Pittsburgh International Airport

Party at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Would you go to an airport if you don’t have to?  What is there’s a party going on?

On Saturday, Dec 1, for the fifth year in a row, Pittsburgh International Airport is holding a Holiday Open House in the post-security side of the terminal and inviting the non-flying public to join in.

Festivities will include a live performance by LoveBettie, a chance to create your own giftwrap, a visit by the National Aviary’s African penguin, a juggler, an artist doing airbrush tattos and, of course,  a visit from Santa.

Shops and restaurants will be offering special treats and discounts. And everyone gets free validated parking! Plus, there’s no sales tax on most clothing in Pennsylvania.

Beyond the party, this is a great time to see and learn about the art at the airport on a self-guided or guided art tour.

In addition to a shrine to Mister Rogers, who lived in Pittsburgh and produced his Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood program there, PIT’s art collection includes art prints by Pittsburgh-born artist Andy Warhol, a giant mobile by Alexander Calder, a Robot Repairt shop, and a large scale robotic figure named Arch.

Mr Rogers shrine at Pittsburgh Airport

Andy Warhol Wallpaper at PIT

PIT Calder Mobile

 Interested?  The party runs from 10 a. m. to 6 p.m.  To attend, non-ticketed guests must register in advance, arrive by 5 .m. and make to sure bring along a valid government-issued photo ID.

See you there!

Back to school shopping – at the airport

Hammer Made at MSP Airport

Back-to-school sales are starting and now might be a good time to send out the reminder that airports can be great places to take advantage of tax-free shopping.

Minnesota and Pennsylvania don’t charge sales tax on clothing or shoes – so look for shops in the mall-like shopping areas of both Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Pittsburgh International Airports.

Ecco shoes at PIT Airport

And don’t forget the super-charming pre-security shopping street at Portland International Airport.  There no sales tax on anything in Oregon and while at the airport for a meeting last week I rushed through the shops just looking and somehow came away with a whole new wardrobe.

 

 

High tech ways to clean an airport

(Courtesy C&W Services)

I’m finishing up my May “At the Airport” column for USA TODAY and wanted to share this preview of one of the entertaining new tools several airports are testing and using: robotic floor scrubbers.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is testing one out. Pittsburgh International Airport has served as a testing ground for an automatic floor scrubber as well.

But at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, an autonomous floor scrubber is already on duty full-time. Here’s a short video that shows the machine at work and employees describing how it works, how it helps get the job done, and how much it entertains passengers.

Stay tuned for more details on other high tech ways airports keep the terminals clean.

Mister Rogers at PIT Airport; Aerial dancers at San Diego Int’l

This week it is impossible to choose just one Airport Amenity of the Week, so we’ll declare a tie.

Pittsburgh International Airport is having a fun event Friday, March 23, to honor Fred Rogers and the Mister Rogers Neighborhood children’s TV show that was produced in Pittsburgh and first aired 50 years ago.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in PIT’s Airside Center Core, airport employees wearing red cardigans will be offering travelers refreshments and handing out free buttons and red shoelaces. A big chalkboard will be set up, so passengers can share memories of watching the TV show during its 33-year run.

The cardigans, the shoelaces, and the “You’re Special, Too!” slogan printed on the buttons are homages to Rogers, who would always tell viewers how special they were and who started each program by putting on a zip-up cardigan and changing out of his loafers into sneakers.

PIT’s event is timed to coincide with Friday’s release of a Mister Rogers Forever stamp and the airport’s post office on Concourse D will have those new stamps to sell. More details here.

 

(Courtesy SAN Airport, photo by Alan Hess)

The next round of the performing arts residency program at San Diego International Airport kicks off Wednesday, March 28 with an aerial rope performance post security in Terminal 2. The event will feature acrobatics, trapeze work, music and dance.

The performers are from the Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre and during a six-month airport residency, dancers and acrobats from the troupe will interact with passengers and create, rehearse and perform new content inspired by what happens at the airport.

So next time you’re at SAN – look up!

Stuck at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport? Paint something.

You’ve likey seen those do-it-yourself paint studios in your neighborhood and wondered why they always seem to be full.

Now, if you’ve got some time to hang out at Pittsburgh  International Airport, you can find out.

In the perfect match-up of opportunity and activity, Paint Monkey, a Pittsburgh do-it-yourself paint studio has opened up a pop-up paint kiosk on Concourse B.

If you’ve got some time to spend, you can sit a while and paint a masterpieces on pre-sketched canvases in a range of sizes designed to fit into carry-on baggage. Or you can have your creation shipped.

If you’ve got less time to spend, Paint Monkey offers spin art (remember that?) and pre-painted artwork featuring iconic Pittsburgh imagery.

Prices start at $10 and images range from cupcakes, robots and unicorns to Pittsburgh skylines and abstract art.