LAX ups its curbside appeal

LAX Susan Goldman - pink lightband

Photo/Los Angeles World Airports, Susan Goldman

Another phase of the major upgrade program is underway at Los Angeles International Airport.

This one focuses on curbside appeal and includes modern LED street lighting, custom-made art deco LED light poles and a programmable LED light band running the length of the Central Terminal.

LAX tells us the light band is over one mile long, is attached to the edge of the Upper/Departures Level roadway and is made up of 690 eight-foot-long individual light boxes interconnected and controlled by a single theater control system.

Looks great!

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Outdoor movies at Düsseldorf Airport

DUS Airport Cinema one

Düsseldorf Airport has brought back its popular outdoor movie program.

Offered weekends throughout July, “OpenAirport Cinema” has seats for about 500 people and is showing both blockbusters such as “Tomorrowland” with George Clooney to classics, such as “Pulp fiction.”

A giant screen is set up on the outdoor observation terrace and everyone gets wireless headphones so they can hear the dialog and the music.

DUS Airport Cinema 2

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Delta SkyMiles rewards will be tied to demand

delta plane

For a story on NBC News, I had a chance to dig into the debate over the latest changes coming to Delta Air Lines SkyMiles frequent flier program.

Here’s a rundown of some of the changes and some expert takes on the carrier’s move:

Next June, Delta Air Lines becomes the first of the “big three” U.S. airlines to ditch the classic fixed miles-for-a-free-flight system in favor of a supply-and-demand scheme that, in many case, will likely require more mileage points to fly on more popular routes or at the last minute.

JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America already offer this type of award program.

Delta announced the change by saying that “the number of miles needed (for a free flight) will change based on destination, demand and other considerations,” beginning on June 1, 2016.

Other changes take effect immediately.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said “most award prices will stay the same, with a greater availability of awards at the lowest prices and some new 7,500 and 10,000 mile one-way awards. Members can take advantage of lower prices immediately, while other price changes won’t take affect for travel more than 10 months from now.”

While some changes should make it easier for passengers to access award seats, others may increase the amount of miles needed to purchase upgrades or tickets.

Many frequent fliers and point watchers have taken issue with some of the changes and the amount of information shared with customers.

“Delta will now determine demand and other factors to determine how many miles are required, in the same way that it uses those factors to determine the price of a paid ticket,” said Scott Mackenzie of Travel Codex.

Delta has removed the award chart from its site and that reduction in transparency will mean Delta customers will have a hard time determining if they’re getting a good value for their frequent flier miles, said travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt of the Atmosphere Research Group.

Travelers may end up having to use more miles to fly popular routes at the last minute, but there may be times when the new plan works in favor of the consumer.

“If demand is soft to a particular destination,” said Harteveldt, “The cheapest tickets may be put on the market for less than the minimum 25,000 points that we have today.”

Travelers irritated by the change have vowed to stop by flying Delta.

But “the value of a frequent flyer mile is dependent on demand,” said Chris McGinnis of TravelSkills.com.

“Once demand falls off, Delta will use the SkyMiles program to woo us back with added value and perks. We just have to be patient.”

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Pittsburgh & Cleveland Airports celebrate their cities

superman

This week the AIRMALL at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is celebrating the city with a series of activities and exhibits.

Here’s a rundown of events:

On Tuesday, July 21:  The Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen is highlighting entrepreneurs and products such as BBQ sauces, roasted almonds, cookies and more – all made in Cleveland.

On Wednesday, July 22:  As part of “A Christmas Story House” display, travelers will have photo opportunities with character cutouts, the Leg Lamp and other movie memorabilia from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

On Thursday, July 23:  The native Cleveland contemporary jazz band Forecast will perform from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Main Terminal Food Court.

And on Friday, July 24, Mitchell’s Ice Cream will treat passengers to a complimentary cone or cup from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Main Terminal Food Court.

PIT Trading card one

The AIRMALL at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is also celebrating its city this week.

On Tuesday, July 21, Peace Love and Little Donuts will give travelers a taste of its “far out” donuts from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. near the video wall in the airside terminal.

Wednesday, July 22, Ronald McDonald will be offering passengers free Big Macs from noon to 2 p.m. at the McDonald’s in the Center Core. The celebration honors the local inventor of the Big Mac, Jim Delligatti.

On Thursday, July 23, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s dinosaur exhibit includes hands-on activities and replicas from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. near the video wall and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the National Aviary will be on site with an African penguin to greet travelers.

And on Friday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., there will be furs, pelts, skins, feathers and other touchable items from animals all over the world at the airport’s Pittsburgh Zoo’s exhibit near the video wall. Small reptiles from the zoo will be there as well.

Have fun!

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Yoga room open at SUX Airport

SUX POST CARD

South Dakota’s Sioux Gateway Airport – SUX – has joined the ranks of airports with yoga rooms on site.

SUX Airport

The space is hosted by a local gym, CPMFitness, which notes on its blog that this is the 6th yoga room at an airport in the United States.

The others are in SFO, DFW, ORD, Midway and Burlington International airports.

After trying to get rid of its SUX airport code, Sioux Gateway Airport embraced it, with a slogan “Fly SUX” and a line of SUX gifts that are for sale on-line and at the airport.

sux-bumper-sticker

SUX MUG

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