Food

Timely Travel Tibits from airports near you

Easier ordering + pickup for airport food

The newest trend at airports right now seems to be expanding the options for mobile food ordering, no-contact pickup and food delivery to the gate.

We recently wrote about some of the latest efforts in airport food delivery for APEX, when Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) rolled out its LAX Order Now program.

Now Miami International Airport (MIA) has a new program called MIA2 Go.

The contactless mobile platform lets travelers browse menus, order, and pay for their meals before picking up the order.

The program is put together by MIA, concessionaire Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Airports (URW) and Grab, and is available on MIA’s mobile-friendly website or mobile app. Food venues are searchable by food type and airport terminal. And orders are scheduled for pick-up at pre-set times, so customers don’t have to wait in line.

At Denver International Airport (DEN), the new Eats Delivered program works with At Your Gate. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, passengers can order meals from seven participating restaurants (so far) and have the meals delivered to them anywhere in the terminal, including baggage claim.

More COVID-19 Testing sites at airports

More and more airports are offering on-site COVID-19 testing options.

One of the latest to do so is Bradley International Airport (BDL), near Hartford, CT.

And this week American Airlines, British Airways, and oneworld announced the launch of an optional coronavirus (COVID-19) testing trial on select flights from U.S. cities to London Heathrow (LHR).

The tests will be free. They’ll be available to customers on American Airlines Flight AA50 from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to LHR; on British Airways Flight BA114 departing New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to LHR; on BA Flight BA268 from Los Angeles (LAX) to LHR.

This part of the program starts on November 25.

The testing includes:

  • An initial at-home test to be taken 72 hours before departure from the US
  • A second test upon arrival at LHR
  • A third test to be taken three days after arrival in the UK

The testing program will then be expanded to American Airlines Flight AA106 from JFK to LHR, on a date yet to be announced.

TSA Talks Turkey. And pie.

And in case you are flying somewhere this Thanksgiving holiday, keep in mind that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a list of foods you may and may not bring as carry-on.

The “yes you may” list includes baked goods, meats (frozen, cooked, or uncooked), stuffing, casseroles, Mac ‘n Cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit, candy, and spices.

The “pack in carry-on” or “have someone else bring it” list includes dishes such as cranberry sauce, gravy, wine, canned fruit or vegetables (the cans have liquid), jams and jellies, and maple syrup.

Stuck at the Airport: PHL +PIT, & some scary galaxies

At PHL: Grab and At Your Gate now partners

It is officially called an ‘integrated food service.’ And it is part of the growing trend of digital food delivery in airports.

But we say it is a ‘this makes perfect sense’ amenity that is one part convenience and two parts sign of the social distance times.

Grab, the e-commerce platform for pre-ordering meals for pick-up from airport food outlets is partnering with AtYourGate, the in-airport food delivery service.

The service rolls out at other airports soon, but the first airport to offer it is Philadephia International Airport (PHL).

Here’s how it works:

Passengers can order food through the Grab app, a special section of the PHL website, or scan Grab QR codes in the terminals. Merchants are searchable by food type and terminal. And orders can be delivered to wherever you are in the terminal.

Convenient, right?

Participating restaurants at PHL include Auntie Anne’s, Bar Symon, Bud & Marilyn’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Dunkin’, Gachi, Geno’s Steaks, Jack Duggan’s, Jamba, Piattino Pizza, Smashburger, and Vino Volo. 

More merchants will be added soon.

There is a small charge for delivery. But first-time users can use the promo code ‘RUSH’ to save 20% – up to $5 – off their first order.

Roving robots at PIT cuter than ever

In May 2020, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) introduced its team of autonomous cleaning robots with ultraviolet (UV) light technology.

Since then, other U.S. airports have rolled out cleaning robots. But PIT was the first.

Now PIT is making the hard-working robots even more endearing by giving them eyes.

The robots also have names:

Amelia is named for Amelia Earhart, the famed pilot and female aviation trailblazer.

Orville and Wilbur are named after the Wright brothers.

And the fourth PIT robot is named Rosa. She’s named after Rosa Mae Willis Alford, the sole female mechanic to work on the planes of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

Travel to a scary galaxy

In the spirit of the Halloween season and the scary, bizarro times, we’re printing out frameable copies of these science-inspired Galaxy of Horrors “travel” posters from NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau.  

The posters look like vintage horror movie advertisements, but they are really out of this world.

Gamma -Ray-Ghouls features a “dead” galaxy. Galactic Graveyard is inspired by an explosive gamma-ray burst caused by colliding stellar corpses. And the third, Dark Matter, is a voyage to the unknown via ever-elusive dark matter.

Bonus: the posters are also available in Spanish: Cementerio GalácticoMateria Oscura, and Demonions de Rayos Gamma.

The posters are free to download and are produced by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Office, which is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Appleton, WI Airport growing its own food

You may be familiar with the hydroponic garden at O’Hare International Airport.

Planted in 2011, ORD’s blissful garden is tucked into the mezzanine level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda Building, over the Concourse G corridor. The ORD Yoga Room is nearby. ‘

The garden uses no soil or fertilizer. And it looks nothing like your home garden.

Here, the plant roots are suspended in 26 towers that house over 1,100 planting spots. A solution of nutrients is cycled through the towers to feed the plants.

Getting hungry? You’re in luck. Super fresh vegetables and herbs picked from the ORD garden are used in dishes served at a variety of airport restaurants.

Now Appleton International Airport (ATW) in Wisconsin is joining the grow-your-own movement.

ATW now has its own Flex Farm hydroponic farming system to grow fresh greens for sandwiches and burgers served in the airport’s restaurant, the Fox Cities Eatery.

ATW expects to grow up to 300 pounds of fresh produce each year on its indoor farm.

Like the system at ORD, the hydroponic unit at Appleton International Airport uses only water, air, nutrients, and LED lighting to grow plants. No soil, pesticides or herbicides are used.

ATW’s farming project is a collaboration with Green Bay-based Fork Farms, an indoor agriculture technology company that partners with communities to make the process of producing healthy food accessible to the world.

We think this is a great airport amenity and hope other airports give this a try as well.

In a world full of lemons, Reno-Stead Airport hands out asparagus

So many people are out of work right now and not sure how they’ll pay bills.

So it’s encouraging to see Reno-Stead Airport stepping up to help out the Food Bank in its community.

Like many other communities, in just the past two weeks, the food bank in Reno has seen a 30-50% increase in need.

So on Friday, Reno-Stead Airport, the 5,000-acre general aviation facility of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, served as drive-through Mobile Harvest food distribution site to support those affected by COVID-19.

In just a few hours, the drive-through airport food bank served 417 clients, giving each a bag filled with milk, lettuce, tomatoes, apples and asparagus and a dry-goods box of rice, beans, canned goods and peanut butter.

If you hear of other airports helping out their communities in creative ways right now, please let us know so we can share those stories.