Chicago Midway Airport

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!

Seasonal and H1N1 vaccines back at ORD and Midway airports

Getting ready to head home from a Thanksgiving visit?


If you haven’t gotten a seasonal flu shot or an H1N1 vaccine and are traveling to or through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) or Midway Airport – you’re in luck.


The airport clinic in Terminal 2 operated by the University of Illinois at Chicago and – starting Sunday; stand-alone kiosks in the terminals at ORD and Midway Airports – will be offering arm-shot seasonal flu vaccines and H1N1 flu vaccines in the nasal mist form.

Both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 vaccines have been hard to find, and it’s a good bet this supply won’t last long. So if you have time – make it a point to get vaccinated at the airport.

The kiosks at ORD are in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3; at Midway the kiosk is in the airport’s  concession triangle.  The H1N1 mist costs $25; seasonal flu shots are $35. And, as with clinics across the country, the airport-provided vaccines will not be available to everyone: the clinic will be giving inoculations to those who fall into the federally defined at-risk categories.

For more information call the IUC clinic at: (773) 894- 5100

Porter Airlines arrives at Chicago Midway

Greetings from Toronto, where travelers heading to Montreal, Newark, Chicago – and soon several other U.S. cities – are discovering they can skip the trek out to Toronto Pearson International Airport. Instead, an increasing number of folks are taking the short (really short; three minutes max) free ferry ride to Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA), located on an island just off downtown Toronto.

TCCA is served by regional carrier Porter Airlines, which offers travelers a free downtown shuttle to the terminal dock, free ferry rides to the terminal, and a bevy of complimentary amenities inside the terminal, including a lounge stocked with free wireless internet access, complimentary coffee/tea/soft drinks, and a business center with multiple workstations.

Passengers are allowed to check two bags for free and in-flight service on the 70-seat turboprop airplanes includes complimentary drinks (including beer and wine), small meals and/or snacks.

In addition to a variety of Canadian destinations, Porter serves Newark Liberty International Airport and, as of this past Wednesday (Nov 12) Chicago’s Midway International Airport. They have plans to expand to other U.S. cities, so stay tuned.

It’s all very put together. Right down to the pillbox hats worn by the female flight attendants, whose uniforms were designed by Pink Tartan, a well-known Toronto and New York based fashion brand.

(Photo courtesy: Porter Airlines)

Listen up at Chicago Airports

Next time you travel through O’Hare International Airport, Chicago’s Midway International Airport or the O’Hare Air Transit System (ATS), listen up.

The Department of Aviation just launched a re-vamped overhead music program – Terminal Tunes – that features instrumental versions of songs by blues, jazz, country and classical artists who are either from the Chicago area or record for Chicago-based record labels.

That’s great news. As I wrote in a recent column, there are just a few airports where local music is front and center.

Chicago’s new overhead music program replaces and old one which dated back to the early 1990’s. The new program includes a high-tech twist: artist and album information, audio samples and play list logs will be posted on the Chicago Airport System’s website,

So if you hear a catchy tune while rushing to catch a plane, you can go on-line and track down the music. Soon, you’ll also be able to purchase Terminal Tunes CDs from shops in the airports as well.