Santa, strolling carolers, free gift wrapping and a host of other holiday-themed entertainment is popping up at airports this season. But at Huntsville International Airport Santa’s little helper “Airlene,” has been showing up to make sure holiday travelers take note of all the new charging stations that have been installed throughout the airport.
Friday, January 24 was National Compliment Day (yeah, that’s a thing) and to celebrate the staff at Reno-Tahoe International Airport set up a Free Compliments booth to hand out kind words to passengers.
Some travelers were complimented on their glasses, colorful scarves or boots. One gentleman who was about to pass right by the booth without stopping was told “Sir, what a confident gait you have.”
Airport spokeswoman Heidi Jared said many passengers returned the compliment with another and that one woman who stopped by the booth for a free compliment was a Columbine High School shooting survivor, arriving in town to facilitate a student therapy group at nearby Sparks Middle School, where a recent shooting took place.
“She told us what a great thing the airport was doing. It was neat to know that we could add just a little bright spot to someone’s day who had been through such a tragedy,” said Jared.
Here’s part 2 of the recent slide show I put together for Bing Travel highlighting some of the best amenities at the country’s busiest airports. (Part 1, which includes the airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth can be found here.)
No. 5: Denver International Airport
Some travelers are still smarting from Christmas 2006, when a blizzard closed Denver International Airport for 22 hours, stranding more than 3,000 passengers. The airport’s snow-removal skills have vastly improved, but weather-related delays can still happen. Wait those out with free Wi-Fi or a self-guided tour of the art collection (brochures are available at any information booth).
Defeat the delay: If any planes are moving, watch them on the active taxiway that runs beneath the glass and steel pedestrian bridge linking the A gates to the main terminal. (That bridge also leads to security checkpoint lines reliably shorter than those in the main terminal.)
When winter weather hits, all of the always-busy New York-area airports — LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International and John F. Kennedy International — quickly become zoos. At JFK, seven separate terminals mean delayed travelers must make do with services at hand. That’s not a problem in JetBlue’s amenity-rich T5, which offers free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal and more than 40 shops and restaurants, including Deep Blue Sushi — all after you go through security. Elsewhere, it’s a post-security challenge. Your best bet is Terminal 4, which has the most pre-security options, including public art by Alexander Calder and a retail hall with shops and restaurants, such as the Palm Bar and Grill.
Defeat the delay: When planes are grounded, the AirTrain from JFK to the New York City subways usually keeps running. The trip to the city might take an hour, but will cost less than $10 and can be its own adventure.
No. 7: George Bush Intercontinental Airport
At Houston’s Bush Intercontinental, delayed passengers can view space-related exhibits on loan from NASA and shop for their own space-themed souvenirs at a branch of NASA’s Space Trader store. There’s also a revolving steakhouse restaurant, CK’s, at the Houston Airport Marriott located in the center of the terminal complex, and an interterminal train below the terminals designed in 1981 by the Walt Disney Co.
Defeat the delay: It may be an airport, but you can still get a taste of Texas. Three Stelzig Ranch shops offer boots, hats and other Texas-style accessories, while Texas Trail Boss Jerky sells beef, pork, turkey and bison jerky.
No. 8: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
In addition to free Wi-Fi and complimentary recharge work stations, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas offers delayed travelers entertainment in the form of the Howard Cannon Aviation Museum, art exhibits, an aviation-themed kid’s play area, an interactive Dance Heads video booth and bars serving oxygen cocktails.
Defeat the delay: McCarran also has approximately 1,200 slot machines. And, as the saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play.