Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Great spots for plane-spotting

I recently put together a USATODAY.com column highlighting some of the observation decks at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI), and other North American airports.

Minneapolis - Observation deck - wide

Today I’ve got a column about plane-spotting sites outside airport terminals.

The sites listed range from Millbrae, California’s Bayfront Park, which offers great views of take-offs and landings at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), to Gravelly Point near Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), and a few unusual but, we’re assured, legal spots nearby Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

For a photo-gallery and a list of other highly-recommended plane-spotting sites  around the country, please see the full column on USATODAY.com.

RDU Observ Park  - courtesy RDU Airport

(Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Observation Park)

And of course, please share your favorite plane-spotting sites.

Signature Art at Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Last year, when North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham International Airport had an open house to let the public see the new Terminal 2 building, they asked everyone who stopped by to sign their name to a sheet of paper.  Artist Dunne Dittman later took those signatures and turned them into a piece of art – Signature Art – by scanning each name and having it etched into a piece of 6 ft. by 4 ft sea foam glass,


The work was unveiled last Friday at RDU’s annual Customer Appreciation Day and is now in its permanent home in the window front of the Heritage Room in the Terminal 2 ticketing lobby.

There’s lot more art at RDU: take a look.

Free gifts and music at Raleigh-Durham Int’l Airport on Customer Appreciation Day

North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is having a party this Friday (October 9th, 2009) as part of the airport’s annual Customer Appreciation Day.  On the agenda: free music, free gifts, and a chance to win free airplane tickets and other prizes.


During the event, The Shops of RDU restaurants will offer samples of  signature menu items, specialty retail shops will hand out giveaways items, and some airlines will hold drawings for free tickets.

The event, which is part of National Customer Service Week, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the airport’s parking garage atrium.


But wait… there’s more!  The TSA, the USO, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other organizations and agencies will have exhibits, there’ll be live Calypso and Dixieland jazz music, and there will be drawings for gifts from airport shops.

Don’t you wish every day was Customer Appreciation Day?

Tidbits for travelers: Cashless cabins, clothes-free CEOs, and goopy garages


credit-card-imageOn Monday, June 1st, American Airlines becomes the latest airline to go cashless. If you’re flying on an American Airlines flight in the continental U.S. or on a flight to or from Hawaii, Alaska and Canada and want to buy headsets, meals, snacks or alcoholic beverages, you’ll need a credit card to do so.

The new policy does not apply to American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights; there, it’s still cash only.


Air New Zealand is getting a lot of attention for this fun commercial in which the airline’s CEO and several employees are pretty much naked.  They’ve got clothes painted on, so at first glance they don’t look naked. But they are. The  “making of” video is also fun to watch.

Goopy garages


According to an article in the News & Observer, some cars left in the parking garage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have been getting slimed. The airport can’t quite figure out where the goop has been coming from, or what’s in it, but since 2004 the airport has spent more than $20,000 reimbursing parking garage customers who have had to repaint gunk-splattered cars.

Travel tidbits: DVD’s, flying pets and siestas

Starting June 1st, you’ll be able to rent DVDs for $1 a day at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) from one of those Redbox self-service kiosks that have been popping up at supermarkets and, increasingly, airports.

joplinWoof! Pet Airways,which I wasn’t so sure would make it to market, has announced that it’s been cleared for take-off and is now taking reservations – for pets only – between a bunch of cities beginning in June.  Fares for Fido: $149 each way. Let me know if your pet has a seat reservation so I can write about it.

mia-siesta-oneAnd beginning April 30, Miami International Airport (MIA) kicks off a new series of exhibitions in its top-notch art program.  The first exhibition in the Hand Made series will be Siesta, featuring forty ceremonial hammocks and bags by the Wayuu people from the region of La Guajira in northern Colombia. There will also be photographs documenting the Wayuu way of life. Siesta will be on display through October 31, 2009 in the South Terminal Gallery at MIA’s Terminal J.