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BWI Airport once had an outdoor observation deck

My USA TODAY “At the Airport” column about airport observation decks didn’t have room to mention the viewing areas some airports provide near their terminals.

Here are just a few that were nominated for the story. Let me know about others you’d like to have added to the list.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) doesn’t have an outdoor observation area connected to its facilities. But CVG does have an observation area nearby with picnic tables, benches, information boards and a play area.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) has an observation park near the air traffic control tower. Amenities include an elevated observation platform, audio of communication between pilots and the tower, a picnic area, educational placards and a play area.


Courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
DFW Founders plaza
DFW Founder’s Plaza

And Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has an observating viewing area known as Founder’s Plaza.

In addition to offering great view of aircraft taking off and landing, the plaza has picnic tables, telescopes, historic information, a commemorative monument and a radio that broadcasts air traffic control communications from the FAA tower.

Which observation viewing areas near airports would you like to add to this list? Bonus for a photo!

Stuck at the airport: news from LAX, FAT and OAK

Lovely LAX

Here’s a lovely spring report from Los Angeles International Airport.

Heavy rains have left behind a rare super bloom of wildflowers.

LAX reports that the flowers are located across the airfield complex, with the highest concentration on the north airfield – between runways 24L and 24R. The bouquet of flowers spreads along the length of those runways, approximately 10,885 feet.

New arts lounge at Fresno Yosemite International Airport

Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) has added an arts lounge to its art exhibitions program.

Over the past year, the program has expanded to include larger works of art, live music performances and a partnership with a local art gallery featuring local photographers.

Travelers love the offerings so far. So the airport is adding more features. FAT’s new arts lounge has tables and chairs, couches, charging ports and “offers a friendly airport environment for travelers,” said FAT’s Director of Aviation, Kevin Meikle.

Showing now: Leslie Batty’s large scale works, including a painting of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and “Projections” by John Moses, a series of photography images blending iconic films with ghostly images from some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films.

Oakland International Airport celebrates Southwest Airlines first flight to Hawaii

On Monday, the first Southwest Airlines flight to the Hawaiian Islands arrived in Honolul after leaving Sunday evening from Oakland International Airport.

Scores of passengers, airline and airport staff, officials and hula dancers crowded Terminal 1 at the Oakland International Airport for a send-off of the long-awaited launch of Southwest Airlines’ inaugural service from the US Mainland to Hawaii.

And there was cake.

On PI day, we notice PIE Airport

No word if they’re handing out free Key Lime pie today at Florida’s St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, as they have in some past years. But we celebrate that airport today anyway, because it’s PI day and the airport’s identifier code is PIE.

PI Day celebrates the Greek letter “π” (Pi). That’s the symbol that represents the mathematical constant that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and has been calculated to over a trillion digits, the first of which are 3.14.

As far as we know, PIE airport didn’t get that code because everyone there loved eating pie. Instead, it is because when it was orignally constructed, in 1941 as a military flight-training base, its name was Pinellas Army Airfield.

If you stop by PIE airport today, be sure to take a look at some of their public art, including this piece by Mary Klein called Mile Markers.

How are you celebrating PI day? In my neighborhood, there’s a pizza restaurant selling pies for $3.14.

SFO Museum highlights aviation-inspired design

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition

A new exhibit by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport presents products from the 1930s to the 1950s that are great examples of aviation-inspired design.

Exhibition notes tells us that is was the Great Depression of the 1930s when the modern airplane became an inspiring symbol of hope.

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition

“Sleek and shiny, the new all-metal aircraft lifted spirits and promised a brighter future. The emerging study of aerodynamics, using wind-tunnel testing, rapidly advanced the design of aircraft. With smoother streaming lines, airplanes were flying faster and farther and capturing the public’s imagination. The functionality of this new aerodynamic understanding, which became known as “streamline design,” extended to other forms of transportation, including trains, cars, and ships.”

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition

And to products such as bicycles, typewriters and household appliances which were designed with sweeping lines, rounded corners and tapering teardrops in homage to the airplane.

The exhibition, Streamlines: Air Age Aesthetics for Industrial Design, is located pre-security in SFO’s Aviation Museum and Library (in the International Terminal) between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through September 22, 2019.

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition

Here are more objects from the exhibition. All photos courtesy SFO Museum.

SFO Museum Aviation Exhibition

Southwest selling tickets to Hawaii. Flights start soon.

Want to go to Hawaii? One more airline is now flying there from the west coast.

Southwest Airlines announced it will start flying between Hawaii and the mainland on March 17, 2019, with an inaugural flight from Oakland International Airport (OAK) to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

On April 7, Southwest will start service from Oakland International Airport to Kahului Airport (OGG).

In May, Southwest will start service from Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Honolulu on May 5 and to Kahului on May 26.

Southwest is also adding interisland service and will fly roundtrip between Honolulu and Kahului four times daily beginning April 28 and four times daily between Honolulu and Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Hawaii Island.

Still to come: details about the schedule for Southwest’s flights from San Diego and Sacramento, and for flights that will serve Lihue, on Kauai.

Sale prices for the announced flights were offered – and sold out within minutes – on Monday, but poke around and you may still find some great deals on Southwest’s flights to Hawaii.

No doubt other carriers, such as Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska, United, American, and Delta, that fly to Hawaii from gateways across the U.S. may kick off sales and special promotions of their own in the coming days.

In fact, here’s a link to a flash fare sale Alaska Airlines rolled out today on flight to Hawaii…