Atlanta Airport

Jazz in the Atrium series underway at ATL airport

The 36th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival kicks takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, but before that happens, the 12th annual Jazz in the Atrium series will be giving travelers a preview in the domestic terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

ATL JAZZ TRIO

The Moonlight Jazz Trio will perform at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport during the Jazz in the Atrium series.

The two-week program kicked off Monday night and features performances by local artists from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. each weekday through May 24.

Here’s the line-up:

May 14: Moonlight Jazz Trio

May 15: Tony Waters

May 16: Marlon Patton Trio

May 17: The Sparrow Trio

May 20:CC Booker

May 21: Trey Wright Trio

May 22: Gary Harris

May 23: Charles Marshall, The Jazz Ambassador

May 24: Life Force

Travel tidbits: double miles, bonus points & more

American Airlines is sorry.

Sorry about a lot of things, no doubt, but definitely sorry about the service it’s been providing to passengers recently.

So in an effort to make nice, the airline is offering some nice bonus mile deals between now and the end of the year.

AAdvantage members will earn double miles on American Airlines, American Eagle or the American Connection carrier from November 16, 2012, through November 26, 2012 and earn double elite-qualifying miles and points for flights taken between now and the end of the year. You’ll need to register for the offer. Details here.

Want more bonuses?  Sign up for the “Thanks Again” program, which awards frequent-flier miles for parking, shopping or dining at participating merchants at the airports and at businesses in many towns. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport just joined the program and it’s a fair bet that your local airport has signed up too.  Do a search here to find out.

And here’s something fun:

This spring all Finnair airplanes will be decked out with special textiles and tableware bearing classic patterns from Marimekko, a Finnish design firm. Two of the airline’s long-haul aircraft will also be painted with a livery based on Marimekko designs. An Airbus A340 is already adorned with a floral print from 1964 and another plane will get its Marimekko marking in the spring.

 

Hungry sheep show up at Atlanta Airport

Sheepherder and sheep at ATL Airport. Courtesy ATL airport

Goats do it in San Francisco. Now sheep are doing it in Atlanta.

As part of a pilot project, 100 grazing sheep (plus a few goats) are hard at work this week eating invasive plants such as kudzu on property belonging to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The sheep are hired from Ewe-niversally Green and are part of the “Have Ewe Herd?” program hosted by Trees Atlanta, a nonprofit group dedicated to planting and conserving trees.

Bethany Clark, a Trees Atlanta spokeswoman, said the airport had heard about their programs and asked to borrow the sheep for a week. “The airport will evaluate the effectiveness of the sheep, and we’ll go on from there,” she said.

Clark said that, while on duty, the sheep are protected by an electric fence and have both shepherd dogs to keep them corralled and guard dogs to protect them from predators such as coyotes. There’s also a human shepherd who checks on the sheep a couple of times each day.

Goats from Goats R Us have been munching weeds at San Francisco International Airport for at least eight summers. “They are hired help and used seasonally in an area that is home to two threatened species: the San Francisco garter snake and the red-legged frog,” said Michael McCarron, SFO airport spokesman. “The goats are easier to use than heavy equipment and we expect them to be back next year.”

In 2008, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hired a herd of goats (and three sheep) from Goat Trimmers to spend 12 days eating wild blackberry bushes, Scotch broom and other weeds around the airport.

They have not been invited back.

“One of our struggles with the goats is you have to protect any foliage you want to save,” said airport spokesman Perry Cooper. “If you have an open field it works great. But when you have areas and plants you want to save within that area, you still have to use staff to build protection barriers. For us it wasn’t the best solution.”

(My story about sheep at Atlanta Airport first appeared on NBC News Travel).

Atlanta Airport – and others – get bigger

The world’s busiest passenger airport is getting bigger.

Today, May 16, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport opens the new $1.4 billion Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, named in honor of the city’s first black mayor.

“The opening of the international terminal is huge for Atlanta,” said the airport’s Aviation General Manager Louis Miller. “It gives international passengers their own terminal with its own entrance, it ends the baggage recheck process for Atlanta–bound passengers, and it enhances the airport’s overall capacity now and for the future.”

The opening of Atlanta airport’s new terminal comes on the heels of some other high-profile — and pricey — terminal openings in 2011, most notably San Francisco International Airport’s $388 million renovated Terminal 2 in April and Sacramento International Airport’s $1 billion new terminal in October.

The airport upgrades don’t stop there. Here are six more projects you may spy next time you fly:

Las Vegas

On June 27, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas will open “T3,” a new high-tech, $2.4 billion terminal that will serve both international and domestic flights.

“Our plans for T3 include self-boarding podiums at all 14 gates, self-service kiosks equipped for customers to print and affix their own baggage tags, and a robust [free] wireless Internet system that will extend out to the ramp and allow customers to log on whether they’re inside the terminal or aboard an aircraft parked at the gate,” said Randall H. Walker, director for the Clark County Department of Aviation.

Miami

This summer, Miami International Airport will open a new federal inspection area at the North Terminal that is twice the size of the existing Concourse E facility. In early 2013, the airport hopes to have the entire multibillion dollar North Terminal project completed. “What remains to be opened are three passenger gates and five of the 10 baggage claim carousels in the international arrivals area,” said Greg Chin, communications director for the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department.

A new AirportLink Metrorail extension that will speed connections to downtown Miami is also being built.

San Diego

San Diego International Airport is halfway through a $1 billion sustainable “Green Build” expansion of its Terminal 2 that is scheduled to be completed in August 2013.

“When complete, Terminal 2 will have 10 new gates, a dual-level roadway to separate arriving and departing passengers, a large, bright concessions core and the largest airport USO in the world,” said Katie Jones, spokesperson for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles International Airport
is building a new $1.5 billion Tom Bradley International Terminal, which will include new concourse areas and gates that will be able to accommodate the superjumbo Airbus A380 airplanes.
Renovations and upgrades are also underway throughout the rest of the airport.

New York

And in New York, Delta Air Lines is spending more than $160 million to renovate Terminals C and D at LaGuardia Airport and more than $1.2 billion on John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4. The LaGuardia project may be completed by the end of 2013; the JFK project, by spring 2013.

That’s a lot of airport-upgrade activity at a time when the economy remains skittish, fuel prices are still sky-high and airlines continue to scale back schedules.

“Airports are investing in modern infrastructure to ensure that their communities, and the companies in them, can successfully compete in an increasingly global economy,” said Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International -North America, an airport membership organization. “These facilities are an investment in our economic future.”

(My story about airport upgrades first appeared on msnbc.com)

Flower power at the Atlanta Airport

Traveling can get pretty hectic, so Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is encouraging passengers to stop and smell the roses.

Or at least stop and look at some incredibly real-looking photographs of flowers from the “Les Fleurs Photographic Collection,” by Georgia artist Barry Taratoot.

To photograph the plants, Taratoot placed them against solid-black backgrounds and “without trickery or modern technical manipulation,” somehow made the plants look like paintings. But they’re not.

Go see for yourself. The exhibit is on display in the ATL Airport Atrium through May 16, 2012.