Schiphol Airport

Travel Tidbits from airports here and there

Flight attendant unions mark an anniversary

Shuffleboard (!) at United Airlines’ new DEN lounge

Sheep at London’s Gatwick Airport

Formula 1 car at Schiphol Airport

Pancakes for a cause at Vancouver Int’l Airport

Travel Tidbits From An Airport Near You

Courtesy Portland International Airport

Cool New Kids’ Play Area at Portland International Airport

The family travel team at Stuck at the Airport knows that traveling with kids can be trying.

That’s why we’re delighted to see airports adding or refreshing play areas with creative and engaging features.

The latest on the scene is at Portland International Airport (PDX). There, the Tillamook County Creamery Association has created a cool new kids’ play area on Concourse E.

The 600-square-foot space has steps, slides, and a flying van designed with children ages 3 to 8 – and people of all abilities – in mind. The bouncy flooring is made from post-consumer recycled materials and the mural on the wall is by illustrator Josephine Rais.

The Tillamook Market, also on Concourse E, serves up meals made with Tillamook’s famous cheese and other locally-sourced ingredients, scoops of Tillamook ice cream, exclusive branded merch, and grab-and-go favorites including famous Tillamook Cheese Curds.

Freshful Fridge at Santa Barbara Airport

Stuck at the Airport is 100% in favor of healthy food options at all airports.

And we’re big fans of the Farmer’s Fridge salad vending machines offering fresh meals at more than 20 airports.

The trend is growing.

Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) has a new Freshful Fridge vending machine filled with locally-sourced snacks, salads, and beverages. Look for it in the SBA baggage claim area on the first floor.

More Limits at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

For a while now, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) has been placing caps on the number of departing passengers and flights. The action is an effort to deal with staff shortages that are causing long lines, canceled flights, and giant baggage backups.

KLM, Schiphol’s biggest customer, and a handful of other airlines aren’t happy about those flight caps and have filed a suit against Schiphol.

Now comes word that Schiphol will further restrict flights in an effort to reduce noise pollution.

Beginning “no later than 2025 – 26,” Schiphol will ban aircraft takeoffs between midnight and 6 am and all aircraft landings between midnight and 5 am.

Private jets and the noisiest airplanes will no longer be welcome at Schiphol. And plans for an additional runway are being scrapped.

We need to be sustainable for our employees, the local environment, and the world,” said Ruud Sondag, Royal Schiphol Group CEO. “I realize that our choices may have significant implications for the aviation industry, but they are necessary. This shows we mean business.”

KLM said in a statement that while it believes “operations should be in balance with our surroundings and the climate,” the airline is “astonished” that Schiphol is “unilaterally putting forward proposals that will have far-reaching consequences for airlines, without involving the industry parties in this process.”

Instead, KLM said, it would prefer “to work with the rest of the aviation industry on developing further measures to reduce CO2 emissions and noise pollution.”

Heartwarming stories from airports & airlines

We’ve been reading some charming and heartwarming stories from airports and airlines this holiday week.

Sweet Virgin Atlantic seat-swap

First, there is a viral post on Facebook by a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant relating the story of a passenger named Jack swapping his business class seat on a flight from New York to London for the economy seat booked by 88-year-old Violet.

“Of the hundreds of flights I’ve operated, I’ve had the pleasure of looking after footballers, supermodels and some Hollywood movie stars but let me tell you about my two favourite passengers EVER!,” wrote Leah Amy, “Jack and Violet 💜 (I wish she was called Vera or Rose 🤣)”

She went on to explain that Jack’s entire family was booked in business class. But Jack decided to swap seats with Violet. He then “sat on the row of seats directly next to the economy toilets and never made a peep or asked for anything the rest of the flight. No fuss, no attention, literally did it out of the kindness of his own heart, no one asked him to.”

A great story, right?

Well, the story gets a bit better. In response to the story of Jack and Violet, Virgin Atlantic announced it will be offering complimentary upgrades to “the most seasoned person” on board all its flights through January 1, 2020.

Nice!

Birthday treat at Schiphol Airport

Here’s another heartwarming holiday-season travel story. This one from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) documenting a great birthday treat they were able to arrange for 94-year-old Granny Miep.

Canadian hospitality

And one more.

Community helps stranded passengers on Christmas Day. (courtesy Karen KayCee/Facebook)

According to the CBC, when 75 passengers got stranded in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada on Dec. 25, the community came together in “Come from Away” style.

The town welcomed the passengerw, put together a Christmas dinner and made sure they got on their way.

The CBC notes that what happened in Deer Lake is reminiscent of what happened in 2001, when townspeople rallied to welcome thousands of passengers on planes diverted to Gander – which is also in Newfoundland and Labrador – due to the attacks on September 11.

That real-life story is the inspiration for the Tony Award-winning musical “Come From Away.”

In Deer Lake’s case, a plane full of WestJet passengers left Toronto for St. John’s late Christmas Eve but got diverted by bad weather.

Deer Lake isn’t a regular stop for WestJet flights, so there was little in the way support for the passengers once they were on the ground and sent over to the local Holiday Inn Express.

But this was Christmas Day. So local townspeople responded to a call-out on Facebook and rustled up a Christmas Dinner that included everything from sandwiches and cookies to turkey dinner and gravy and homemade rabbit stew.

All great stories, right?

Here’s to great travel and more heartwarming travel stories in 2020.

Exchange leftover currency for Bitcoin at Schiphol Airport

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport says it is the first European airport to install Bitcoin ATMS that allow passengers to exchange leftover euros for Bitcoin or Ethereum.

The kiosks – located in Arrival Hall 2 and in the corridor to Departure Halls 1 and 2 – are on site for a six month trial and are part of the airport’s efforts to always be looking for ways to innovate and provide “optium” service to passengers, Tanja Dik, Schiphol’s director of Consumer Products & Services said in a statement, “With the Bitcoin ATM, we hope to provide a useful service to passengers by allowing them to easily exchange ‘local’ euros for the ‘global’ cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum. That can be beneficial if, for instance, it’s not possible to spend euros in their home country.”

 

Would you use this machine to get rid of euros or use them instead to buy something fun in Schiphol shops selling cheese, tulip bulbs and other fun souvenirs of your visit?

Sofa shopping at Amsterdam Shiphol Airport

There are loads of reasons to love Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Among them – a great art collection, a casino, an indoor park, a library and loads of other amenities.

Now there’s one more: sofa shopping.

AMS SOFA

Schihol teamed up the online design brand Made.com and invited them to create furniture showrooms in two areas of the airport (Piers H and M).

That’s pretty nifty on its own, but even better – passengers can do more than just look at the nice living room set-ups, they can sit down on the furniture and, if they like it, go online and buy it.

AMS -SOFA PERSON