Denver International Airport is making good on its plan to close down the smoking lounges.
Since May, when the city’s mayor held a press conference to announce the plan, three of the four smoking lounges at the Denver airport have closed. The fourth lounge, Timberline, located on on Concourse C, will shut down when its lease expires in 2018.
The lounges that closed this past year include two Aviator’s Lounge locations (one was in the Jeppesen Terminal; the other was on the B Concourse. The Jeppesen Terminal lounge will become a Jamba Juice, the B Concourse lounge will re-open as the barbecue restaurant called the Aviator’s Sports Bar and the third lounge, which is located inside of Mesa Verde Restaurant and Bar on the A Concourse, was remodeled.
The CDC studied five large hub U.S. airports with designated smoking areas accessible to the public (Denver International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Las Vegas’ McCarran International, Salt Lake City International, and Washington Dulles International) and also found that air pollution levels inside designated smoking areas were 23 times higher than levels in smoke-free airports. In the study, designated smoking areas in airports included restaurants, bars, and ventilated smoking rooms.
Turkey dinner in the sky and at airports
Virgin America has a holiday turkey sandwich on the buy-on-board menu
If you end up spending your Thanksgiving Day in an airport or on an airplane, you may not have to give up on Turkey Dinner.
In Florida, the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, inside Orlando International Airport, is serving a mid-day Thanksgiving buffet and several restaurants inside Miami International Airport, including the Ice Box Café (Turkey Special with all the works, pecan pie and a glass of vino for $ 20, all week) and the Top of the Port restaurant in the Miami International Airport Hotel, are also planning to serve traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
At JFK International Airport in New York, passengers flying out of the JetBlue’s Terminal 5 (T5) will be able to load up on turkey dinner in the Food Court Hot Bar. (Price is by the weight of your plate.)
In the air, Southwest Airlines is offering passengers a complimentary alcohol drink on Thanksgiving Day, Virgin America has a holiday-style turkey sandwich on its buy-on-board menu, but no other domestic airline I contacted is making any special note of the holiday.
But several international airlines are:
Etihad Airways, Air Berlin and Singapore Air are among those offering special Thanksgiving meals to passengers flying to and from US gateways.
And many airports have their holiday entertainment schedule underway:
On Wednesday, Nov 21 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will have a costumed character to read to children near the Red Balloon Bookshop across from Gate C12 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the hour and half-hour.
At Miami International Airport, there’s a whole bunch of activities going on Wednesday Nov 21 and again on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24th and 25th, including a caricaturist, opportunities to get your photos taken in a harvest background, craft projects for kids and giveaways.
San Francisco’s You Are Hear concert series is underway, with performers scheduled in various spots throughout the airport on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
There’s live music scheduled for several spots in Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports on Wednesday as well. Find details about those airport concerts here.
Denver International Airport, currently the only public building in Colorado where indoor smoking lounges are still legal, is on its way to becoming smoke-free.
At a May 18th airport press conference, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced that lease-holders for three of the four smoking lounges at Denver airport have agreed to shutter those lounges by the end of this year and remodel or replace them with non-smoking concessions.
The Aviators’ Lounge in the Jeppesen Terminal will become a branch of Jamba Juice; the lounge on the B Concourse will become a barbecue restaurant called the Aviator’s Sports Bar; and the Mesa Verde Restaurant and Bar on the A Concourse will be remodeled, removing its smoking area.
While Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) issued a statement applauding Denver’s mayor, the airport and “the owners of the smoke-filled businesses who are supporting this transition to a smoke-free future,” the response on the airport’s Facebook page has been mixed, with several critical comments among those voices applauding the decision.
Via e-mail, M. James of Denver speaks out for smoking travelers: “I just think this anti-smoking has gotten too far. There are tons of restaurants where people can eat without smoke. At least one smoking area at DIA should be open for the smokers who have a layover or a delayed plane.”
James mourned the demise of Denver Airport’s smoking lounges, but expressed appreciation for those at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which are located throughout the airport and include a new one (on the Concourse F mezzanine level) in the recently opened international terminal complex.
In addition to Atlanta, smokers can still find an indoor place to light up at Dulles International Airport and at airports in Tampa, Memphis, Salt Lake City and several other cities. Some of these smoking areas are simply small, ventilated spaces; others are inside a restaurant or bar that may require a minimum purchase.
In Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport currently has two indoor spots where passengers may smoke: the pre-security Budweiser Racing Track Lounge and an enclosed casino gaming lounge at the D Concourse, near Gate D-46.
When McCarran’s new Terminal 3 opens, on June 27, there will be two more enclosed gaming lounges, near gates E-1 and E-15. Another gaming lounge that will welcome smokers is planned for the C Concourse, just past the C Annex Security Checkpoint, and will be available to passengers who walk over from the A and B concourses as well. No date has been set yet for the opening of that Concourse C lounge.
Why add more airport smoking lounges at McCarran when Denver International Airport is getting kudos for its plan to close theirs?
“There is a significant segment of our customer base that wishes to smoke, and past experience has demonstrated that these customers will often light up, even in areas where smoking is not authorized,” says McCarran spokesperson Chris Jones. He adds that ‘unauthorized’ smokers cause problems, such as “smoke in public restrooms or, in some cases, alarms being set off as individuals attempt to open doors that lead to secured outdoor areas.” said Jones.
“The gaming lounges help to alleviate these concerns by providing separate, enclosed and ventilated spaces for these adults to smoke prior to their outbound flights,” he said.
Not all smokers are in favor of smoking rooms at airports. Patricia Murphy, a smoker from Seattle, says “Shut them down!” She said the last time she smoked in one of those rooms – at Tokyo’s Narita Airport – she felt sick for hours. “No ventilation system can handle the amount of smoke in those rooms. They smell so awful!”
Murphy says she tries to have a cigarette before heading into an airport and often finds herself smoking just outside airport doorways, getting “lots of dirty looks.”
She has found one airport smoking lounge she can recommend: The one at Singapore’s Changi Airport, which is outside, in a sunflower garden. “You’re literally standing in towering sunflowers,” said Murphy.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, indoor smoking is completely banned at 27 of the top 35 U.S. airports.
Make that 28. Well, almost.
Denver International Airport (DIA), which currently has four indoor smoking lounges, announced Friday that three of those smoking areas will be shutting down.
According to a statement from the airport, two concessionaires, Airport Lounges and Quiz-DIA, have agreed to close the three smoking lounges they currently operate by the end of the year. The fourth lounge, Timberline, operated by Smokin’ Bear, LLC, will shut down after its lease expires in 2018.
Two Aviator’s Lounges will close this year: the one in Jeppesen Terminal and the one on the B Concourse. The Jeppesen Terminal lounge will become a Jamba Juice and the B Concourse lounge will re-open as a barbecue restaurant called the Aviator’s Sports Bar.
The third lounge to be closed is inside the Mesa Verde Restaurant and Bar on the A Concourse. Mesa Verde will be remodeled to offer extra seating.
The fourth indoor smoking lounge – inside Timberline Steaks & Grill on Concourse C – will stay open until 2018.
After that: no smoking at Denver International Airport.
Here’s a link to a (long) list of other U.S. airports that ban smoking.
What do you think: should ALL airports ban smoking?
A woman caught smoking in a nonsmoking area of Denver International Airport on Tuesday responded by putting out her cigarette and taking off her clothes.
Around 8:45 a.m., after being asked to extinguish her cigarette, the woman stripped naked in the B Concourse.
“The woman told officers that she’d had no sleep the night before,” said Raquel Lopez, spokesperson for the Denver Police Department.
The woman was taken in for a medical evaluation. “No one was arrested, no one was hurt and no report was filed,” Lopez said.
Police and paramedics responded and “the woman was ultimately transported to a local hospital,” said Laura Coale, Denver International’s director of media relations.
There are four smoking lounges at Denver International airport, including two Aviator’s Club Smoking Lounge locations, but there is no clothing-optional area, Coale said, nor are there plans to create one anytime soon.
(A slightly different version of this story originally appeared msnbc.com.)