passenger experience

Charming chess sets on display at St. Louis Lambert Int’l Airport

Whether you’re a fan of playing chess and collecting chess sets or not, you’ll likely be intrigued by the exhibtion of 16 chess sets and artifacts on loan from the St. Louis-based World Chess Hall of Fame that are now on display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Capturing Imagination: Pop Culture and Chess includes beautifully-sculpted, resin chess pieces including Avengers: Infinity War with characters Thor, Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther. Other sets feature Hello Kitty characters on a chess board that doubles as a collector’s tin and cast and hand-painted pieces from Winnie the Pooh.

There is also a Star Trek tri-dimensional chess set with precision-cast pieces coated in sterling silver and 24-karat gold and sets that features chess pieces portraying Snoopy, Fred Flintstone, Miss Piggy, Big Bird and Bart Simpson.

Capturing Imagination: Pop Culture and Chess is on display at the Lambert Gallery in the Terminal 1 Bag Claim at St. Louis Lambert International Airport through November 4, 2018.

Fresh airport art to look for on your next trip

Here are some of fresh art exhibits to look for at some airports around the country:

Addoley Dzegede’s “Here and Elsewhere,” a 12 ft.-wide silkscreened work of pigment on cloth, is on view at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Terminal 2 between gates E10 and E12 through the end of October, 2018.

The airport currently has 29 equally intriguing works of art on view throughout the terminals, courtesy of the Lambert Art and Culture Program.

Christian Scott, North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach, 2016.

A new exhibition at Miami International Airport on view through October, 2018, celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Rhythm Foundation, the award-winning local non-profit organization that showcases international artists in South Florida. Front Row to the World is an exhibition of 15 concert photographs near Gate D31 by Peruvian-born and Miami Beach-based photographer Luis Olazabal. 

Atomic Haystack by Isamu Noguchi. Courtesy SFO Museum

And at San Francisco International Airport, the SFO Museum has two installations exploring the relationship of Isamu Noguchi’s paper and bamboo Akari lanters with his steel and bronze plate sculpture. Look for these pieces pre-security in the SFO International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby through January 6, 2019

 

Airline amenity kits you might fight the kids for

A wide range of airline amenity kits, for both adults and children, were on display last week in Hamburg, Germany as part of the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo.

Amenity kits for adults were lovely, of course, but those for kids just look like lots more fun. Especially the Super Hero kit I spotted (below) that includes a backpack with a built-in cape!

 

Denver Int’l Airport will get an Amex Centurion Lounge

American Express is expanding the list of airports with swanky Centurion Lounge clubs with the announcement that a new lounge is set to open at Denver International Airport sometime in 2019.

This one will be located on the Mezzanine of Concourse C at Denver International and, at 14,000-square-feet, will be the second-largest Centurion lounge to be built. A 15,000-square foot, 2-story lounge set to open in early 2019 at JFK International Airport Terminal 4 will be the largest.

Entry will be open to all American Express Platinum Card holders traveling through DEN, regardless of the airline they are flying.

American Express says the Centurion Lounge at DEN will offer the amenities available in other lounge locations, including complimentary food and beverages, a family room, restrooms and shower suites, and high-speed Wi-Fi.

Amex promises that this Centurion Lounge at DEN will also offer “sweeping airfield views” as well as “special amenities and design elements unique to this location,” which they say will be announced closer to the lounge’s opening.

“We are thrilled to share our plans to bring one of our signature Centurion Lounges to the Denver International Airport, as Denver is one of the top airports our premium Card Members travel through,” said Josh McKay, vice president and general manager, Global Benefits and Services, American Express, in a statement.

Other airports with Centurion Lounges include: New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Miami International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Houston’s George Bush International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. The JFK lounge is set to open in early 2019.

Want in? (I do, after getting just a taste for the experience via a complimentary visit to the lounge in SEA.)

Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary and exclusive for Platinum Card Members and Centurion Members. Platinum Card Members can bring along up to two travel companions at no additional charge and both Platinum Card or Centurion Members may purchase access to The Centurion Lounge for additional guests for $50 each guest.

(Photos courtesy American Express) 

Passenger-friendly innovations in skies now – and on the horizon

(Airbus_A320 Family Airspace interior. Courtesy Airbus)

For CNBC this week, I put together some of the most passenger-friendly, or unusual, finalists vying for this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, which are set to be announced April 10 and often described as “the Oscars of the aviation industry.”

One of the more unusual and intriuging ideas on the list is something called a ‘Durinal,’ by Zodia Aerospace.

 

 

You know how it is: after meals and just before landing, bathroom lines get long and the lav-to-passenger ratio in the economy cabin on airplanes just seems wrong. Worse, when lavs get busy, there’s that wet floor issue that comes courtesy of the male ‘splash zone.’

The Durinal is designed to solve both problems by replacing one regular lavatory with two urinals. Durinal creator Zodiac Aerospace says installing the toilets on planes can improve lavatory “cycle time” and cut down on male use of the conventional toilets, “Thus leaving them more hygienic for the ladies.”

 

 

 

On flights that aren’t full, Zodiac Aerospace’s new Eco Zlounge concept makes it possible for passengers to stretch out with a mechanism that allows the cushion part of the seat in front of a passenger to fold down, creating more leg room.

No doubt the extra space will come with an extra cost, but on long flights passengers may be willing to pay that cost.

See more finalists in my CNBC story, here.