Airports around the country continue to go all out to entertain passengers this holiday season.
Reindeers will return to the light rail station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on December 18 and 19.
And the SEA Visitor Pass program piloted last year will now be a permanent airport amenity. The program allows non-ticketed guests the opportunity to enter the secure side of the airport to enjoy shopping, dining, and other amenities.
The gate pass program also means non-ticketed flyers have extra time to spend with friends and family before their flight and to be there at the gate when a flight lands.
More details will be rolled out on Monday, December 16, when the program officially resumes.
We’re happy to see that gate pass programs are now officially a trend at airports.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) have gate pass programs at well.
Santa Paws, Teddy Bears and more
Elsewhere, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has some treats in store for holiday week travelers.
LAX has booked nine musical acts and groups, including the popular TSA Choir, to perform at various terminals and the LAX-it pick-up lot throughout December.
On Friday, Dec. 20, LAX employees will host an arts and crafts activity for kids at the Tom Bradley International Terminal Children’s Playground from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special guests will include “Santa PAWS” from the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) Program therapy dogs.
And on December 25, Los Angeles Airport Police officers, spouses and family members will be in various locations at LAX handing out teddy bears, candy canes and tree ornaments to children.
Holiday decoration or what?
And here’s a holiday ‘decoration’ we spotted early Friday morning this week at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland.
Not sure if this character just had a really bad night or what…
At many airports, curbside pick-up is moving away from the curb.
On October 29, Los Angeles International joins the growing list of
airports where curbside traffic has gotten so bad that taxis and ride-hailing
services such as Uber to Lyft are no longer permitted to pick up at passengers
at the curb.
“We have heard from our
guests that the current system with ride pickups can be frustrating.” “said
Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director for Operations and Emergency
Management at Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement
“Frustrating” is a polite
way of describing how excruciating and time-consuming using a ride-app at LAX
During peak times, app users
now often spend upwards of 45 minutes to an hour between waiting for their ride
to arrive curbside and sitting in traffic to get out of the Central Terminal
“That’s if the drive doesn’t
cancel on you,” said LAX spokesman Heath Montgomery.
At LAX, bad curbside traffic is about to get worse as the airport construction associated with terminal redevelopment and the new automated people mover begins.
“We will be losing more than 30% of our curb front, so doing nothing is
not an option,” said Montgomery.
The solution at LAX is to move the pick-up area for both taxi and ride app users away from the
terminal curbsides entirely to a new area, dubbed “LAX-it,” just east of
Passengers will be able to
walk to the new pick-up area from some of the terminals and a shuttle will
pick-up passengers at all terminals in a dedicated lane on the lower/arrivals
LAX officials say getting from the airport to the pick-up lot should be
no more than 15 minutes (from most terminals) and exiting the terminal should
be faster because drivers no longer must battle backups in the Central Terminal
Once it rolls out on October 29, the LAX-it system will no doubt need
For now, some passengers are worried the new system will be confusing
and pick-up time will be no shorter than it is now. In a statement, Lyft said
it looks forward to working with LAX on providing “the best possible pick-up
and drop-off experience for all users,” but Uber outlined its long list of concerns
with the plan in a letter to airport officials.
How do other airports tackle curbside congestion?
Back in 2016, Seattle Tacoma International Airport
worked with ride-app providers to move pick-ups inside the airport parking
garage, adjacent to space set already aside for other commercial ground
“We have since made traffic flow process
improvements,” said SEA spokeswoman Kate Hudson, “We’re lucky in Washington
state that cars must have front and near license plates as it allows passengers
to locate their vehicle from both angles.”
The Port of Seattle staffs the ride-app pick-up area and
contracts for additional ambassadors during peak times.
With a goal of diverting at least 45% of ride-hailing pick-up
activity away from the terminal roadways, in summer 2018 San Francisco International Airport relocated pickups for Uber Pool,
Express Pool and Lyft’s shared categories to the Domestic Parking Garage. And in March 2019, Uber X and Lyft offered their customers the option to
be picked up in the Airport’s Domestic Hourly Garage at $3 less than the
“To date, these
measures have only shifted about 21% of [ride-hailed] pickup activity off the
terminal roadways, falling short of the 45% diversion rate,” said SFO spokesman
Doug Yakel, so as of June 5, 2019 SFO relocated all domestic terminal pickups
for ride-apps, including Uber, Lyft, and Wingz, from the curbside to the 5th
floor of the Domestic Hourly Parking Garage.
“In the new space, dedicated taxi lanes are to the immediate
left, while three ride share pick-up lanes are on the right,” said AUS spokesman
Bryce Dubee, “The three ride share lanes are color-coded in blue, red and
yellow with corresponding numbers 1-4 so that both passengers and drivers have
a specific spot to meet up.”
The overall walking distance is about 750 feet, so before the
switch was made the airport purchase four ADA-compliant 12-passenger electric
shuttles to provide transport between lower-level locations and also leased an
electric autonomous vehicle to transport passengers on the upper level of the
Looking ahead, at the end of this month, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will move both pick-ups and drop-offs for app ride passengers to new dedicated curb areas.
“The new areas – conveniently located in the Central Parking – will be protected from the weather, brightly lit, and connected to all terminals via moving walkways,” said BOS spokeswoman Samantha Decker. “The new areas will also provide all the services passengers expect, including luggage carts, wheelchair services, and bag check service.”
(My story about airports relocating pick-up spots for Uber, Lyft, Wingz and taxis first appeared on USA TODAY)
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is celebrating Latino Heritage Month with a wide variety of cultural performances, art and guest experiences, including complimentary tastings.
Today, Friday, Sept 20 there will be a cart with free paletas (Mexican popsicles) in Terminal 1 near the L.A. Original store from noon to 3 p.m.
Next Friday, Sept. 27, the cart will be in Terminal 2, next to Barney’s Beanery, from noon to 3 p.m. And on Friday, Oct. 4, free paletas will be offered in the Terminal 6 W Kitchen Food Court from noon to 3 p.m.
There are four new art exhibitions at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 1. Three are the work of solo artists; one is a one group exhibition.
Here’s a preview:
“Floragalora” by Pat Warner, and “Rhizomatic Variations”, by Marianne Sadowski, are in Terminal 1 near Gate 9.
Warner’s inspiration for this installation is the spectacular wildflower superbloom Los Angeles experienced this spring.
“Rhizomatic Variations” by Marianne Sadowski features a series of 21 polymer plate variations and is “an homage to the simultaneous harmony and disorder which exists in the current landscape of Los Angeles.”
Michiko Yao’s “Hanaguruma”and “Passing Rose“ explore Asian and American stereotypes using symbolic materials. Both pieces make use of digitally manipulated imagery of artificial flowers and are on view to the public in Baggage Claim on the Arrivals Level.
And “Latitude 33° 56′”, by Gate 10, is a curated project with eight artists exploring mapping to translate an experience of a place.
The title refers to LAX’s latitude in degrees, minutes and seconds, and plays with notions of location and territorial representation.
The new exhibitions are presented in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
(All photos by Panic Studio LA, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.)
Heading to or through the Tom Bradley International
Terminal (TBIT) or Terminal 6 at LAX?
Here’s some info about two now site-specific art installations to look for at Los Angeles International Airport, courtesy of the airport’s partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA),
“Forest, For the Trees” curated by Julie Kornblum
For the Trees” is an installation featuring knitted, crocheted, woven and other
fiber-based artworks made by more than 40 artists.
“This installation hopes to address the wonders and perils
of the forest by creating an environment that is at once unique and fantastic,”
said Los Angeles-based artist and project curator Julie Kornblum.
The installation is the newest iteration of Kornblum’s ongoing
partnership with the Arroyo Arts Collective and Yarn Bombing Los Angeles.
Artists independently created works in their own individual styles and techniques,
from realistic woodland creatures made of felt, to stylized tree trunks and
branches sprouting from used sweaters.
Look for “Forest, For the Trees”
at LAX in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, Customs Hallway, on the
Arrivals Level through January 2020.
The Unemployed” by Jody Zellen
“The Unemployed” is a site-specific installation by Jody
Zellen that features a large-scale, interactive digital projection and four video
Using data culled from online sources that list
unemployment rates for over 200 countries, Zellen depicts this numerical
information as animated figures, creating an alternative way to visualize these
Zellen created a software program that randomly cycles
through the unemployment data of the different countries and, for each country,
depicts an array of figures made of simple lines moving within a grid on the
The piece is interactive: as passersby move through the
space, their silhouettes are projected onto the wall and transformed into a
presence consisting of the ambling figures.
The installation is open to the public in
Terminal 6 on the Departures Level through September 2019 and is also available
via a free app.
All photos in this post by
Panic Studio LA, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports and City of Los Angeles
Department of Cultural Affairs.