free stuff

Airport Lobster and other great amenities

Airports are still spending lots of time and energy reminding passengers to wear their masks, wash their hands, and observe social distancing protocols.

But we are pleased to see that airports are also getting back to the business of promoting (OK, showing off) some great, unusual, and much-appreciated amenities.

Here a few that popped up on Twitter just today:

*Free goodies, including historic postcards from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX):

*The return of lobster for sale at Canada’s Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ);

*A two-fer from Sacramento International Airport (SMF) – a reminder of their “Flying Carpet” offering a birds-eye view of the area and their convenient CVS vending machine:

*And the news from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that the Flight Path Museum will be reopening August 7.

Know of a great airport amenity we could be celebrating? Drop a note in the comments section and we’ll check it out.

Giveaways for Southwest Airlines’ 50th Anniversary

June 18 marks 50 years since Southwest Airlines flew its first commercial flight and to celebrate the airline is giving away prizes through June 18 and celebrating all month long.

The Southwest Airlines Sweepstakes

Through June 18, anyone can enter the sweepstakes here for a chance to win prizes that include 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, or 50,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points.

We’ve been entering everyday, but so far we’re not a winner.

Be sure to enter the sweepstakes on June 18. That’s the day Southwest has dubbed “Wanna Get Away Day,” when the prizes – and the number of prizes awarded – balloon considerably.

On that day, you could win up to a million rapid rewards points, a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card, and a Companion Pass that lets you take someone with you every time you fly on Southwest Airlines.

The Party Goes On All Month

In addition to the sweepstakes, Southwest Airlines is hosting pop-up photo opportunities in 24 airport gate areas and rolling out Heart Carts full of swag and giveaways in more than 40 of its locations.

Southwest Airlines fans who want to celebrate with some swag can shop the Southwest Airlines online store for retro merchandise that includes a Retro Build-A-Bear wearing the airline’s original hotpants uniform.

OH, the places we’d go

We’re so close to getting on the vaccination list that we’re making lists of places we’d go if we could somewhere now.

Out for Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Here’s a great reason to vaccinated and head out for a snack.

Krispy Kreme is offering anyone who shows their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card a free Original Glazed doughnut every day this year.

Not getting vaccinated? You should. But Krispy Kreme says you can still get some free doughnuts if you stop by Mondays, 3/29/21 – 5/24/21. On those days they’ll be handing a free Original Glazed® doughnut and a medium brewed coffee.

To Paisely Park to see Prince’s Ashes

Prince has been gone just about five years now.

Paisley Park, Prince’s former estate and production complex in suburban Minneapolis, is now a museum and a recording studio. And on the fifth anniversary of this death – April 21 – Paisley Park will be opening the Paisley Park Atrium for free so that a limited number of fans can pay tribute to Prince and see the urn that holds his ashes. For those unable to visit in person, an online memorial will be available.

While at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), we’d stop in at the Prince store too.

The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center

Among the many great attractions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Rocket Garden is said to be the most photographed.

This week the garden got it first new ‘planting’ since the early 2000s: The United Launch Alliance’s Delta Rocket II.

How does it land a spot here alongside rockets and space vehicles from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs?

Delta II rockets were industry workhorses, launching 155 times from 1989-2018. They carried satellites for the Global Positioning System (GPS) and put NASA’s rovers Spirit and Opportunity and the Phoenix Mars Lander into space.

Valentine’s Day at airports

Charles Lindbergh-themed Valentine

Ready for Valentine’s Day?

If you’re flying somewhere on Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s on a flight that wings you to your sweetheart.

If not, take heart from some of the efforts airports and airlines will be offering throughout the day.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be giving out complimentary chocolates to passengers from world-renowned chocolatiers.

Southwest Airlines will be serving a free alcoholic drink for passengers 21 years older on Valentine’s Day and dishing out “surprise and delight” treats throughout the day.

Phoenix Sky Harbor and many airports around the country will be pressing their therapy dogs into service on Valentine’s Day.

 Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) will have a “Smooches from Pooches” Kissing Booth event.

Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Pets Unstressing Passengers Program (PUP) and Southwest Airlines will team up for the annual “Flying Kisses” event on Friday, February 14 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Terminal 1, post-security.

Free flowers

Free carnations (while they last) will be handed out at Jacksonville International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport on Valentine’s Day. And employees will be handing out chocolate roses in Terminal 1 and Terminal 4 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The FLL Ambassadogs will be providing free kisses to passengers.  

Free Valentines and conversation hearts

Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) will be handing out boxes of Conversation Hearts on Valentine’s Day, along with airplane-themed valentines. Tampa International Airport (TPA), will be handing out blank Valentine’s Day cards as well.

To accommodate all the lovebirds that fly to Las Vegas to get married around Valentine’s Day, Nevada’s Clark County clerk’s office has a pop-up marriage license office in the Terminal 1 bag claim at McCarran International Airport (LAS) open through the end of the month. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

And Amtrak is having a buy-one-get-one-free sale in honor of Valentine’s Day from Thursday, February 13 through Monday, February 17. Customers can buy one coach ticket and get the second free for nationwide travel between March 9 and August 30, 2020, with no blackout dates. Use the code V214 at the Amtrak site.

Airports on Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Flying on Veterans Day?

Want to support veterans while you’re traveling?

HMSHost sent word that military veterans-turned chefs have created a special burger –the Pimento Cheeseburger – which is on the menu throughout November at more than 70 restaurants in dozens of airports.

The burger is topped with crunchy fried onions, pickle chips, lettuce and tomato; it is finished with pimento cheese and it is served on a brioche bun. 

Sound good?

Buy the burger during November 2019 and you’ll not only get a tasty meal but a portion of what you pay for that burger will go to Folds of Honor, which supports military families. 

Better yet, on Veterans Day, November 11, all active-duty and military vets with ID can order one of these special Pimento Cheeseburgers and have it for free at participating locations.

Participating burger locations include the Flying Dog Tap House at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI); the Dallas Cowboys Club at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Soho Bistro at JFK Airport, the Rolling Stone Bar & Grill at LAX and a long list of other HMSHost airport restaurants.

NOT traveling on Veterans Day?

Don’t worry. HMSHost also offers a year-round military discount.

There is a 15% military discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages at HMSHost locations throughout the United States.

The 15 percent discount is valid any day of the week for military members with valid identification at HMSHost-operated airport and travel plaza locations nationwide. 

While we’re talking veterans and airports

Be(e) aware that Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is home to the Bee Veterans Apiary, which is tended to by U.S. military veterans.

The Bee Veterans Apiary is a partnership with the University of Minnesota and the unique apiary is located on the west side of MSP airport.

The program is donor-funded and they’re trying to raise $15,000 to expand the program now.

The program offers beekeeping classes for veterans and is part of the airport’s ongoing efforts to promote sustainability.

The public can’t visit the apiary right now, but honey from the hives is sold at Worker B at the nearby Mall of America, so you be a supporter of the effort.