The Stuck at the Airport team was in Geneva, Switzerland this week for an education day with officials at the International Air Transport Association, IATA.
Topics ranged from passenger rights and travel accessibility issues to earnings, sustainability, biometrics, safety, security, air cargo, and more. We’ll be folding what we learned into many of our stories going forward, but we are glad that the odd holiday ‘decoration’ we spotted a few years ago at Geneva Airport was nowhere to be seen this time through.
Airports and airlines elsewhere approach the holidays with a more festive outlook.
Munich Airport (currently recovering from the fallout of a snow closure) transforms each winter into a holiday destination complete with ice skating and curling rinks.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) and many other airports also go all out with holiday decorations throughout their terminals.
Air Canada released its annual charming (if somewhat syrupy) holiday video:
But we still love this heartwarming video with the story of the Heathrow Bears from Heathrow Airport .
Munich Airport hosts a giant Christmas and Winter Market
Munich Airport boasts Europe’s largest covered outdoor space and during the holidays the airport puts that space to great use by hosting a Christmas and Winter Market in a forest of festively decorated trees.
The holiday festivities at the Munich Airport Center (MAC) will operate daily from Friday, November 17, 2023, through Christmas Eve. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, until Christmas Eve, when the market closes at 4.
What happens at Munich Airport’s Holiday Market?
Munich Airport’s holiday market has more than 40 stalls offering handicrafts, fashion, jewelry, and lots of food and drinks.
There are also ice skating and curling rinks. Skating is 5 euros ($5.33) per person for unlimited time on the ice and includes free skate rental or free skate sharpening if you happen to have your skates with you. Access to the curling rink is 25 euros (about $26) per hour and includes equipment.
The lineup of free entertainment includes ice discos, ice sculpting, Advent wreath making, puppet theater shows, live music, and, of course, visits from Santa Claus.
Wheeled suitcases are favored by travelers for their maneuverability.
But during Octoberfest season, a Munich Airport (MUC) installation is proving that wheeled suitcases can also make music.
Sponsored by German brewery Paulaner, the SoundTrack installation between Terminals 1 and 2 at Munich Airport is a walkable track made of acrylic glass with milled grooves.
If a traveler walks along the track with their wheeled suitcase and sets their stride to a strip of lights, the tones made by the wheels on the track will ‘play’ the melody of the well-known Oktoberfest song Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit. During Oktoberfest, whenever the tune is heard, festival participants are supposed to raise their mugs.
The installation works a bit like a record player, with the wheels of the suitcase serving as the ‘needle’ that reads the grooves on the record.
Click on the video below to see how the Suitcase Soundtrack was made and how it works.
Starting November 22, DEN’s ice-skating rink will be
in the pre-security area on the DEN Plaza, which is between the airport terminal
and the Westin hotel.
Time on the ice is free. And, recognizing that not everyone has their own ice skates, or travels with them, there is free skate rental as well.
DEN’s skating rink hours will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily from November 22 through January 20, 2020. As a bonus, on Friday afternoons there will be hot chocolate, hot cider and a variety of extra winter activities, including live entertainment.
Skating at the TWA Hotel at JFK
This year there will an ice-skating rink created at the TWA Hotel across from JetBlue Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) as well.
The custom 56-by-44-foot Runway Rink will be
created near the hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane-turned-cocktail
lounge and operate seven days a week starting November 30 and running through February
While skating shows are planned, time on the ice at the TWA Hotel’s Runway Rink won’t be free. Admission will be $15 for adults and $10 for kids under 12. Skate rentals will $10 ($8 for kids under 12).
Monday through Thursday from 4 PM to 9 PM
Friday from 4 PM to 10 PM
Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 10 PM
The TWA Hotel will also be selling retro knit hats and scarves as well as beers, Sno-Caps candy and other snacks.
Skate in a Winter Wonderland
If you’re traveling to or through Germany’s Munich Airport (MUC) this holiday
season, you’ll find an ice-skating rink already up and running.
For the 21st year, the large roofed open space between Terminals 1 and 2 and Munich Airport is transformed into a winter wonderland, with a winter market, more than 45 Christmas trees, live music, activities for kids and adults, a pine forest and a free ice-skating rink. Skates can be rented for a small fee and there’s a bonus rink for curling set up next to the skating rink as well.