Airports

Satisfied customers at these winning airports

DFW International Airport

Airports Council International (ACI) World just released its Airport Service Quality awards – which measure passenger satisfaction – and some of your favorite airports are likely on the list of 2016 winners.

In the Best Airport by Region (counting airports with over 2 million passengers a year), it was a three-way tie between Indianapolis International Airport (IND), Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and Toronto Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ) for Best Airport in North America.

In the “Best Airport in North America,” – by size – category:

*Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport took top honors among airports serving over 40 million passengers a year;

*Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport got the 1st place nod for airports service 25 to 40 million passengers;

*Tampa International Airport won for airports service 15-25 million passengers a year,

*Indianapolis International Airport got the 1st place prize for airports serving 5 to 15 million passengers a year; and

*Toronto Billy’s Bishop Airport (YYZ) won Best Airport in North American in the 2-5 million passengers a year category.

One other award to take note of: “Best Improved Airport in North America,” which went to  John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH).

See the full list of winners from around the world here.

 

Chinese New Year at airports & on planes

Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations begin this weekend and airports and airlines are celebrating the Year of the Rooster with decorations, special meals, promotions and events.

Vancouver International Airport, a major trans-Pacific hub, has special decorations in the terminals and a wide variety of events planned for this Friday, including a traditional Lion Dance, retail specials and an appearance by the Fortune God who will hand out red envelopes to lucky passengers who will have a chance to win prizes.

At San Francisco International Airport, which boasts that it serves more cities in China than any other North American airport, look for special Lunar New Year graphics on signs, on the airport’s social media outlets and on its website.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Friday, Jan. 27 with traditional and modern Chinese music from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Asleep at the Wheel stage, located across from Gate 10.

Lunar New Year activities at Hong Kong International Airport include daily Lion Dance performances and multiple chances to meet and greet the God of Fortune.

At Singapore’s Changi Airport, which does everything in a big way, the terminals are decorated with festive decorations and plants, the popular Pokémon installation has receive a seasonally-appropriate makeover, and there will be an award-winning Lion Dance troupe performing in the terminals on multiple days. The Fortune God Mascot will also be on hand distributing fortune cookies.

To mark the Lunar New Year, Cathay Pacific will be serving two types of festive puddings (Red Dates Pudding and Turnip Pudding with Conpoy and Chinese ham) to travelers in first and business class cabins on many long haul flights.

Qatar Airways is also celebrating the Chinese New Year by serving a special Spring Festival-inspired menu on board flights to popular Asia destinations from January 28-30.

Deal-wise, United Airlines is offering promotional fares (through Feb 1) on its flights to Hangzhou, China from San Francisco and other cities and Plaza Premium Lounge is running a Chinese New Year ‘Buy 3 Get 2 Free’ offer on lounge gift cards that is valid through February 6.

And Eva Air is celebrating the year of the Rooster with a special Chinese New Year menu on flights outbound from Taipei to North America and Paris on January 27, 2017 and special Chinese New Year-themed service items on these same flights from January 27 to February 5, 2017.

Many service items on Eva Air’s Hello Kitty Jets have also been refreshed for the Chinese New Year, and some new characters – Gudetama and Bad Badtz-maru are featured on the themed paper napkins, headrest covers and the traditional red envelopes handed out to family members and loved ones  to wish them health and prosperity this time of year.

 

Souvenir Sunday – Not yet for sale at Seattle’s Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International held an educational fair on Friday to help small business owners in the area learn what it takes to get their products into the airport.

After a couple of information-packed panels, some hopeful entrepreneurs showed off souvenirs, food and even some cannabis-themed health and beauty aids that may soon show up in the SEA shops.

The cookie above,  known as “That Cookie,” is already wildly popular at local gourmet grocery stores.

And these Seattle-themed pouches and bags are carried in the big souvenir shops in town.

 

 

These twins – juniors in college – are hoping their bottled water called “Plane Water” – now sold in just one airport shop – will get sold alongside the national brands of bottled water sold throughout the airport.

This line of cannabis-themed health and beauty products got a lot of attention. “I just need to run it by legal,” said a rep from a airport vendor hoping to pick up the line.

 

 

 

Free books at the airport

Reading a book on a cross-country flight is a luxury that is too often replaced by a series of stupid movies offered (not always for free) on the seatback entertainment screen or on an app we’re urged to download before we leave the gate area.

But what if you’ve forgotten to bring a book from home or don’t want to shell out $29.95 for a bestseller at the newsstand near the gate?

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there are currently two kiosks with hard-to-miss screens offering free downloads of e-books and audio books to people who have library cards – and those who don’t.

The kiosks are courtesy of the King County Library System and non-card holders are offered an instant two-day library card. Downloads are good for seven days.

People are enjoying the SEA airport book kiosks so much that the one of them already needs a tune-up, which I have been assured in underway.

Libraries in many other cities have installed e-book kiosks at their airports (some have permanent kiosks/others are temporary) and some airports have leave-a-book-take-a-book shelves.

I spotted this one at Washington’s Walla-Walla Airport.

Of course, if you already have a library card ( and you should) and your airport offers free Wi-Fi, there’s nothing to stop you from using your time at the gate to log on and scour the e-shelves for a book as well.

Or to just dream about the ‘good old days’ when an airport might have a library branch on site.

This one was at Nashville International Airport.