Chicago Midway Airport

Chicago’s Midway Airport gets a classic toy store

FAO Schwarz may have closed it iconic toy store on New York’s 5th Avenue back in 2015, but the brand is working its way back into our hearts with its appearance in airports.

During the holiday season in 2017, there was a 300-square-foot pop-up FAO Schwarz shop at JFK’s Terminal 4.

In December 2018, an FAO Schwarz store opened in the new concourse at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B.

And on Monday, the Chicago Department of Aviation will have a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of an FAO Schwarz toy store by Gate A5 at Midway International Airport.

The store is located by Gate A5 and features the toy store’s well-known toy soldiers, large toy displays and a piano key dance mat.

Coming soon: an FAO Schwarz toy store at Indianapolis International Airport.

Now parents who do their “What did you get me?” shopping at the airport will have an easier time wowing the little ones after a business trip.

Party at Chicago Midway Airport

It’s party time at Chicago’s Midway Airport.

Balloons

All week long (March 7-11) the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Midway terminal building with discounts at the concessions, live musical entertainment and airline-sponsored raffles for free tickets.

 

Never been to Midway? It’s definitely worth a try. Although the city’s website offers scant information about the airport’s amenities, if you take a look the Midway Airport guide I created for USATODAY.com, you’ll see that the airport is home to Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch restaurant and a wide variety of temporary and permanent art and history exhibits, including The Battle of Midway Memorial, a glass mural honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and Rara Avis: a cast metal and stainless steel sculpture of a cardinal made by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter.

The sculpture is made of 2,500 small cast metal sculptures of assorted aircraft and is located at the Ticketing Lobby. And, as Illinois-born Paula Kucharz (now of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport) points out, the cardinal was made the Illinois state bird back in 1929.

 

Dance at O’Hare, sip with Southwest, try the train in Miami

Dance at O’Hare

It’s Unity Month in Chicago and to celebrate, both O’Hare and Midway International Airports are treating travelers to live entertainment on Friday afternoons.

O'Hare Unity Month Chicago Samba

Chicago Samba

From 2 to 5 pm this Friday, September 17th, there will be dance and music groups performing on the secure side of the domestic terminals and on the lower level at the international terminal at O’Hare, and on the secure side at Midway. Friday’s line-up includes five different groups: M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Big City Swing, Chicago Samba, Big Slim Steppin’ Network and Cu’Roi.

The entertainment stages at O’Hare are in Terminal 1, B Concourse across from Duty Free; Terminal 2, across from CIBO Market; Terminal 3 near Concourse L and in Terminal 5, on the Lower Level across from the Information Booth. At Midway, the stage is near the Battle of Midway exhibit in Concourse A.

Sip with Southwest

The Southwest Porch at Skyline Park in Denver

Southwest Porch at Skyline Park - Denver

In Denver, Southwest Airlines opened The Southwest Porch at Skyline Park. Much like the ‘porch’ Southwest opened in Bryant Park in New York City in June 2009, this outdoor venue has comfortable seating as well as a restaurant and bar serving pizzas and drinks. You can read more about it on the Nuts About Southwest blog.

Try the train in Miami

And this week Miami International Airport (MIA) opened the mile-long Concourse D skytrain. The four-car, four-station train runs along the roof of the mile-long concourse, making the trip from one end to the other in about five minutes.

Miami Airport skytrain

MIA skytrain

Dance at ORD & MDW, drop your pants at PHL

Ready for St. Patrick’s Day festivities?

The Chicago airports are. Today, Friday, March 12, Irish dancers from the Trinity Academy will perform at both O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and at Midway International Airport (MDW). Performances will be 3 to 5 p.m. at O’Hare (in Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5) and at Midway in Concourse A near the “Battle of Midway” exhibit.

And if you are traveling through Philadelphia International Airport (PHL ) between now and Sunday, March 14th, the Gap store there would like you drop your pants.

Old blue jeans collected by Gap stores nationwide will be turned into cotton fiber insulation.  And anyone who leaves a pair of pants will get a coupon good for 30% off their next denim purchase.

The project is a partnership with the Cotton. From Blue to Green campaign, which has so far turned 200 tons of recycled jeans into insulation for more than 540 houses built in areas destroyed by natural disasters .

Tidbits for travelers: holiday news from airports around the country

Christmas week is always a big deal for airports and air travel.

This year, as usual, lines are long, people are cranky, and there’s a storm wreaking havoc with schedules and everyone’s best laid plans.

So, it’s a good bet that if you’re traveling by air this week, you’re going to spend some time being stuck at an airport. Remember to bring supplies such as books, snacks, a charged cell phone, and some extra cash to buy a few last minute gifts.

And remember to look around: some airports are hosting complimentary gift wrapping stations and many airports have scheduled holiday events and entertainment.

Here are just a few examples:

The Chicago Airport System’s schedule of “Holiday Delights” continues at both O’Hare Airport and Midway through Wednesday, December 23rd with performances by local blues, jazz, international, R&B performers, barbershop quartets and carolers. There will also be children’s workshops and a visit from Santa Claus.

Both airports are also offering free gift wrapping, past security, on December 21 and 23 with wrapping paper and gift bags created by students from the After School Matters program.

On Monday December 21st, Southwest Airlines and The Container Store join forces to offer free gift wrapping at Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Denver International, Saint Louis Lambert International, and Baltimore-Washington International airports. Here are some details about locations and times.

Free gift wrapping continues in various spots around Phoenix Sky Harbor airport through December 24th and through Wednesday at San Diego International Airport. Check your airport’s Web site to see if free gift wrapping is being offer there as well. Keep in mind that many airport shops also offer fee gift wrapping and many will have piles of pre-wrapped items ready to grab-n’- go.

If you find yourself hanging around Detroit Metroplitan Airport (DTW) Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (Dec 21 – 23rd), head on over to the stage next the water feature in the center of Concourse A (near Gate A40). The airport is partnering with local Delta Air Lines folks to host a holiday karaoke event called “Sing Because you Care” between 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day.

Anyone, or any group, that sings is being asked to donate $5 to support the local Salvation Army.

And here’s a great gift for anyone flying to or from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): the airport light rail station opened, as promised, on Saturday, December 19th. Just in time to save a lot of holiday travelers a lot of hassle and money.

It’s now possible to ride between the airport and downtown Seattle for $2.50.

Thanks, Santa!