airport entertainment

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Orlando Int’l Airport

It’s only Monday, but we may already have a nomination for Airport Amenity of the Week.

Especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Passengers traveling through Orlando International Airport (MCO) will find that some of the tram shuttle stations are now decorated to evoke Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new 14-acre land inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Arriving passengers getting ready to board the shuttles for the airport’s Main Terminal will see life-size depictions of characters and scenes from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

One scene creates a dimensional landscape that feels as if visitors are standing inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. They’ll see the iconic Millennium Falcon and other landmarks from the new amusement park land.

In another scene, it will appear to passengers as if First Order Stormtroopers are waiting to step off the shuttle as the train arrives in the station.

Make way…

There’s more.

At the Magic of Disney store located inside the main terminal in the pre-security West Hall, there’s now a fun new photo op location featuring droids from the Star Wars galaxy.

And when the airport’s second Magic of Disney store reopens on November 22 in the Main Terminal East Hall, an exterior wall will feature a 36-foot-long video screen showing scenes from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Should we just go ahead and make this the Airport Amenity of the Week?

(Photos courtesy Orlando International Airport)

Fresh airport amenities to take the hassle out of travel

Airport amenities that might make summer travel fun. Or less of a hassle

Summer may be half over but many of the hassles of summer travel never end.

Which is why we’re always on the lookout for airport amenities that can take the hassle out of travel.

Here’s a list I put together for USA TODAY Travel.  

Cruise to SEA airport luggage-free

More than a million cruise passengers pass through Seattle on their way to and from Alaska each summer and they bring a lot of luggage with them through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

To keep out all those bags out of the airport check-in halls, the Port of Seattle offers Port Valet. The complimentary service allows passengers to check in for their flights and check in their bags on board their cruise ships and then explore the city luggage-free before heading to their flights. The luggage transfer is free; but regular checked bag fees apply.

Learn how to save a life while waiting for a flight

Los Angeles International is the latest airport to get a Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosk from the American Heart Association.

More than a dozen other airports have these kiosks as well and just five minutes – the time it takes scroll through your Instagram feed again – you can watch a short instruction video (in English or Spanish), practice on a rubber manikin, get feedback on your technique and learn how to save a life.

 Get coffee made by a robot

In two locations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and one brand new one in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport, travelers can order coffee drinks prepared and delivered by a robotic barista in a Briggo automated Coffee Haus kiosk. 

Orders can be sent ahead via the app, no pre-caffeine chit-chat is required, local coffee blends are features, and there’s a robot on duty 24 hours a day.

Food and sundries delivered to you at your gate

You found an empty seat by a working power plug near your gate and now you’re hungry.

Lucky for you gate delivery services are available in an increasing number of airports. The fast-expanding, app-powered airport order and delivery service At Your Gate rolled out this month in Terminal A at Boston Logan International Airport with plans to expand to Terminal C by the end of summer.

The service is also available in all or parts of Newark (EWR), JFK, LGA, MSP, PDX and San Diego International Airports (SAN) with more on the way.

Tour Tampa International Airport without a ticket

Go to the airport – and through the TSA checkpoint- if you don’t have to?

You might say yes if you wanted to greet or say goodbye to a friend or family member at the gate. Or if you wanted to check out the art, shopping, and the bars and restaurants inside the airport.

Since May, the All Access program at Tampa International Airport has been giving passes to 100 non-ticketed visitors each Saturday (25 per airside terminal). Pittsburgh International Airport’s MyPIT Pass program issues passes for post-security access on weekdays.

Free do-it-yourself piano concerts

Many airports provide live music in the terminals during busy holiday periods and year-round.

Some also provide pianos and invite passengers to make their own music before or after a flight.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) recently installed a “Play Me” piano in Terminal 1. And Los Angeles International Airport recently debuted to new Kawai G-40EP manual and self-playing baby grand pianos; one in the Terminal 4 connector and one on the Upper Level of Terminal 7. 

Just Plane Fun at Philadelphia International Airport

It’s like a summer camp at the airport.

The summer-long Just Plane Fun program at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) offers travelers an eclectic schedule of free activities that includes live music, magic shows, artist demonstrations and workshops, beauty demos, local celebrity appearances, and, our favorite, free sips and food samples.

Check the PHL website for scheduled events or pick up a flyer at an airport information counter.

Airport trading cards – collect them all

They’re cool. They’re collectible. They’re free. And they can be a challenge to find.

Over the past few years, more than 70 airports have created trading cards as part of the North American Airport Collectors Series trading card program. The 2019 series is scheduled to debut in September.

There doesn’t seem to be a master list of participating airports, nor a formal way to acquire the cards. But to start your collection we suggest stopping by an information desk in any airport you happen to be traveling to or through this summer.

Let’s all go to the movies – at the airports

The 17-seat free Hollywood Theatre micro cinema at Portland International Airport (PDX) has a fresh reel of short films by Oregon filmmakers, including Rob Tyler’s “The Way We Melt,” starring brightly-colored, rapidly thawing frozen confections.

Summer travelers may also watch free films at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) courtesy of the SFO Museum’s Video Arts Program, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) in the See 18 Film Screening Room on Concourse C, near Gate C18.

Sensory-friendly Space with real airplane seating

Going to the airport and getting on a plane can be stressful for anyone, but kids or adults with autism or other special needs may need extra help acclimating and adjusting.

To help out, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) just opened Presley’s Place, a 15,000 square-foot sensory-friendly space in Concourse A, by Gate 9. In addition to a calming transition foyer, family room, soundproof adult area, and restroom with adult changing table and adjustable sink, Presley’s Place is the first airport sensory room to also have the walls and floor of a real jet way and a seating section from a realistic airplane cabin, courtesy American Airlines.

Have a favorite airport amenity? Let us know; maybe it will be featured here on Stuck at The Airport.

Help Cleveland Hopkins Int’l Airport celebrate the city

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is hosting Celebrate Cleveland, Sept. 26 – 28.

The fourth annual “hometown salute” features popular attractions, activities for the family, special guests and treats that showcase the region.

 

Here’s the line-up:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 26: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Professor Wylde Traveling Show will be on site with artifacts and appearances by a variety of zoo animals, including a bearded dragon, an armadillo, a hedgehog, a kookaburra, a sand boa and a python.  Find them at Gate C4 and at the beginning of Concourse A.
  • Thursday, Sept. 27: From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Cleveland Indians’ beloved mascot, Slider, will visit with passengers and treat them to Malley’s CLE chocolate bars. (While they last.)
  • Friday, Sept. 28: Mitchell’s Ice Cream Social, with free scoops from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. inside the security checkpoint on Concourse B.

While you’re at CLE, be sure to check out the permanent and temporary art exhibits, including 10-ft tall versions of Fender Stratocaster guitars that have been transformed into works of art by local artists and national celebrities. (Cleveland is, after all, the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum).

 

 

And while at CLE, be sure to visit the baggage claim area to see an exhibit devoted to Superman. The caped hero was created in  the early 1930s by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who lived near each other in Cleveland.

 

 

Now open at DFW Airport: Gameway gaming zones

Today is the grand opening of the Gameway video game entertainment lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

There are two locations: E16 with 22 stations and B42 with 14 stations. Each station has it’s own Xbox with 19 games predownloaded, a 4K TV, noise cancelling headphones and a place to charge your phone and tablet.

It is not free: the charge is $.42/minute or, for this summer, $20 for unlimited gaming, which seems like a great deal if you’re a gamer and you have a long layover. Or don’t mind if you miss a flight….

If you’re in DFW Monday July 2 from 10-11:30am, swing by Terminal E, Gate 16 where Gameway will be celebrating its opening with several gaming characters dressed up like the iconic Halo, the 8 foot metal giant “Reinhardt” and more.

Got popcorn? Here are the films you can see at SFO Airport

Here’s hoping you favorite actor or film won an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

And here’s to being able to see films not just on airplanes, but in airports.

Portland International and Minneapolis-St. Paul International have post-security spaces where passengers can watch short films and at San Francisco International Airport there’s a pre-security Video Arts screening room in the International Terminal departures lobby.

Presented by the SFO Museum, SFO’s screening room features a rotating exhibition of several short films, with a new film introduced weekly.

In case you aren’t passing through SFO soon, here are the short films being shown now.

In a Heartbeat (excerpt below) just rotated out of the line-up.