Fresh new amenities at SFO Airport


Boarding Are E at San Francisco International Airport’ Terminal 3 re-opens to passengers on Tuesday.

With the $138 million renovation comes a long list of fresh new amenities travelers will definitely notice and enjoy, including lounge seating that includes the iconic Fritz Hansen “egg” chairs, the airport’s second yoga room (with loaner mats), 375 power outlets, nine work stations and an interactive “infotainment” center with information about SFO and the city.

The new boarding area, which has 10 gates for United Airlines, has a 23-foot-tall window wall offering views of the airfield and the Bay Area, changing areas (with doors, full-length mirrors, sinks/counters, hooks and benches) in the restrooms and private areas with loungers where mothers can nurse their children.

The artwork includes the re-installation of five paintings from SFO’s art collection, “Sky” (above), which is a suspended light sculpture and “Spirogyrate,” an interactive art installation by Bay Area artist Eric Staller


There are two pop-up stores mixed in with the dining and retail outlets:
Collector offers art from Bay Area artists and McEvoy Ranch presents locally-sourced olive oils and body care products.

Boarding Area E is connected post-security to the rest of Terminal 3, which is also connected to Concourse G of the International Terminal. So if you’re flying on United or any Star Alliance partner, you should be able to access these amenities.

Airspace Lounge at CLE; Bigger terminal for Myrtle Beach


Day lounges accessible to anyone willing to pay the day fee are – thankfully – beginning to pop up at more and more airports.

The latest addition to the list: a new branch of the Airspace Lounge opened on Tuesday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), in the Main Terminal near the Concourse B security checkpoint.

At the CLE Airspace Lounge, entry pass prices will begin at $20 and hours will be from 5 am to 8:30 pm. Along with a comfortable place to work and relax, guests will be offered a range of complimentary food and beverage items and Wi-Fi.

The first Airspace Lounge opened at BWI Airport in 2011; a third Airspace Lounge is scheduled to open at JFK Terminal in May 2013.

And while CLE got a new lounge, on Tuesday South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach International Airport opened its new $118 million, 200,000-square-foot expansion, essentially doubling the airport’s size.

Myrtle Beach airport sign

In addition to six new gates, a new baggage screening system, additional parking and added cafes and chain outlets, the airport gained branches of two local restaurant favorites: Bubba’s Fish Shack and Nacho Hippo, a Tex Mex eatery.

Nacho Hippo Myrtle Beach

Alaska Airlines’ paint the plane contest

Alaska Airlines is having a Paint the Plane contest.

The airline has decided to paint a 737 with a Hawaiian theme and asked Hawaii schoolchildren to submit their ideas. These three designs have been chosen as finalists and Hawaiian residents are being asked to vote for a winner. The winning design will get painted on a plane and the winning artist will get a$ $5,000 scholarship and a trip for four to any Alaska Airlines destination.

Here are the finalists:

Sophia Cleek’s design

Izabella Hamilton’s design

Each of these designs looks pretty snazzy. If you’re a resident of Hawaii you can vote for your favorite here. The rest of us will just have to wait and see which design wins and wait to see the newly painted plane flying by.
Voting ends December 18, 2012. The winner will be announced January 10, 2013.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport opening date now March 2013

Things seem to be going from bad to worse at the yet-to-open Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport.

(Photo courtesy: Alexander Obst/Marion Schmieding/Berlin Brandenburg Airport)

After announcing that the planned June 3 opening date would be postponed for about three months, yesterday the airport’s supervisory board announced that the opening will now be pushed back until March 17, 2013.

The airport also announced the dismissal of the managing director for operations and construction and termination of the contract with the project management company for the airport.

On May 8, the airport company announced that the planned June 3 opening date for the new airport would be postponed due to a problem with fire safety systems at the airport. They thought they could solve that problem in three months by putting together an interim, partially automated system. But, evidently, that solution won’t work.

The plan now is to complete the fire safety and control system by December 2012 and open the airport once winter – and the potential for more headaches from adverse winter conditions – is over.

According to a statement released today,

“The Supervisory Board …followed the recommendation of the management and decided that all construction work should be completed first before the remaining necessary steps are taken that will allow the airport to commence operations. These steps entail the so-called impact and complex inspection by certified experts, subsequent inspection by the Building Standards Authority, further trial runs, designation of the airport site as a security area, and delivery of goods to storage facilities, shops and restaurants.”

Paper showers and other ways to stay fresh on the road

Staying shower-fresh and stain-free when you’re on the road can be challenging.

Especially for air travelers who must snooze sitting up and squeeze a week’s worth of cleansing lotions and cosmetic potions into those tiny, zippered, see-through baggies.

Sponge-baths in public restroom sinks can be awkward so, for a story on, I rounded up an assortment of travel-sized products that may come in handy next time you or your favorite road warrior is creased, crinkled or stinky and away from home.

Paper showers and public restroom survival kits

Moist towelettes can be lifesavers when your hands – or the tray table and the armrests on the airplane – are sticky and full of germs. For bigger jobs, there’s the Paper Shower, a two-part packet with a wet side containing a paper towel dipped in alcohol-free soap and skin moisturizers and a second, super-absorbent towel on the dry side to remove what the wet portion leaves behind.

These days you can find all manner of travel-sized soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and hand sanitizers in drugstores but “at the request of several self-proclaimed germaphobes,” Paul Shrater said his company,,  put together the Public Restroom Survival Kit,, which is stocked with travel-sized packets of toilet seat covers, disinfecting wipes, surface cleaners and toilet paper.

In the on-line cleaning supplies aisle offers travel-sized odor eliminators and bed bug spray and, elsewhere on the site, Shrater finds that “Travel-sized Febreze and Lysol tend to be very popular.”

Lip-stick sized deodorants and no-brush tooth polish

Over at (“For those who travel, those who are curious and those who can’t commit”) bestsellers among the personal care travel items include Beze Deodorettes, which are lipstick-sized mini-deodorants that fit into a purse or a pocket, and Supersmile Quikee, a pocket-sized no brush/no rinse tooth polish.

And for those who like to kick off their shoes on the airplane, but are self-conscious about the smell, there are Silver Linings, ultra-thin shoe inserts made with silver to absorb bacterial odor.

Of course, out on the road it’s not just people who get grimy. “For well-traveled smartphones we have cellphone cleaning wipes,” said’s Shrater. “They’re called Celly Smellys and are a popular and interesting curiosity.”