Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

High tech ways to clean an airport

(Courtesy C&W Services)

I’m finishing up my May “At the Airport” column for USA TODAY and wanted to share this preview of one of the entertaining new tools several airports are testing and using: robotic floor scrubbers.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is testing one out. Pittsburgh International Airport has served as a testing ground for an automatic floor scrubber as well.

But at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, an autonomous floor scrubber is already on duty full-time. Here’s a short video that shows the machine at work and employees describing how it works, how it helps get the job done, and how much it entertains passengers.

Stay tuned for more details on other high tech ways airports keep the terminals clean.

Bike to the airport?

SEA BIKE ASSEMBLY STATION

Bike to or from the airport? In many cities you can do that and an increasing number of airports are making it easier to park, store, assemble, disassemble or make needed repairs to your bike.

Earlier this month Seattle-Tacoma International Airport marked National Bike Month with a new bicycle assembly/disassembly station, along with updated bike amenities that include tools, a bike pump, new bike racks, storage options (both short- and long-term), improved signage, and an updated bicycle resources webpage.

Other airports with bike stations and support include San Francisco International Airport, Portland International Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Victoria International Airport on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

(Photo courtesy Seattle-Tacoma International Airport)

The buzz on bees at Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

SEA BEES

Busy bees are hard at work in hives out on the property of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Inside the airport, there’s also now an exhibit with bee-themed art and educational information about the importance of pollinators.

Titled Flight Path, the exhibit explores bees and flight through a variety of mediums including paintings, blown glass and a mosaic and includes the work of 24 Northwest artists.

Last year, the airport hosted 18 hives. This year, the Port of Seattle is working with a local group called The Common Acre to host 1.5 million honeybees in 24 hives on unused vacant land near the runways.

Sea-Tac isn’t the only airport with hives. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has honeybee hives on property as well and products made from the honey is for sale inside the airport.

Bee outfit

Maps for sale at Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport

This delights me to no end. And not just because it is at my home airport.

On Friday – just in time for the long holiday weekend – a new store selling maps, globes and other fun travel-related items opened at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

SEA_Metsker Maps

Metsker Maps has cartography roots in Seattle dating back to 1880 and a popular store in downtown Seattle at the Pike Place Market. The shop sells maps of all kinds, globes, books, guides, travel accessories and children’s items.

Modern-day map apps are useful and all that, but “maps tell us where we are, remind us of where we have been and inspire new adventures,” said Metsker Maps president Jay Brown.

I’ve got a trip coming up in a few days and I’m already planning on heading to the airport extra early so I can visit the store. One map I hope they have in stock is a scratch off world map .

“No need for map pins here – just scratch the country you have been to and the colorful underlying layer is revealed!”

I want to buy this map, unfold it at the gate for my international flight and see if between me and my fellow travelers we’ve got the whole world ‘scratched.’

More live music at Seattle Int’l Airport

ScreenHunter_57 Mar. 26 18.38

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, already the site of an ambitious local music program, is getting even more tuneful.

Starting Thursday, March 27, the airport is doubling the number of live music performances in the terminal offered as part of the airport’s Experience the City of Music program.

Now there will be three performances daily – seven days a week – between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. at various post-security locations throughout the terminal.

The Port of Seattle and The Merchants at Sea-Tac will cover the costs of the program under a new three year contract.

“Anything that makes the airport experience more enjoyable for our guests is worth the investment,” said Stacy House, Senior Director of Operations for HMSHost, Sea-Tac Airport. “Not to mention, the music is fantastic and livens the atmosphere of our restaurants and shops. It’s an all-around win!”

We agree.

Sea-Tac’s music program goes far beyond the live music. The emphasis on Northwest artists includes overhead music, safety and public information announcements by artists, curated videos on terminal and baggage claim monitors and a multi-channel web radio player available. There’s an exhibit about Jimi Hendrix on Concourse A and, in April, Sub Pop is scheduled to open a shop at Sea-Tac offering Northwest music as well.