Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington, DC-area airports celebrate Cherry Blossom Festival

(Washington Dulles International Airport, photo by J. David Buerk)

The month-long National Cherry Blossom Festival is underway in the Washington, D.C. area and even the airports are getting into the spirit with cherry trees in bloom and buildings lit in pink at night.

Pink lighting is illuminating the iconic main terminal of Washington Dulles International Airport and the parking garage stairwells at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Inside the airports, there are cherry blossom-themed promotions and entertainment scheduled through April 16.

There will be Cherry Blossom stilt walkers strolling through airport halls pre-and post-security from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays (March 24, March 31, April 7 and April 14).

Photo courtesy Sidney Woods

Entertainment on tap includes souvenir photos, paint sessions with a Japanese Sumi-E artist (black ink painting) and performances by Cellist Peter Kibbe at Dulles International on Thursday, April 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and at Reagan National on Friday, April 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Several restaurants will be offering pink-themed menu selections and drinks through April 17 and shoppers who spend more than $100 (pre-tax) on food or retail can turn those receipts in for a free National Cherry Blossom coaster set.

Social media followers of the airport Facebook pages can also win free ticket to official Cherry Blossom Festival events. Details here.




Tidbits for travelers: new airport, new avatar on duty

Mari, a Stuck at The Airport reader who works in air navigation in Georgia – the country, not the state – wrote to draw our attention to the King David the Builder International Airport being built in Kutaisi, Georgia by the Dutch architectural firm, UNStudio.

The airport is scheduled to be completed by September, 2012. Here’s what the tower is going to look like:

(Photo courtesy UNStudio)

Very futuristic-looking, right?

At Washington Dulles International Airport, the future is already here.

A 3D-looking Tensator Virtual Assistant – Dulles has named her “Paige” – is on duty welcoming passengers, offering Customs and Border Protection information and sharing connecting flight information in the International Arrivals Building.

Here’s a video (taken by an airport representative) of Paige in action:

Free Wifi now at Dulles and Washington National Airports

On Monday, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority rolled out complimentary wireless internet service at Reagan National and Dulles International Airports.

Until now, if you didn’t have a subscription with a major wireless carrier or hotspot provider, you’d have to pay for access to the service. All those pay services are still available, but now a complimentary option shows up on the wireless networks list.

The service is so new that on Monday afternoon, during my layover at Dulles, there were no signs posted alerting travelers to the free service. Nor was there anything on the front page of either of the airport websites.

Once I figured out that you actually have to scroll through the ‘Terms and Conditions’ notice before clicking ‘agree,’ I was able to log onto the service quite easily.  No pop-up ads show up yet, but airport officials say that may happen n the future.

Bottom line: a great new amenity at two major US airports.  Yay!


Free WiFI at DCA and IAD





Cute alert at PIT, IAD and DCA airports

Many airports are already all gussied up for the holidays, and over the next few days loads more will join in.

snow globe

Students from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland will celebrate the annual tree-trimming celebration at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport by decorating trees with “Winter Wonderland-themed ornaments they created.Students will be decorating the trees at Dulles on Wednesday, Dec 2 from 10:30 to 11:30 am and at Reagan Washington National on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 10:30 until 11:30 am.

xmas tree

And on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, between 7 and 9 am, there’ll be live classical piano music by Claudia Sanchez on the ticketing level of Pittsburgh International Airport.

Later that morning, between 10 and 11 a.m., the Aliquippa High School Chorus will sing for passengers while students  decorate the holiday trees.

More holiday events tomorrow!

Free stuff: Win one of 40 free trips in Virginia.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” marketing campaign, Virginia tourism officials are giving away 40 trips in 40 weeks.

Each has a different theme. And as far as I can tell even the grand prize options don’t include airfare.  But if you live out that way or win a prize and can get over there, it seems like a lot of fun and definitely worth sending in an entry.

For Stuck at the Airport fans, note that the first week’s prize, which will be given away on February 20th, 2009, has an aviation theme.   Activities center around Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va.

The prize package includes two night’s lodging at a Hyatt Place hotel, a ride in a Biplane, and a private tour of the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, just down the road from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

NASM: the Spirit of St. Louis in the GFallery 104

(The Spirit of St. Louis, the plane Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927, is one of the aviation treasures on  display at the museum. Courtesy: Smithsonian Institution.)

I’m holding out for Trip #27: it includes a chance to be a judge at the Chincoteague’s annual Oyster Festival – and hopefully lots of oysters.

Enter the Virginia is for Lovers sweepstakes here.