Posts in the category "Layover":

Going the distance at U.S. Airports

Harriet Baskas and LAWA's Nancy Castles finish measuring the longest walk at LAX

Harriet Baskas (with distance wheel) and Nancy Castles of Los Angeles World Airports, after we walked the distance at LAX.

My June At the Airport column on USA TODAY is all about the longest distances – between gates at airports.

Figuring this out was no easy task.

Many airports have those measurements handy and are happy to share them. Some airports claimed they couldn’t figure that out. A few balked – even refused – to answer. But one hearty staffer at LAX actually joined me – and my new distance wheel – for a hike through the terminals.

Denver Airport - Concourse B

There most definitely are some very long distances you may need to trek between connecting gates at some airports, but in most cases, there are motorized carts, wheelchairs, moving walkways and other assistance available to help out if walking isn’t your thing.

You can see the full list of the longest gate-to-gate distances I gathered in the full column, but here are a few.

The longest walkable concourse at Denver International Airport is Concourse B, which is 3,300 feet long. Heading from there to other concourses requires hopping on a train.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a walk from the far end of the A Concourse, across the central terminal and out to the end of the D Concourse tallies to 3,885 feet, or about .7 miles.

The longest walk between gates at San Francisco International Airport would be from the end of Terminal 2 (Gate 55) to the end of the International Terminal, Boarding Area G (Gate 101).

It’s slightly more than 3/4 of a mile – 4,068 feet – between the farthest point of the A gates (Gate A-12) to the farthest points of the C gates (Gate C-8) at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, a passenger could walk 5,536 feet (about 1.04 miles) by taking a long stroll from Concourse C in Terminal 1, through the 745-foot underground pedestrian tunnel, past all the gates in Concourse B and back out to the end of the L Concourse in Terminal 3

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the furthest walkable distance between gates is in Terminal 1 and is approximately 5,700 feet, or about 1.08 miles.

According to the brochure for the PHX Fitness Trail at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, it is almost a mile (5,222 feet) between Gate A30 and Gate D8 in Terminal 4, the airport’s largest terminal.

At Los Angeles International Airport, where public relations director Nancy Castles walked with me from the southernmost gate (Gate 159) in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) to Gate 88 in United Airlines Terminal 8, my distance wheel clocked 6,433 feet, or about 1.2 miles.

Along the way one dad mistook my measuring wheel for a cane and quietly instructed his children to “make way for that blind lady.” And a TSA officer wanted to borrow the wheel to measure the distance from the checkpoint to the nearest restroom, so he could truthfully answer a question passengers often ask.

At Philadelphia International Airport, the longest route on the secure side is between Gate A26 in Terminal A-West to E12 in Terminal E, a distance of 5,838 feet, or about 1.1 miles. You can also walk from Gate A-26 to Gate F-39 in Terminal F – a distance of 7.072 feet, or 1.34 miles – but that requires rescreening at the security checkpoint.

The longest interior walking distance at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport goes from Gate D6 (Terminal D) to Gate A8 (Terminal A), a distance DFW officials measured at 1.45 miles, using Google Maps.

ATL SIGN WALK TO GATE

And at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the walking distance from the beginning of the domestic terminal to the international terminal gates is about 10,600 feet, just a smidge over 2 miles.

Did I miss a particularly long airport walk? Share the measurement below.

Transit tour program at Narita Int’l Airport

Narita Airport

If you’ve got a long layover at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

In addition to shopping and dining, the airport has a Japanese culture program of craft projects and performances, a hospitality program that offers discount coupons for use of the shower rooms, two observation decks , and a kabuki gate that has mannequins wearing Kabuki costumes and wigs, a shop selling products associated with Kabuki and a Kabuki Face Photo Booth where passengers can email themselves a photo of their face with Kabuki make-up superimposed on it.

Narita Kabuki

If that’s not enough to keep you occupied inside the airport, Narita has also put together a series of guided and self-guided tours in Narita – the town – for passengers with long layovers.

Various guided tours in the Narita Transit Program visit a temple and a park in Narita, the nearby countryside or the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences. The tours are free, except for transportation costs and admissions.

The self-guided tours direct travelers to nearby shopping areas and offer some discounts.

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?

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