Restaurant Week at PHL Airport & beyond

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From October 20 to 27, Philadelphia International Airport joins cities around the country in celebrating Restaurant Week, with pre-selected, three-course menus for $20 per person offered at these in-airport restaurants:

· Cantina Laredo (Concourse E)

· Chickie’s & Pete’s (Terminal A West, Concourses C, D & E)

· Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar (Concourse B)

· Jack Duggan’s Pub & Restaurant (Concourse A East)

· Jet Rock Bar & Grill (Concourses B & D)

· Legal Sea Foods (B/C Connector)

· Local Tavern (Terminal F)

· Re:Vive Bar (Terminal F)

· Sky Asian Bistro (Concourse C)

· Vino Volo (Terminal A West, Concourse B, B/C & D/E Connectors)

Restaurant Week at an airport is a great idea, of course. And unlike Restaurant Week in most cities, the one at PHL Airport continues through the weekend.

But a week is so short.

And your travels may not take you through PHL.

Never fear. Throughout the entire month of October, HMS Host has brought the restaurant week concept to selected restaurants in airports around the country. See the list of participating airports and restaurants here

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SFO makes deal with Sidecar

Sidecar

In a first for California, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Sidecar have come to an agreement that allows the Transportation Network Company (TNC) to operate legally at the Airport.

The permit, which allows the company to drop off and pick up customers at SFO, represents the first airport TNC agreement in the state of California. Sidecar, which is headquartered in San Francisco, expects to begin operations at SFO within the next 30 days.

“SFO is one of our most in-demand places for ride requests,” Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul wrote in a blog post on the company’s website, “so we’re excited and proud to work with them to offer riders safe and affordable travel to and from the airport.”

SFO officials say permit discussions continue with other transportation network companies, including Lyft and UberX, but that so far neither have signed a permit with SFO and so are not legally allowed to operate at the Airport.

Last November, SFO came to an agreement with Relay Rides – a company that offers free airport parking, a car wash and a cut of the proceeds to travelers who let the company rent out their cars to others. A similar company, Flight Car, does not have legal permission to operate at the airport.

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Dallas Love Field gets a re-boot

Here are some snaps from Dallas Love Field, where celebrations were underway and finishing touches to the terminal were on display in celebration of the lifting of the Wright Amendment on Monday, October 13. The ruling, created in 1979 to foster growth at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, had imposed flight restrictions on long-haul flights from Love Field.

 

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Big day for Dallas Love Field

Love FIELD - SIGN

It’s a big day for Dallas Love Field.

The Wright Amendment – which since 1980 has imposed restrictions on air service and operations at Love Field – lifts today, October 13, 2014.

To mark the day, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly will be taking boarding passes and sending off the airline’s first non-restricted flight of the day: Flight #1013 to Denver.

Southwest, which currently operates 16 of Love Field’s 20 gates, begins nonstop flights today from Love Field to Denver, Chicago, Baltimore/Washington, Washington, D.C. (Reagan National), Orlando, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles (LAX). On November 2, eight additional nonstop flights will start to New York (LaGuardia), Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Orange County, and San Diego, Nashville, and Atlanta.

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Virgin America, which is launching service at Love Field today from two gates, is kicking off the day with a very short “Downtown Express” flight that will travel from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Dallas Love field with Sir Richard Branson on board and an inflight performance by Grammy award-winning country star Kacey Musgraves.

I’m going along for the ride and will share details from the day here.

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E-cigs on a plane & in the airport

Lucky Stirke smoking

Can you vape on vacation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Sales of e-cigarettes and their cousins, re-fillable “vaporizers,” are currently a $2.2 billion market in the United States, according to tobacco analysts at Wells Fargo Securities, up from an estimated $1.7 billion in 2013. And e-cig consumption could surpass that of combustible cigarettes in 10 years, according to the same forecast.

Yet, while the popular, smoke-free, nicotine delivery tools are marketed as being less toxic than traditional cigarettes, the options for where travelers may use the devices can be hazy.

In the air

Although its rules don’t explicitly spell it out, the Department of Transportation believes the existing ban on smoking on domestic and international flights of U.S. and foreign air carriers is sufficiently broad to include a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes.

“We are finalizing a rule that will address whether we should amend the existing regulatory text to explicitly ban use of electronic cigarettes aboard commercial airline flights. DOT expects the final rule will be published in the Federal Register in early 2015,” an agency spokesperson said via email.

While e-cigs are sold at some airport newsstands, their use is determined by local regulations and ordinances.

A handful of airport shops operated by Paradies have been selling e-cigs since July at the request of the airports, according to Paradies Senior Marketing Manager Justin Marlett.

The Hudson Group also sells e-cigs in some airport newsstands. Cigarettes and other tobacco products, including e-cigs, now account for less than 1 percent of Hudson’s overall newsstand sales, “but while only 7 percent of that 1 percent is represented by e-cigs, e-cigarettes are the only tobacco products that are showing growth…albeit only incremental growth,” said Mike Maslen, Hudson’s vice president of sales.

Buying e-cigs at an airport is one thing, using them there is another.

Rules vary airport-to-airport, and sometimes within concession-to-concession. Until earlier this year, when Minnesota enacted legislation banning e-cigarettes from government buildings, e-cigs could be used in the terminals of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“We had no ordinance or policy banning them,” said Patrick Hogan, MSP’s director, public affairs & marketing, which mean e-cigs could be used in areas controlled by the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “However, concessionaires and airlines could prevent their use within their leased space. I don’t know how many did,” said Hogan.

Because the city of Los Angeles prohibits e-cigarettes inside public buildings, “the public is prohibited from using e-cigarettes within 20 feet of entrances to terminals, office buildings, and other on-airport properties,” said LAX spokesperson Nancy Castles.

But at Denver International Airport, where some retailers sell e-cigs, “this falls under the airport’s tobacco policy, so their use is only allowed in areas where smoking is allowed, such as the remaining smoking lounge on the C Concourse,” said airport spokesman Heath Montgomery.

At hotels

Hotels also vary widely in their e-cig policies.

While the cluster of hip Provenance Hotels in Oregon, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee, have no formal policies on e-cigs, The Warwick in San Francisco is clear that the hotel’s smoking ban includes e-cigs.

And while some hotels sell e-cigs in the in-room mini-bars, “most hotels use the same policy for e-cigs as they do for traditional smoking,” said Julie Faver-Dylla, executive director of the Hotel Association of Tarrant Country, Texas, which represents about 400 properties in and around Arlington and Forth Worth.

“Although we understand that oftentimes the vapor produced by e-cigs is less damaging to our properties and less offensive than traditional burned cigarettes, there many variants of those products in use, and it is not possible for hotel staff to determine which might be problematic,” she said.

At sea

There is no industry-level policy on e-cigarette use on cruise lines, but “it is something that individual cruise lines are looking at,” said Elinore Boeke, spokeswoman for Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s trade association.

American Cruise Lines, for example, does not have a formal policy in place for e-cigarette use, but “for our smoking passengers there is a designated area on the top deck of each of our ships. In the event we have a passenger who does use e-cigs or vapes, we encourage them to go up to the top deck as well,” said company spokesman Britt Rabinovici.

On the Holland America Line, “electronic cigarettes are permitted in staterooms but not in other public areas of the ship other than on outside decks designated as smoking areas,” but on Royal Caribbean Cruises, e-cigarette users must join traditional cigarette, cigar and pipe smokers in designated outdoor areas of the starboard side of most ships.

(My story about e-cigarettes first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior).

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