Airport shops

“There Are No Bears In the Air”

The Stuck at the Airport team is visiting Kalispell, Montana this week. And we’re spending time at Glacier Park International Airport (FCA), which proudly bills itself as the Gateway to Northwestern Montana, Glacier National Park, and the Rocky Mountains.

One of the things we’ve learned is that Montana is bear country. And visitors spending time outdoors here are strongly encouraged to carry EPA-approved bear spray. And to learn how to use it.

But what about traveling with bear spray?

According to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) “What Can I Bring?” tool, “one 4 fl. oz. (118 ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge.”

But TSA takes a stronger position on bear spray. It is not allowed in either carry-on or checked bags.

Glacier Park International Airport knows that many passengers forget that they have bear spray in their bags. And that many travelers don’t know about the ‘no bear spray on airplanes’ rule.

So in an effort to keep checkpoint lines from getting bogged down with TSA officers opening bags to remove packed bear spray, a bear spray amnesty box is provided.

“Good News! There are no bears in the air,” is the message greeting travelers at the airport security checkpoint. The box has a picture of a bear next to a pile of suitcases and informs travelers that “Animal repellent is not allowed in checked or carry-on baggage. For safety reasons, please leave your bear spray here.”

What If You Need Bear Spray?

Passengers who land at Glacier Park International Airport in need of bear spray for their local adventures will find bear spray available for rent at the Glacier Outfitters shop in the baggage claim area.

It’s an unusual, but very appropriate local service to offer at an airport. So we are declaring bear spray rental at Glacier Park International Airport the “Amenity Airport of the Week.”

Airport Amenity of the Week: Free Coat Check

We take a break today from sharing the latest details on the Southwest Airlines debacle to celebrate the Airport Amenity of the Week.

Free coat check at Wisconsin’s Appleton International Airport (ATW) isn’t brand new. But we just learned about it. And want to celebrate it as a great amenity that we hope other airports might adopt.

Knowing that traveling in the Midwest can be tough in the winter, Appleton International Airport offers free coat check service to all travelers.

Passengers can drop off jackets at the ATWExpress Park desk in the terminal before heading to their gates and pick them up at that desk on their return. Coats are kept safe in a storage room.

The free coat check service is separate from the ATWExpress Park service, which is a valet service that costs just $8 a day.

Coat Check Service at Milwaukee Mitchell Airport Too

Winter coat check service is offered at another Wisconsin airport too. For the fourth year, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is offering a coat check service at the Summerfest Marketplace shop. Coats are placed in protective plastic before being stored away.

The service is not free. But it is a great deal at just $2 per day and a maximum of $10 per trip.

Here’s to many more great airport amenities that we can celebrate on Stuck at The in 2023.

If you have a nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week, be sure to let us know.

Lego vending machine at the airport in Las Vegas

A new vending machine at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is a cool treat for Lego fans or anyone needing a fun last-minute gift.

Located post-security, just beyond the A/B gates, the vending has been in place for just a few weeks and is the first Lego vending machine in an airport.

Stock will surely change over time, but right now the set choices include Star Wars, Frozen, Duplo and others.

LAS airport has some other fun vending machines scattered about, including a Kylie Jenner cosmetics machine (in the D & E Gates), Sprinkles cupcake machines (in the C, D and E Gates) and a SouveNear machine filled with art and gifts made by local artists (in the C Gate area).

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Earlier this week, we told you about a new Prince-themed store that opened recently at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Here are some more new shops to look for at the airports in Sacaremento and Las Vegas.

The folks at SouveNEAR, who place vending machines filled with work made by local artists at airports, are expanding their network.

Created to be “an indie craft fair in a box,” SouveNEAR fills these vending machines with an eclectic collection of art prints and originals, T-shirts and apparel, handmade jewelry, gourmet food items and other travel-sized mementos. Prices range from $5.00-$50.00. 

Right now they’ve got their art-filled machines in multiple locations at Kansas City International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Oakland International Airport and Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

In September you’ll be able to shop for local art from SouveNEAR machines in Sacramento International Airport (SMF) an in Las Vegas at McCarran International Airport (LAS).

Sacramento International Airport also has a new shop called The Well in Terminal A selling locally-sourced gifts in a “hydration-focused” environment.

In addition to selling gifts and gourmet foods from Northern Califorinia, the shop has a self-serve water bar and stocks a variety of reusable drinking bottles.

At the airport: snakes, Prince and plastic bottles

A new store called “Prince” is selling merchandise related to the late musician known as Prince in the south end of the mall at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

The concessionaire (Airport Retail Group) says it worked closely with Prince’s estate to make sure all products are the proper shade of purple.

What’s for sale in the Prince store? Apparel, souvenirs, CDs, LPs, and photography books. Also: tickets to Paisley Park, Prince’s private estate in production complex in Chanhassen, southwest of Minneapolis.

MSP’s Prince store also displays Prince memorabilia, plays Prince music and has a large bank of screens showcasing Prince’s music videos.

Snakes at the Airport

Courtesy TSA

TSA reports that this harmless 15-inch ring-necked snake was left behind at the security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, August 19.

“It’s common for travelers to accidentally leave items at the checkpoint,” said TSA’s New Jersey Federal Security Director Tom Carter. “Typically people leave items such as their keys, sunglasses, ID, hats and gloves, but this is the first time someone has left a snake behind. We have a fairly robust lost and found program that reunites passengers with their lost items, but this passenger doesn’t need to call us about his snake.”

Watch the water at SFO

And the ban on single use plastic water bottles has gone into effect at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). A good solution? Bring your own refillable bottle and use the airport’s free water bottle refill stations.