Dulles International Airport

Travel Tidbits from Airports Near You

Airlines Fined for Not Giving Refunds on Time

On Monday, the Transportation Department fined a half-dozen airlines more than $7 million for failing to provide timely refunds to customers.

The DOT said the six airlines have also now collectively paid more than half a billion dollars to people who were owed a refund due to a canceled or significantly changed flight.

Frontier Airlines is the only U.S. airline on the list. And it got the biggest fine: $2.2 million. According to the DOT, the airline has issued $222 million in refunds.

Here’s a list of the other airlines fined and the amount of refunds they are required to pay:

The fines assessed and the required refunds provided are: 

  • Air India – $121.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.4 million penalty 
  • TAP Portugal – $126.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.1 million penalty 
  • Aeromexico – $13.6 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty 
  • El Al – $61.9 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty 
  • Avianca – $76.8 million in required refunds paid and a $750,000 penalty 

You Can Now Take the Metro to Dulles International Airport

With the opening of the long-awaited Silver Line Metrorail station at Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Tuesday, travelers and airport employees can now take the train directly to Dulles from downtown Washington, D.C.

The new station at Dulles is connected to the main terminal by an indoor pedestrian tunnel with moving sidewalks. Transit time from Metro Center in downtown D.C. is estimated at 53 minutes. And, depending on when you ride and where you access Metrorail, the fare will be between $2 and $6. Trains will leave the Dulles Silver Line station about every 15 minutes.

Courtesy Mamava

Mamava Lactation Pod Doubles as Art Gallery

You’ve probably noticed Mamava lactation pods popping up at airports.

Now one of these pods has been installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Located under the lobby escalators on the Museum’s ground floor, the free-to-use pod not only provides a private, comfortable space for parents to pump or breastfeed, this one doubles as a gallery space.

Courtesy Mamava

The interior of the pod features reproductions of artworks by noted artist Betye Saar, including Anticipation (1961), which depicts the artist pregnant with her third child, In the Sunflower Patch (1963), and Flight (1963), depicting the early years of her daughter’s life. There’s also a quote by Saar in the pod, in which she reflects on motherhood, birthing, and her printmaking practice. 

Great idea, right? Maybe airports will add art to their Mamava lactation pods too.

In addition to museums and airports, Mamava now has lactation pods in train stations, corporate offices, schools, hospitals, military bases, retail, universities, sports stadiums, and zoos. You can locate them with a free locator app.

Airports not giving up on Twitter just yet

Hundreds of airports around the world use Twitter as one of their tools to share news and updates with the public.

The social media site is in flux (to say the least) at the moment. But for now, it’s still a great way to find out at a glance what some of our favorite airports are up to.

On Monday, for example, we learned:

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has installed a cool, new eyeglass-cleaning machine;

Miami International Airport (MIA) has a new art exhibit;

Santa is scheduled to stop in at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) on November 26;

Tampa Executive Airport (VDF) hosted a cool fly-in;

Two former Detroit Red Wings spent time at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) signing hockey pucks and meeting fans;

An oh-so-cute member airport therapy dog posed for harvest-time photos at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX);

And, as part of its 60th anniversary year, Dulles International Airport (IAD), reminded us of the mobile lounges that were used to transport passengers between the terminals and their planes.

Travel Tidbits From An Airport Near You

TSA May Still Make You Wear A Mask

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require mask-wearing on planes, trains, and other forms of transport.  

The TSA stopped enforcing a mask mandate in April of this year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate was struck down by a federal judge in Florida.

Are you still wearing a mask when you fly? COVID is still out there and we’ve seen lots of people wearing masks in airports and on planes.

Longer Hours for SEA’s Spot Saver program

Hate waiting in long airport security lines?

A great amenity popping up at airports is a program that allows travelers to make a timed reservation to go through the security line.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) was the first airport in the U.S. to offer the service, which they call Spot Saver. And it has become so popular that SEA is now expanding the program, just in time for the upcoming busy holiday travel season. 

Previously, the advanced check-in option for security checkpoint lines was only available during the busiest times of the day, until 1 p.m. Now travelers can use the service afternoons and evenings as well.

Other airports around the country offer a similar service. Check your airport’s website for the option before getting in that long security line.

New Airport Socks Alert

The Stuck at The Airport fashion reporter has a great collection of airport socks. And it looks like there’s an opportunity to add a new pair to the collection.

Here’s how to get them:

Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) turns 60 this month, on November 17. And throughout November, airport visitors who purchase three items in the Duty Free Americas shops can show their receipts and get a free pair of socks. But only 1000 pairs are available.

There will also be special events on the airport’s anniversary day, November 17, including free cookies and throwback prices for coffee.

Airport news from here and there

MKE’s Coat Check service, holiday decor, & Santa sightings

Check your winter coat at MKE

One of the smartest, best, and most reasonably-priced seasonal airport amenities has returned for a third winter to Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE): coat check service.

Offered in partnership with Paradies Lagardère inside the pre-security Summerfest
Marketplace, the service allows travelers heading to warm clime the option of checking their winter coats for just $2/day or $10 a trip. The service is available 7 days a week and will be offering through at least the beginning of winter.

Santa, elves, and more holiday fun at airports

Like many other travelers, we had to cancel our holiday flights due to COVID-19 concerns. But we’re still keeping an eye on all the fun things airports are rolling out to celebrate the season.

Here are few things we spotted on Wednesday.

And look at these snaps shared by Washington’s IAD & DCA Airports

Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) have done a great job of lighting and decorating the terminals. Thanks so much for sharing the slide show.

Put your name on Helsinki Airport. Plus more airport & airline news.

Want an airport named after you? It’s easy. In Finland

Dulles International Airport. John F. Kennedy International Airport. Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.

It’s a big deal to have an airport named for you.

In Finland, though, anyone can have Helsinkin Airport named for them. At least for a few moments.

Finavia Corporation, which manages Finland’s airport network has created a way for anyone to have their name put on the front of the Helsinki Airport terminal buildl long enough to snap a selfie or two.

Here’s how to make it happen for you.

Go to www.myhelsinkiairport.fi, put your name in the form, and hit submit.

Your entry will be reviewed to make sure it’s not off-color or inappropriate. And then, depending on how many requests are in ahead of you, your name will appear over the Helsinki Airport sign on the front of the terminal.

We tested it out and filled out the form early morning Finland time from Seattle. Then we watched on the website as our name popped up on the airport sign within seconds.

Unfortunately, of course, we couldn’t get a selfie with our sign because were weren’t standing out in front of the airport in person. But we’re determined to get there so we can get that snap.

In the meatime, we’re declaring this Airport Amenity of the Week. Agree?

Holidays at Airports and in the Air

We’re gathering up news of holiday events and amenities being rolled out by airports and airlines.

Here are a few to round out the week.

Let us know what we’re missing at your airport.