Instead of the annoying buzzer and flashing light that announces the arrival of bags at some airports, the newly redesigned bag carousels at MSP airport send up the alert with nature sounds and a light show.
We’re making this the first nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week.
Hand washing help
Our second nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week is this high-tech hand-washing station Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) installed to encourage travelers to wash their hands and “scrub away germs in 12 seconds flat!”
O’Hare Airport’s new Twitter Bio
Pete Buttigieg, who has been named transportation secretary nominee by President-elect Joe Biden, put a spotlight on O’Hare International Airport (ORD) during his formal introduction on Wednesday.
During the event, Buttigieg noted that he proposed to his husband, Chasten, at O’Hare. “Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic,” he said.
Avgeeks know that.
So does United Airlines, which sent out a tweet identifying the engagement gate.
And O’Hare Airport even change its Twitter bio.
It now begins “Place of romance.”
Which would you pick as Airport Amenity of the Week?
MSP’s bag carousel? PIT’s hand washing station? O’Hare’s new status as place of romance?
Let us know in the comments section which of these airport stories you’d pick as Airport Amenity of the Week.
And feel free to nominate an airport amenity for next week’s Airport Amenity of the Week.
Heading to a warm-weather spot for vacation? Lucky you!
You’ll need your winter coat when you go to the airport and when you come home from your trip.
But you probably don’t need that coat at the beach.
That’s why we love the new coat check amenity at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) that lets travelers check their coats at the recently opened Summerfest Marketplace, located pre-security in the airport’s concession mall.
“Heavy winter coats can take up a lot of space
in luggage. This new option allows travelers to wear their coats to the
airport, leave them with a friendly attendant in the Summerfest Marketplace,
and then claim them after landing back here at MKE.,” Airport Director Brian
Coat check service is $2 a day, with a maximum
charge of ten dollars.
MKE coat check service is great. And wins this week’s Airport Amenity of the Week award. But it isn’t the first airport to offer this service.
Air offers a coat storage service at both Incheon International Airport
(Terminal 2) and Gimhae (Busan) International Airport from December through February.
The first five days are complimentary, after that there’s a charge of about $2
And back in 2014, there was a coat check service for a short while in the JetBlue terminal at JFK.
Here’s a great new airport service and a candidate – already – for Airport Amenity of the Week:
Baggage Nanny, an on-demand baggage pickup, storage and delivery service, is now operating at San Diego International Airport.
The company plans to expand its service to other airports soon.
The service addresses the problem of what to do with your luggage when you land at an airport but can’t yet check into your hotel and – on the other end – what to do with your luggage once you check out of your hotel and head back to the airport.
Through Baggage Nanny’s website, travelers arriving at an airport can make a reservation to drop off their bags at a kiosk in the terminal.
Baggage Nanny will hold onto that bag and then deliver it to the traveler’s hotel or another address in town at a specified time. Baggage Nanny will also pick up bags and store them at the requested terminal for the traveler ahead of their departure.
The cost: $20 for storage, no matter what size/weight and includes delivery within a 15 mile radius. Extra charges apply for destinations beyond the 15 mile radius.
Right now, Baggage Nanny has a kiosk in Terminal 1 at the San Diego airport. The plan is to expand to Terminal 2 as well and to additional airports, including Portland International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Nashville International Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
My feature this week for CNBC details two good-for-travelers resolutions voted in recently during the Annual General Assembly of the International Air Transport Association.
One deals with a way to better track baggage. The other promises that the global airline industry will ease barriers for passengers who have disabilities.
Here’s a slightly different version of the posted story:
Airlines spend lots of time, energy and money competing against each other for your travel dollar and loyalty, even though high fares and excessive fees often make it seem like they’re in cahoots to make sure your journey is a frustrating, expensive nightmare.
sometimes the industry works together to takes global action in your favor.
At the recent Annual General Meeting
of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry trade group
passed a handful of resolutions aimed at making the passenger experience better
Two of the resolutions that might make
a noticeable difference on your next flight, and on flights into the future, address
bag tracking and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Better baggage tracking. Fewer lost
Most frequent travelers can share a
story or two about a checked bag that got mangled, arrived days late or went
But while passenger numbers soared 64%
between 2007 and 2017, information technology company SITA found that the bag mishandling rate per thousand of
In 2018, 4.36 billion travelers checked in more than 4.27
“More bags makes things more challenging,”
notes Peter Drummond, SITA’s Director of Baggage, and while “Everyone across
the industry needs to look beyond the process and technology improvements made
in the past decade and adopt the latest technology such as tracking to make the
next big cut in the rate of mishandled bags.”
Right now, most airlines use bar code
technology to track bags through their journey. But some airlines, such as
Delta, have switched to RFID (radio frequency identification) tracking,
a form of wireless communication used to track objects with an embedded RFID
IATA considers RFID tracking to be a more
cost-efficient method to achieve the industry’s target of 100% bag tracking.
And at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) adopted
a resolution supporting the global deployment of Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) for baggage tracking.
“Passengers want to arrive with their
bags. And on the rare occasion when that does not happen, they want to know
exactly where their bag is,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General
and CEO, “Deploying RFID and adopting modern baggage messaging standards will
help us to cut mishandlings by a quarter and recover bags that are mishandled
lost bags will make airline customer happy, the push for RFID tracking move
isn’t entirely altruistic.
industry has already seen a 46.2% cut in the annual cost of baggage mishandling
due to better tracking, IATA estimates industry-wide adoption of RFID bag
tracking will see a return on investment of over $3 billion to the industry.
Smoother travel for passengers with disabilities
1 billion people – 15% of the world’s population – live with
some form of disability.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says this number is
increasing due to aging populations, the spread of chronic diseases, better
measurement tools and refinements in the definition of what constitutes a
“That’s 25 people a day who may have been stranded, unable
to work or participate in a family activity,” explains Chris Wood of Flying Disabled.
Noting that improving the air travel experience for people
with disabilities is not only “the right thing to do,” but good for business,
IATA also passed
a resolution committing airlines worldwide to ensuring that passengers with
disabilities have access to safe, reliable and dignified travel.
The industry trade group said its aim is to change the focus “from disability to accessibility and
inclusion” by bringing the travel sector together with governments to “harmonize
regulations and provide the clarity and global consistency that passengers
has the ability to enhance the passenger experience not only for people who
currently have disabilities, but also for those in years to come, said Eric
Lipp, Founder and Executive Director of Open Doors Organization.
Free ice-skating is back at Denver International Airport. DEN has also added a free early bag drop service.
The free ice-skating rink at Denver International Airport’s outdoor plaza is back again for its third season.
The rink is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through January 6 on the DEN Plaza between the main terminal and Westin hotel.
Even better, there’s no need to travel with your own skates. The “Skate Shop” Airstream trailer located on the plaza has free skate rentals in many sizes. For those who don’t want to skate, but just want to hang out, there are bleachers and lounge seating.
A partnership this year with United Airlines, the DEN ice rink will feature music each day and offer free hot chocolate and cider starting at noon on Fridays. There will also be special appearances and performances on the ice every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. including curling lessons and mascot appearances.
“Ice skating on our pop-up ice rink has quickly become a signature event for Denver International Airport,” said CEO Kim Day. “It’s just another way we’re demonstrating our commitment to an improved passenger experience. For flight crews, travelers, employees and even local residents, skating with the dramatic backdrop of the Jeppesen Terminal is becoming a seasonal tradition.”
Denver International Airport recenty introduced another helpful amenity: free early bag drop and check-in service at the Transit Center and at the Pikes Peak and Mt. Elbert shutttle parking lots.
The bag-drop service allows passengers to drop off their bags, check-in and get a boarding pass before entering the terminals luggage-free.
At the parking lots, travelers can drive in and drop off their bags before they park. A greeter at the bag drop kiosk will remove the bags from the car, complete the check-in process process and print out a boarding pass. That means no luggage to drag onto and off of the shuttle van to the terminal. Nice!
Keep in mind, that bags must be dropped off at least 90 minutes before a flight. And while the bag drop service is free, those pesky airline baggage fees will still apply. But those fees can be paid at the bag drop locations too.
The DEN bag-drop service is being offering at the Transit Center daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and at the shuttle parking lots Saturday–Thursday from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Friday from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Passengers traveling on domestic flights with Southwest, United, Delta and American Airlines are eligible to use the service. Flights to international destinations are not eligible for the bag drop service.
Find more details about the new bag drop service at Denveral International Airport here.
In a press release, Denver International Airport claims this is the first such service at an airport. But in 2012 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport introduced early bag drop service at its East Economy parking lot and at the PHX SkyTrain Station, expanding the service to the rental car center in 2014.
Unfortunately, PHX no longer offers early bag drop service. But here’s hoping it comes back.