stuck at the airport

JAX airport handed out 1000 free Mother’s Day carnations. Again.

 

As they have since 2009, on Mother’s Day volunteers at Jacksonville International Airport handed out 1000 carnations to arriving passengers and greeters waiting for their loved ones – especially moms – to arrive.

Here are few more snaps shared by the airport.

 

Waiting for other airports to share snaps of the special treats they offered moms as well.

 

What to do if you’re stuck at the airport

Pittsburgh Airport clearing snow

After canceling thousands of flights over the weekend due to a giant blizzard, airlines will attempt to get passengers back in the air and to their destinations on Monday.

But more than 1,300 flights are canceled across the country today and a lot of people will likely find themselves without canceled flights, but still stuck at the airport.

Here are two things to do if you’re left at the gate with time on your hands.

1. Explore.

SFO MUSEUM FOOTBALL HELMET

Lots of airports have art exhibits displaying the work of national or local artists. Some have full-blown aviation museums (SFO & MKE), and many have an exhibit case or two filled with tidbits of local history. San Francisco International Airport has both an aviation museum and an exhibit program that mounts 20 exhibits around the airport at any one time.

Right now the SFO Museum has exhibits about football, vintage purses and Toy Story.

Aliens - Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

Aliens – Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

2. Eat

Wow Bao - a new Asian cuisine option in Terminal 5 at ORD_photo Harriet Baskas

While you weren’t paying attention, airports across the country have upped their game when it comes to food. Take a walk, inspect all the menus and take yourself out for a nice meal.

And if you’re lucky enough to be stuck in Chicago at O’Hare or Midway Airports, keep in mind that both airports are celebrating Airport Restaurant Week through February 2.

Blizzard = 1000s of canceled flights

 

Snowstorm

In advance of a projected historic winter blizzard, airlines have canceled more than 2,300 flights for today and shut down operations in many airports entirely.

The story will repeat tomorrow.

Here’s FlightAware’s Misery Map from this morning, showing Charlotte with most canceled flights – but it will just get worse – much worse – throughout the day.

Misery Map clip

Best advice: don’t even chance getting stuck at the airport today. Take your airline’s offer to change your flight. Stay home. Stay warm. And, if you’re in a place where the blizzard hits – check on your neighbors.

 

How to find day rates at airport hotels

sleeping on airplanes

In working on a story for NBCNEWS.com about hotel booking sites trying to stand out by offering a twist – including Winston Club, which plans to match people up to share top hotel rooms – I discovered a good resource for travelers who find themselves stuck at the airport.

HotelsbyDay.com is a site that helps travelers find good rates for short stays at hotels during the day.

These aren’t the, ahem, one-hour or less kind of stays. The service offers stays of at least four hours in three-, four- and five-star hotels, enabling a traveler to rest and refresh before or after a long flight, get some work done in a quiet and comfortable space between meetings or, perhaps, for a family to have a “daycation” at a hotel with a pool, waterpark and spa.

The site has a search option for airport hotels and on that list you’ll find the Miami International Airport Hotel (located inside the terminal) – offered during my search for $55 for a four hour stay between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – and the post-security Minute Suites – DFW, offered at $100 for a four hour block between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., $110 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and $120 between 3 a.m. and 7 p.m.

I called to check and compare walk-in rates as was told there is not a posted rate at the DFW Minute Suites for a 4 hour stay, but that, with taxes, a 3.5 hour stay would cost about $134 and a 5 hour stay, $148. So the HotelsbyDay rate does indeed offer some savings.

Best airport for a layover? You can vote on it.

suitcase

As the writer of the Stuck at The Airport blog (which was first a book way back in 2001), people often ask me which airports are best for layovers.

My answer is often “it depends.”

No matter how many amenities an airport has – and with spas, movie theaters, beer gardens, ice-skating rinks, napping nooks, gyms and art museums the list of possibilities is getting quite long – if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, no airport is a good place to find yourself waiting.

But if you’ve got a few hours to spend on a layover, airports are increasingly doing their best to make you comfortable and entertained.

Have a favorite? Through November 3 you can vote (daily) on which airport you think is the best airport for a layover as part of the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards feature on USA TODAY, where I helped choose 20 nominees.

Let me know what you think of the choices and which airport you would have added to this list.