Harriet Baskas

Stuck at the airport? Learn how to save a life.

There are lots of things you can do with your time when you’re stuck at the airport.

You can eat, shop, work, snooze, walk around, chat with other travelers, look out the window and catch up on phone calls.

Or you can learn to save a life at one of the Hands-Only CPR Training kiosks that have been popping up at airports around the country.

At each kiosk, there’s a brief “how-to” video followed by a practice session and a 30-second CPR test on a practice manikin, or a rubber torso.

The kiosk gives feedback about the depth and rate of compressions and proper hand placement – which are the factors that influence the effectiveness of CPR. And whether or not you might be able to save someone’s life.

“Every second counts when a person suffers a cardiac arrest, which is why bystander CPR must start immediately until professional help arrives,” said Dr. John Harold, a cardiologist and President of the American Heart Association’s Los Angeles Board of Directors. “But bystanders may be reluctant to perform CPR because of lack of training or they may be fearful. The kiosks will help the public acquire a comfort level with performing chest compressions without the stress of an actual medical emergency, so they’ll feel empowered to spring into action if they witness a cardiac emergency.” 

Los Angeles International Airport is the latest airport to get a Hands-Only CPR kiosk. The LAX unit is located near Gate 150 on the Upper/Departures Level of Tom Bradley International Terminal.

An additional 35 of these kiosks are located across the U.S; 18 of them are in U.S. airports, including Oakland Int’l Airport, John Wayne Airport, Orlando International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and airports in Indianapolis and other cities. Check this location map to find a kiosk near you.

Towns take action against too many tourists.

Too-popular tourist destinations say #TooMuch

My story this week for CNBC is about overtourism, which is taking a toll on some of our favorites cities and some of the world’s most beautiful places. Take a read and let me know what you think about the remedies being put in place.

Several recent events, incidents and widely shared images have brought the issue of “overtourism,” and its economic, environmental and human consequences front and center.

For three days in April, ten popular tourist sites in the Faroe Islands were closed for maintenance but open to volunteers who came to create new walking paths, construct viewpoints, erect signs and rebuild ancient cairns.

At the end of May, the Louvre museum, the home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting and a must-do for any visitor to Paris, closed for one day after a walkout by workers who complained about overcrowding.

In Venice, where there’s a movement to ban cruise ships from disgorging thousands of tourists into an already over-visited city, the MSC Opera cruise ship rammed into a dock and a tourist riverboat on June 2, injuring 5 people.

And last month the deaths of several climbers on Mount Everest was blamed on congestion on the trails near the top.

The image broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle tweeted of a long line of climbers hoping to reach the summit may bring a limit to the number of hikers allowed on the mountain. Some have suggested a lottery; comedian Conan O’Brien joked about a Disney-style Everest Fastpass.

Governments and local authorities step in

Around the world, tourism bureaus and governments are taking steps to combat the wear and tear overtourism is creating.

And not all these actions are brand new.

“In the 1980s, the government of Bhutan implemented sustainable tourism policies by following a tourism model of high value, low impact,” said Erika Richter, spokeswoman for the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).

Instead of capping visitors at a certain number, as in the Galapagos, Bhutan charges visitors a daily fee of $200 during low season and $250 during high season.

“While the daily fee for visiting Bhutan may sound expensive, it covers most costs in-country including accommodations, food, guide, driver and entrance into festivals, making it quite reasonable,” said Beth Whitman, owner of WanderTours, “It also deters hordes of backpackers and budget travelers, which is exactly the government’s intention after witnessing the effects of tourism in nearby Nepal and India.”

In Peru, visitors need a timed ticket to visit Machu Picchu. Overcrowding recently moved officials to begin selling timed tickets for Barcelona’s Park Güell.  

Other cities have rolled out campaigns to cap and control tourism as well. Some try to tackle not only the influx of tourists, but their manners.

In Amsterdam, a city of less than one millions residents which hosts more than 19 million tourists a year, the tourism bureau is trying to direct visitors to out-of-the-center neighborhoods and to other Dutch destinations.

The city’s “Enjoy & Respect” campaign reminds visitors, especially young people between ages 18 and 34, that while Amsterdam is an “open, creative, innovative and tolerant city where the limits of what is allowed are wide,” public urination, littering, singing loudly  and other bad behavior is not allowed in the city and will incur big fines.

In addition to voting in entry fees for tourists, the city of Venice has adopted a Detourism campaign which encourages visitors to go beyond the usual tourist sights. A daily tourist report alerts, with tips on behavior from the #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, alerts locals and visitors alike to how congested the streets, canals and attractions may be.

To encourage visitors to go beyond crowded Reykjavik, Iceland’s tourism bureau created the “the A to Ö of Iceland” campaign, challenging visitors to head for other parts of the country.

Tourists are also directed to the Icelandic Pledge, which asks visitors to respect the landscape. Among the vows: “When nature calls, I won’t answer the call on nature,” and “I will take photos to die for, without dying for them.”

Elsewhere, highly Instgrammable destinations, such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming are welcoming visitors, but asking them not to geotag their photos.

“The geotagging campaign is not meant to exclude or discourage visitors from enjoying photos and Instagram posts,” said Kate Sollitt, Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board, “We are simply asking them to think before geotagging certain remote, pristine areas that may be difficult to get to or are being overrun.”

The role of tourists and travel advisors

Guarding against overtourism isn’t just the responsibility of governments and tourism agencies, says ASTA’s Erika Richert, “Although governments’ involvement may hold the most power, there’s also a place for tourists and travel advisors to do their part in responsible tourism.”

The challenge is finding the tipping point between checking off the must-see destinations on many people’s wish lists and adding to overtourism.

In addition to urging travelers to choose small cruises that are less overwhelming to a community, the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) suggests travelers avoid already overcrowded in favor of less-visited destinations offering similar scenery and experiences

“You can’t suddenly say one day that tourism is closed,” says Jessica Hall Upchurch, Vice Chair and Sustainability Ambassador for the Virtuoso network of luxury travel advisors, “What you can do is be transparent about it and offer solutions. Because at their core, people want to do the right thing.”

The new exhibit at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee kicks off today (June 15): “Daredevils: A Century of Spine-Tingling Spectacles.

And tomorrow (Father’s Day, June 16) dads get in for free.

“What began with horse trick riders in circuses inspired new generations of entertainers on bicycles, motorcycles, cars – even flying sofa chairs,” the museum tells us.

This exhibit celebrates the history of these death-defying entertainers who spend coutless hours perfecting their exploits.

Performers featured include:

  • The Urias Family Globe of Death, which was first constructed in 1912 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Four generations of the Urias family thrilled audiences the world over with their gravity-defying performances within the globe before it was retired in 2009;
  • The Harley-Davidson XR-750 ridden by Evel Knievel, during his famed 1975 Wembley Stadium jump. (On loan from Evel Knievel Museum);
  • A rocket-powered, custom-built motorcycle (aka The Space Cycle) that was designed to jump Niagara Falls and was outfitted with helicopter blades to aid in its flight;
  • And the living room furniture piece that was employed by the creative (some might say mad) geniuses at Nitro Circus to attempt the world’s first “reclining sofa chair jump.”

“Daredevils” opens Saturday, June 15 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 8.

Fresh art at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport has two new site-specific murals. Look for them in Terminal 7 and the connection between Terminals 7 and 8.

Renée Fox’s mural in collaboration with WriteGirl, “Songs of Freedom: Renée Fox + WriteGirl.” Photo by Panic Studio LA, courtesy LAWA + City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Displayed in the corridor connecting Terminals 7 and 8, Renée Fox’s 200-foot-long intricate mural, titled “Songs of Freedom: Renée Fox + WriteGirl,” mixes delicate graphite drawings of different species of local and regional birds with poetry by young writers mentored by the nonprofit organization, WriteGirl.

This mural collaboration was curated by Elizabeta Betinski and is on view for ticketed guests through early February 2020. WriteGirl is a creative writing and mentoring association that promotes creativity and self-expression to empower girls. 

Tofer Chin’s mural “Intentions.” Photo: Panic Studio LA. courtesy LAWA  
and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


In Terminal 7, Tofer Chin’s new mural, “Intentions,” greets departing airport guests at the United Airlines ticketing lobby. This mural will be there through September 2019.

Here’s some more background on Chin’s mural:

It features an abstract urban landscape of bold shapes and a spare paint palette of white, black and bright apricot. The shapes emulate shadows of buildings, and the glow of the apricot color is reminiscent of Los Angeles’ vivid sunsets. For Chin, who was born and raised in this city, the spirit of Los Angeles shifts at sunset as the metropolis’ iconic atmospheric light changes and becomes filled with deep oranges and pinks.