On Monday, a Burning Man art exhibition and therapy dogs dressed in costumes will welcome arriving burners.
Local volunteers and airport docents
(perhaps in costumes as well) will be on site to help with information about
and directions to the Playa.
And airport shops will be stocked with Burning Man essentials such as water, snacks, camping equipment and apparel.
The airport is also prepping for when the Burners leave.
Everything that comes back from the festival site will be covered with dust from the Playa that can ruin the baggage systems. So airlines are ready with rolls of large plastic bags to cover suitcases and anything else Burners will need to check in and take home.
The Burning Man festival is underway and Reno-Tahoe International Airport is part of the experience for the more than 18,000 “burners” who fly in and out of the area for the event.
Last week, the airport helped move things along on some of the busy arrival days by offering free group yoga, Burning Man artwork displays and therapy dogs dressed up for the occasion.
On Monday, when the burners start to go home, the airport will also offer entertainment and assistance, including big plastic bags for wrapping suitcases encrusted with dust from the Playa, bins for disposing of all the garbage burners need to remove from the festival site and a drop-off spot for the bicycles many bring to get around the festival grounds. Those bikes get fixed up and donated to local groups.
All photos courtesy Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Have you been to Burning Man? Share photos of your airport experience getting to and from the festival.
The 70,000 “Burners” who attended last week’s Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada have to go back to their regular lives now and about 22,000 of them re-entered the real world via Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Monday on Tuesday.
That makes this week one of the busiest times for RNO airport and a week filled with unusual challenges.
“There are lines of travelers with large, dusty bags and unique items like hula hoops being carried onto airplanes,” said RNO spokeswoman Heidi Jared, who explained that airlines were wrapping each piece of luggage in plastic to keep the conveyor belt system clean from the fine playa dust that can bog down the belt.
Because Burning Man operates with a strict “leave no trace” policy, many Burners ended up bringing their garbage with them to the airport. “So RNO puts out extra trash bins on the front curb to collect a variety of items that Burners simply don’t want or don’t have room to take on the plane,” said Jared.
Bicycles are the main method of transportation during the Burning Man festival and while many Burners put a lot of effort into decorating their bikes, they don’t plan to bring them home.
In the past, many bikes ended up left behind at the airport, but now the local Kiwanis club sets up a bike drop-off area at RNO to collect the cast-off cycles. The club then refurbishes the bikes and gives them to kids in the community.
( My story about Reno Airport and the Burners first appeared on the Today in the Sky blog on USA TODAY in a slightly different version. All photos courtesy Reno-Tahoe International Airport)
Burning Man kicks off this weekend and the far-out festival has a major impact on the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which each year hosts approximately 35,000 additional arriving and departing Burners from 34 different countries.
Over the years, the airport figured out how to best welcome and help the Burners get where they need to go – and it seems like quite the set-up.
The airport has travel information on the Burner web site, a welcome table (with travel info, and complimentary water and fig bars), a 15-foot wooden replica called “Mini Man” in Bag Claim and a Burning Man art exhibit in the depARTures Gallery.
artist: Jeff Schomberg
When Burning Man is over, the airport really goes into high gear.
No motorized transportation (beyond Art Cars) is allowed on the Playa, so lots of Burners bring bikes, which are frequently left behind. The airport partners with the local Kiwanis Club on a bike drop-off area so those bikes can get refurbished and given to kids in the community.
Travelers – and their belongings – heading home from Burning Man are often dusty and dirty, and everyone must pack out their trash from the Playa. So the airport has its custodial staff working around the clock cleaning restrooms and emptying trash bins. The airport also keeps a supply of crates on the curb to collect trash.
Because everyone’s suitcase or backpack is likely to be covered in dust, and because all that dust and grime can muck up the airport’s delicate and expensive baggage machinery, all airlines are required to put a plastic bag around each item of checked luggage and/or place it in a plastic tub. So there are plenty of bags and tubs on hand.
Before and after Burning Man, travelers can enjoy the Burning Many art exhibit at the airport. Through the Artists Lens includes over 60 photos of Burning Man artwork and activities by three well-known Burning Man photogrpaher. Look for the depARTures Gallery on the second floor of the airport’s terminal, post-security.
The Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert is wrapping up and more than 70,000 attendees are leaving Black Rock City – with their garbage.
There’s a recycling program at the festival, but all participants are required to remove their own trash and dispose of it elsewhere – in trash disposal stations in neighboring towns or perhaps in the giant trash bins set up at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.