Happy Valentine’s Day

Charles Lindbergh-themed Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day

We hope your day is filled with flights of fancy. And, of course, chocolate and flowers.

Sadly, this is the first Valentine’s Day in 10 years that Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) won’t have its ambassadors out in the terminal giving carnations to traveling lovebirds.

“Our ambassador program is currently suspended but we hope to get them back soon.  There is hope for Mother’s Day,” says airport spokesman Bryan Long.

Jacksonville Airport

And this year concerns about COVID-19 meant there was no marriage license pop-up desk at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas.

The culprit? COVID-19.

But many airports did celebrate Valentine’s Day in their own way.

If we missed your airport, let us know and we’ll add them to the list.

Your Valentine’s Day Flowers may be at MIA airport right now

Giving – or hoping to get – Valentine’s Day flowers this year?

If so, it’s a good bet those Valentine’s Day flowers are making their way to the USA via Miami International Airport (MIA).

Around this time of year, MIA reminds us that 89 percent of all U.S. flower imports that arrive by air come through the Miami hub.

In 2019, that represented 240,162 tons of flowers valued at $1.1 billion.

In 2020, the peak season from January 1 to February 15 alone brought 1.1 billion stems through MIA. And, despite the pandemic, MIA expects a similar number of flowers to make their way here this year.  

The flowers don’t just land and head off to florists. The agricultural specialist at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspect the flowers on arrival for pests.

Here are some more photos MIA shared of those specialists at work.


Following the flowers: snaps from Bogota, Colombia

Over the weekend I joined United Airlines and members of their cargo team on a trip to Bogota, Colombia for a story about how flowers get from there to here for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and special occcasions (such as my upcoming birthday).

I’ll be putting together a story for my At the Airport column on USA TODAY, but on my layover here in Houston I wanted to share some pics from the farm tour of Jaroma Roses, about an hour outside Bogota, which ships about 30 million stems each year.



Airports mark Mother’s Day with flowers, pods & more


Nursing moms flying to or from JFK International Airport on JetBlue get a welcome new amenity on Wednesday with the unveiling of a Mamava lactation suite in T5.

The nursing “pods” are already in use at Vermont’s Burlington International Airport and Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport and there’s a growing list of airports that are doing their part to be truly “breastfeeding friendly.”

JetBlue’s nursing station is being installed at JFK T5 just in time for Mother’s Day and right now is scheduled to stay there for just six months, but the airline is hoping to make it permanent.

Mother’s Day is being celebrated at other airports as well.

Jacksonville Airport

Continuing a tradition, volunteer ambassadors at Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport will be handing out 1,000 carnations to passengers on Sunday, May 10.

And through May 10, passengers traveling through LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B and Philadelphia International Airport can take advantage of a sparkly Free Gift with Purchase offer.

Spend $100 in one or more shops and (while supplies last…) you can redeem the receipts for a multi-strand crystal and pearl bracelet. There’s also a Twitter contest to give away five of those bracelets (valued at $45) at each airport.

Details on both offers here and here.


And if you happen to be passing through Frankfurt International Airport on Mother’s Day, look for Elvis.

In addition to performances by a champion Elvis impersonator, there will be a rockabilly band, an acoustic trio singing Elvis songs and a exhibit of photos and souvenirs related to Elvis’s stint as a soldier.

There will also be a vintage car show in front of Terminal 1, contests and – for anyone who shows ups wearing an Elvis costume or a 1950s outfit, free entry to the airports’ observation deck, known as the Visitors’ Terrace.


Free flowers at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow flowers two

London’s Heathrow Airport & the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have put together some lovely traditional English gardens to welcome passengers and will be handing out free seed packets to travelers so they can start their own gardens.

The terminal approach areas outside Terminals 3, 4 and 5 have been transformed into a living art installation by Tony Smith, winner of three Royal Horticultural Society best in show awards and gold at RHS Chelsea, RHS Hampton Court, RHS Tatton Park and Gardeners’ World Live Flower Shows.

Heathrow flower one

The special gardens will be blooming through May 25 and are in honor of England’s National Gardening Week (April 15 – 21) and the Chelsea Flower Show (May 21 – 25).

Inside the airport, over 170 volunteers wearing Wellington boots and gardening aprons will be welcoming arriving passengers, dispensing gardening advice and handing out 20,000 packets of seeds.

Airport restaurants will also have special flower-themed menu items, such as native lobster with elderflower foam, pea shoots and violets from Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food and spring salads with edible flowers from “rhubarb”.

Worried about leaving your plants alone when you travel? Experts at the Royal Horticultural Society say most houseplants will tolerate being alone and untended to for a few days, but if you’ll be away for more than a week:

*Move houseplants and outdoor containers to a sheltered, shady site outdoors to stop them drying out as quickly.

*Re-pot pot-bound plants. If they’re too crammed in, they will dry out quickly. Choose containers with integral reservoirs and incorporate water absorbent gel into the compost.

*Give plants a good soak before leaving them, but don’t leave them standing in water as this can lead to them suffering from over watering.

*Ask neighbors or friends if they can check whether the pots need watering while you’re away. If you can, give them a quick tour before leaving to explain what is likely to need attention and what isn’t.

*Consider installing an automatic watering system (available at garden centers and DIY shops) for patio pots and greenhouses.