, turkey gravy, cranberry, and pecan pie will be on the menu.

Ikes (Terminal 1, in the airport mall) at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, will be serving up its traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which include their sage roasted turkey with sage stuffing, Yukon gold mash potatoes and – a slice of pumpkin pie.

And, for those stuck at Los Angeles International Airport, consider the “The Pilgrim” sandwich at the larder at tavern (in the Tom Bradley International Terminal) which is made with roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Over Thanksgiving, many airport concessionaires will also be offering free meals or menu items to traveling military personnel. I’m gathering details on those opportunities now.

 

Thanksgiving travel forecast: challenging for fliers

[My story about Thanksgiving travel first appeared on Today.com]

Whether your family will make its way over rivers and through woods or race across town to catch a plane, traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday can be hectic and stressful.

That will certainly be the case this year, as a record 28.5 million holiday travelers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines, an increase of 3 percent over Thanksgiving 2016, according to airline trade group Airlines for America.

A4A pegs the increase to a strong economy and low airfares. But while airlines are adding seats to accommodate the spike in demand, crowded airports, full airplanes and bad weather can easily turn the holiday weekend into a travel turkey.

The data teams at Google Flights and Reward Expert confirm that the busiest days to fly over this holiday will be (no surprise) Friday, November 17 and Wednesday, November 22 – before the official holiday – and Sunday, November 26, when everyone tries to make their way home.

Google Flights expects airports in 10 cities – New York City, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu – to be the busiest this holiday, while Reward Expert crunched Department of Transportation data from the past five years to predict which airports might give Thanksgiving travelers the most problems this  year.

While the Honolulu, Atlanta, Charlotte Douglas, Southwest Florida and Salt Lake City airports had the best on-time performance during Thanksgiving over the past five years, if you’re traveling through Sacramento, Houston Hobby, Oakland, Newark Liberty or San Francisco airports this year, the statistics says you’re likely to encounter delays.

Here are some tips that might make traveling during this holiday a bit smoother.

  1. Breeze through airport security

Some airport websites now have tools that report wait times at their security checkpoints, but assume lines will be longer than usual. Your best defense: get a good night’s rest and head for the airport extra early.

And keep in mind: If you haven’t yet signed up for TSA PreCheck you may still have access to some form of expedited lanes screening if you are 75 or older, 12 years or younger, in the military or a disability or medical condition.

  1. Pack for success

Thanksgiving is more about family (and eating) than showing off the latest fashions, so lighten up what you bring along and try traveling with just a carry-on.

Flying with food? Turkey (cooked or frozen) is permitted in carry-on and checked bags but check with your airline if brining a live turkey. Cakes, pies, bread, fruits and vegetables are also permitted in carry-ons, but gravy (a liquid) is not. TSA’s “Can I bring..?” tool can offer advice on other items you may want to bring along.

  1. Bring an emergency kit

Flares aren’t necessary (or allowed) in your carry-on bag, but a kit with some emergency supplies in case of a delay are advised.

Bring snacks (good options include fresh or dried fruit, nuts, energy bars and sandwiches), a refillable water bottle, charged gadgets and rechargers, books and magazines, toys for your kids and a print-out of the reservation information and phone numbers for your airline, car rental company, hotel and the friends or family members who have volunteered to pick you up.

Stash some “mad money.” If a delay gets especially infuriating you can use that cash to buy you and your traveling companions a massage, a fancy cocktail, chocolate or some other frivolous, stress-busting treat.

  1. Delights in the delays

Most people would rather get to their holiday destinations as soon as possible. But those who end up spending extra time waiting for their flights will find many airports offering holiday entertainment and many airport restaurants serving special Thanksgiving-themed dishes and full meals. And in dozens of airports there will be teams of therapy dogs and their trainers on duty to help calm jittery nerves.