Tampa International Airport

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Tampa International welcomes visitors past security

This week Tampa International Airport (TPA) introduces a program that offers non-ticketed guests access to the shops, restaurants, artwork and gate areas beyond security.

TPA’s program is called All-Access and will issue passes to 100 people each Saturday, starting on May 4. Passes will be good all day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

TPA has four distinct Airsides (A, C, E and F) and each week the 100 passes will be divied up by 25 passes issued for each Airside. So, to figure out which Airside to request, visitors should check out TPA’s shopping and dining guide.

Tampa International Airport is the second airport in the nation to offer non-ticketed guests this perk. Pittsburgh International Airport’s MyPITPass started in 2017 and offer passes on weekdays.

Airport Restaurant Month

HMSHost has brought back Airport Restaurant Month to 60 of its dining venues in airports across the country.

Throughout May, diners can choose from a selection of three appetizers and four entrees at the participating restaurants.

The menus may vary a bit by restaurant, but most will offer their take on Seared Salmon, Flatbread Prima Vera, a Spicy Slaw Burger, a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich and an AM Wrap.

The meals include a dark chocolate sea salt bar as well.

See the menus and find the full of list of restaurants participating in HMSHost’s Airport Restaurant Month here.

SFO moves pick-up spot for ride-hailing pick ups

Starting June 3, travelers getting picked up by ride-hailing services such as Uber, Lyft or Wingz at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will have to head to the Domestic Hourly Parking Garage.

International Terminal pickups will continue in the current location (at the center island of the Departure level roadway) and all ride-hailing drop-offs will continue to occur at designated upper-level departure curbside areas.

The change is designed to lighten traffic on the airport’s terminal roadway and comes after Uber X and Lyft began offering their customers a $3 discount if they chose to be picked up in the Airport’s Domestic Hourly Garage instead of at curbside.

That didn’t do much to reduce congestion, so in June SFO is going ahead and moving all domestic ride-hailing ride pickups to the Domestic Hourly Parking Garage.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, McCarran’s Las Vegas International Airport and an increasing number of other airports direct ride-hailing customers to a central garage area for picks ups as well.

And this from the TSA Week in Review:

Between April 22 and 28, TSA security officers found 85 firearms in carry-on bags at airports. 75 of those firearms were loaded and 28 of those firearms had a round chambered.

Alarmed?

Airlines, airports go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month

Airlines and airports are going pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Throughough October, Tampa International Airport is lighting up its SkyConnect stations in a shade of pink. TPA’s Guest Service Representatives are all wearing pink scarves and ties and airport police officers are wearing pink ribbon-adorned badges.

Miami International Airport is also going pink during October.

Travelers will see pink signage on MIA’s Central  Boulevard welcome sign,  flight information screens, ticket counter monitors and more.

Last year, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) raised more than $35,000 for the American Cancer Society’sMaking Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) Walk – the most of any Miami-Dade County department – through employee-led food sales, raffles, auctions and activities. This year, MDAD has partnered with concessionaires at Miami International Airport to raise more than $16,000, with the goal of surpassing its 2017 total.

Airlines are also going pink.

To raise awareness and support for breast cancer research, Delta Air Lines employees will wear pink uniforms and sell pink products, including pink lemonade and pink headsets, on board and in Delta Sky Clubs throughout the month of October.

This year, customers can also purchase Pink Boutique merchandise through the Pink Boutique online store. Proceeds from the onboard sales and online Pink Boutique benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s research projects and the overall mission of finding a cure. Delta will also donate 10 percent of all on-board sales directly to BCRF during the month of October.

American Airlines is also participating in Breast Cancer Awareness month by raising fund for the Susan B. Komen group:

  • AAdvantage customers can receive 20 AAdvantage miles for every $1 donated to Susan G. Komen with a minimum donation of $25 from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.
  • Team members who are survivors of breast cancer will be prominently featured on aa.com, on AA flight and gate information display screens and in Admirals Clubs.
  • On planes, there will be pink beverage napkins and pink inflight menus, amenity kits, Wi-Fi portal and more.
  • Passengers will also be invited to donate directly to Susan B. Komen during flights. flight.

Other airlines and other airports will be marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well with fundraising efforts, information campaigns and lots of pink. If you know of a campaign, let us know.

Travel Tidbits from SEA, TPA and Changi airports

Happy Friday! Here are some travel tidbits and ‘coming atttractions’ from several airports.

Happy Birthday Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is marking its birthday month with a variety of local events. The airport first opened to the public on July 9, 1949,

Courtesy Port of Seattle

Looking forward, travelers will soon be able to drink beer brewed on-site at Tampa International Airport:

And for long-haul travel, Singapore’s Changi Airport has rolled out a new stopover program that includes a (one-way) hotel transfer, a SIM card and an overnight stay at one of 20 participating hotels.  Packages start at S$63 – about $46 US dollars.

(Stuffed) tiger tours Tampa International Airport

First it was Princess Kitty.

Denver airport kitty 6

A few weeks back, the Lost & Found department at Denver International gave a stuffed animal named Princess Kitty the royal treatment and a tour of the airport before reuniting the toy with its young owner.

Now a stuffed tiger named Hobbes – left behind at Tampa International – has plenty of tales to tell.

Hobbes_Firefighter - Copy

Earlier this month, the TPA Lost and Found Department got a frantic call from the mom of a 6-year-old boy named Owen who had left his toy behind when the family flew off to Houston.

A janitorial crew at the airport found Hobbes and Tony D’Aiuto, the airport operations center manager, decided to take the toy on an adventure.

Hobbes certainly had a great time.

Hobbes_gelato - Copy

Photos on the airport’s website – and in the book D’Aiuto had put together overnight at a local Walgreens – show Hobbes at the gelato counter, playing Jenga in the USO, visiting the airport fire department and the air traffic control tower, learning about airport operations and checking into the airport Marriott.

Hobbes_luggage

Owen and his family came to retrieve Hobbs when they got back from trip and were presented with the photo book of the tiger’s adventures.

Hobbes_return
“It cost just $16 to make the book and a couple of hours of my time,” said D’Aiuto, “and if there’s ever an opportunity like this when we know we’ll be able to reunite a toy with its owner, I’d love to do it again.”

(All photos courtesy Tampa International Airport. A slightly difference version of my story about the lost tiger first appeared on USA TODAY)

Vancouver International Airport’s lovely loo

YVR 1

Every year the folks at Cintas – a major restroom supply company – hold a contest to choose the best public washrooms in the United States and Canada.

The list of nominees includes not just spots where cleanliness in crappers is king, but where creativity abounds.

For example, last year’s U.S. winner, the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN, has a restroom decorated “with ornate, gilded mirrors, sassy text plates, and bricks laid as if by a drunken mason on bender,” and “invites guests into an Alice In Wonderland-like grotto – to relieve themselves and re-live childhood fairy tales.”

Varsity

The list of potties to pick from is out for this year’s contest, and while no airport made the top ten list in the U.S., Tampa International Airport is still overflowing with pride from making the list last year.

tampa

This year, the finalists in Canada include a loo at Vancouver International Airport.

YVR BATHROOM 2

Here’s how the nomination reads:

“Located in the C-Pier, Domestic Terminal of YVR, travelers find a clean, modern place to freshen up during their journeys. The washroom walls are covered in shades of blue, red, and yellow mosaic tiles and wave-shaped blue flooring winds down the curved corridor leading guests to their choice of bathroom stalls. White tile surrounds the hands-free sinks and towel dispensers, creating a cohesive and modern atmosphere that is sure to leave a lasting impression.”

YVR3

Take a look at the list of nominees for “Best Restroom” in both the United States and Canada and be sure to pick your favorite. Because when you gotta go, you gotta – well, you know – and it may as well be a posh pottie.