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Qantas has a fun new safety video

Qantas Airways is celebrating its 100th anniversary with some classic throwback action.

First up is this new in-flight safety video featuring ‘80s mullets, ‘70s moustaches, 1940s flying boats and 1920s propeller aircraft.

The safety video briefing features modern-day Qantas crew members in carefully recreated historical settings onboard aircraft and in airport terminals.

Qantas has also put together an exhibition showcasing the past, present and future of the airline, with artifacts, life-sized replicas and interactive installations.

The exhibition will be touring Australia for the next year, but here are a couple of highlights that seem pretty cool.

This is a replica of a Qantas 747 First Class Lounge from the 1970s.

Qantas original B747 1970s Lounge

And this is one of the scrapbooks that belonged to Qantas co-founder Fergus McMaster.

LAX Airport has a ghost kitchen

Would you order food from a kitchen?

You probably have. And now you can order a meal from a ghost kitchen at Los Angeles International Airport.

Through its LAX Shop & Dine website, travelers at Los Angeles International Airport can pre-order and pre-pay for meals from one or more food nearby food vendors, then just swing by, skip the lines, and pick up their order.

Now a new service named Breeze has been added to the order-ahead list.

The Breeze menu is full of healthy meals, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, but don’t go looking for it in the terminal.

Breeze has no physical dine-in space.

Instead, Breeze uses a ghost kitchen – a cooking space used only to prepare food for one or more delivery venues – and delivers food to a kiosk on the T2 dining terrace for pick-up.

Orders can be made via the Breeze app, the LAX Shop & Dine site or via text and picked up within minutes. Orders can also be made up to 24 hours ahead, with a specified pick-up time. Say, right before you’re about to board a flight.

Sound tasty and convenient? Breeze and services like it may soon expand the use of ghost-kitchens to other LAX terminals and other airports.

Help upgrade the food at O’Hare International Airport

Have you ever complained about the food at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD)?

If so, here’s your chance to make a difference.

The airport is partnering once again with HMSHost and inviting chefs of all abilities from across the country to enter the Channel Your Inner Chef competition.

Entrants may be “aspiring, connoisseur, or otherwise.”

The event takes place at O’Hare on March 24, 2020. And while you don’t need to be a master chef to enter this live cooking competition, you do need to get busy.

Entrants need to make an up-to-five-minute video of themselves preparing a favorite original recipe. The video entries need to be submitted by February 17 at the Channel Your Inner Chef website.

Five finalists will be selected from the video entries. Those finalists will be flown to Chicago to compete in a live cook-off in front of an audience and a panel of judges at O’Hare on March 24, 2020.

During the 30-minute cook-off, finalists will be challenged to create an original recipe using some of the food ingredients laid out before them.

The winning dish will be featured on the menu of an O’Hare restaurant.

The grand prize winner will win a VIP experience for two to the James Beard Awards Gala being held on May 4, 2020, in Chicago. The winner will also get two roundtrip airline tickets for a flight anywhere within the continental U.S.

Sound like something for you or someone you know? Find more details at Channel Your Inner Chef.

Below is a video from last year’s event.

StuckatTheAirport.com was on-site for last year’s competition. We got a kick out the fact that, after competing against each other, the contestants got together to cook themselves a feast with some of the fresh fish, meats and other unused ingredients that had been fanned out for them.

“We’re cooks,” one contestant told us, “We not going to let good food go to waste.”

MSP airport’s newest cocktail bar

Heading to or through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport soon?

Here at Stuck at the Airport, we are all about cool amenities and shops and restaurants that reflect the local community.

So, we’re curious to check out the newest addition at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: The Cocktail Room at 18th and Central in Terminal 1 Concourse A.

A collaboration between HMSHost Tattersall Distilling, The Cocktail Room at 18th and Central shows off the craft distilling movement in Minnesota and beyond.

The new bar gets its name from Tattersall Distilling’s location in Northeast Minneapolis, and one of its most popular drinks.

Tattersall Distilling is a nationally acclaimed Minneapolis-based craft distiller, which makes organic vodka, straight rye whiskey, apple brandy, aquavit, gin and an extensive portfolio of liqueurs, all with an emphasis on using local ingredients and sustainable practices.

In addition to the unique drink options and specialty cocktails on the menu created for the MSP venue, many of the bar bites and plates are made from locally sourced ingredients.

Signature items menu items include smoked salmon, lemon pepper wings, house-made onion dip, and chicken bacon flatbread. 

There’s also house popcorn, so we’re totally there.

Don’t leave your stuff at the TSA checkpoint

Resolved to fly more in 2020? How to keep your stuff.  

In 2019, airline passengers tried to take hundreds of thousands of prohibited and banned items through airport security checkpoints in the United States.

Transportation Security Administration officers found hatchets, inert grenades, fireworks, firearms (most of them loaded) and so many knives that the TSA doesn’t even keep a count.

Instead, the agency boxes them up, weighs them and hands pallets of knives and other “voluntarily abandoned” property over to state agencies to be sold as surplus property.

TSA officials say passengers who don’t want to leave a banned item behind at the checkpoint have a few options:

If the item is approved for checked baggage, a passenger can put the item in a carry-on bag and go check it in or ask the airline to retrieve an already checked back and put the item in there.

Another option: Airport Mailers and some other companies have kiosks set up near security checkpoints at many airports where travelers may package up items and pay to mail them home.

But it’s not just items on TSA’s “no fly’ list that get left behind at airports.

Each month, TSA also collects and catalogs 90,000 to 100,000 other items that are perfectly legal to travel with, but which are inadvertently left behind at airport checkpoints by harried and distracted travelers.

Those items range from scarves and sunglasses to laptops, smartphones and some odd “How did they forget THAT?” items such as bowling balls, violins, gold teeth and urns and boxes filled with human cremains.

On a post-holiday tour of TSA’s Lost & Found room at Reagan National Airport, we spotted plenty of those items, as well as multiple bags filled with left behind IDs.

We also saw shelves lined with ballcaps, CPAP breathing machines, winter coats, car key fobs that will cost $200 or more to replace, car seats, canes and fully packed carry-on bags.

It’s easy to see how hats and scarves get left behind in the bins, but what about laptops, entire carry-on bags and other essential items?

Besides the “people are in a rush,” factor, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein has some theories:

“When it comes to laptops, many brands are grey and the same color as the checkpoint bins, so it can be easy to overlook your laptop,” says Feinstein. “Also, if a bin has an advertisement in the bottom, travelers’ eyes may be drawn to the ad and cause them to miss the driver’s license and keys still in the bin.”

The number of bins people use may also contribute to the pile-up in the Lost & Found. If you’ve scattered your stuff across multiple bins (coats here, electronics there, a flat laptop and an ID in another bin), you may overlook items in the last bin as you rush to take your stuff out and stack up the used bins.

The pile of canes?

“It’s not that we have so many miraculous recoveries at TSA checkpoints,” says Farbstein, “I think attendants and family members helping wheelchair users who also have canes often forget to pick up the canes once they’re through the checkpoint.”

Keeping your stuff out of Lost & Found

TSA keeps items left behind at security checkpoints for a minimum of 30 days and posts phone numbers on its website where travelers can contact the Lost & Found department at each airport.

(Keep in mind that airports and airlines will have their own lost and found procedures for things left in the terminals and on airplanes.)

To improve your chances of getting your stuff back – or not losing it in the first place – Farbstein offers these tips:

  • Tape a business card or some other form of ID to your laptop or smartphone. “So many models are alike, so this can make all the difference in getting yours back,” said Farbstein.
  • Before you get to the checkpoint, or while you’re standing online, take time to consolidate all your miscellaneous items (i.e. scarves, hats, gloves) and take everything out of your pockets (keys, phones, wallets, etc.). Instead of putting small items in a bin, put them in your carry-on in an extra plastic bag you’ve packed just for that purpose. If you don’t put loose items in the bin to begin with, you eliminate the chance of leaving anything in the bin on the other side.
  • Pay attention to everything you put in the bins, including things that may have a high emotional value. “A laptop may cost thousands of dollars, but I can assure you that an old beat-up stuffed animal that a child has left behind is valuable to the parent who is now dealing with a crying child,” says Farbstein.

Help is on the way

Looking forward, as part of a $96.8 million contract awarded last year to Smiths Detection, in 2020 most large and major airports in the United States will be getting computed technology 3D X-ray scanners at the checkpoints. This new machinery will allow travelers to keep their electronics in their carry-on bags and reduce the chance of so many laptops and other gadgets getting left behind.

(My story: “How to avoid leaving stuff behind at the TSA checkpoint” first appeared on CNBC in a slightly different version)