Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Airplane spotting from the ORD Red Carpet Club

It’s been a while since I gave up my membership in the United Red Carpet Club. But very frequent traveler Joel Horn insists the price of admission is worth it if only because there are sights like this to be seen out the window of the Red Carpet Club room on Concourse C at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

What do you think? I do have a birthday coming up….

Earth Day at your airport

Traveling on a fuel-gobbling airplane on Earth Day?

Don’t worry – you can still be green on the ground at many airports.

 

Boston Logan International Airport is reminding travelers that is has added GobiCab, a fuel-saving, taxi cab ride-sharing app (for iPhones) to the eco-friendly transportation options listed on its website.

 

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is celebrating by christening eight new electric car charging stations.

Wichita Mid-Continent and several other airports will be holding earth day fairs at their terminals

San Francisco International Airport is having a little Twitter contest.

If you tweet to @flySFO between 8 a.m. PDT and 8 p.m. PDT with ideas on how to reduce your environmental foot print when traveling, you may win one of the recycled SFO banner luggage tags they’re giving away.

And Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport kicks off its First Annual Garden Show on Friday, with displays from four area organizations: Openlands, Trees That Feed Foundation, The Conservation Foundation and the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Look for the green beyond the security checkpoints in Terminal 3, between concourses H/K and L through May 13.

 

(Flower photos courtesy Robin Carlson, Chicago Botanic Garden)

Tidbits for travelers at ORD, AUS and on the train

A few fresh amenities you can enjoy at some airports – and on some Amtrak trains.

At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, celebrity chef Rick Bayless has opened Tortas Frontera, in Terminal 1.  The menu includes Mexican sandwiches, tortas, a guacamole bar and a wide variety of other tasty dishes.  (Another branch will open soon in Terminal 3).

Today Amtrak announced that there’s now free Wi-Fi on the Cascades route between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, B.C.

And with the opening of a branch of the Saxon Pub (an iconic music venue in Austin), there are now five venues that offer live music at Austin Bergstrom International Airport for a total of 13 shows each week.

Saxon Pub ribbon cutting ceremony, photo by Carlton Wade

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

Tidbits for travelers: Holiday entertainment, free parking & more

Entertainment in Chicago

Airports around the country are expecting long lines and lots of extra travelers this weekend, but in Chicago, both O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport will be offering up some entertainment to help move things along.

Chicago airports feature Chicago Jazz Festival entertainment

To give travelers a taste of this weekend’s Chicago Jazz Festival, there will be live performances at both O’Hare and Midway on Friday, September 3 from 2 to 5 p.m. Look for the stages set up past the security checkpoints at O’Hare in Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and on the lower level Arrivals area in Terminal 5; and in the baggage claim area at Midway.

The Chicago Children’s Museum will also offer a workshop for kids at O’Hare’s “Kids on the Fly” play area in Terminal 2 on Friday, September 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free parking in Tampa

And as Steve Huettel of the St. Petersburg Times reports, at Tampa International Airport airport officials have decided to continue offering free first-hour parking in both the short and long term garages.

“Currently, no matter how long drivers stay in the garage, the first hour is free. Under the new policy, it’s free only if drivers leave before the hour is up. Otherwise, they’ll pay $3 starting Oct. 15.”

Free is free though, and it’s good news that – for now – this perk is staying in place.

Saving energy in Portland

In Oregon, Portland International Airport has installed moving walkways that only move when someone approaches. Popular in Europe and Asia, the four energy-saving, auto-start walkways are in the pedestrian tunnels connecting the parking garage to the terminals and are said to be the first such walkways installed anywhere in the United States.

Portland International Airport auto-start moving walkway