Airport Terminals

Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport debuts its eighth new concourse

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) begins welcoming passengers at a new concourse today.

The new, state-of-the-art, eight-gate concourse will be used soley by Southwest Airlines. Amenities include charging stations in every seat, an Animal Relief Area, a Family Restroom and a Nursing Room. Hearing loop connectivity allows those with hearing devices to connect to the PA system.

For now, passengers will find kiosks offering food, beverage, and retail items. Shops, restaurants, and a Chase Sapphire Lounge by the Club are set to open in the coming months.

Local favorites Pedal Haus Brewery and Berry Divine – Acai Bowls will be in the new concourse as well as regional concepts Bobby’s Burgers, Eegee’s and others.

Retail shops will include national brands as well as local products from Changing Hands Bookstores, Made Art Boutique, and Melrose Pharmacy.

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The new concourse also showcases the arts and includes a terrific-looking terrazzo floor depicting aerial views of the Phoenix landscape. 28 terrazzo wall pieces are shaped like airplane windows.

The work is called “Phoenix Lights, Phoenix Rising” and is designed by artist Susan Logoreci.

Landing at SEA is now much different

The swanky, new, state-of-the-art, International Arrivals Facility (IAF) officially began welcoming and processing all international arrivals at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Tuesday.

We stopped by to take some snaps, witness the official first-day operations, and collect some of fans SEA was giving out bearing the names and skylines of international cities served.

What’s the big deal about SEA’s new arrivals facility?

Well, the old one was dark, cramped, out-of-date, and overall just a sad way to say “Welcome to Seattle and the United States.”

The new one has a stunning 85-foot-high aerial walkway and a giant (450,000-square-foot) grand hall for baggage claim and customs processing.

We’d watched as the facility was built. But now that it’s fully operational, we’re glad that StuckatTheAirport.com’s headquarters is in Seattle so we get to use it.

Here are some more snaps from our visit on the cut-over day.

The aerial walkway is the star of the show. Passengers get great views out to the mountains and off to the city. Plus, there’s the treat of seeing planes go by below from the longest structure over an active taxiway.

Accessing the walkway is a thrill too on a ride up one of the longest sets of escalators in the country. Too long? There’s an elevator option as well.

Passengers may travel along the aerial walkway by foot or hitch a ride on the moving sidewalk. With such great views, we recommend a slow amble.

And then there’s the bag claim and arrivals hall. Which is now a million times more welcoming than what greeted passengers before.

Who left this rat at Norway’s Bergen Airport?

You may notice the heartwarming news and social media posts about airports working hard to reunite left behind stuffed animals with their rightful owners.

Like the story of 5-year-old Ezekiel, who was reunited with the teddy bear he left behind at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) last month.

Or, the story that likely started the heartwarming “airports goes-all-out-to-reunite stuffed animal with child” trend. Back in 2015, Tampa International Airport took a stuffed tiger named Hobbes on an airport adventure before sending Hobbes home.

We love these stories.

So, when making our way through Norway’s Bergen Airport (BGO) last week at about 5 am we did a double-take when were spotted a stuffed rat taped to a lane post.

It was very early in the morning. But we did notice that Bergen Airport is spotless. So it didn’t seem likely that the stuffed rat was there as a social comment. Nor did it seem like an official guidepost to point travelers to their gates.

So all we could conclude was that this stuffed rat had been left behind by a small child. And that it may soon show up on Bergen Airport’s social media feed in search of its owner.

We’ll check back to see.

Other amenities spotted at Bergen Airport

Besides the stuffed rat, there are some other sights at Bergen Airport that made us smile.

The sign for the bathroom employs the hard-to-miss universal symbols for “gotta go, now.”

And the kids’ play area in the main terminal area has this fun hopscotch board with an airplane, of course, in the top box.

Have you spotted a cool amenity (or a stuffed rat) and an airport? Send us a photo and we’ll try to include it in a future post on Stuck at the Airport.

Kimpton’s free therapy + Orlando Int’l Airport’s new terminal

Newest hotel amenity: free therapy

Lucy charged 5 cents.

But starting today, up to 1000 free video therapy sessions will be available to guests staying at participating Kimpton Hotels. The program is a partnership between Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and mental health company Talkspace.

The unusual hotel perk will make licensed counselors available to hotel guests, some of whom may be among the many people who have been seeking counseling but haven’t been able to get an appointment.

According to a recent study, nine out of 10 therapists say the number of clients seeking care is on the rise, and most are experiencing a significant surge in calls for appointments. Therapists are also reporting longer waiting lists, and difficulty meeting patient demand. So this may be a good way to get to the front of the line.

To claim your session: contact talkspace@kimptonhotels.com with proof of stay. Sessions are on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to making those 1000 hours of video counseling available, Kimpton is providing a $100 promotional code to any guest that wants to sign up for a Talkspace plan. (Offer available through December of 2022).

Even better, Kimpton is giving a year-long complimentary Talkspace subscription to all eligible employees – from front-line employees to managers.

Orlando International Airport’s new South Terminal C

Orlando International Airport (MCO) will soon open its largest expansion project,

The new thee-level South Terminal C will encompass over 2.5 million square feet, add 15 gates capable of accommodating up to 20 aircraft, and serve 10-12 million annual passengers. Special attention was made to incorporating water, live plants and trees, and plenty of light.

MCO shared photos of what will be the next generation of what they describe as a seamless, low-touch environment with great concessions, immersive media displays, and a definite sense of arrival.

The design team at StuckatTheAirport.com will be getting more information about the specific amenities coming to this new terminal. But in the meantime, here are some photos that MCO shared with us.

“The combination of sophisticated design and innovation truly puts people first in a world-class facility that will deliver ‘The Orlando Experience’ and more the minute they set foot inside,” said Carolyn Fennell, Senior Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “Orlando International Airport, the main gateway to Florida and one of the country’s most popular leisure destinations are preparing for the future of travel with this impressive construction endeavor.”

We’re floored: PDX will bring back the iconic carpet

Portland International Airport (PDX) warmed the hearts of airport carpet fans everywhere with its Valentine’s Day announcement promising the return of the iconic PDX carpet to a few spots in the new main terminal.

The teal, purple and pink design, which is said to represent the pattern of the airport’s north and south runways, had been in the airport since 1988. And many travelers had come to love it. Or at least to associate it with leaving and coming home.

And when social media became a thing, people started taking photos of their feet on the carpet and sharing the photos around.

After 30 years underfoot, though, the carpet needed replacement. And to the dismay of all the fans of the old PDX carpet, in 2015 PDX officials took out 13 acres of the old carpet and replaced it with this new carpet pattern.

People still miss and love the old carpet design, which can be found on socks, t-shirts, and other merchandise. And, for now, in one spot inside the Tender Loving Empire shop in Concourse E, near Gate E5.

So as a gift to the fans of the old PDX Carpet, when the new main terminal opens in 2024 several areas in the pre-security area will sport newly woven carpet with the old, iconic design.

You can read the story we wrote about the carpet comeback for The Points Guy site. But we want to also celebrate and remember cool carpets at other airports around the country. Most should still be underfoot. But keep in mind that many have been doing renovations and updates during the pandemic and may have new patterns now.

If we missed your airport, or if your airport has a new pattern, please let us know and we’ll add/update.

Ocean-inspired carpeting at Orlando International Airport – MCO

Guitar impressions at Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Airplanes in the carpeting at Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport (now blue)

Aerial view of the Sacramento Delta in the carpet at Sacramento International Airport (SMF).