Sacramento International Airport

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Earlier this week, we told you about a new Prince-themed store that opened recently at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Here are some more new shops to look for at the airports in Sacaremento and Las Vegas.

The folks at SouveNEAR, who place vending machines filled with work made by local artists at airports, are expanding their network.

Created to be “an indie craft fair in a box,” SouveNEAR fills these vending machines with an eclectic collection of art prints and originals, T-shirts and apparel, handmade jewelry, gourmet food items and other travel-sized mementos. Prices range from $5.00-$50.00. 

Right now they’ve got their art-filled machines in multiple locations at Kansas City International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Oakland International Airport and Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

In September you’ll be able to shop for local art from SouveNEAR machines in Sacramento International Airport (SMF) an in Las Vegas at McCarran International Airport (LAS).

Sacramento International Airport also has a new shop called The Well in Terminal A selling locally-sourced gifts in a “hydration-focused” environment.

In addition to selling gifts and gourmet foods from Northern Califorinia, the shop has a self-serve water bar and stocks a variety of reusable drinking bottles.

Stuck at the airport: news from LAX, FAT and OAK

Lovely LAX

Here’s a lovely spring report from Los Angeles International Airport.

Heavy rains have left behind a rare super bloom of wildflowers.

LAX reports that the flowers are located across the airfield complex, with the highest concentration on the north airfield – between runways 24L and 24R. The bouquet of flowers spreads along the length of those runways, approximately 10,885 feet.

New arts lounge at Fresno Yosemite International Airport

Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) has added an arts lounge to its art exhibitions program.

Over the past year, the program has expanded to include larger works of art, live music performances and a partnership with a local art gallery featuring local photographers.

Travelers love the offerings so far. So the airport is adding more features. FAT’s new arts lounge has tables and chairs, couches, charging ports and “offers a friendly airport environment for travelers,” said FAT’s Director of Aviation, Kevin Meikle.

Showing now: Leslie Batty’s large scale works, including a painting of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and “Projections” by John Moses, a series of photography images blending iconic films with ghostly images from some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films.

Oakland International Airport celebrates Southwest Airlines first flight to Hawaii

On Monday, the first Southwest Airlines flight to the Hawaiian Islands arrived in Honolul after leaving Sunday evening from Oakland International Airport.

Scores of passengers, airline and airport staff, officials and hula dancers crowded Terminal 1 at the Oakland International Airport for a send-off of the long-awaited launch of Southwest Airlines’ inaugural service from the US Mainland to Hawaii.

And there was cake.

Souvenir Sunday: the buzz at Sacramento Int’l Airport

There’s still quite a bit of a buzz around the new Central Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport, so my picks for Souvenir Sunday this week are a few items I spotted during my tour of the airport.

In addition to the cute bee above, I spotted this sweet bee-themed mug at the Sacramento Bee news stand in the baggage claim area.

And, over in the ‘old’ Terminal A, I found this classic:

For photos and a report of my tour of the airport, please see my previous posts here and here, and my At the Airport column about Sacramento International Airport on

Please join me in celebrating Souvenir Sunday: if you are poking around an airport shop and find something fun, inexpensive (about $10) and “of” the city or region, please snap a photo and send it along. If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday here at, I’ll send you a fun travel souvenir.

Practice pizza at Sacramento International Airport’s new Terminal B

Sacramento International Airport’s
new Terminal B officially opens to the flying public on Thursday. But while workers were still putting finishing touches on the building and shop and restaurant owners were scrambling to stock their shelves and set their tables, I had a chance to walk through the facility.

And even though no passengers were around, I found the crew at the Famous Famiglia Pizzeria stand busy making and cutting up pizzas.

Curious – and a little hungry – I stopped to find out what they were up to. I ended up talking to John Kolaj, the company co-founder, who had come to town to make sure everyone and everything was just right for opening day. He told me, for example, that water from New York is flown to each pizzeria so that the dough will always come out just right. And he made the newly-hired employees gather together for a ‘family picture.’

Kolaj is the guy with the black shirt there in the middle. (He said some people might recognize him from an episode of Celebrity Apprentice). The young man in the orange shirt to the left of Kolaj in the picture is 19 year-old Brandon Avelar.

When I asked the crew cutting up pizzas how long they’d been at it, Avelar said he was learning this skill for the first time. “In fact,” he said proudly, “This is my first job!”

Avelar said he’d learned about some job openings at the airport and gotten a call that he was hired just a few hours after his interview. He chatted for a bit longer, but then turned his attention back to work, which involved serving up the pizza, garlic knots and stromboli – for free – to the “practice customers” (hungry construction workers) lined up at the counter.

More photos to follow…

Sneak peek at Sacramento Airport’s new terminal

Sacramento International Airport’s (SMF) new $1 billion Central Terminal B opens for business on Thursday, and during my tour of the space on Monday, workers were still busy with some finishing touches.

All the artwork was in place, though and there are some great pieces. Here are some samples. More tomorrow…

At 56 feet long and bright red, Lawrence Argent’s giant, red, aluminum rabbit, titled “Leap,” is impossible to miss. Where is he leaping to? Into a giant granite suitcase below.

Donald Lipski’s sculpture, “Acorn Steam,” is a chandelier in the form of a Valley Oak tree decorated with several thousand Swarovski crystals. The work is thirty feet in diameter. (Acorn Steam is an anagram of Sacramento.)

Mildred Howard’s 17-foot glass house, titled “The House Will Not Pass for Any Color but Its Own,” is made of glass strips and welcomes travelers as they step off the people mover and approach the security checkpoint.

There’s more – much more – so please check back here tomorrow.

(Photos courtesy Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Sacramento County Airport System. “Leap” photos by Glen Peach)