It is so encouraging to see airlines and airports having fun celebrating the holiday season this year. Here is another batch of actions and activities we spotted.
SFO Holiday Giveaway
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the award-winning Grand Hyatt at SFO are hosting a holiday giveaway contest. Enter by December 21 for a chance to win the Grand Prize: a night at the hotel and a cool SFO Travel Bag.
First Prize is up to $200 worth of parking in the airport garage + an SFO travel bag. And five additional winners will get BART tickets and swag and an SFO Bag.
Vote for the Best Holiday Wreath at O’Hare Airport
Concessionaires at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport have created themed wreaths for the holidays. Now the airport is inviting the public to vote for their favorites in the Wreath Decorating Contest through December 25.
We like the pretzel-adorned wreath from Auntie Anne’s and the popcorn canister encrusted wreath from Nuts on Clark. But we must admit to being partial to the shoe happy wreath with the boot-wearing elf made by the airport’s Shoe Hospital.
And Look: a Southwest Airlines-branded Zamboni
Southwest Airlines is the sponsor of the Downtown Denver Rink, where ice-skating is complimentary through the season if you bring your own skates. Skate rentals are available ($9/adults & $7/kids), but earlier this week, during Colorado Gives Day, Southwest Airlines picked up all the skate rental fees and handed out holiday treats and surprises.
Our favorite part? Just the fact that there’s a Southwest Airlines-branded Zamboni!
Think you can design a cost-efficient, sustainable air traffic control tower?
The Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) has more than 100 aging control towers at regional and municipal airports across the United States that will need to be replaced. So, the agency is launching a nationwide solicitation for a new design for control towers that can be built and operated sustainably.
The FAA points to the tower at Tucson International Airport (TUS) as an example of a sustainable tower building already in operation. The TUS tower is the first air traffic facility with net-zero energy consumption. It uses a 1,600-panel solar farm to generate power for all of its electrical needs. And it supplies unused power back to the grid. The solar farm also produces ice, which is stored in large containers and used to cool the building when solar panels are not generating electricity.
But even if you’re not an architect or an engineer, note that the last time the FAA invited architectural firms to develop a modular design concept for new control towers it hired the company headed by then rising architect I.M. Pei. Several of the 16 Pei-designed towers—including at Chicago O’Hare, Sacramento, Madison, and Jacksonville international airports—are still operating.
Soon, maybe not very soon, but soon, you will go to an airport and board a plane.
In the meantime, here are some newsy tidbits from that world.
Alaska Airlines is staying active. And a bit fishy
You may be sitting around and not getting many frequent flyer miles from flying.
But Alaska Airlines has a fun campaign that will award you some bonus miles for staying active.
The airline is buddying up with fitness app Strava to give away 250,000 miles to Mileage Plan members as part of the Miles on the Ground Challenge.
Get the app, do 360 minutes physical activity by May 30, 2020, and you will qualify to enter a drawing to win up to 100,000 miles.
Alaska Airlines also did a nice pivot with the annual fly-in of the first Copper River salmon from Alaska to Seattle.
Instead of heading to area restaurants, part of the first planeload of copper river salmon became meals for health care workers. The rest was used for a salmon dinner fundraiser that generated enough money to buy 77,000 meals for people in the community.
COVID-19 testing at airports
There is a lot of chatter about doing thermal cameras and temperature checks at airport security checkpoints and boarding gates.
But that is not a foolproof method of determining if a passenger has a case of COVID-19.
So, several airports and airlines are going beyond that and requiring passengers to either have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or take a test on the spot to avoid quarantine.
In mid-April, Dubai-based Emirates began requiring passengers departing Dubai International Airport to underdo rapid COVID-19 blood tests, with results in 10 minutes.
Testing at Vienna Airport
Anyone traveling to Austria right now is required to either have a recent medical certificate showing they are negative for COVID-19 or go into a 14-day quarantine.
The tests are not free. They cost EUR 190 (about $207), but the results come back in three to six hours and, if negative, allow the passenger to skip the quarantine.
All other arriving passengers without a health certificate are sent immediately to quarantine, according to the airport, and “must arrange for themselves to be tested by a laboratory at the quarantine location, which may involve longer waiting times.”
Iceland planning on the spot COVID-19 tests at KEF Airport
The government of Iceland expects to begin welcoming back international flight no later than June 15. And when it does, the plan is to give travelers the option of getting testing for COVID-19 on arrival at Keflavik Airport (KEF) to avoid a two-week quarantine.
Collect a passport stamp for each Airport Restaurant Dish you purchase.
When you have four stamps, snap a photo of the completed passport and post the image to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #airportrestaurantmonth. Be sure to also tag @HMSHost.
At the end of October 2019, HMSHost will choose a winner at random. The prize will include airfare, a hotel stay and dinner at a James Beard award-winning restaurant in New York City for the winner and a guest. See the full contest rules for Airport Restaurant Month.
Brussels Airlines has planes with special paint jobs celebrating four Belgian icons (Rackham, Magritte, Trident and Amare), and has a contest underway till the end of August inviting suggestions for a fifth.
Here are just a few of the suggestions that have been submitted so far. There’s still time to send in your own.
The Atomium – a cool leftover from the World’s Fair held in Brussels in 1958.