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MSP Airport is ready for Super Bowl fans to arrive – and leave

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is ready for the Super Bowl 52 fans to arrive – and leave .

“For many Super Bowl attendees, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will be their first and last impression of Minnesota, and we want to ensure it’s a great one,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP.

The airport has spruced up with a special Super Bowl info page on its website, an enhanced Wi-Fi system, new carpeting, new furniture, new shops and restaurants and has added lots of NFL signage and pop-up Super Bowl souvenir shops in the terminals.

Extra volunteers have been recruited to help travelers with airport wayfinding and extra space has been arranged for all the taxis, rental cars, limos and Uber and Lyft cars that will be supplementing public transportation options at the airport.

Weather contingency plans are in place. Airport police and fire crews have been working with city, county and federal law enforcement agencies on how to deal with various scenarios. And the Transportation Security Administration is bringing in extra officers and passenger screening canines to help process passengers heading home after the game.

“TSA operations at MSP following the Super Bowl will be an ‘all hands on deck’ operation,” said TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers, “From uniformed staff to plain-clothes administrative personnel, everyone will be working.”

TSA and MSP expect to set passenger records on the Monday and Tuesday after Super Bowl, but airport officials are confident their team is up for the challenge.

“We have a solid plan in place to keep everyone safe, the operation running smoothly, and travelers’ experience positive,” said MSP’s Ryks.

Safe and smooth is good, but MSP’s Super Bowl welcome team is also offering fans of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots some fun extras.

A 10-day “Performing Arts Spectacular” is underway, with a lineup of events featuring everything from Bollywood, hip-hop and flamenco dancers to vocal and drum performances. The airport’s animal ambassadors will be out in full force. And giveaways in the terminals will include a series of Super Bowl/Winter-themed MSP buttons and foldable terminal maps with disposable hand warmers attached.

Several airlines, including Delta, Southwest, American and United, have added flights to MSP from Boston, Philadelphia and many other major hubs for Super Bowl ticket holders and last-minute planners heading to the Twin Cities to partake of Super Bowl festivities.

In addition to the extra flights, American Airlines, the official airline for the Philadelphia Eagles, is handing out Eagles rally towels to all passengers flying on from Philadelphia to Minneapolis-St. Paul through Sunday, February 4.

And on Saturday and Sunday, United Airlines is serving “football favorites,” including hot dogs and macaroni salad, to customers visiting the carriers’ lounges in its hub cities. United Club visitors in Boston, Philadelphia and Minneapolis will also find extra treats, including lobster roll and New England clam chowder in Boston; Tastykakes and a build-your-own hoagie bar in Philadelphia; and Captain Ken’s Wagon Trail Chili (a Minnesota favorite) in Minneapolis.


Tuesday Travel Tidbits: JetBlue Trying Again

JetBlue’s first attempt at selling 200 copies of its limited edition “Get Packing” board game – which includes a real flight certificate in each box – was a big bust.

After a big promotional push, when it came time for the games to go on sale on Amazon, it appeared a shopping bot immediately grabbed up all available copies and complaints flooded in.

Now Jetblue is trying again.

This time they’re running a sweepstatakes: enter here by the end of 12/19/17 for a chance to win one of 195 games. 5 additional copies of the game are being auctioned off on Charitybuzz to benefit Make-A-Wish.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has added extra performances to its holiday music line-up:

On December 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the airport’s Asleep on the Wheel stage (near Gate 10), Ray Benson will perform with The Barton Hills Choir backing him up.

The Choir will then go on to perform a mix of golden oldies, classic rock and modern favorites. December 22 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.,  The Austin Jazz Workshop will perform jazz infused instrumental versions of classic Christmas Carols.

See the full schedule of music offerings at AUS here.

Germany’s Dusseldorf Airport has brought back ice-skating inside the terminal for the holiday season – this time with real ice.

Ice-skating and loaner ice-skates are free each weekend through the first weekend in January.

Free airport ice-skating is also offered during the holiday season at the Munich Airport Christmas and Winter Market and at Denver International Airport.

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.