Saint-Louis Lambert International Airport

Tidbits for travelers: holiday news from airports around the country

Christmas week is always a big deal for airports and air travel.

This year, as usual, lines are long, people are cranky, and there’s a storm wreaking havoc with schedules and everyone’s best laid plans.

So, it’s a good bet that if you’re traveling by air this week, you’re going to spend some time being stuck at an airport. Remember to bring supplies such as books, snacks, a charged cell phone, and some extra cash to buy a few last minute gifts.

And remember to look around: some airports are hosting complimentary gift wrapping stations and many airports have scheduled holiday events and entertainment.

Here are just a few examples:

The Chicago Airport System’s schedule of “Holiday Delights” continues at both O’Hare Airport and Midway through Wednesday, December 23rd with performances by local blues, jazz, international, R&B performers, barbershop quartets and carolers. There will also be children’s workshops and a visit from Santa Claus.

Both airports are also offering free gift wrapping, past security, on December 21 and 23 with wrapping paper and gift bags created by students from the After School Matters program.

On Monday December 21st, Southwest Airlines and The Container Store join forces to offer free gift wrapping at Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Denver International, Saint Louis Lambert International, and Baltimore-Washington International airports. Here are some details about locations and times.

Free gift wrapping continues in various spots around Phoenix Sky Harbor airport through December 24th and through Wednesday at San Diego International Airport. Check your airport’s Web site to see if free gift wrapping is being offer there as well. Keep in mind that many airport shops also offer fee gift wrapping and many will have piles of pre-wrapped items ready to grab-n’- go.

If you find yourself hanging around Detroit Metroplitan Airport (DTW) Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (Dec 21 – 23rd), head on over to the stage next the water feature in the center of Concourse A (near Gate A40). The airport is partnering with local Delta Air Lines folks to host a holiday karaoke event called “Sing Because you Care” between 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day.

Anyone, or any group, that sings is being asked to donate $5 to support the local Salvation Army.

And here’s a great gift for anyone flying to or from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): the airport light rail station opened, as promised, on Saturday, December 19th. Just in time to save a lot of holiday travelers a lot of hassle and money.

It’s now possible to ride between the airport and downtown Seattle for $2.50.

Thanks, Santa!

Holiday entertainment & freebies at ATL, SEA, and other airports


If you’re traveling anytime during the next two weeks, it’s a fair bet you’ll find long lines and plenty of hassled travelers at the airport. But this time of year many airports are also serving up fun, freebies, and plenty of entertainment.

SANTA fruit label

A few examples:

From December 16 – 24, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has an entertainment program that includes live music performances, guest appearances by Santa, and a roving game team that will be rewarding winners with discount coupons for shops, services and restaurants at the airport.

XMAS girlHartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) also kicks off its annual Holiday Music series today, with a performance in the Atrium from 5 to 7pm by a group called Twisted Royalty. You can see the full series schedule here.

And on Monday, December 21st, 2009, from 10 am until 5 pm, the Container Store is partnering with Southwest Airlines to offer complimentary gift-wrapping at some airports, including:

Dallas Love Field   –  Gate 5
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport   –   D Gates
Denver International Airport   –   Gate C41
Saint Louis-Lambert International Airport   –   Gates 14 and 16
Baltimore-Washington International Airport   –   Gates B1, B2, and B3