Airport trading cards

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.

New airport trading cards. Collect them all.

37 new cards are now out in circulation as part of the North American Airport Collectors Series.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) issued its third trading card in the series, which now includes trading cards from more than 80 airports.

The airport trading card series launched in 2014 and this fall 37 new cards were added.

Most airports hand these out for free (while supplies last…) at their information booths and at in-terminal events, so don’t be shy about asking the volunteers on duty if the new cards available.

As airport souvenirs go, these cant be beat.

Airport Trading Cards: Season 2

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In September 2014, airports in the United States and Canada introduced a line of collectible airport trading cards featuring iconic terminal images on one side and geographic information, facts, figures and historical information on the back.

Trading Card OIA MCO Card Layout.cdr

MCO trading card back

There are now more than 60 airports with their own trading cards and this week Lambert-St. Louis International, one of the project’s launch airports, helped kick off the second year of the program by introducing a new version of its card.

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The trading cards are free for the asking and many airports have a stash of them at information booths inside the terminals.

The website for the North American Airport Trading Cards series has images of the cards in the series and a map showing where those airports are located.

Here’s a current list of participating airports:

Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (Illinois)
Airlake Airport (Minnesota)
Allegheny County Airport (Pennsylvania)
Anoka County-Blaine Airport (Minnesota)
Asheville Regional Airport (North Carolina)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Texas)
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (Louisiana)
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Toronto)
Bolton Field Airport (Ohio)
Boston Logan International Airport (Massachusetts)
Calgary International Airport (Calgary)
Cecil Airport (Florida)
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (North Carolina)
Chicago Midway (Illinois)
Chicago O’Hare (Illinois)
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (Ohio)
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (Ohio)
Crystal Airport (Minnesota)
Dane County Regional Airport (Wisconsin)
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (Detroit)
Edmonton International Airport (Alberta)
El Paso International Airport (Texas)
Elmira-Corning Regional Airport (New York)
Fairbanks International Airport (Alaska)
Flying Cloud Airport (Minnesota)
Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (Florida)
Fort McMurray International Airport (Alberta)
General Mitchell International Airport (Wisconsin)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Texas)
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (South Carolina)
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Georgia)
Indianapolis International Airport (Indiana)
Jacksonville International Airport (Florida)
John Wayne Airport (California)
Kelowna International Airport (British Columbia)
Lake Elmo Airport (Minnesota)
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (Missouri)
Long Beach Airport (California)
Manchester–Boston Regional Airport (New Hampshire)
Mineta San José International Airport (California)
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (Minnesota)
Nashville International Airport (Tennessee)
Orlando International Airport (Florida)
Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (Ontario)
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (Arizona)
Piedmont Triad International Airport (North Carolina)
Pittsburgh International Airport (Pennsylvania)
Port Columbus International Airport (Ohio)
Prince George International Airport (British Columbia)
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (North Carolina)
Regina International Airport (Saskatchewan)
Rickenbacker International Airport (Ohio)
St. Paul Downtown Airport (Minnesota)
Salt Lake City International Airport (Utah)
San Antonio International Airport (Texas)
San Diego International Airport (California)
Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (Florida)
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (Georgia)
Southwest Florida International Airport (Florida)
Stinson Municipal Airport (Texas)
Tampa International Airport (Florida)
Toronto Pearson International Airport (Ontario)
William P. Hobby Airport (Texas)
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (Manitoba)

Dallas Love Field trading card

MSP trading card

New airport trading cards: Orlando & John Wayne

Orlando International Airport (MCO) and John Wayne Airport (SNA) have joined the list of airports with their own trading cards.

Want to add these to your collection?

All this week, which is National Travel and Tourism Week, JWA’s Customer Relations Assistants and “red coat” Ambassadors are handing out the new trading cards in the Riley Terminal.  After that, the cards will be available at the Information Booths in all three baggage claim areas.

In Orlando, the cards are available at all third-level information booths.

Trading Card OIA MCO Card Layout.cdr

MCO trading card back

JWA CARD

Airport trading cards: collect them all

MKE Trading Card Front

Baseball teams have them, some police forces have them and the TSA’s K-9 unit has them.

Now more than 20 North American airports have trading cards too.

Unveiled earlier this month, each card has the look and feel of a traditional baseball card. But instead of portraying a rookie player at bat, the cards in the North American Airport Collectors Series feature an iconic image of an airport on the front and geographic information, fun factoids and historical tidbits about the airport on the back.

The card for General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, for example, tells passengers about MKE’s free ping pong table and “recombobulation areas.” The card for Pittsburgh International Airport lays claims to being the first large U.S. airport to offer free wireless.

The idea for airport trading cards started at Lambert-St. Louis International, where “like a lot of other airports, we get calls from collectors all over the world asking for anything with the airport code on it,” said STL spokesman Jeff Lea.

Lambert’s trading card has iconic pictures of the airport’s two terminals on the front and, on the back, historical information, including STL’s connection to Charles Lindbergh.

STL_TradingCard_FRONT

“The cards are inexpensive to produce in bulk, so airports can hand them out for free at information booths and other places” said Lea. “It’s an old way to tell a new story and we know people will hold onto that one piece of cardboard longer than if you gave them a brochure or a pen.”

More importantly, the trading cards remind collectors, aviation enthusiasts and passengers that local airports are part of the larger aviation network, said Kevin Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, the trade group for airports in the United States and Canada.

PIT Trading card one

“Airports don’t get the attention they deserve and trading cards are one way to illustrate the importance of an airport in a community, especially the airport’s economic contribution,” said Burke, who plans to hand out airport trading cards, perhaps instead of briefing papers, when visiting elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Here are some of the other cards in the series.

CVG_card

SJC_card

SAN_card

(My story about airport trading cards first appeared as part of my At the Airport column on USA TODAY.)