Jacksonsville International Airport

Airports – and an airline – celebrate Valentine’s Day

If you find yourself at an airport on Valentine’s Day, buy yourself and your sweetie some chocolate. And some flowers.

On Monday, these airports are among those that will be offering a little extra love:

The Food & Shops in the Central Terminal Building at New York’s LaGuardia Airport will be handing out free chocolate kisses.

Volunteers at Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport will be handing out carnations;

At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Amy’s Ice-Cream has a pop-up kiosk in the baggage claim area selling chocolate-covered strawberries (2/12 -2/14);

And passengers on Southwest Airlines can celebrate the day with a complimentary adult beverage on all flights.

Tidbits for travelers: news from JAX, PHL, and ATL

On Valentine’s Day, volunteers at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) handed out 1700 red and white carnations to arriving and departing passengers.

(Photo courtesy Jacksonsville International Airport )

On Tuesday (February 16, 2010) Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Terminal E expansion, which includes seven gates for Southwest Airlines and several new food and retail outlets, including a news/gift shop, a McDonalds, and a sit-down restaurant called Cantina Laredo.  The new expansion also brings new artwork to the airport, courtesy of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program. Look for Cloudsphere, by Philadelphia artist Mei-ling Hom in the rotunda.

(Photo courtesy Philadelphia International Airport )

And congratulations to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): it’s Paper Runway exhibit of wearable paper clothing and accessories made with everything from banana leaf fibers to recycled cotton rags and coffee filters, won an award from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries.

Look for “Paper Runway” in the cases in the walkway connecting the main security area and Concourse T.  But hurry: the exhibit will only be there through March.

More fun freebies at airports

Free is good. And these days many small and mid-size airports are trying to build loyalty by offering travelers free amenities.

In my At the Airport column this month on USAToday.com, I write (again) about the free cookies they hand out at Indiana’s Fort Wayne International Airport as well as some of the fun freebies offered at other airports.

Florida’s  Jacksonville International Airport distributes free flowers to passengers each year on Valentine’s Day and on Mother’s Day.

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport offers free local phone calls year-round.

In Milwaukee, home of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the Harley-Davidson Museum, the General Mitchell International Airport offers free parking for any traveler who arrives on a motorcycle.

At Ohio’s Port Columbus International Airport, children are given free crayons and blank post-paid postcards and asked to please mail back a picture from their travels for display in an airport gallery. The airport has also purchased its own popcorn machine and hands out free bags of popcorn during quarterly customer appreciation days. “It’s a great way for us to say thanks,” says CMH communications manager Angie Tabor, “Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of popcorn?”

And in Wisconsin, the Outagamie County Regional Airport gives out free toothbrushes.

Airport marketing manager Kim Sippola says: “We noticed that many business travelers would get off the plane, go into the bathroom, and search through their bags for a toothbrush because they were going right from the airport to a meeting. So we thought we’d reduce some stress for our customers by providing them with toothbrushes.”

The airport partnered with a local dentist and now stocks post-security bathrooms with travel-sized oral hygiene kits that contain mouthwash, dental floss and a toothbrush with a single-serving of toothpaste.

Have you found a great airport freebie? Please let us know so we can tell other travelers about it.

Airport art (and coincidence) at ATL and JAX

Over the holidays I spent a few hours hanging out at the (north) end of the International Concourse at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). When I wasn’t watching the TSA guys with the anxious-looking dogs, I was checking out all the art.

I was intrigued by the set of sculptures stretched out on walls of one gate area.  The airplane I recognized. Some of the other shapes, looked like, well, just shapes.

Turns out, that’s the point.  On his Web site, artist Gregor Turk explains that these 64 sculptures, part of a piece titled Latitudes and Legends, is made of sculptures derived from the symbols used on maps from around the world.

By removing the symbols from their context, my intent was to shift the shapes from miniature, benign marks to totems and icons with ambiguous meanings. The symbols represent a range of natural and manmade structures found on maps including different types of roads, water features, aerial obstructions, and places of worship.

By delightful coincidence, just hours after I got around to looking up the story of Turk’s ATL artwork, I got an email from Chris McGinnis alerting me to his post on The Ticket about a public art piece called Pictograms ( above and below) at Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport(JAX) created by an old friend of his:  Gregor Turk!

For Pictograms, Turk covered the entranceways to a pair of  JAX restrooms with tiles bearing lots of different versions of the generic gender symbols from around the world.

Again from his Web site, he explains:

“At facilities that employ a greater sense of design, highly stylized pictograms reflect a much greater range in variations of body types, shapes, proportions, and activities. When the images of the respective figures are shown collectively, their typological differences become apparent, even amusing.”

You’ll find Gregor Turk’s Pictograms on Concourse C at Jacksonville International Airport.

(Thanks, Chris!)

Take your mom to the airport

Two Florida airports have scheduled special events to honor moms on Mother’s Day.


Volunteers at the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)will be handing out long-stemmed white carnations to mothers traveling through the airport on Mother’s Day, May 10th from 8 am until 6 pm.

fashionshowAnd from May 7 – 9, to prep for Mother’s Day, Miami International Airport (MIA) will have a sidewalk sale in the Central Terminal area and live music performances in Terminals G, F and E.

On Saturday, May 9th, from 1- 2 pm, the airport will also host a fashion show in front of the $10 Boutique.