Newark-Liberty International Airport

2 airports are finalists for America’s Best Restroom

The list of the top 10 finalists for the 2022 America’s Best Restroom contest is out.

And this year restrooms at two airports are in the running to be crowned as the best throne in the country.

Newark Liberty Int’l Airport (EWR)

The Terminal B all-gender restroom at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is one of the airport restrooms nominated as an excellent example of how businesses develop and maintain innovative restroom facilities.

EWR’s new loo is in a 1970’s-era terminal departure lounge. The loo’s creative, gender-neutral design offers “potty parity” and means that more users can be accommodated than with a traditional restroom design.

The restroom includes areas for traveling companions to wait and for passengers to reorganize their belongings. Local imagery on the glass and tile establishes a sense of place. And sound and scent help create a calming environment.

Tampa International Airport (TPA)

The nominated restrooms at Tampa International Airport (TPA) are on Airside C.

These loos welcome travelers to a uniquely Florida experience with large graphics. A natural, deep blue stone with undulating veining is intended to be reminiscent of waves crashing along the shore.

“Once inside, large format tiles skin the floors and seamlessly fold up the walls, bolstering the well-lit environment and furthering a ‘freshly cleaned’ aesthetic,” the restroom nomination explains. “A wood-look wall tile adds warmth and softness for a balanced, resort-like feel.”

The vanities in these restrooms also offer TPA’s signature “cockpit” concept, which gives each guest their own sensor-activating sink and soap, personal paper towel dispensers, and a nearby trash receptacle.

The other nominated public bathrooms on this Best Restroom list include the self-cleaning restrooms at North Hollywood Recreation Center; prohibition-themed restrooms in Stone Mountain, GA; and a Japanese pub in Orlando, FL modeled after the green restroom seen in “The Aviator” film.

Here’s the image from the movie:

Here’s a snap from Orlando’s Tori Tori pub.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite finalist through August 31 here.

Which is your favorite?

Travel Tidbits from Airports Near You

Flooding at EWR Airport

Awful flooding images from the Northeast Wednesday evening. This one shows flooding inside Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

More airports getting robots to help deliver meals

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) now has a two-wheeled, semiautonomous robot named NomNom helping to deliver food and beverage ordered online as part of the www.LAXOrderNow.com program.

NomNom is a cargo robot that can carry up to 40 pounds of food at a time. It follows behind delivery staff from AtYourGate, which delivers food ordered via LAX Order Now. The robot can move at speeds up to 6 mph and uses a series of cameras and sensors to recognize and follow its handler throughout the airport.

Alaska Airlines’ New Lounge at SFO

The new Alaska Airlines lounge in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has some amenities we’re very anxious to see in person. In addition to serving Bay Area brews and wines from local vineyards, the lounge has a sourdough toast cart (!), a candy bar that includes Ghirardelli chocolate, Jelly Belly beans, and custom fortune cookies from Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory. There’s even a San Francisco Giants-themed children’s play area. The photos below are from Alaska Airlines; we’re going to have to visit in person to get our own.

At the airport: snakes, Prince and plastic bottles

A new store called “Prince” is selling merchandise related to the late musician known as Prince in the south end of the mall at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

The concessionaire (Airport Retail Group) says it worked closely with Prince’s estate to make sure all products are the proper shade of purple.

What’s for sale in the Prince store? Apparel, souvenirs, CDs, LPs, and photography books. Also: tickets to Paisley Park, Prince’s private estate in production complex in Chanhassen, southwest of Minneapolis.

MSP’s Prince store also displays Prince memorabilia, plays Prince music and has a large bank of screens showcasing Prince’s music videos.

Snakes at the Airport

Courtesy TSA

TSA reports that this harmless 15-inch ring-necked snake was left behind at the security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, August 19.

“It’s common for travelers to accidentally leave items at the checkpoint,” said TSA’s New Jersey Federal Security Director Tom Carter. “Typically people leave items such as their keys, sunglasses, ID, hats and gloves, but this is the first time someone has left a snake behind. We have a fairly robust lost and found program that reunites passengers with their lost items, but this passenger doesn’t need to call us about his snake.”

Watch the water at SFO

And the ban on single use plastic water bottles has gone into effect at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). A good solution? Bring your own refillable bottle and use the airport’s free water bottle refill stations.

TSA officer dance-off with tiny traveler

Check out this fun dance-off between a young traver and a TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport. Thev video was posted on the TSA’s Instagram account and has gone viral.

Take a look.

This isn’t the first time a TSA officer with a sense of fun was caught on tape.

Here’s a video posted a while back of an officer matching the moves of a young traveler at Orlando International Airport.

TSA’s Instagram account is surprisingly well-followed, sometimes alarming and often entertaining ( if corny) feed. Here are few examples:

Did you know that sawblades are prohibited in carry-on bags. Yep. This one was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Atlanta airport. … Speaking of saw blades, we think we “saw” a pussycat. Probably because it’s #InternationalCatDay! Sorry about that horrible segue, but we had to cut to the chase somehow. … Have you always wanted to travel with your cat, but you’ve been afraid to ask how? Has your cat got your tongue? Even if you’re too much of a scaredy-cat to ask, we’re going to give you the rundown right meow. … Checkpoint Screening: … Check with your airline first to inquire about any fees and policies. … Your cat will need to be screened via checkpoint screening if it’s traveling with you in the cabin of the plane. … We do not X-ray cats or any other pets. However, there have been many occasions where passengers have assumed their cat needed to go through the X-ray. You can imagine the surprise of the X-ray operator when they saw Felix’s skeleton roll across their monitor. It is not an unusual occurrence. In this case, it’s not frowned upon to let the cat out of the bag. Your cat will need to come out of its carrier, so it’s a good idea to know how your cat will react. Many a cat has gone into a feline frenzy after being removed from its carrier. An angry cat is never a good thing. Especially when you’re in a confined area where there isn’t enough room to swing a cat. … The checkpoint is a noisy environment that can cause your cat to flee at its first opportunity. This happens with humans occasionally as well. Your cat can be carried through the walk through metal detector or walked through on leash if your cat isn’t too stubborn to do that. If your cat triggers an alarm, one of our officers will have to take a closer look. Cats are not screened with the body scanners, in case you were wondering. … Checked Baggage: … If your cat is traveling in a kennel, your airline will arrange for a TSA Officer to screen the kennel. Officers will need to inspect your kennel/carrier for prohibited items with you present. Sometimes this can be done visually, but occasionally, the TSA officer will ask you to remove your pet from the carrier.

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Sometimes, air travel can make you a little crabby. … #ThrowbackThursday to July 27, 2017 at the Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). … There’s no sidestepping it. This crusty critter was in a pinch. Nothing is known as to how or why he was there, but there he was. Alone. In a bowl. In Boston. He had been scuttled by his human. There is no “rest of the story” here. We don’t have any records of the event other than this photo. … Now we imagine you’re wondering if you can travel with crabs. You can! Crabs are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. We’ll screen them, but it’s strongly recommended that you contact your airline for any specific guidelines or packaging requirements. … #RandomFact – Abandoned crabs can end up in hot water.

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Which airport boasts one of world’s largest tequila bars?

Today – July 24 – is National Tequila Day and if you happen to be passing through Newark Liberty International Airport today you can celebrate in United Terminal C at the bar appropriately named Tacquila – which claims to be one of the largest and most exclusive tequila bars in the world.

Operated by OTG – the folks who brought tablet-ordering to airports – Tacquila features over 150 tequila bottles, including rare and ultra-luxury brands such as Clase Azul Ultra Anejo and Casa Dragones Joven.

Several other airports, including Charlotte Douglas International (which has a Tequileria in the artrium), have tequila-themed bars, but you’ll find tequila on the shelf at most every airport bar.

So drink up – but be responsible about it.