Posts in the category "Layover":

Love the layover: At DFW? Go to Grapevine!

If you’ve got a few hours to spend before or between flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Grapevine is a great, ‘secret’ place to spend it – especially this time of year.

grapvine santa

Like the airport, Grapevine is located between Dallas and Fort Worth, and its historic downtown – packed with shops, restaurants, winery-tasting rooms, public art, art galleries, a ‘performing’ Glockenspiel Clock Tower, the Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery (where you can design and help make your own glass projects), vintage railroad and other attractions – is easy to get to by hopping on the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle bus, which operates daily and stops at the Grand Hyatt DFW as it makes its way to destinations in and around town.

Fares on the shuttle are $5 per person and $10 for a family (2 adults + kids up to age 18).

Grapevine lays claim to being the Christmas Capital of Texas, so this time of year is an especially good time to head for Historic Downtown Grapevine.

Among the seasonal highlights are:

A nightly light show and a chance to sing-along with the city’s Christmas tree.

Through January 15, 2015, “Crafting Christmas: Hand-Carved Santas from Around the World” is an exhibit in Grapevine’s Grand Gallery in the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau headquarters building, right downtown.

Victorian-style Christmas decorations, entertainment, parades and hay rides are all part of Grapevine’s Christmas on Main – and although tickets aboard the North Pole Express via the Grapevine Vintage Railroad appear to be mostly sold out already, it should be fun to visit the railroad terminal right downtown as well as the Palace Theater, which will be hosting holiday concerts and showing holiday films, including ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘White Christmas,” and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’

grapevine santa gals

Best airport for a layover? You can vote on it.

suitcase

As the writer of the Stuck at The Airport blog (which was first a book way back in 2001), people often ask me which airports are best for layovers.

My answer is often “it depends.”

No matter how many amenities an airport has – and with spas, movie theaters, beer gardens, ice-skating rinks, napping nooks, gyms and art museums the list of possibilities is getting quite long – if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, no airport is a good place to find yourself waiting.

But if you’ve got a few hours to spend on a layover, airports are increasingly doing their best to make you comfortable and entertained.

Have a favorite? Through November 3 you can vote (daily) on which airport you think is the best airport for a layover as part of the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards feature on USA TODAY, where I helped choose 20 nominees.

Let me know what you think of the choices and which airport you would have added to this list.

Airport dream amenities

What would make the time you spend stuck at the airport more bearable?

the_traveler

Spas and saunas? Sushi bars? Rollers skating? Roller coasters?

The folks at Skyscanner did a survey of 10,000 people and came up with this top ten list:

Cinema – 49%
Sleep pod – 36%
Library – 32%
Park – 31%
Vanity area – 30%
Kids play area – 21%
Pool – 20%
Gym – 15%
Man-made beach – 12%
Bikes – 11%

These are not pie in the sky amenities.

Singapore’s Changi Airport offers free movies and a multiplex theater at the Hong Kong Airport shows IMAX features throughout the day.

Abu Dhabi Airport offers travelers cocoon-like sleep pods and cabin-like Yotel rooms are available at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which also has a library and a lovely indoor/outdoor park.

And at the Zurich Airport, you can rent a bike and go for a ride.

What other amenities are on your dream list for the airport?

Better Wi-Fi for DTW & a fitness center for YYZ

Two good bits of news on the airport amenities front:

EXERCISE

In September, a GoodLife Fitness Club will open in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) offering cardiovascular equipment, strength training equipment and free weights as well as luggage storage, a lounge area with massage chairs, towel service and changing rooms with showers and lockers. No word yet on what it will cost to use the club, but workout clothing will be available for purchase for those who get inspired by the layout.

And fans of fast, free Wi-Fi at airports will soon be much happier when spending time at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).

Advanced Wireless Group is replacing Boingo at DTW and by September will install a much speedier Wi-Fi system that will be free to use if you’re willing to watch a 30-second advertisement once every 45 minutes.

The current system offers only 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi access to travelers willing to watch a 30-second video ad.

Free domestic & international phone calls at Denver Int’l Airport

(Photo courtesy: credit: Denver International Airport/Kevin Andrews)

Here’s an early holiday gift for travelers: free domestic and international phone calling from Denver International Airport.

According to a release issued this morning, the free service will be ad-supported, offered by RMT Free Phone and will be available at more than 200 land-line phones throughout Jeppesen Terminal and all three concourses.

The phones will allow free unlimited domestic calls. International calls will be free for the first 10 minutes. Beyond that: it will be $0.25 per minute and 15 percent tax.

What’s the catch? To support the service, the phones have high definition 17-inch LCD screens that will show digital advertising and run over Voice over IP.

“This new technology allows advertisers to promote their products airport-wide with 15-second digital advertisements and offers customers digital coupons via QR codes as well as opt-in SMS-advertising,” according to the release.

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