Burning Man kicks off this weekend and the far-out festival has a major impact on the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which each year hosts approximately 35,000 additional arriving and departing Burners from 34 different countries.
Over the years, the airport figured out how to best welcome and help the Burners get where they need to go – and it seems like quite the set-up.
The airport has travel information on the Burner web site, a welcome table (with travel info, and complimentary water and fig bars), a 15-foot wooden replica called “Mini Man” in Bag Claim and a Burning Man art exhibit in the depARTures Gallery.
When Burning Man is over, the airport really goes into high gear.
No motorized transportation (beyond Art Cars) is allowed on the Playa, so lots of Burners bring bikes, which are frequently left behind. The airport partners with the local Kiwanis Club on a bike drop-off area so those bikes can get refurbished and given to kids in the community.
Travelers – and their belongings – heading home from Burning Man are often dusty and dirty, and everyone must pack out their trash from the Playa. So the airport has its custodial staff working around the clock cleaning restrooms and emptying trash bins. The airport also keeps a supply of crates on the curb to collect trash.
Because everyone’s suitcase or backpack is likely to be covered in dust, and because all that dust and grime can muck up the airport’s delicate and expensive baggage machinery, all airlines are required to put a plastic bag around each item of checked luggage and/or place it in a plastic tub. So there are plenty of bags and tubs on hand.
Before and after Burning Man, travelers can enjoy the Burning Many art exhibit at the airport. Through the Artists Lens includes over 60 photos of Burning Man artwork and activities by three well-known Burning Man photogrpaher. Look for the depARTures Gallery on the second floor of the airport’s terminal, post-security.