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United Airlines contest seeks women-made art

In honor of Women’s History Month – and just because it’s a cool thing to do – United Airlines is hosting a contest that has as its prize an invite to paint an airplane.

United Airlines’ Her Art Here contest is designed to find and uplift underrepresented female artists, the carrier says, and will choose two female artists to visually represent either New York / New Jersey or California (key regions for United).

The winning artists will work renowned artist Shantell Martin to design the exterior of a United Boeing 757.

That’s pretty great exposure for the artists’ work.

Want to enter? Here’s the link to get you to the page for more information in United’s Her Art Here contest.

Entries can be from anyone who identifies as a woman who lives in the United States. Each entry must visually represent New York/New Jersey or California and all entries will be reviewed by a panel of experts, who will chose six finalists, three from each region.

The public will then be invited to vote on the submissions and there will be two grand prizes; one for each region.

Finalists and winners will also receive their own open gallery show, 100,000 United MileagePlus award miles and have their artwork on display in United Club locations and United Polaris lounges.

Deadline to enter is March 24, 2019. Good luck!

Harriet’s Hotel Stay: Woodlark in Portland, OR

I’m a fan of the growing portfolio of boutique hotels owned and managed by Provenance Hotels. They first won my heart when they enhanced and improved, rather than erased and replaced, a hotel I had a sentimental attachment to: Portland’s Mallory Hotel, which is now Hotel deLuxe

Now, each time I visit one of their new properties, I’m pay close attention to how creatively and responsibly they redo vintage spaces and create new places that feel as if they’ve been welcoming guests for years.

The still-new Woodlark in Portland (open since mid-December 2018) is no exception.

As with the larger Sentinel a few blocks away, the Woodlark blends two historic downtown buildings. This time it is the former Cornelius Hotel and the Woodlark Building, which have become a 150-room retro-modern hotel that feels as if it’s always been right here.

As a nice touch, they’ve even reclaimed the Cornelius Hotel’s original slogan: “House of Welcome.’

The hotel has 11 different room variations – from standard rooms that measure 230-260 square feet to a 415-square-foot loft suite with a spiral staircase. Each room has custom-designed furnishings, natural wood and specially-created wallpaper featuring flora found in Portland’s Forrest Park. 

As a bonus, each room also has a framed botanical print by noted photographer Imogen Cunningham, who was born in Portland.

Besides the plush bath robes and the MiN bath amenities, some of the in-room touches I appreciate at this hotel include bedside tables with multiple integrated charging options, a nice bluetooth speaker, and coupons to swap for strong drip coffee at the comfortable Good Coffee café in the lobby.

Down in the fitness center, I tested out the new gadget that streams fitness programs – from a mirror.

The lobby features a display case with custom flower arrangements from floral design studio, Colibri; the charming 40-seat Abigail Hall bar that’s tucked into a space that once housed the library and Ladies Reception Hall of the Cornelius Hotel; and the Bullard restaurant, which is billed as a place where “Texas hospitality and Oregon’s bountiful food landscape meet.”

If you go: room rates range from $155/ night in low season to $255/night in high season, not including city taxes and the hotel’s nightly facility fee of $27.67.

Denver Airport turns 24 – and gets chatty about it

Lots of odd conspiracy theories swirl around the art and some of the architectural elements at Denver International Airport.

And the airport is OK with that.

To mark its 24th birthday, the airport is sharing this video of one of the gargoyles that came alive.

Have a theory – or a question – about something you’ve seen or heard about Denver International Airport? Share it in the comments section and we’ll track it down.

Seattle’s 2nd airport – Paine Field – opens March 4

Courtesy Propeller Airports

The first commercial flights from what’s been dubbed “Seattle’s second airport” are set to take on March 4, 2019 from the brand new passenger terminal at Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, WA.

The 2-gate, 30,000 square-foot terminal is a private-partnership between Propeller Airports and Snohomish County and feels more like a swank airport lounge than a small regional airport.

Paine Field passenger terminal waiting area. Photo_Harriet Baskas

Here is my “At the Airport” column for USA TODAY about the Paine Field project:

To the delight of many travelers in the Seattle-metro area who must battle some of the country’s worst traffic to reach Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Paine Field is 30 miles north of downtown Seattle about 40 miles north of SEA.

As avgeeks and avid plane spotters will quickly tell you, the new Paine Field passenger terminal sits on the same airfield that houses Boeing’s sprawling wide-body assembly plant.

No telling what you’ll see while waiing for your fligh at Paine Field. We saw this unmarked “Janet Airlines” plane – thought to ferry goverment workers between Las Vegas and locations such as Area 51. – Photo Harriet Baskas

Where will you be able to fly to from Paine Field?

After a brief setback due to the partial government shutdown, Alaska Airlines is scheduled to launch service from Paine Field on March 4 with flights to Portland, Las Vegas and Phoenix after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the airport.

By March 12, the full schedule of 18 daily roundtrip nonstop flights to 8 west coast cities – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose – should be operating on their regular schedules.

“I think we’ll have a good mix of leisure and business travelers,” said Mario Doiron, who will serve as Alaska Airlines’ station supervisor at Paine Field, “The morning flights will likely be filled with business travelers, as is the pattern now for us at SEA airport. But there’s been more interest from leisure travelers than we thought.”

United Airlines, the only other carrier scheduled to operate out of the Paine Field passenger terminal, will begin flying six daily flights from PAE on March 31: two daily roundtrips to Denver and four daily roundtrips to San Francisco.

Making sure United offered flights from Paine Field to Denver and San Francisco “Is kind of a no-brainer,” in terms of giving more passengers a way to get to the airline’s hub airports, said Ankit Gupta, United’s VP of Domestic Network Planning. “As the airport expands, we’ll look at either flying bigger jets or flying to more cities.”

Both airlines will operate their flights from Paine Field on Embraer 175 jets.

What’s inside the new Paine Field passenger terminal?

Photo Harriet Baskas

Propeller Airport CEO, Brett Smith gave me a tour of the new Paine Field passenger terminal at the end of February, less than two weeks before the facility was set to welcome its first guests.

Construction was complete, but Smith was busy answering calls and questions about last-minute touch-ups and finish-work and making adjustments to the lighting and the sound system. In one of the two gate hold areas, employees from Alaska Airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, the local sheriff’s office and other groups were doing operational run-throughs for opening day.

The lobby

Solari flight display board will emit retor ‘flapping’ sounds. Photo Harriet Baskas

With valet parking and a concierge desk at the terminal door, Smith says the $40 million terminal designed by Denver-based Fentress Architects will make passengers feel as if they’re entering an upscale hotel lobby. Once through security, “They’ll feel as if they’re in an upscale private airport lounge,” said Smith, “But this lounge is for everybody.”

The lobby has a polished concrete floor, a Swiss-made wood acoustical treatment on the ceiling, a Bose sound system, check-in stands with Italian-marble countertops, and a limestone-covered wall complete with easy-to-spot fossil imprints. Behind a bank of check-in kiosks is a Solari flight display board programmed to emit the retro flip-board “flapping.”

Smith says the concierge desk staff will offer all passengers the same sort of service hotel concierge staff might offer, including direction and recommendations for restaurants and places to stay, as well as help with bookings. The concierge team will also escort Alaska’s 75 gold and UA 1K and above flyers to the front of the TSA line.

Smith hopes to introduce concierge subscription plans that might include everything from a fast track through the TSA line to unlimited valet parking and pickup and drop-off services within a 10 mile radius of the airport.

“We might also offer services like fulfilling grocery orders and taking care of dry cleaning or laundry which can be arraigned in advance so that when travelers return home they will find their requests fulfilled and waiting in their vehicles,” said Smith.

A short ramp leads to the TSA security checkpoint area, which will have three lanes, including one devoted to TSA pre-check.

The main terminal

Once past the security checkpoint, passengers enter the main terminal waiting area between the two gate areas. This center area has a plush, living room-like feel to it, complete with two fireplaces, plenty of armchairs and other comfortable seating, and a set of display cases filled with Paine Field-related memorabilia.

The view outside the large glass windows is unique: because Paine Field is home to the Boeing assembly plant and many other aviation-related activities, passengers are likely to spot anything from Boeing’s Dreamlifter and airplanes fresh out of the factory to military aircraft, private jets and planes in for maintenance.  (The day we toured, a “Janet” airlines plane, said to ferry government employees between Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and top-secret locations, such as Area 51, was pulling out of a hangar.)

To insure passengers don’t miss anything out on the airfield, there are glass-walled jet-bridges leading to and from the airplanes that will park at each gate

There’s robust Wi-Fi throughout the Paine Field passenger terminal, multiple options for power each of the 300 seats, and food and beverage provided by Seattle’s well-loved Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, including a Café Vita coffee shop pre-security. Post-security there will be a Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Café, serving soups, sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese, plus the Upper Case Bar, with Pacific Northwest wines, cocktails and food from the café.

Arrivals

The one-carousel baggage claim is about a minute’s walk from either gate and passenger pickup is just outside the bag claim area. A pet-relief area and a small building where passengers will wait for taxis, ride-hailed drivers and car rental shuttles is just outside the bag claim area.

A bit of Paine Field history

Paine Field – Snohomish Country Airport (PAE) was originally built in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project with the goal of being one of ten “super airports” around the country.

WWII and the Korean War changed those plans and, in 1966, after Snohomish County took over the airport, Boeing set up its production facility for the B-747 airplanes at Paine Field.

Commercial passenger service from Paine Field has been proposed, and hotly debated, for years.

In addition to the new Paine Field passenger terminal, today Paine Field is home to the Boeing Company’s wide-body assembly plant and the popular Boeing Factory Tour, as well as several other aviation-related businesses and facilities, museums and attractions, including the Flight Heritage & Combat Armor Museum built around a collection established by the late Paul G. Allen.

Preview of Paine Field – “Seattle’s 2nd Airport”

Commercial passenger service begins March 4 from Paine Field in Everett, WA., about 30 miles north of downtown Seattle. And travelers in the area are pretty darn excited.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines will be the only airlines flying from this upscale, two-gate terminal. But their offerings stretch pretty far:

Alaska Airlines has a schedule of 18 daily roundtrips to 8 west coast cities – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Service starts March 4 with flights to Portland, Las Vegas and Phoenix and expand to the full schedule by March 12.

United Airlines will begin flying six daily flights from PAE on March 31: two daily roundtrips to Denver and four daily roundtrips to San Francisco.

I’ve got a column posting shortly on USA TODAY with more information, but here are some snaps from my visit to the terminal, which looks more like an upscale lounge than a small airport.

Solari board behind in check-in lobby will have the retro flipping sounds.

Waiting area has a very upscale lounge feel. But it’s for everyone.
Jet-bridges at both gates are glass sided.

Great seats for the great views out the windows: the passenger terminal sits on the same airfield where Boeing has a giant assembly plant.

Front of the new Paine Field passenger terminal in Everett, Wa.

More to come.