Southwest Airlines

Yes, Southwest Airlines will check your pool noodle.

The world – and a young woman named Sydney Fowls – now knows that Southwest Airlines stands by its promise to allow passengers to check two bags for free.

Even if one of those bags happens to be a pool noodle.

Fowles recently traveled from Ohio to Tampa for a vacation. And, budgets being tight, she decided to bring her own foam pool noodle along.

Rather than bring the pool noodle on the plane and try to put it in the overhead bin, Fowls decided to check the pool noodle as her second free ‘bag.’ To her delight, and now ours, no one at Southwest Airlines said no to checked noodle.

The noodle was tagged and sent out to be loaded onto the plane.

The modern world being what it is, Fowles documented the noodles journey on Tik Tok. She even caught the bemused reaction of the bag handlers who were tasked with loading the noodle onto the plane.

@sydneyfowls05

My pool noodle traveled from Ohio —-> Florida

♬ Vacation – Dirty Heads

The internet loved Fowls’ first pool noodle Tik Tok. To the tune of 11 million views (so far).

Did the noodle make it to Tampa?

Spoiler alert: Yes it did. Did the noodle make it back home to Ohio? Yes it did.

Did Southwest Airlines join in the fun? Yes they did.

When Fowls returned from her trip, there was a pool noodle performance waiting for her.

There was a bag carousel filled with pool noodles.

Fowls got a photo op with the bag handlers who were featured in her first Tik Tok post.

And she got her own Southwest Airlines-branded pool noodle.

@sydneyfowls05

My pool noodle made it back home to Ohio! Thank you Southwest Airlines for everything you did for me! @flysouthwest @junebug2433 #viral

♬ SexyBack (feat. Timbaland) – Justin Timberlake

Giveaways for Southwest Airlines’ 50th Anniversary

June 18 marks 50 years since Southwest Airlines flew its first commercial flight and to celebrate the airline is giving away prizes through June 18 and celebrating all month long.

The Southwest Airlines Sweepstakes

Through June 18, anyone can enter the sweepstakes here for a chance to win prizes that include 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, or 50,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points.

We’ve been entering everyday, but so far we’re not a winner.

Be sure to enter the sweepstakes on June 18. That’s the day Southwest has dubbed “Wanna Get Away Day,” when the prizes – and the number of prizes awarded – balloon considerably.

On that day, you could win up to a million rapid rewards points, a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card, and a Companion Pass that lets you take someone with you every time you fly on Southwest Airlines.

The Party Goes On All Month

In addition to the sweepstakes, Southwest Airlines is hosting pop-up photo opportunities in 24 airport gate areas and rolling out Heart Carts full of swag and giveaways in more than 40 of its locations.

Southwest Airlines fans who want to celebrate with some swag can shop the Southwest Airlines online store for retro merchandise that includes a Retro Build-A-Bear wearing the airline’s original hotpants uniform.

Travel Tidbits: Hawaii, Amtrak, Comic Book Art

Travel Tidbits from airports and airlines near you

Southwest expands Hawaii flights from California

Southwest Airlines announced new nonstop flights from Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to both Kona (KOA), on the island of Hawaii, and Lihue, Kauai (LIH) will begin flying in January 2020.

Once these flights begin, you’ll be able to fly to all four main Hawaiian Islands nonstop from SJC.

Southwest will start flights between SJC and Lihue four days per week (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun) starting January 19, 2020. Flights to Kona will be three times a week (Tue/Thu/Sat) beginning January 21.

These new flights will be in addition to Southwest’s existing daily, nonstop flights between SJC and both Honolulu and Kahului (Maui), which began in May.

Take the Train – half off

You can’t take the train to Hawaii, but you can take it lots of other places – for half price.

Amtrak just kicked off its September Sale, offering 50% off tickets nationwide. The sale runs Friday, August 16 through Saturday, August 17, 2019 and covers travel anywhere between September 1 and September 30, 2019. Even better: no blackout dates.

Comic art at John Wayne Airport

Like comic books? Then you’ll love this comic book art.

Mixed Media Collage artist Fernando Del Rosario brings his “Real Heroes” collection of inspiring quotes and original composed art – made from comic books – to John Wayne Airport (JWA).

“My Real Heroes collection is meant to grab you, lose yourself within each piece and come out inspired, motivated, and creatively recharged,” said Del Rosario. “Every one of these comic book pages is from my collection as a kid. And this is my way of sharing my story and my inspiration with the public.”

Del Rosario’s artwork is on display in the JWA Community Focus Space from August 15 – September 17, 2019.

Airports, airlines & Game of Thrones

The connection between airports, airlines and Game of Thrones?

Not really sure (because I don’t follow the series), but PR Week noticed that at least one airline – Southwest – and one airport – Miami International – shared on-point tweets recently about their final season of GOT excitement. (Thanks, MIA)

And, for Game of Thrones fans who like drinking – or for travelers who’d like to show up with a great gift for a Game of Thrones fans – I spotted a collection of single-malt whiskeys in collectible Game of Thrones bottles for sale a Singapore’s Changi Airport last week.

Have some to add? Send them along!

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.