Observation Decks

More snaps from Incheon’s new Terminal 2

Courtesy Korean Air

I’ve got a full review of the new Terminal 2 at Seoul’s Incheon Airport up on the Today in the Sky blog at USA TODAY, but sharing some more snaps from my visit here.

The terminal officially opened on January 18 – just a few weeks before 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games- and it’s a keeper.

Four airlines will use the terminal:  South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air, Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Photovoltaic panels on the roof and natural greenery inside the terminal help keep the air fresh and lower heating and ventilation costs. A fleet of robots help passengers find their way.

Photo -by Harriet Baskas

Korean music and cultural performances are offered throughout the day and two Korean Traditional Cultural Experience Centers offer passengers the opportunity to try their hands at a Korean craft.

Photo by Harriet Baskas

Beyond shopping and eating, there are activities to keep travelers entertained, including a large Kids Zone, the IT Experience Zone with VR soccer and flying (plus a coffee-making robot) and, in the transfer zone, a ‘digital gym’ that encourages jumping, stepping and other activites.

Photo by Harriet Baskas

There’s also plenty of art and an observation deck with a cafe, views of the airfield and exhibits about the airport.

Photo by Harriet Baskas

Greetings from Vienna International Airport

Greetings from Vienna International Airport viennahall

On Friday afternoon Vienna Airport spokesman Peter Kleemann was kind enough to offer a tour of portions of Vienna International Airport to a group of journalists in town for the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board Meeting.

Among the highlights of the tour was a stop at the Visitor’s Center, where an outdoor terrace offered wall panels with explanations of what goes on at an airport and, on this day, foggy views of the airfield.

Vienna Visitor Center

We also stopped at the Terminal Operation Center, where banks of video screens offer an at-a-glance view of the traffic at dozens of spots inside the airport.

Vienna Terminal Info center

The operators in this room are charged with keeping an eye on the flow of passengers throughout the airport. If lines get long or there’s a back-up of any kind, they send word to open another access line or make sure back-up is on the way.

Wonder what kind of help arrives if someone pushes this button…

vienna batman button

BWI observation deck re-opens

BWI OBSERVATION DECK

The Observation Deck – one of the best amenities at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has re-opened to the public.

And it’s fresh and spiffy and updated.

First opened in 1995 and closed since 2012 to make way for some terminal enhancements, the renewed Observation Deck has new exhibits and a new food outlet called Sky Azure.

New exhibits include a 28-foottall sounding rocket from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a half-sized model of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Solar Probe Plus spacecraft and some new interpretive information about the large sections of a Boeing 737-200 aircraft that were originally on site.

There’s also a new photo mural near the aircraft cockpit that displays a pilot’s view when landing on Runway 33L at BWI Marshall, charging stations, a display case filled with aircraft models, new children’s play equipment and new binocular viewers so you can get a better view of airport operations.

Sound like someplace you’d like to hang out? The BWI Marshall Observation Gallery is located pre-security, on the upper level of BWI between Concourse B and Concourse C.

BWI OBSERVATION DECKBINICOULARS

Free cupcakes at Newark Airport; free coffee at LAX, with planespotting

The early bird gets the… cupcake.

CRUMBS free cupcakes

If you’re catching an early flight Friday morning (January 28th) out of Newark Liberty International Airport, be sure to get yourself a free cupcake.

A branch of CRUMBS Bake Shop has opened in Terminal C (by the C2 checkpoint) and, to celebrate, they’re going to give the first 1,000 people who stop by a free cupcake. The sugary celebration starts at 6 a.m.

CRUMBS EWR free cupcakes

You might bring that cupcake with you to the LAX Theme Building Observation Deck on Sunday morning, January 30th, where Los Angles International Airport officials will be hosting a Sunday Morning Coffee from 8:30 until 11 a.m.

The Observation Deck is usually open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and this Sunday planespotters and aviation buffs will be out in force to see some unusual airplanes that will be stopping by.

Air New Zealand’s new Airbus A320 with All Black Livery will be making at stop at LAX on its way to New Zealand from France. The All Blacks are a rugby team sponsored by Air New Zealand and this fall the 2011 Rugby World Cup games will be held in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new Boeing B777-300 is also scheduled to operate at LAX on Sunday and Qantas Airways’ daily Airbus A380 super jumbo jet service between LAX and Sydney resumes this Sunday as well.

Here’s the Sunday morning schedule sent out by LAX:

  • Air New Zealand All Blacks A320:  ETA 9:25 a.m.; ETD 11 a.m.
  • Qantas A380:  ETA 9:45 a.m. (evening departure)
  • Air New Zealand B777-300:  ETA 10 a.m. (evening departure)

The Observation Deck has a 360-degree view of LAX’s terminals and airfield, and there are complimentary telescopes installed up there for better viewing. On Sunday morning there will also be a portable scanner available so visitors can listen to the radio transmissions between the pilots and the air traffic controllers.

And after the Sunday Morning Coffee event the party can go on: the space-age, retro-themed Encounter Restaurant, right under the Observation Deck will be offering a Plane Spotters Lunch Special.

Snack Saturday at Haneda Airport’s new International Terminal

Ever since the opening of Narita International Airport (NRT) back in 1978, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has been used for predominantly domestic flights within Japan and some charter flights within Asia.

But as of Thursday, October 21, 2010, Haneda Airport has a new runway and a brand new International Terminal that’s filled with shiny new arrival and departures halls, gleaming gate areas, and dozens of new restaurants and shops.

Haneda Airport new International Terminal

An increased schedule of international flights to North America, Europe and Asia begins on October 31st.

The big advantage of flying into Haneda Airport will be the time you’ll save getting to and from Tokyo.  By express train, it’s an hour’s ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo.

From Haneda, you can get to town on a monoral or a train in about 20 minutes.

Haneda Airport monorail station

The other advantage: Haneda’s International Terminal is brand new.

Brand New Haneda Airport International Terminal

I was on site for opening day inspecting the restaurants, the shops and the new amenities along with what seemed to be at least half the population of Japan.

 Visting Haneda Airport's new International Terminal

Several hundred people lined up as early as 3 in the morning to be among the first to ride the new monorail connection to the airport.  And throughout the day thousands of what the airlines certainly hope will be future passengers made their way out to the terminal just to take a look around.

They visited the outdoor observation deck. Even though it was raining and there wasn’t much you could see.

Observation Deck Haneda Int'l Terminal

They cheered on the cars zipping around the airport’s slot car racetrack.

Haneda Airport race track

They bought Hello Kitty souvenirs in a Hello Kitty store that a father of two young Hello Kitty fans assured me was among the most-well stocked Hello Kitty stores he’s seen.

Hello Kitty store Haneda Airport

And they waited patiently to be among the first to have a meal in brand new airport eateries that range from a pizzeria with a brick oven to a French café and a restaurant where sushi is delivered via conveyor belt.

Around lunch time, I joined one of the longest lines at the airport. The one where people were waiting to order green-tea soft swirl from the newest branch of Kyo Hayashiya, a sweets vendor that has its roots in a teahouse established in 1753.

And like this woman who was buying ice cream for herself and a friend, I sat and ate the swirled, sweet treat while contemplating future adventures that might start at this sparkling new airport.

Happy customer at Haneda Airport International Terminal

There’s lots more to share about the amenities at Haneda’s International Terminal – and the two domestic terminals, which are quite swanky.

But in the meantime, here are links to the opening day reports from two travel colleagues, Airline Reporter David Brown and Jaunted’s Cynthia Drescher.