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Port Columbus Airport is actually quite lovely and not a desperate ghost town airport like neighbors to the west, Toledo-Express and Cincinnati-Covington. For a brief period it even boasted JetBlue service and was the hub for a sadly departed little-budget-airline-that-could called SkyBus. Still, exciting things are happening in Columbus, as evidenced by the arrival of gourmet ice cream vending machines.
The airport plugged in the machines earlier this year, and the small servings by hometown company Jeni's Ice Creams have been selling like hotcakes. Or, rather, coldcakes? Anyway, it's a unique amenity considering how obsessed airports have been with cupcakes and only cupcakes of late.
Each machine stocks 12 different flavors (6 cups, 6 sandwiches), and currently travelers may take advantage of the machines in both Concourses B and C, and coming soon to Concourse A.
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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The emergency situation of Friday at Los Angeles International Airport is thankfully over, but while the police continue their investigation into the gunman who entered Terminal 3 and shot TSA agents (killing one), the airport itself returns to mostly normal operations.
For travelers with upcoming flights into or out of LAX, here's the latest answers on what's up at the airport:
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Update: 5pm EST: The latest findings report that the gunman is not a TSA employee, and may have been a ticketed passenger harboring anti-government feelings, who targeted the TSA staff. As for airport operations, LAX is still under a ground stop and all travelers with tickets into/out of LAX are encouraged to check with their airlines and consider alternate dates of travel, or routing through other airports. Bottom line: be flexible and be patient.
Update: 3:30pm EST: Virgin America has issued a statement confirming the events of this morning and expressing their concern for passengers. It has now been clarified that the suspect is in custody and is in critical condition, but alive. Vehicles heading to LAX (if they make it there) and to other LA-area airports should expect to be fully searched. JetBlue's flights to LAX will instead fly to Long Beach (LGB),
Update: 2:20pm EST: The gunman was an off-duty TSA agent. He has been killed my law enforcement, and is not simply in custody as earlier thought, according to NBC News.
Update: 1:55pm EST: It being reported that the police are confirming one death, a TSA agent shot and killed. Another TSA agent was shot and wounded, and has been transported to the hospital.
All LAX terminals are being evacuated (with no definite destination for the evacuated passengers). The 105 and 405 freeway ramps leading into LAX are closed. LAX is on a ground stop, with no flights departing and all arriving flights being held on the tarmac.
The weapon is rumored to be an AR-15 rifle.
BREAKING 1:15pm EST: There have been gunshots at LAX Airport, with a few people injured and a gunman in custody.
Facts are still fuzzy. According to the AP, "Witness Brian Keech said he heard "about a dozen gunshots." Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said emergency crews have responded to a multi-patient incident. The incident was reported after 9:30 a.m. PST"
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Want to hear something spooky? There are two graves underneath one of the runways at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia.
If you know enough about airports to realize your flight is departing on Runway 10 (or your pilot requests the "graveyard tour" route from the tower), then you'll want to keep a look out the lefthand side windows for two rectangles patches in the tarmac that simply don't belong. In truth, these spots are graves, which belong in that spot more so than the airport, being original tenants from back when the land was a family cemetery.
The markers of the final resting places of RIchard and Catherine Dotson say "At rest" and "Gone home to rest," respectively. Stories of shadowy figures strolling the runway on low visibility nights circulate among flight crews who frequently land at SAV, so perhaps all the jet engine noise has awoken the Dotsons from their rests?
There’s all kind of great stuff to check out at the airport, but one thing that we may overlook is the airport art. We’re usually focused on restaurants, lounges, and WiFi access, but airport art is that little bit extra that keeps things classy within the concourse. There are others that agree, and the people over at 10Best and USA Today are now getting together to help pick out the very best in airport art—at least in the United States.
There are 20 airports from which to choose, and they’ve been selected for their unique takes on decorating the terminals. Entries from spots like Boston-Logan, San Francisco International, and Seattle-Tacoma are all available, and you can click on each to check out a photo and get a little background information. As for airport artwork snubs are concerned, we could suggest a few, including the lack of a nomination for the neat stuff over at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.
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It’s been a little bit of time since we ran through the country’s airports to check out what’s new in the world of airport dining. Sbarros are closing and Starbucks are opening all the time, so we want to keep you up-to-speed regarding your opportunities for airport eats.
New York City's LaGuardia Airport has been pretty busy for the last few months (really, years), as the airport continues to upgrade and improve their offerings.
One of their most recent openings is that of the airport’s beer garden. Over the summer the airport debuted an almost 3,000-square foot spot simply known as Biergarten. Local brewers are the stars here with options chosen by the master brewer—Garrett Oliver—from Brooklyn Brewery. Expect lots of local options from breweries like Blue Point and Ommegang. Sausages are a plenty when it comes to their non-beverage options, and there’s a bunch of small plates to nibble on while you kick one back.
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Pardon the slightly blurry photo, but we're beside ourselves with excitement.
Those new self-service passport processing kiosks slowly appearing at US airports to speed the re-entry process for US citizens are a godsend, and we can finally say so from experience. Already the machines are installed at Chicago-O'Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth Airports, but encountering them ourselves at New York-JFK last week was an eye-opening surprise. It knocked our usual 40 minute wait time down to an impressive 40 seconds.
Located in Terminal 4, whose passport control area often erupts into airport hell after the arrival of foreign A380s, the 40 new kiosks were turned on October 15 to welcome travelers holding US passports...for free!
How do you use it? Well, simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
If you’re feeling fortunate on your way to or through Indianapolis you might be in luck, as the airport is thinking about adding a few games of chance to the terminals and concourses. It certainly won’t be the Las Vegas of the Midwest, but officials are indeed thinking about allowing gaming at the airport.
Don’t book a trip to Indianapolis just for the chance to take a spin at the slots or to toss some dice, though, as the gambling plans at the airport are all electronic in nature. That said, you won’t be able to just start playing poker on your iPad at the gate, as the proposal indicates that travelers would have to file into lounges within the airport where games—on handheld devices—would be connected to a central server. The lounges would only be accessible for those with tickets since they'll be located in the terminals, but we’re sure you could get a refundable ticket to get through security if you really needed to get your fix (but if that's the case, you might want to consider calling 1-800 "I have a problem").
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Big news out of Chicago-O’Hare, as the rumor is that the airport will no longer face any delays. Okay—you caught us—we’re exaggerating a little bit, but there is some news out of the airport that should make things run a little bit smoother on your next trip through the area.
Late last week the airport’s new runway opened up for business, after over a billion dollars was spent to get things constructed. Initially airport officials were quick to point out the runway’s merits, as the claimed that typical delays due to the weather—it was overcast—just weren’t happening thanks to the new piece of asphalt.
We’re smack in the middle of the football season around the country, as both professional and college teams continue to hit the field on both Saturdays and Sundays. Many arrive in town to check out their teams battle away from home, and now it looks like airports are setting up to welcome them.
This week USA Today goes into detail about just exactly what some airports are doing to show their team spirit. In South Carolina one airport is all about the University of South Carolina’s football program, and airport officials even hit the overhead speakers to make announcements welcoming visitors. The team’s coach—Steve Spurrier—records things and it sounds like some messages even result in cheers within the terminal.
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We are about to see how much good stuff $1 billion gets you, as the airport in Orlando just scored that kind of funding to upgrade and improve its offerings within the terminals and concourses.
All the theme park traffic and other tourist attractions in the area made Orlando the 13th busiest airport in the country last year based on passenger numbers. Airport officials only imagine the place getting even busier in the future as, after the renovations are complete they expect as many as 45 million passengers to come and go through the place each year.