Los Angeles International Airport

Stuck at the airport: news from LAX, FAT and OAK

Lovely LAX

Here’s a lovely spring report from Los Angeles International Airport.

Heavy rains have left behind a rare super bloom of wildflowers.

LAX reports that the flowers are located across the airfield complex, with the highest concentration on the north airfield – between runways 24L and 24R. The bouquet of flowers spreads along the length of those runways, approximately 10,885 feet.

New arts lounge at Fresno Yosemite International Airport

Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) has added an arts lounge to its art exhibitions program.

Over the past year, the program has expanded to include larger works of art, live music performances and a partnership with a local art gallery featuring local photographers.

Travelers love the offerings so far. So the airport is adding more features. FAT’s new arts lounge has tables and chairs, couches, charging ports and “offers a friendly airport environment for travelers,” said FAT’s Director of Aviation, Kevin Meikle.

Showing now: Leslie Batty’s large scale works, including a painting of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and “Projections” by John Moses, a series of photography images blending iconic films with ghostly images from some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films.

Oakland International Airport celebrates Southwest Airlines first flight to Hawaii

On Monday, the first Southwest Airlines flight to the Hawaiian Islands arrived in Honolul after leaving Sunday evening from Oakland International Airport.

Scores of passengers, airline and airport staff, officials and hula dancers crowded Terminal 1 at the Oakland International Airport for a send-off of the long-awaited launch of Southwest Airlines’ inaugural service from the US Mainland to Hawaii.

And there was cake.

Treats for travelers at LAX

To mark the Chinese New Year and celebrate the Year of the Pig, Los Angeles International Airport will be hosting a Lion Dance for two days this week.

The Lion Dance symbolizes power, courage and good fortune. It also chases away evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck.

At LAX, the 20-minute Lion Dance will be performed by Wushu Shaolin Entertainment on Tuesday, February 5 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m, and on Friday, February 8 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m in the post-seurity area of Tom Bradley International Airport.

The terminal will also have festive decorations in honor of the Chinese New Year. Red envelopes with gifts and offers from LAX shops and restaurants will be handed out to passengers. So don’t shy away from the lion!

But wait – there’s more.

The 61st annual Grammy Awards take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10.

To celebrate, on Tuesday afternoon February 5 LAX airport and the GRAMMY Museum will host a Grammy-themed event for passengers arriving in Terminal 2.

The event will take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4 pm and feature live music plus gifts for arriving passengers of official GRAMMY merchandise and souvenirs.

A five-case display showcasing the evolution of the gramophone award has been installed in Terminal 2 and will there all year long.

On Tuesday, down in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area, a giant gramaphone will be arriving to remind passengers that this is an especially festive week in LA.

Harriet’s hotel stay

A big Stuck At the Airport thank-you to the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, which hosted me for a night recently while I was in town to tour Los Angeles International Airport for a story about the best places to eat in each terminal and a visit to the brand new United Airlines Polaris lounge.

I hadn’t stayed at this property for quite some time and was pleased to find upgraded rooms, strong WiFi and live music in the lobby, which is evidently a regular Wednesday evening feaute.

This hotel has a variety of dining options, but I tried out Andiamo, the onsite northern Italian restaurant, where the staff made a solo diner feel welcome and which has a great scallop dish on the menu.

This hotel may also have the hardest-working shuttle bus driver. He was driving when I arrived in the evening and there again the next morning and he was super-pleasant to every single rider, even though few of them gave him a tip for lifting their super heavy suitcases on and off of the bus.

Have a favorite place to stay near Los Angeles International Airport? Please share your recommendations.

Snaps from United’s new Polaris Lounge at LAX

Photo by Harriet Baskas

United Airlines has opened its newest Polaris lounge. This one is at Los Angeles International Airport.

The new 12,000-square-foot lounge is open to passengers traveling on international flights in the United Polaris business class cabin and to customers in first or business class on long-haul international flights with a Star Alliance member airline may access the lounge as well.

Located on the upper level, between gates 73 and 75A in Terminal 7 at LAX and accessible via elevator and stairs, the new lounge has 140 seats, 272 power outlets and 120 USB ports, and a dozen semi-private work spaces with oversized chairs, AC and USB power, work or dining table, privacy dividers and a lamp.

Here are some snaps of the lounge:

United CEO Oscar Munoz helps with ribbon cutting of new Polaris lounge at LAX. Photo by Harriet Baskas

(Photos courtesy United Airlines, except where noted)

Snaps from Southwest Airlines’ new Terminal 1 at LAX

Southwest Airlines has a new and improved 13-gate Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport.

The $516.7 million overhaul brings lots more light and seating, a more efficient centralized screening checkpoint and all new dining and retails outlets.

I was on hand for the celebration. Here are some snaps from the day:

 

Ribbon cutting for Southwest T1 at LAX

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and Danny Trejo at Trejo’s Taco first airport branch.

In additon to Trejo’s Tacos, the dining and retail outlets include Urth Caffe, Cassell’s Hamburgers, Reilly’s Irish Pub, Rock & Brews, and Beaming Organic Superfood Cafe as well as Be RElax, I Love L.A., Treat Me Sweet, New Stand newstands, and SOL Surf. 

 

Courtest LAX

LA Original is the first shop passengers encounter when they leave the checkpoint and take the escalators up to the terminal. The shop showcases LA-branded locally designed, assembled or manufactured goods. Proceeds go to supporting the Downtown Women’s Center’s “Made by DWC” program that teaches job training and maker skills to women transitioning out of homelessness.

In addition to rotating art installations, the new Southwest T1 at LAX features this specially-commissioned, photo-friendly piece by Pilar Castillo.

Marvin Earl brings his complimentary shoe shine service to Southwest T1 at LAX. Morris Biggers was  delighted to be the first customer.

More snaps and info on Southwest’s new T1 at LAX to come.

(All photos by Harriet Baskas, except where noted.)