Portland International Airport

Payback: TSA workers set up food banks, by meals for airport employees

Updating this story as new examples arrive.

During the partial shutdown of the federal government in 2019, many TSA employees continued to show up for work despite missing paychecks.

To help them out, airport employees, airlines and airport concessionaires around the country joined with social service agencies and the local community to stock pantries with food and goods.

Now at some airports, TSA workers are returning the favor by setting up food pantries and special meals for airport employees who have had hours cut or who have been put out of work because there are so few passengers in airports.

Here’s what’s happening at Portland International Airport (PDX).

TSA employees at Dulles International Airport (IAD) have set up a food pantry for airport workers.

And at T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) in Rhode Island, TSA officers chipped in and bought pizza dinners – twice so far – for their fellow airport workers, including wheelchair attendants and airline employees.

Courtesy TSA

We’ll update this list of good-deeds as we hear of my examples.

Travel Tidbits from Icelandair, PDXairport, Uber and Lyft

Icelandair has decided to extend the run of its Buddy Hotline Service through July 8.

The free program offers passengers a chance to get travel planning tips via phone or via online messenger from a member of the Icelandair team who’s an Iceland local.

According to Icelandair, each of the “Buddies” has a different expertise, such as local cuisine, outdoor adventures, wellness and Icelandic culture. And each buddy is eager to offer insider tips to help travelers make the most of their trip.  

The Hotline is open weekdays through July 8 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET and weekends from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET.

PDX testing new ways to leave airports via Lyft and Uber

Like many airports, Portland International often has a very long line of people waiting for their assigned driver from a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft.

Now, thanks to a pilot program being tested by both Uber and Lyft, the line should move much faster.

And, soon, so should the ride-hailing pick-up line at other airports.

First, the airport has separated the pick-up locations for the ride-hailing brands (Uber, Lyft and Winz) that serve the airport.

Uber and Lyft are also using a new system for pickups.

Uber is using PIN technology, a system it has used a high-volume events and festivals, to more quickly connect UberX riders and their drivers.  

Travelers request an UberX ride, receive a one-time code, and enter the line at the pick-up location. When they reach the front of the line, they show their code to the driver and upon validation, start the trip. (Separately, riders can also use Uber products for pick-ups at PDX, including UberPOOL, Uber XL etc. )

Lyft is also offering travelers a new code-based pick-up service.

With Lyft, travelers request their ride and are given a code. When the passenger arrives at the curb, they show the code to the next available driver and off they go. 

Both companies are testing their processes at PDX this week with full implementation expected by May 20. 

The pin-systems should get riders moving more quickly. S we expect the pilot program to become a permanent program at PDX and other airports shortly.

 

Nashville Airport’s carpet

The carpet at Nashville International Airport (BNA) is following in the steps of the celebrity carpet at Portland International Airport.

The BNA carpet dates back to 2010. It has its own Instgram account with about 7000 followers and lots of photos featuring feet, people, pets and babies on the carpet.

View this post on Instagram

Same. #mood #vibes #nashville

A post shared by BNA Carpet (@bnacarpet) on

Like the PDX carpet, travelers can even buy products featuring the pattern of the BNA carpet. 

In addition to shoes with the BNA carpet pattern, the list of carpet-themed goodies includes hoodies, leggings, socks, luggage covers and hoodies.

If you love the pattern and want a photo of your feet on carpet, though, start thinking about making a trip to Nasvhille International Airport.

According to a local news report, as part of renovations and upgrades at the airport the BNA carpet is scheduled to begin being replaced starting in summer 2020. The carpet will totally be replaced by terrazzo or by a carpet with a new pattern by 2023.

If you do go to Nasvhille International Airport to check out the carpet, be sure to look very closely: airport officials say there are guitar images hidden in the pattern.

Do you have a favorite airport carpet?

You can own artwork honoring the famed PDX carpet

Remember the ‘celebrity’ carpet at Portland International Airport?

Portlanders loved the PDX carpet. But it was old and worn and had to be replaced.

Now a large scale artwork celebrating that carpet is up for auction.

 

People loved taking pictures of their feet on that carpet.

The pattern showed up on caps, cups, neck pillows, jam, beer and all sorts of other items.

And, in 2015, not long after the Port of Portland announced it would be replacing all the carpeting in the airport, the carpet (yes the carpet) was named the Grand Marshal of Portland’s Rose Parade.

Now the large-scale carpet-centric artwork titled “Carpet Diem” by local artist Nancy Wilkins  that was commissioned by the airport and which has hung on Concourse ‘D’ at PDX since 2014 is being replaced as well.

The artwork is being surplused and is now up for auction.

Last we looked the highest bid was only $110!

Take a look and see if you’d like to own this homage to a quirky carpet,  and if you’ve got room for it in your home, office, bowling alley or airplane hangar.

 

 

 

 

Souvenir Sunday: Holiday shopping at airports

Getting ready to do some holiday shopping? Don’t forget airport shops, which often offer “street pricing.”  That means products purchased at airport shops cost no more than they do in town.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has once again put together a handy online Holiday Catalog to help travelers plan their airport shopping. Lots of Arizona-themed and locally-made items are listed in the catalog.  And, yes, cactus plants are regularly packed for travel.

In the Northwest, Oregon’s Portland International Airport (PDX) is a popular shopping destination for travelers and locals alike.

I head there from Seattle each year not only because Oregon have no sales tax, but PDX has a pre-security shopping area featuring branches of many popular local stores.

Here’s a selection of items that recently showed up in a PDX gift box I received. Included: shortbread cookies from Flying Elephants Delicatessen, a tote bag from Powell’s Books, a CD compilation of music by Portland-based artists, a whiskey sampling from House Spirits Distillery and a scarf, mug and socks from the Pendleton Woolen Mills. (Thank-you, PDX!)

 

During the holidays, not only do many airport shops have their most popular gifts wrapped and ready to go, many airports offer free gift wrapping for unwrapped items you may have tucked in your carry-on.

Heading to an airport during this holiday season? If you see something cool, unusual and locally-themed that you think would make a great gift, please snap a photo and send it along. If your item is featured on StuckatTheAirport.com, we’ll send you a travel-themed gift.