Free Stuff

Treats from airports and airlines for Valentine’s Day

Air travel is usually more stressful than romantic, but on Valentine’s Day many airports and airlines go out of their way to add a little love – or at least some chocolate – to the journey.

Today, Delta Air Lines customers flying in the main cabin on select flights between JFK and SFO/LAX will receive mini bottles of La Marca Prosecco, along with a striped straw and two Vosges Haut-Chocolat chocolate truffles. Passengers in the business class cabins will get Prosecco and four pieces of Vosges chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is one of several days during the year when passengers on Southwest Airlines are treated to a complimentary alcoholic beverage. Employees of Southwest (which uses the stock ticker symbol LUV) will also be decorating gate areas and, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, welcoming representatives from the Phoenix Suns basketball team, who will marshal in an aircraft, hand out valentines and take boarding passes.

At both Jacksonville International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, there will be complimentary carnations for travelers (while supplies last).

Austin Bergstrom International Airport will be handing out complimentary chocolates to travelers and inviting passengers to snap a photo at a special selfie-station with an airport-themed replica of the city’s “I Love You So Much” mural, while entertainment, free candy giveaways and a ‘love wall’ for travelers’ messages welcome travelers today at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

This past weekend, passengers at San Francisco International Airport had a chance to see the Wag Brigade’s therapy pig, LiLou, in her Cupid costume and today the miniature therapy horses that occasionally visit Cincinnati/Norther Kentucky International Airport will stop by CVG in their Valentine’s Day costumes as well.

CVG airport will also be distributing candy and conversational heart cookies.

The lovefest continues at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where Pallino Pizza and Pasta will be surprising some guests with complimentary cookies, gelato and goodie boxes and, at both Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport, where some shops and dining outlets will be offering surprise treats throughout the day as part AIRMALL USA’s celebration of both Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week.

Of course, at airports nationwide today men and women will be on hunt for roses and other flowers to take home to the sweethearts.

Many of the bouquets they’ll find for sale will be filled with flowers that arrived just days ago from Ecuador and Columbia and transported by LATAM Cargo, which said that in advance of Valentine’s Day this year it shipped more than 9,000 tons of flowers.

That’s the equivalent, said LATAM, of 16 million bouquets or 200 million flowers and enough for all 160 million women in the United States to receive at least one flower.

Flowers for moms at Jacksonville International Airport

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 8th and volunteers at Jacksonville International Airport will once again be on duty handing out about 1000 red, white and pink carnations to moms passing through the terminal.

This flower thing has become a tradition at JAX airport.  Back in 2009, volunteers handed out carnations on Valentine’s Day and again on Mother’s Day and the response was so positive that they decided to keep going.

(From the George Eastman House collection, via Flickr Commons)

Jacksonville International Airport offers travelers some other nice perks year-round. There’s an art gallery that hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions and permanent art that includes the work of Gregor Tuck, who cataloged the wide variety of gendered pictograms and glazed them onto the tiles surrounding the restroom entryways on Concourse C.

And if your mother was here, you’d know what she’d say… “Go before you get on the plane…”

Prize Patrol: because you can’t win if you don’t play

 

Here’s some free stuff, a few contests and two travel discounts you may want to take advantage of.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area this week or in New York City next week, keep an eye out for folks from Austrian Airlines.  As part of their Café in the Clouds promotion the airline will be serving complimentary Meinl coffee – the coffee served onboard Austrian flights – in a different Washington neighborhood each day through Sunday, May 1st. Check here for the Café in the Clouds DC schedule.

In New York, the plan is to have chefs on bikes out delivering Austrian bundt cakes. The schedule for the NY Café in the Sky event will post on May 1st.

Coffee and cake is nice, but what about travel?  If you’re not in New York or D.C., you can skip the cake the coffee and go directly to the entry form to enter a contest to win two round trip tickets from Washington, D.C. or New York to Vienna on Austrian Airlines. (Contest ends May 20, 2011)

File these under “Every bit helps:”

Through April 30th, anyone with a Visa card that has “Visa Signature” printed on it (very common) may be eligible for a 15% discount on Southwest Airlines.

Virgin America will give you a promo code good for 20% off a flight if you vote for your favorite photo or video in a contest the airline is having in connection with new service to Chicago. Deadline to vote is May 11.

And you have until May 27, 2011 to enter the American Airlines anniversary miles giveaway sweepstakes. The prizes: they’re giving away 30,000 miles a day.

Friday is Customer Appreciation Day at Pittsburgh Airport

People are generally nice at Pittsburgh International Airport, but on Friday, morning December 3rd they’re going to be extra nice.

PIT Customer Appreciation

That’s because on Friday, from 10 a.m. until noon, it’s customer appreciation day at the airport.

In addition to live music and tree decorating in the pre and post-security areas, you’ll find many airlines and car rental agencies hosting activities at their counters and airport ambassadors handing out candy canes and cookies. Anyone who makes a donation (of any amount) to United Way will get a chance to spin a prize wheel for some of the great gifts donated by airport merchants.  Many airports shops will be having special discounts and promotions as well.

Why is the airport being so nice?  Pittsburgh International Airport has trained hundreds of its employees in Resiliency Edge’s N.I.C.E. (Neutralizing Irritations Customers Experience) program, which is designed to solve customer problems.  So having a customer appreciation day is, well, just nice!

To find out more about Pittsburgh Airport’s customer appreciation day and see a list of discounts and specials being offered by various shop,see the notice on the  PIT website.

If there’s any chance you will be at the airport, be sure to print out the page – some extra discounts are being offered to those who show the N.I.C.E. day notice.

Flying phone calls, free B&B stay, and free ice-skating

Veterans Day

This is a truly great endeavor by some inns and B&Bs across the country.

On November 10th, in observance of Veterans Day (November 11th), more than 300 B&Bs and Inns in more than 40 states around the country will be offering a free night’s stay to active and retired U.S. military members.  Here’s the list of participating properties.

Each property is committing to offer at least one room, and many properties are already full. But the program is getting a lot of attention, so check back to see if other properties join the list.

Telephone

Here’s something sure to be controversial: Singapore Airlines has partnered with OnAir to offer passengers Wi-Fi Internet and mobile services – including the option to make and receive phone calls. The service will begin being rolled out in the first half of 2011.

What do you think?

Ice-skating gal

Get ready: winter is coming and for outdoor fans Southwest Airlines will be hosting free ice-skating in downtown Denver.

The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park will be next to the historic Daniels and Fisher Clocktower, right next to the recently opened Southwest Porch.

Free skating starts November 26th. You can bring your own skates or rent some there.