Airport Terminals

Two airport restrooms in the running for America’s Best Restroom

A clean public restroom? We vote yes!

Courtesy Mourad

The lid has been lifted on the finalists for this year’s America’s Best Restroom contest and this year restrooms in two airports on opposite sides of the country are on the list.

LaGuardia Airport’s loos in the running

LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, Location: Queens, New York, LaGuardia Gateway Partners

If the restrooms at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B are among the finalists for America’s Best Restroom, there may indeed be hope for the overall success of the airport’s current rebuild. 

With an eye to efficiency and innovation, these new restrooms have stalls large enough to accommodate luggage, trough-style sinks with a raised counter above; live orchids, custom mosaic tiles at the entryway and over the urinals and graphics depicting New York City on the stall doors.

Courtesy LaGuardia Gateway Partners

“Terminal B’s new restrooms combine cleanliness, innovative aesthetics and advanced technology together to create a top-class guest experience that travelers deserve,” said Stewart Steeves, CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners. 

On a roll at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Courtesy Port of Seattle

Lovely new restrooms are part of the major renovation project for the North Satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

These new loos feature a flushing system that harvests rainwater to the tune of more than 750,000 gallons a year. The modern loos also have separate sinks inside the ADA stalls, family restrooms with adult changing tables and built-in custodial support closets.         

“We appreciate that people think we have some of the best seats in the house. said Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper, “That’s how we roll.”

The eight other restrooms on the list of finalists this year include loos at the Nashville Zoo, at the Natick Mall in Massachusetts, at the Jupiter NEXT hotel in Portland and at restaurants, a brewpub and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Courtesy New Museum

You can cast a vote for the coolest commode through September 13. The winning loo will take a throne in America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame and receive $2,500 in facility services from contest sponsor Cintas Corporation.

Adorable airports of the future

Airports around the world are getting makeovers. In some countries, new ones are being built.

Travelers are excited about that, of course, but so are architects and people who appreciate great design.

In this article from Architectural Record, the Airport Construction Council notes that at least $70 billion is being spent over five years, beginning in 2017, to modernize 50 medium and large U.S. airports.

Most of that money and effort is going toward revamping, expanding or constructing terminals.

Some of the other airports and airport terminal projects featured in this article include Pittsburgh International Airport, Singapore Changi Airport and JFK Airport.

Courtesy Pittsburgh International Airport
Photo by Harriet Baskas

The new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport is mentioned as well.

Courtesy HOK and WSP

How to win a pair of SEA airport carpet socks

A section of the North Satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is closing down as part of a facility upgrade.

Locals and visitors alike have lots of memories associated with riding the underground train out to the North Satellite – and all the trips taken to and from Seattle from those gates since 1973.

And Gate N7 is famous for being the gate where Annie (played by Meg Ryan) walks right past Sam (played by Tom Hanks) in the 1993 hit movie Sleepless in Seattle

Before the next section of the North Satellite closes, SEA airport is asking travelers to send in stories and memories – and perhaps photos – of the North Satellite on the Sea-Tac Airport Facebook page and and on Instagram using #goodnightN7.

If you do, you may win a pair of SEA Airport carpet socks.

First look at Jewel Changi Airport attraction in Singapore

With a butterfly garden, pool, free movie theaters and much, much more, Singapore’s Changi Airport is all about the wow.

With the opening of the Jewel Changi Airport attraction, this award-winning airport is even more wow.

Located right in front of Terminal 1, on space formerly occupied by a parking lot, the Jewel is a large dome-shaped structure with a lush “Forest Valley,” a Rain Vortex that’s now the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, a 130-cabin YotelAIR hotel and 280 shops and restaurants.

I was on-site today for the opening-day preview events. Here are some snaps from the day.

More details about the attraction to come.

Pittsburgh Airport getting a swank makeover

Pittsburgh International Airport is getting a $1.1 billion makeover that includes a new terminal with 51-gates, a modern check-in concourse and a new bag-claim system.

The pictures look so appealing that when the new terminal opens in 2023, they may have to seriously consider trading in the PIT airport code for something, well, prettier.

The new airport terminal will be built next to PIT’s current airside facility, between Concourses C and D, and is designed by award-winning architect Luis Vidal, who designed Heathrow Airport’s T2, and by San Francisco-based Gensler.

While some things may change as the project gets underway, airport officials say the new terminal building will have an emphasis on sustainability, with both indoor and outdoor green plazas and gathering spaces.

The new terminal brings together check-in, ticketing, security and baggage operations into one facility, with a separate level for departing and arriving passengers. There will also be an expanded TSA checkpoint, shorter walking distances and additional space for artwork, concessions and other amenities.

“This new terminal, inspired by the beauty, tech renaissance and people of our region will integrate seamlessly into the great design of the existing Airside Terminal,” said Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis. “In considering this design, we looked at function first, then form, to construct a building that will be both iconic, practical and affordable and that can be easily adapted as the technology and transportation needs of our community change.”

Let’s just hope PIT keeps the dinosaur, the Calder mobile, the shrine to Mister Rogers and the other amenities that make PIT a bit quirky and endearing.

(All photos courtesy of Pittsburgh International Airport)