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Stuck at the Airport: PHL +PIT, & some scary galaxies

At PHL: Grab and At Your Gate now partners

It is officially called an ‘integrated food service.’ And it is part of the growing trend of digital food delivery in airports.

But we say it is a ‘this makes perfect sense’ amenity that is one part convenience and two parts sign of the social distance times.

Grab, the e-commerce platform for pre-ordering meals for pick-up from airport food outlets is partnering with AtYourGate, the in-airport food delivery service.

The service rolls out at other airports soon, but the first airport to offer it is Philadephia International Airport (PHL).

Here’s how it works:

Passengers can order food through the Grab app, a special section of the PHL website, or scan Grab QR codes in the terminals. Merchants are searchable by food type and terminal. And orders can be delivered to wherever you are in the terminal.

Convenient, right?

Participating restaurants at PHL include Auntie Anne’s, Bar Symon, Bud & Marilyn’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Dunkin’, Gachi, Geno’s Steaks, Jack Duggan’s, Jamba, Piattino Pizza, Smashburger, and Vino Volo. 

More merchants will be added soon.

There is a small charge for delivery. But first-time users can use the promo code ‘RUSH’ to save 20% – up to $5 – off their first order.

Roving robots at PIT cuter than ever

In May 2020, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) introduced its team of autonomous cleaning robots with ultraviolet (UV) light technology.

Since then, other U.S. airports have rolled out cleaning robots. But PIT was the first.

Now PIT is making the hard-working robots even more endearing by giving them eyes.

The robots also have names:

Amelia is named for Amelia Earhart, the famed pilot and female aviation trailblazer.

Orville and Wilbur are named after the Wright brothers.

And the fourth PIT robot is named Rosa. She’s named after Rosa Mae Willis Alford, the sole female mechanic to work on the planes of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

Travel to a scary galaxy

In the spirit of the Halloween season and the scary, bizarro times, we’re printing out frameable copies of these science-inspired Galaxy of Horrors “travel” posters from NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau.  

The posters look like vintage horror movie advertisements, but they are really out of this world.

Gamma -Ray-Ghouls features a “dead” galaxy. Galactic Graveyard is inspired by an explosive gamma-ray burst caused by colliding stellar corpses. And the third, Dark Matter, is a voyage to the unknown via ever-elusive dark matter.

Bonus: the posters are also available in Spanish: Cementerio GalácticoMateria Oscura, and Demonions de Rayos Gamma.

The posters are free to download and are produced by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Office, which is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

HOU: 5 Things We Love About Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport

Our “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrating features and amenities at airports around the country and the world continues today with 5 Things We Love About Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).

Keep in mind that some amenities may be temporarily unavailable due to health concerns. We are confident they’ll be back.

If we missed one of your favorite things about Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, please leave a note in the comments section below.

And take a look at the other airports we’ve included the 5 Things We Love About… series so far.

HOU: 5 Things We Love About Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport

1. The Art At HOU

Houston’s Airport System has one of the largest collections of public art in the state of Texas and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) gets to show off quite a bit of that art.

2. The music at HOU

HOU’s Harmony in the Air program presents live music performances in the Central Concourse Rotunda.

Concerts are scheduled Monday through Saturday and include everything from classical, jazz and pop to international music.

3. Amenities for families at HOU

HOU has a 450-square-foot space-themed play area near Gate A4 with a rocket slide, comet climbing structure, and an interactive light board.

The airport also has two nursing rooms. Each room has AC and USB power outlets, a changing table and nursing glider chairs. Locations: near Gates 4 and 46.

4. NASA exhibit at HOU

Houston is “Space City,” so travelers passing through HOU airport are treated to space-themed exhibits.

5. Souvenirs at HOU

The souvenir shopping at HOU ranges from space-themed items to more traditional Texas-wear.

Did we miss one of your favorite amenities at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)? Add your note in the comments section below.

Vintage travel posters to inspire a post-pandemic trip

Courtesy Boston Public Library

If you have been heeding the shelter-at-home advisories during this health crisis you may be organizing your photos and looking through scrapbooks from past trips.

Here’s something else to add your list: planning your next trip using the collections of vintage travel posters we came across while researching this fun story for AAA Washington as inspiration.

Here are some of the vintage travel poster images we enjoyed.

Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum

Courtesy National Air & Space Museum

About 1300 airline posters dating from the early 1920s to the present are on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum website.

SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport  

Courtesy SFO Museum

More than 1200 travel posters promoting global air travel are in the collection of the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport. Most are accessible online.

Boston Public Library

Courtesy Boston Public Library

More than 350 travel posters are in the collection of the Boston Public Library, which shares them on Flickr.

Library of Congress – WPA Travel Posters

Courtesy Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has hundreds of travel posters in its collection, including the now-iconic travel and tourism posters promoting national parks and other U.S. destinations made by artists hired by Works Projects Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1943.

Space Tourism Posters

Why not consider a trip to space?

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers a series of specially-commissioned WPA-style posters promoting space tourism

Thinking about being an astronaut?

Tomorrow marks 50 years since humans first walked on the Moon. Everyone seems to be talking about astronauts, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, where we’ve been in space and where we may go next.

Stuck at the Airport is in Houston – Space City – this week to be part of the festivities. We’re meeting with former astronauts, visting the labs that train and prepare food for astronauts and getting a first look at the restored Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

If all this space talk has got you thinking about becoming an astronaut, consider taking this Astronaut Apitude quiz filled with questions based on the official NASA Astronaut Candidate requirements and real-life psychological tests. Let us know how you score.

49th anniversary of the Moon landing

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon 49 years ago this weekend – on July 20, 1969 – so let’s take a walk back through history with some of the photos and artifacts from that event, courtesy of NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the Moon – courtesy NASA

 

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin with the United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface.  Courtesy NASA

President Richard M. Nixon was on hand in the central Pacific recovery area to welcome the Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right) – Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin – aboard the U.S.S. Hornet.  The astronauts were confined in a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) for 21 days after splashdown on July 24, 1969.  Courtesy NASA.

Souvenirs from space: This Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container (ALSRC) was used to preserve a lunar-like vacuum around samples taken from the Moon and brought back to earth.  Courtesy NASA and Smithsonian Institution National Air & Space Museum.

Interested in seeming more snaps from the Moon landing? NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum have images from the collection here.