Baggage

Yes, Southwest Airlines will check your pool noodle.

The world – and a young woman named Sydney Fowls – now knows that Southwest Airlines stands by its promise to allow passengers to check two bags for free.

Even if one of those bags happens to be a pool noodle.

Fowles recently traveled from Ohio to Tampa for a vacation. And, budgets being tight, she decided to bring her own foam pool noodle along.

Rather than bring the pool noodle on the plane and try to put it in the overhead bin, Fowls decided to check the pool noodle as her second free ‘bag.’ To her delight, and now ours, no one at Southwest Airlines said no to checked noodle.

The noodle was tagged and sent out to be loaded onto the plane.

The modern world being what it is, Fowles documented the noodles journey on Tik Tok. She even caught the bemused reaction of the bag handlers who were tasked with loading the noodle onto the plane.

@sydneyfowls05

My pool noodle traveled from Ohio —-> Florida

♬ Vacation – Dirty Heads

The internet loved Fowls’ first pool noodle Tik Tok. To the tune of 11 million views (so far).

Did the noodle make it to Tampa?

Spoiler alert: Yes it did. Did the noodle make it back home to Ohio? Yes it did.

Did Southwest Airlines join in the fun? Yes they did.

When Fowls returned from her trip, there was a pool noodle performance waiting for her.

There was a bag carousel filled with pool noodles.

Fowls got a photo op with the bag handlers who were featured in her first Tik Tok post.

And she got her own Southwest Airlines-branded pool noodle.

@sydneyfowls05

My pool noodle made it back home to Ohio! Thank you Southwest Airlines for everything you did for me! @flysouthwest @junebug2433 #viral

♬ SexyBack (feat. Timbaland) – Justin Timberlake

Vote for the airport amenity of the week.

We used to think that putting roulette wheel numbers on the baggage carousel was the coolest thing you could do with that space.

MSP’s new bag claim carousel

But Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has done something better.

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.

Airport coat check service at MKE

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 Dranzik

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.

Frankfurt Airport offers a winter coat storage service from October through April for just €0.50  a day in Terminal 1, Concourse B.

And Korean 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 a day.

And back in 2014, there was a coat check service for a short while in the JetBlue terminal at JFK.

Baggage Nanny debuts at San Diego Int’l Airport

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.

Good idea? We think so.