Los Angeles International Airport

Deals, discounts & treats for travelers + moms

Mother’s Day celebrations at airports

Airports across the country will be marking Mother’s Day with complimentary flowers, music and more.

Today between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the post-security Great Hall at Los Angeles International Airport, the Mother’s Day celebration will include a photo booth, complimentary wooden roses, and appearances by some of the pups from the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) program.

And, as they have for many years, this weekend volunteers at Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport will likely be handing out flowers to arriving moms and those waiting for their moms.

We’ll add more Mother’s Day activities as they roll in.

Delta Air Lines rolling out free in-flight WiFI

Starting May 13, Delta Air Lines is kicking off a much-welcome two-week pilot program to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi in all cabins on 55 short, media and long-haul flights.

The carrier says this is the first step towards offering complimentary Wi-Fi for everyone, all the time.

“Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too,” said Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Onboard Product in a statement. “Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right – this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”

The free Wi-Fi service won’t support content streaming, but will let passengers browse, email, shop, message, and engage with social media for free.

Delta’s Wi-Fi for purchase and free mobile messaging will remain available throughout the test.

Take the train

Amtrak, which also offers free Wi-Fi, has launched an Unconditional Love Flash Sale now through Monday, May 13.

The two-for-one ticket offer is valid for travel nationwide between June 1 and September 30. Use discount code C250.

Bonus: if you’re an Amtrak Guest Rewards member (or sign up to be) you can also earn double points if you travel by May 18

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)