Stuck at the Airport has been in Houston this week taking part in the citywide celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and the first time humans walked on the Moon.
While here, we visited Space Center Houston, the science and space exploration center where the public gets a chance to see (and touch!) Moon rocks and learn first hand about what it takes to go into – and come back from – space.
There’s also a great gift shop. And for Souvenir Sunday, we’re sharing some of the fun gifts we’re taking home.
Thanks for joining us this week while we celebrated the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission.
Tomorrow marks 50 years since humans first walked on the Moon. Everyone seems to be talking about astronauts, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, where we’ve been in space and where we may go next.
Stuck at the Airport is in Houston – Space City – this week to be part of the festivities. We’re meeting with former astronauts, visting the labs that train and prepare food for astronauts and getting a first look at the restored Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
If all this space talk has got you thinking about becoming an astronaut, consider taking this Astronaut Apitude quiz filled with questions based on the official NASA Astronaut Candidate requirements and real-life psychological tests. Let us know how you score.
City or celebrity? Branding goals fuel airport name changes
Louisville, Kentucky is well known for bourbon,
the Kentucky Derby and Louisville Slugger baseball bats.
It’s also the city the late, legendary boxer
Muhammad Ali called home.
In his honor, Louisville International
Airport (SDF) was recently renamed Louisville Muhammad Ali International
Airport and a new logo honoring The Champ and his famous praise, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a
In addition to honoring a native son, the
airport name change is expected bring economic benefits to Louisville and both
built on and boost Ali-related tourism to the city.
“Even three years after our city’s most famous son’s
passing, Louisville continues to see people coming from across the globe to
discover and trace Ali’s legacy,” Karen Williams, President and CEO of
Louisville Tourism said in
a statement, “The airport rebranding supports current marketing efforts to
engage in Ali’s ‘Footsteps of
Greatness’ as a reason to inspire visitation to Louisville.”
Location, Location, Location
While Louisville added the name of a local
icon to its airport’s name, other airports are moving away from celebrity names
in favor of stronger geographic branding.
petition seeking to honor the late star of the locally produced “Mister Rogers’
Neighborhood” PBS TV program was signed by more than 15,000 supporters. But
airport representatives said vacation planners were more likely to search
online for “Pittsburgh Airport” than for “Fred Rogers.”
In southern California, regional Bob Hope Airport (BUR) is now Hollywood Burbank Airport.
The switch came in 2017 after airport
officials realized that while the general public knew that the late Bob Hope was
a comedian, few outside the region knew the airport was so located so close to
Hollywood and many top Los Angeles-area attractions.
“Some thought the airport was in Palm Springs,” said
airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf, “Others thought it was in Vietnam,” because
Hope had hosted annual USO Christmas tours to entertain troops during much of the
To help solve BUR’s identity problem, “We studied
what other airports had done and why,” said Michael Fiore, cofounder and
chief brand officer of the Anyone
for the most part we found the same answers: those with a geographic
identifiers attached to them were performing better than others.”
The name-change, coupled with branding and
marketing efforts that include everything from new signage at the airport and
on highways to online advertising, has garnered the airport national awards
and, more importantly, more passengers, said Fiore.
Some other airports have gently tweaked their
names in the interest of better branding.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) was renamed St. Louis Lambert International Airport in February 2017. The move was made “to
improve marketing positions locally and globally while also expanding
connections with the St. Louis region,” according to the airport’s strategic
“This decision was made to better identify our
geographical location to travelers who are not from this region,” said MKE spokesman
Harold Mester, “Our new brand adds the name of our anchor city while still
honoring our namesake, Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, who is considered to be the
father of the U.S. Air Force.”
“As we continue to market the airport in
international and west coast markets, we have found that these populations are
challenged to locate us,” said Kevin A. Dillon, Executive Director of the
Connecticut Airport Authority, “Accordingly, we are undergoing a review to be
completed by the end of the year to determine if it is feasible to change the
airport name, and, if so, how we can continue to preserve the memory of Eugene
Bradley at the airport.”
Bucking the Trend
While the benefits of geographic branding are
convincing some airports to change or tweak names, at least one airport is bucking
In 2017, the Hawaii Department of
Transportation (HDOT) changed the name of Honolulu International
Airport (HNL) to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
The much-beloved Inouye served as Hawaii’s
first representative in Congress in 1959 and went on to represent the Aloha
State in both the House and Senate for a combined 53 years.
This is the
fourth name change in the airport’s history, notes HDOT.
opened in 1927, HNL was named the John Rodgers Airport. After surviving the
attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1947 the airport was renamed Honolulu Airport. “International”
was added to the name in 1951.
It is too soon to tell if the name change will boost the local economy or increase tourism to Honolulu. But HDOT pegs the cost of new signage, parts, materials, labor and other tasks associated with this latest name change at one million dollars.
What do you think? Should an airport be named for a city or a celebrity?
Souvenir Sunday needs your help. If you see fun, unusual, locally-themed gift in an airport during your travels, please take a snap and send it along to us. If we feature your souvenir on Stuck at The Airport, we’ll send you a fun travel-themed souvenir.