Making the most of America’s busiest airports – part 3

Here’s part 3 of my recent Bing Travel slide show about how to make the best of America’s busiest airports. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

San Francisco International

In the winter, delays can mount at San Francisco International Airport because of rain, wind and, yes, fog. That will leave you plenty of time to enjoy airport amenities that include free Wi-Fi, an aquarium, fun and educational kids’ play areas, spa services at four XpresSpa locations, and a museum program that presents up to 20 exhibitions around the airport at any one time.

Defeat the delay: Most airport eateries are branches of well-loved local restaurants, cafés and bars; the best concentration is in the pre-security area of the International Terminal.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International
All three terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport offer free Wi-Fi, a branch of the popular Paradise Bakery and plenty of permanent and changing museum exhibitions.

Defeat the delay:
Take the free 10-minute airport shuttle bus to the Metro light-rail stop. From there you can head into town or walk across the street to the Pueblo Grande Museum.

Charlotte-Douglas, North Carolina
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was the first airport in the country to provide rocking chairs in the terminal, an amenity we’re thankful that many other airports have adopted. Additional stress-reduction services at the North Carolina airport include free-Wi-Fi, piano concerts in the atrium and the Terminal Getaway Spa, where the menu includes massages, manicures, pedicures and reflexology and oxygen treatments.

Defeat the delay: The Queen’s Courtyard, in front of the CLT terminal, has a 15-foot statue of Queen Charlotte and a 40-foot reflecting pool.

Miami International
The 12th-busiest U.S. airport for total passengers, Miami International Airport is finishing up a major expansion and overhaul. Spend a delay getting a massage or a spray-on tan at the Jetsetter Spa, visiting the art galleries and public art installations, recharging with Cuban coffee or visiting one of 20 new restaurants.

Defeat the delay:
The on-site Miami International Airport Hotel has a sushi bar in the lobby and a fine-dining restaurant offering panoramic views of airport runways and the Miami skyline.

Orlando International
Once they discover the art installations, the 3,000-gallon aquarium, the entertaining water fountain and the theme-park style character statues, kids — and many adults — will find themselves wishing for long delays at Florida’s Orlando International Airport.

Defeat the delay: Grab some freeze-dried ice cream from one of the Kennedy Space Center shops and spend a delay playing video games at the King of Kong arcade.

Free lobby hangouts at BWI, IAH and PHX airports

If you’re stuck at the airport in Baltimore, Houston or Phoenix between now and December 16th and need to plug in your laptop or some portable gadget, look for a seat in one of the “Lobby Zones” set up by the folks at Marriott Courtyard Hotels.

The airport Lobby Zones are meant to give travelers a taste of what the chain’s new lobby decor offers, but you don’t have to have a hotel reservation to pull up a chair, hang out and recharge your gear.

Find them at BWI on Concourse A, at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4 and in Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Terminal E.

Cactus League at PHX airport

PHX Ernie Banks

Chicago Cubs’ player Ernie Banks checking out the spring training exhibition game schedule at Rendezvous Park, Mesa, 1950s Courtesy of Tim Sheriden, Mesa Historical Museum

A new exhibition at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport celebrates the fifteen major league baseball teams that head to Arizona each year for spring training as part of the Cactus League.

Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience includes original Mickey Mantle and Ernie Banks baseball cards, photographs, signed baseballs, paintings and other cool baseball memorabilia. Look for the display in the Terminal 4, Level 3 gallery through September 11, 2011.

Here’s a preview:

PHX Cactus Legue Exhibit

Young baseball fans getting their gloves autographed by a Baltimore Orioles’ player, 1950s.
The Orioles trained in Arizona at Panther Field in Yuma in1954 and Scottsdale Stadium I from1956 through 1958.
Courtesy of Mesa Historical Museum

PHX Cactus League Exhibit

The Boston Red Sox were welcomed in Arizona at Scottsdale Stadium I by the Sheriff’s Posse.  Ted Williams is on the far right. Courtesy of Mesa Historical Museum

PHX Yankees at Spring Training

The New York Yankees team wearing cowboy hats at the “old” Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 1951. Courtesy of Mesa Historical Museum.

Batter up!

Fresh art at Phoenix and Austin airports

Stuck at the airport?  Look around. You may find an art exhibit right around the corner.

A new exhibit at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport- Fiber Art Unraveled: Material and Process – features work by 19 Arizona artists.

Here are a few samples:

Nick Georgiou’s Green Reindeer is made from newspapers and discarded books;

Clare Verstegen’s Compass is made with screen-printed wool, felt and birch plywood;

And Carol Eckert’s, The Raven Addresses the Animals is made with cotton embroidery thread and wire.

Fiber Art Unraveled: Material and Process will be on display until September 21, 2011 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Terminal 4, Level 3 in eight display cases outside the security checkpoints.

At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), the newest exhibit shows off beads and beadwork from members of the Austin Bead Society (ABS) and includes vintage African trading beads, handmade jewelry  and the work of 20 Austin artists, including this polymer clay face framed with bead embroidery by Laura Zeiner.

AUSTIN Airport beadwork on display

The beadwork exhibit at Austin Bergstrom International Airport will be on display through October 18, 2010 in the airport concourse showcases, post-security, across from gates 7-11.

Have you seen some great art while you were stuck at the airport?

At PHX: Customer Appreciation Day – with a chicken

Next Wednesday, October 7, during the first Customer Appreciation Day at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), passengers will be treated to free candy, newspapers, coffee samples and more.

Some airport stores will be giving away free Arizona Republic newspapers. Others will hand out candy, snacks and post cards. Many airport restaurants will offer food specials and discounts. Starbucks will have beverage and pastry samples. And Travel Ex currency exchange will be waiving fees on all currency transactions.
PHX Amelia the Airplane

Sky Harbor’s mascot, Amelia the Airplane, will be flying around (and posing for pictures) and there will surely be a crowd out at the Rental Car Center when the folks at Fresh Gourmet to Go bring out the performing chicken.


Now that’s appreciation!!