Posts in the category "Shopping":

Snack Saturday: new food cart at PDX Airport

PDX FOOD CART LOVE AND WHISKEY

In October, we learned that Portland, Oregon’s food truck craze had finally made it to the airport, with two food carts making their debut and the promise of more to come.

Promises have been kept and a third food cart operator, Love & Whisky, has opened in the pre-security shopping and dining area known as the Oregon Market.

On the menu: gourmet food with savory burgers and pancakes, all “made with love… and sometimes a little whisky.”

The food cart program at Portland International Airport is designed to feature a rotating selection, so Love & Whisky will be at PDX through May 2015.

The Stuck at the Airport team is planning to check out the PDX food carts next week when we arrive in town for a holiday shopping adventure that takes advantage of local shops that have branches at the airport, the airport’s street-pricing policy and the fact that there’s no sales tax in Oregon.

While in town, we’re also looking forward to shopping at the art and craft-filled independently-owned stores participating in Portland’s post-Thanksgiving Little Boxes shopping event and prize raffle that takes place in the city’s super-hip neighborhoods.

How to save time, money & sanity at the airport

Rocking chairs at Houston Hobby Airport

To make the most of airport dwell time during the busy holiday travel season, be sure to take advantage of some of these time and money-saving services and amenities.  The list is from a round-up I put together for CNBC Road Warrior.

Free shoe shines

It seems like an old-fashioned service, but many airports still have shoe shine stands staffed by friendly men and women who, for very reasonable fees, can transform scuffed travel shoes or boots into impressive footwear while you relax, read the paper, return a phone call or chat.

At Los Angeles International Airport shoe shines are free (so tip generously) in most every terminal. The Shoe Hospital at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport not only shines shoes, but fixes broken heels, sells shoelaces, fixes zippers, repairs bags, purses and suitcases and, for those who indulge a bit too much while traveling, punches extra holes in belts that they will also shine.

Layover spa days

A little pampering goes a long way when it comes to improving your travel outlook and appearance. Barbershops, spas and salons at an ever-increasing number of airports offer services that range from haircuts, shampoos and shaves to facials, pedicures, manicures and massages at prices generally on par with what you pay for these services in town.

Some services are discounted during a happy hour offering during the first hour of business (usually between 6 and 7 a.m.) at the Massage Bar, which has branches at seven airports. “Upwards of 65 percent of our clients are business people who are always traveling,” said Massage Bar CEO Chris Woods, “and the clientele make-up is almost 50/50 men and women.”

XpresSpa, with branches in about 50 airports worldwide, has a free membership program that gives discounts and special offers and $5 in rewards points for each $100 you spend. And between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Terminal Getaway Spa, with branches at Chicago O’Hare, Charlotte Douglas and Orlando International Airport, will be giving away treatments via Twitter.

Leverage the lounges

An uptick in business travel means airlines and independent operators are adding lounge locations and upgrading décor and amenities at existing lounges in many cities. If you don’t already get access with your frequent flier status, business class ticket, credit card or travel buddy, consider the $50 one-time entry fee a sanity-saving investment if only for the drinks, snacks, comfortable seating and workspace it can get you.

“But beware,” says TravelSkills founder Chris McGinnis. “Many lounges won’t allow walk-ins when they are overcrowded, so you can’t always count on getting in to the one you want to.” The solution? “You can often walk across the hall or to another concourse and try buying entry into another one,” he said.

Doggin’ it

Teams of trained therapy dogs regularly visit many airports and there’s no cost to spend a few stress-reducing minutes lapping up some love from these pups when you see them.

Passengers who need to board their own pets while traveling can save time by using pet hotels located on or near airport properties. Now Boarding at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, for example, boards cats, dogs and a variety of “little critters” and offers parking, airport shuttle rides, multi-pet discounts and frequent visitor benefits. The 24-hour service makes early morning drop-offs and late night pick-ups possible, which can reduce the number of boarding nights you’ll need to pay for.

Stop and smell the roses

Instead of parking yourself at a gate, head to a free airport observation deck to chill out and take a look around. The BWI Observation Gallery in Baltimore is located pre-security and, in addition to great airfield views, has aviation exhibits, children’s play equipment, charging stations and a cocktail lounge. At LAX, the Observation Deck on top of the Theme Building in the middle of the Central Area is open each Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering airport and Los Angeles views for free.

There’s an indoor, aeroponic garden at Chicago O’Hare Airport where herbs and vegetables used in many airport restaurant dishes are grown and, the recently renovated Dallas Love Field airport, the pre-security outdoor Moss Lee Love Garden is home to live plants and grasses and artwork that includes 12-foot-tall cast-bronze trees.

Shopping for deals

Shopping can be great therapy and shopping for gifts during a layover can save time and money.

Many airports have a “street pricing” policy that prohibits shops (and restaurants) in the terminals from adding surcharges to the prices. You can avoid sales tax on all purchases when shopping at Oregon’s Portland International Airport and avoid sales on clothing (and shoes) when shopping at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Pittsburgh International Airport’s AirMall.

And don’t be shy about using coupons. MSP airport regularly updates a long list of downloadable discount coupons good at airport shops and restaurants, and while no expiration dates are listed on the coupons available from San Antonio International Airport, airport spokeswoman Nora Castro says they are updated quarterly to reflect the latest vendor deals.

During the holidays, many airport shops provide free gift wrapping and shipping and gift-with-purchase offers as well.

Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads StuckatTheAirport.com, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.
 
runways

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.

Fresh shops & restaurants for PDX & LAX

PDX_KeepPortlandWeird

75 percent of the existing leases for shops and restaurants at Portland International Airport are expiring in 2017 and agreements for many fresh new options are just beginning to be rolled out.

The list kicks off with the recent announcement of leases for 11 new outlets that should be open in early 2015, including Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, Café Yumm!, Henry’s Tavern, Hissho Sushi, Mo’s Seafood & Chowder, a branch of The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar – and more.

Meanwhile, at Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 2 is beginning its transformation.

In the video below, Westfield shares information about its plan for 20 new dining and retail outlets and fresh amenities destined for that terminal.

The plan includes doubling the dining options – to 12 – with two Starbucks, SeaLegs Wine Bar, SLAPFISH Modern Seafood Shack The Pie Hole, Pepita Cantina; Pick Up Stix; Fresh Brothers Pizza, Ciabatta Bar; BUILT Custom Burger and Barney’s Beanery, a classic American roadhouse modeled after Route 66.

For shopping, the retail outlets will include a SPANX outlet, a Duty Free shop, 2 CNBC shops and 2 Univision shops, which will carry many products targeted to the Hispanic traveler.

Amenities-wise, we can look forward to gate areas with lounge-style seating, lots more charging stations, new restrooms, terrazzo flooring and new lighting.

Souvenir Sunday: travel-themed gear at PHL & SEA Airport

A new shop at Philadelphia International Airport - called Pilot & Captain – is the first brick & mortar effort from the design studio The Heads of State - and is filled with travel-themed items related to what the creators call “the good old days of planes, trains & discovery”

PHL PILOT and CAPTAIN

The shop offers city-specific t-shirts, mugs, posters, notebooks and more and can be found in Terminal 3.

There’s also a new travel-themed store at Sea-Tac Airport on Concourse C called Planewear – Style is in the Air , filled with items created for the Enumclaw, Washington-based Planewear company

Planewear-storefront

Inventory includes the sassy SkyBelts, (belts made out of airplane seatbelts, which might be problematic for flight when you have to clip on the real airplane seatbelt…), Pan Am “vintage inspired” t-shirts, passport covers, luggage tags, those nostalgic Pan Am bags and kid-sized apparel.

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