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While we love to see that money is being invested in airports to make the flying experience more comfortable, sometimes we grow a little concerned that terminal upgrades are tilted too far towards the luxury traveler. In this rant, our contributor wonders when budget travelers will catch a break.
When I landed in Philly this weekend and picked up a copy of the Inquirer, the front-page story was all about the big upgrades taking place at Terminal F. The headline read: "Need an iPad? Or a Shower? A Haircut? Fine Dining? A redesigned Terminal F provides travelers with amenities they can't fit in their carry-ons." It continued:
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Yes, that statement still sounds a little weird for us too.
Last week, construction crews started moving dirt to make way for Houston Hobby's newest expansion: the airport's first international terminal, which will benefit Southwest as it plans to cross borders for the first time in the 43-year history of the airline.
The $156 million project plans to add a completely separate building to house Southwest's international operations. When all is said and done, the airline will be pulling up to one of 5 gates the airport will offer with immigration facilities. Along with new gates, the existing ticketing and security areas will see a facelift to make way for increased passenger traffic.
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Any frequent traveler from Newark Airport has seen the cute little prop planes of Porter Airlines on their frequent and friendly routes to Toronto’s more convenient airport—the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. It looks like flights to and from the airport might be even more fun in the near future, as the city is hard at work constructing a tunnel to whisk passengers from the airport to the city center.
Our bad for not mentioning this earlier, but we just found out about the plans for the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport pedestrian tunnel. The plan is to connect the airport on the Toronto Islands with the mainland, and the project just hit a pretty big milestone. Last week, workers finished off the hardest part of the construction, as they finally broke through—and saw the light—from one end of the tunnel to the other.
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Watch out, Delta; the Sky Club Sky Decks may be the hot spots at JFK and ATL right now, but there's another airport deck coming soon and it's from competing airlines.
The lounge is being designed by architectural firm Gensler (also behind other airport projects like JetBlue's T4 at JFK), so you can pretty much guarantee it's going to be worth the wait until an opening later this year. Even better is the fact that the lounge's design will be inspired by a "contemporary interpretation of modernist L.A. architecture of the 1950s and 1960s." Talk about being on-trend; there's a "nouveau retro" movement right now focusing on exactly thatwest coast mid-century style.
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This summer hasn't even officially begun and we're already looking forward to a European trip in 2014, thanks to the opening of the newest and flashiest new airport: Heathrow's Terminal 2. Besides the fresh new airport smell, the building will walk through the halls of The Queen's Terminal, the official name of the modern building.
The countdown is officially on for The Queen's Terminal as we are just under 12 months until the ribbon cutting, with the first passengers arriving on a United flight June 4, 2014. The terminal will hearken back to the airport's history; Queen Elizabeth opened the original building in 1955, just 3 years after she took the throne. Since then, that structure was demolished to make way for a sustainable airport that will grow with the amount of tourists planning to head to the UK and transit through the mega-hub.
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Over the last few months we’ve seen several sneak peeks and first looks at what’s going on over at JFK Airport and Delta’s plan for the renovation at Terminal 4. From the SkyDeck to the SkyClub and everything in between the place looks like it’s going to be a hit when it debuts later this year, and that’s especially the case since what it’s replacing was so terrible—to put things lightly.
Anyway now that the bulldozers and construction crews are getting ready to pack up over in New York, it looks like they’re already getting their next assignment. Apparently Delta now has its eyes on mixing things up over at LAX, as they’re about to start spiffing things up as part of a $229 million upgrade and improvement.
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Picture this: you've just ordered a cocktail and, while a bartender shakes it up, you catch a glimpse of a tail of a Delta 747 gliding by on its way to the runway to take off for Tokyo. The sun is shining on your face as you sip your drink and watch another Delta jet gracefully lift its wings. It's almost time for your turn.
Such a relaxing scene is the stuff of frequent traveler dreams, or was, since Delta is making this a reality with the introduction of open-air Sky Decks at two of their Sky Club locations. Under construction as we type, the first-ever outdoor terraces in the Delta system will be found at New York-JFK and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson as soon as four months from now.
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There are some 60 airlines flying into and out of New York-JFK Airport. Competition is fierce, but New York's always game for a little of that. Passengers are looking for the cheapest tickets (of course), shiniest planes, most routes and newest facilities. Come next spring,
The entire project cost is in the billions, so it's no fresh paint fixer-upper or anything; every month construction workers build $26 million worth of new stuff into Terminal 4 (that's over $1 million every workday!). Why should you care? Because Delta wants you in it, loving it and flying out of it...and soon. They are on schedule and under budget (whoa) for an opening in May 2013. Arrive early for your late spring Delta flight, because this place will warrant some checking out.
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Last week we revealed Delta’s plans for JFK with mixed emotions. We were a little sad to hear about the scheduled departure of Terminal 3, aka Pan Am’s Worldport, to the big airport terminal in the sky, but we were also excited that we don’t need to use an umbrella inside the terminal—yes, it’s that bad.
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We recently took this video from the AirTrain as we approached Terminal 3
We warned you six months ago that New York-JFK Airport's old flying saucer-looking Terminal 3 could be torn down this year, and it's been officially announced that this will be the case, but it will take a tad bit longer. It will be bulldozed in about three years to make way for a parking lot, as Delta focuses their efforts next door on Terminal 4.
On one hand, the loss of Terminal 3 is something sad, since it once was a gem of architectural design and a home to the jet set as Pan Am's WorldPort. If you were heading from New York to one of Pan Am's exotic world destinations, then this place was the official start of your trip; as such, it's a building with memories for many.
It looks like San Jose and the Silicon Valley will soon be stealing business away from SFO just up the road on the 101. The totally redone Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport opens to the traveling public this week, and the new place is definitely ready to show off its technology pedigree to both visitors and locals.
The place has a futuristic design that screams cutting-edge, but the real goodies are buried within the new Terminal B and the remodeled Terminal A. There are 200-foot-long skylights along the main concourse of Terminal B, and if you want to sit down and take in the view you’ll have plenty of juice thanks to electrical outlets easily accessible from each and every seat right in the armrests. The place cost around $1.3 billion so it’s pretty clear that they spared no expense.
We doubt that the renovations to the San Jose International Airport are what finally helped Microsoft and Yahoo come together in search engine marriage, but it can’t hurt that the face of Silicon Valley is getting a little nip and tuck. Those in hardhats have been busy renovating older parts of the airports and building some totally new facilities. All this in hopes of bringing the airport squarely into the 21st century.
The first six gates in the new Terminal B Concourse opened last month and Southwest was quick to claim them as their own. There’s still plenty of work to be done here, and the whole thing won’t be completed until 2010, but at least travelers will get a sneak peak into what’s to come.