St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

PIE: 5 Things We Love About St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

The ‘5 Things We Love About…” series on Stuck At The Airport celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we land at Florida’s St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport (PIE).

Originally named Pinellas International Airport – that’s where the airport call letters PIE come from – the airport was renamed St-Pete Clearwater International in 1958 to capitalize on the airport’s location on tourist-friendly Tampa Bay, north of St. Petersburg.  

© James Borchuck 2010 (727) 420-5867

5 Things We Love About St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport (PIE)

Photo by James Borchuck

1. The art at PIE

The public art collection at PIE includes the 45-foot blown glass wall, SunSkySea, by Guy Kemper (above), glass vessels by Duncan McClellan, terrazzo floor tile inserts by Kelly Taaffe Noto and lots more.

2. PIE PUPS

The PIE PUPS program brings therapy dogs to the airport to help de-stress travelers. PIE also has new Bark Parks in the parking lots.

3. Family-Friendly Amenities

Bonus amenities at PIE includes a kid’s play zone designed by the Great Explorations Children’s Museum that features simulated flights and a lego table with airplanes. 

4. Local favorite Mazzaro Italian Market

Local favorite Mazzaro Italian Market has a branch at PIE featuring Italian hot and cold sandwiches and flatbreads and signature cocktails.

5. Aviation History

PIE airport’s location on Tampa Bay, north of St. Petersburg is credited as being the birthplace of commercial air transportation. 

On January 1, 1914, barely a decade after the Wright Brothers’ pioneer flight at Kitty Hawk, the first ticket for air travel was sold by the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airport line to a fare-paying passenger. 

St. Petersburg mayor A.C. Phiel (center in the photo below) paid $400 to be the first passenger on the St. Petersburg Tampa Bay Airport Line on a flight that marked the beginning of commercial air transportation. 

A replica of the Benoist amphibious airplane flown that inaugural flight is on display in the PIE baggage claim.

Courtesy Courtesy National Air and Space Museum Archives.

On PI day, we notice PIE Airport

No word if they’re handing out free Key Lime pie today at Florida’s St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, as they have in some past years. But we celebrate that airport today anyway, because it’s PI day and the airport’s identifier code is PIE.

PI Day celebrates the Greek letter “π” (Pi). That’s the symbol that represents the mathematical constant that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and has been calculated to over a trillion digits, the first of which are 3.14.

As far as we know, PIE airport didn’t get that code because everyone there loved eating pie. Instead, it is because when it was orignally constructed, in 1941 as a military flight-training base, its name was Pinellas Army Airfield.

If you stop by PIE airport today, be sure to take a look at some of their public art, including this piece by Mary Klein called Mile Markers.

How are you celebrating PI day? In my neighborhood, there’s a pizza restaurant selling pies for $3.14.