airports

Come Fly With Me: Book Features Celebs in Transit

Photo by Dennis Stone/Shutterstock. Joan Collins JOAN COLLINS

Have you ever spotted a celebrity in the airport or on your flight during your travels? It’s a bit of a thrill, right?

A new book coming out from Rizzoli called Come Fly With Me: Flying in Style, is filled with paparazzi-taken images of actors, rock stars, and others coming and going from airports around the world.

Jodi Peckman an award-winning creative director, photo editor, and writer who spent thirty years working with Rolling Stone magazine, chose the images for the book, which you can read about in our story on The Runway Girl Network

Before yo go, here are a few other images from the book.

Frank Zappa with straw boater hat at London’s Heathrow airport. April 1975

Airports celebrate April Fool’s Day 2021

We’re not sure we found them all, but here are some of the April Fool’s Day posts airports shared today. You’ll notice a lot of animals.

If you spotted some other travel-related pranks we missed, let us know and we’ll add them.

If you click on the link to learn more, here’s what you find.

Denver International Airport (DEN) actually does have a cat in there with the dogs that serve in the pet therapy program. So a llama on the safety inspection team? Why not?

And there there was Rusty, the first detector cat. On duty in Canada at Ottawa International Airport (YOW).

No animals at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). There the April 1 announcement was the ATL Rocket – “a tech-savvy SLIDE with state of the art screening capabilities.” I’m all for this being real.

Tune in to these airport podcasts

Courtesy Library of Congress

Airport podcasts

If you like airports and podcasts, then you should probably be listening to airport podcasts.

We’re not sure we have them all, but we’re starting to put a list together. Let us know what we’re missing,

Here’s what we have so far.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is hosting a new podcast called the Austin Approach. They kicked it off just in time to dig into some unusual weather issues, such as snow.

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) hosts Carolina Traveler. Season one episodes highlight attractions and activities in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties, as well as GSP’s economic impact on the Upstate.

At Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), airport CEO Chellie Cameron has been sharing news about the airport in Chellie’s Podcasts.

The podcast from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is called The Fly Angle. Episodes so far have covered how the airport attracts new air service, shopping at the airport, aircraft noise, and where to find great craft beer at the airport.

Now wearing a mask at the airport is the law

Now masking up at the airport is a law. So get with the program.

Most airports and airlines have been requiring travelers to wear proper face masks while traveling through the terminals and on the planes for months. But enforcing the rule has been difficult at times because there was no federal backing. Now, finally, there is. Effective February 2, a new CDC order requires masks to be worn at all U.S. airports and on other forms of transportation.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be helping to enforce this new law at security checkpoints and other places in the airport. And their staff is authorized to impose fines for mask scofflaws if need be:

Depending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty for attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses,” TSA said in a statement.

More ways airports are going contactless

5 Ways Your Next Airport Visit Could Be Contactless

(This is a slightly different version of a story we prepared for USA TODAY)

In addition to cleaning, sanitizing, and setting up COVID-19 testing stations, airports are responding to the pandemic by making the journey through the terminal increasingly touch-free.

In pre-COVID days, some of the new contactless services would have been presented as convenient amenities. Today, they are part of the tool kit for keeping passengers safe and healthy, and confident enough to travel.

Contactless Airport Parking

Before the pandemic, some airports offered travelers the option to reserve and prepay for parking online. An assured spot in the terminal garage during busy times was the attraction. Sometimes perks such as close-in spaces and discounted rates enticed travelers to give the amenity a try.

Now, many more airports are promoting and launching touch-free parking systems. Travelers can avoid having to push a button to get a ticket on the way in and bypass the payment kiosk or staffed booth on the way out.

For example, at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) customers who book parking online get a scannable QR code via email that opens the garage gate. A license plate reader recognizes their vehicle when they exit. San Francisco International Airport’s new touchless online parking system, rolled out right before Thanksgiving, works with scanned QR codes as well.

Contactless check-in & bag drop, biometric gates

 

Pre-pandemic, most passengers knew about but did not always use online check-in, digital boarding passes, and technology that let them print their own luggage tags at home and check in their own bags at the airport. Now those no or low-contact options are all but mandatory.

Airports and airlines are also piloting and fast-tracking a wide range of biometric technology and other tools that make the airport journey a bit more touch-free.

Aviation technology company SITA and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently piloted a system that allows passengers to use smartphones to operate check-in kiosks and avoid having to touch the communal screens. SITA’s Smart Path biometric touch-free boarding and exit gates are also operating at Orlando International Airport.  

And multiple airlines are now testing a digital health passport, called CommonPass. The app will safely store health information needed for travel and eliminate the need for passengers to hand over paper copies of COVID 19 test results.

The security checkpoint

The Transportation Security Administration is reducing touchpoints at many airport security checkpoints. 

More than 834 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units that reduce the time needed to confirm a traveler’s identity and allow travelers to put their own IDs into the scanner are now in use at 115 airports. And new computed tomography checkpoint scanners at 267 airports give TSA officers a 3-D view of carry-on bags. This decreases the need to open and touch bags and reduces the contact time between TSOs and passengers.

Touchless food ordering and delivery

Before COVID-19, the Grab app let hungry travelers skip lines and use their mobile devices to order meals for pick-up from a limited number of restaurants in a limited number of airports. 

Avoiding airport lines is more important now. So, airports in Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and other cities are partnering with Grab to create accessible platforms that expand touch-free ordering options and broaden the number of participating concessions.

In a growing number of airports, runners for At Your Gate make in-terminal deliveries of meals and other items ordered via mobile devices from airport restaurants, newsstands, and retail shops.

The service, currently offered at LGA, JFK, EWR, DEN, BOS, SAN, MSP, PDX, and PHL is getting even more convenient and contactless at SAN and some other airports with the introduction of robots.

In partnership with Piaggio Fast Forward, At Your Gate delivery teams in JFK, MSP, DEN, and SAN will soon be joined in their rounds by small Gita robots. Each follow-along robot has a bin that can carry up to 40 pounds and will be used for contactless delivery of meals and retail items ordered.  

Virtual information booths

Many airport information desks are going contactless. At Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF), LAX, DEN, BWI and other airports, passengers now use a touch-free tablet, a kiosk, or their own mobile device to connect with customer service agents who answer questions live, but from a distance.

Airlines are jumping on this bandwagon too. In December United Airlines debuted its “Agent on Demand,” service which lets customers in the airline’s hub airports use a mobile device to call, text, or have a live video chat with a customer service agent.