Airport guides

Traveling with kids? Some helpful resources

 

I was honored and, I admit, a bit surprised to find my name and StuckatTheAirport.com on a list of recommended people to follow on Twitter if you’re traveling with kids.

But Frances Judd seems to have done her research. And there among a list of great focused-on-kids blogs, writers and resource sites such as Colleen Lanin (@TravelMamas), Suzanne Kelleher of WeJustGotBack.com, Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby and Anya Clowers of JetwithKids.com, she was kind enough to include my Twitter feed (@hbaskas & @StuckatAirport), my USA Today column and my posts here at StuckAtTheAirport.com as a useful resources for travelers.

If you are traveling this week – with kids or not – be sure to pack some patience. And if you find yourself stuck an airport, see if the 50 airport guides I keep maintained for USA Today can help. They list kids plays areas, good places to eat and shop and offer tips on art exhibits and other amenities.

New version of FlySmart airport app now available

 

A new version of the free “FlySmart” app is out and this time around Clear Channel has added flight push notifications and Bing Maps to the mix in hopes that you’ll use this mobile travel app over the very popular GateGuru airport app and others on the market.

The new FlySmart app is an enhanced/improved version of SapientNitro’s goHow airport application and covers 96 U.S. and international airports, including Boston, Denver and Minneapolis, which are partner airports.

The application says it allows passengers to add ratings and feedback about restaurants, shops and services at the airport and there’s a button to rate a place and send feedback.  Actual reviews don’t yet seem to be available.

The promoted features include “Suggestions for things to do in the area,” and I was hoping for some tips on nearby outlet malls, bowling alleys or multiplex movie theaters, but all I see are very general listings of restaurants and hotels that may be – or may sort of be – nearby the airports.

Someday these apps will offer everything you need to make your way to, from and through any airport, but in the meantime I think tracking your flight with your airline and going directly to an airport’s own website is going to provide you with the most up-to-date and complete information.

(Disclaimer: One of my projects is the 50 airport guides currently on the USATODAY.com website. I update about 25 of those guides each month with information I gather directly from the airports and from my own research. [It’s geeky, but I read a lot of airport newsletters.] “My” guides aren’t really competing with the automated mobile apps out there that grab general info from airport websites and add searchable maps, but I just thought you should know.)

 

Stuck at…Boston Logan International Airport

While researching a column about the ‘secret lives’ and hidden talents of people who work at some of the nation’s airports – look for it on USATODAY.com later this week – I was introduced to Rudy Chiarello.

He grew up in the shadow of Boston Logan International Airport, has worked for Massport for more than 30 years and is currently Logan’s landside operations manager. Lucky for us, he’s also a great photographer. His work has been featured at Logan Arport, on airliners.net (it looks like more than 1,000 of his images are posted there) and, today on StuckatTheAirport.com.

Thanks, Rudy, for sharing these great shots!

Boston Logan_Chiarello

Storm clouds. Delays on the way?

China Airlines Cargo landing at Logan

China Airlines cargo plane landing at Boston Logan Airport

Air Force One at Logan

Air Force One visits Boston Logan Airport

Boston Logan International Airport is included in the set of 50 airport guides I created for USATODAY.com.

Party at Chicago Midway Airport

It’s party time at Chicago’s Midway Airport.

Balloons

All week long (March 7-11) the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Midway terminal building with discounts at the concessions, live musical entertainment and airline-sponsored raffles for free tickets.

 

Never been to Midway? It’s definitely worth a try. Although the city’s website offers scant information about the airport’s amenities, if you take a look the Midway Airport guide I created for USATODAY.com, you’ll see that the airport is home to Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch restaurant and a wide variety of temporary and permanent art and history exhibits, including The Battle of Midway Memorial, a glass mural honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and Rara Avis: a cast metal and stainless steel sculpture of a cardinal made by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter.

The sculpture is made of 2,500 small cast metal sculptures of assorted aircraft and is located at the Ticketing Lobby. And, as Illinois-born Paula Kucharz (now of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport) points out, the cardinal was made the Illinois state bird back in 1929.

 

Airports digging out from blizzard; will travelers get to fly?

After a frightful day of snow and wind – and then more snow and more wind – New York area airports finally reopened on Monday afternoon.

Now the real “fun” begins as airlines try to reposition planes and find seats for travelers who have been stuck at airports around the country.

Here are some of the stories that have come out of the storm.

From the Wall Street Journal: Snow Keeps City at Standstill

From the Star Ledger: Hundreds of Stranded Newark Airport passengers hope to rebook flights

From the Christian Science Monitor: LaGuardia airport and others reopen, but stranded fliers still face ordeals

You get the picture…

Want to find out when you or someone you’ve been waiting for will get on a plane?

Make sure you’re signed up for all methods of flight status alerts and are following your airline and your airport on Facebook and Twitter – if they’re there.

Now that planes are moving, it should start getting easier to rebook and/or confirm a flight. Try doing it online yourself before getting on the phone or on a long line, which can take hours.  Several airlines are re-booking travelers via Twitter, so give that a try as well.  Keep in mind though, that it will take several days for get everyone where they’re going, so if you’re heading to an airport, take along some food, activities to keep you busy, a charged cell-phone, good humor and lots of patience.  While you wait, my USA TODAY airport guides and assorted apps from airlines, airports and third-party entities may help you find amenities, shops and restaurants.

And if you’ve missed the event you were heading to in the first place, ask for a refund, take out your calendar and start making a new post-blizzard plan.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…