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Can we just say that it’s about time?
If you have ever had the pleasure of flying to or through New York’s LaGuardia Airport, you probably have a pretty strong opinion about the disrepair and dysfunction that can be found in and around it. Now it looks like someone is finally getting ready to do something about it, as the State of New York will be throwing money at the problem—like $3.6 billion worth.
The state’s governor—Andrew Cuomo—seems sick and tired of what the place looks like, and as part of the upgrades and improvements the airport will be scoring all kinds of new stuff. All the details are still forthcoming, so we’re not sure if it will be Starbucks or Sbarro making their appearance at the new LaGuardia. However, a new central terminal will be a big feature, and that will go nicely with new restaurants, shopping spots, and brand new parking garages. Free WiFi is also set to arrive, so that you can share your opinions of the new place on Instagram—your friends will probably need to see it to believe it.
You guys, we have a sad bit of news to share. The Encounter restaurant in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles International Airport has closed its doors, with no indication that it'll ever again welcome visitors for overpriced eats.
We previously shared our tips for making a long LAX layover a little more interesting by popping out of the terminal and heading up to this restaurant. Now that it's closed, there's no longer much reason to leave the secure side of the airport for a breath of Los Angeles air.
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If there’s one staple of the airport dining scene—besides Sbarro of course—it has to be Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee shop is there when you need them, and of course they can supply you with everything from caffeine and cookies to macchiato and muffins.
Now things are getting even better, as the Starbucks Evenings concept has made its way to the airport. It’s just like Starbucks but with a little less coffee and a lot more food and wine. Here’s where to find the first couple of these locations during your next layover.
Los Angeles International Airport
The latest Starbucks Evenings location is part of the upgrades and improvements to the Tom Bradley International Terminal over at LAX . This one has been open since late last year, and it now gives the option for travelers to enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cold beer before their flight. As far as snacks are concerned they of course have those as well, as Chipotle Hummus Dip and Goat Cheese Flatbread are just a couple of the additions to the menu to help you further enjoy that adult beverage. Stop by before your next flight if you’re in the neighborhood of the South Concourse between Gates 157 and 156.
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A Delta Connection regional jet gets shovelled out after sliding off the runway yesterday at JFK Airport
Trying to fly somewhere today in the United States? It's going to be rough, no matter your destination, thanks to Mother Nature's mood swings and record low temperatures with record high snowfalls at a list of major airports. Even if there's no cold weather cities on your itinerary, keep in mind that air crew have to be able to get to the airport to work and the airplane for your flight usually has to fly in from somewhere else, and that somewhere else could be one of locations crippled by mass delays and cancellations.
This isn't negativity, but reality. Snowfall in the Midwest tops 12" with polar wind chill, rain mixed with icy gusts has created extremely hazardous icing conditions on the east coast, and Denver is just...Denver in the winter.
At 1pm EST today, JetBlue made the decision to stop all of their flights into or out of JFK, LaGuardia, Boston and Newark airports until at least 10am Tuesday. 300 flights are affected, but that's a smidgeon compared to the total 4,100+ flight cancellations and 11,000 delays today alone. [*FlightAware]
It's official: one of the worst airport experiences is simply dealing with security lines. Up in Canada, however, they're looking to alleviate the frustration, as one airport just introduced a timed reservation system for the security check.
All the good stuff is happing at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, and the new system sounds quite easy to use. Basically, you head over to the airport website, enter your flight number and contact details, and you’ll get a text message confirming a reserved time for a specific security checkpoint. Then it’s all on you to show up during the assigned time, and use that text message like a ticket for access to the SecurXpress priority line.
Those traveling with kiddos have a new airport option when it comes to finding fun stuff during a layover. As part of their renovation and revamp the folks over at Los Angeles International Airport have added a whole new spot for the kids to run wild.
The play area is just one aspect of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. The new place is after security—perfect for connections—and roughly 1,000 square feet for little kids and big kids to burn off some energy before or after flights. The place is open for those between ages 2 and 8, and it’s created with a beach theme in mind. In fact they’re calling the place ‘LAX Beach.’
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Hercules is in town! No, we don't mean the strongman hero of myth, but rather the winter storm hitting the East Coast this morning, given the name "Hercules" by The Weather Channel. Airlines began canceling flights last night (2,647, according to FlightAware) and the bad news continues through this morning, with FlightAware's Misery Map showing 1,664 cancellations as of 7am EST this morning. Those numbers don't include delays!
Airports like Chicago-O'Hare enjoyed an early onslaught of traveler frustration yesterday evening as those cancellations and delays lit up the Departures board in red and yellow. An Instagram from comedian Deon Cole shows as much, although he has a fun take on the situation: "The airport in Chicago is insane! All this airport is missing is a DJ!"
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Delta is doing something new when it comes to how they handle the whole baggage carrousel thing, as they want to ensure that you go home with the same bag that you brought to the airport.
We guess there must be a baggage theft problem—or other issue—over in Las Vegas, as that’s where Delta is in the middle of a two-month pilot program aimed at cracking down on stolen baggage.
Think your Facebook page is all fun and games (and friend of friend's baby pictures?). Well, you're right to an extent, but recently Vimeo co-founder Zach Klein discovered that it also does double-duty as a form of acceptable identification for passing US airport security.
Klein forgot his drivers license, but was able to show TSA staff his Facebook page to establish his identity while passing through security on December 22. Our sister site, CN Traveler, picked up the story from there:
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Roughly a year ago some poor soul got lost jet skiing in Jamaica Bay, and ended up shivering wet outside the fence at JFK. He proceeded to scale the airport's 8-foot fence, make his way across 2 runways, and enter Terminal 3. Good for him - how else was he expected to get warm - but bad for the Port Authority. The organization is ostensibly responsible for security at the airport, which presumably includes not letting a random guy in a neon yellow life jacket wander around runways and terminals undetected for hours at a time.
This year, there have been no life jacket-wearing New Yorkers embarrassing the Port Authority by effortlessly defeating one of their airport's security system. Instead it's a cross-dressing Jersey City resident. Airport security you guys; gosh we just don't know.
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If you’ve sat and waited at one airport gate for your flight to board, you’ve pretty much waited at them all. Sure, there is the idiosyncratic experience of open-air lawn chairs in the tropics or something equally unusual in other far-flung destinations, but most bear a depressing resemblance to each other: immovable rows of rigid chairs that will give you a numb butt way before it’s time to get on board.
That’s why we were so happy to come across something different during a recent departure from Vienna International Airport (VIE), where you can find these leather-clad, multi-faceted lounge islands.
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Good news if you’re heading to the airport in the next couple of days, as Alaska Airlines might just help you get there. They’re definitely in the holiday spirit with their latest promotion; however, you do need to call the Seattle area home to get in on the deal.
Alaska Airlines is teaming up with the ride-share folks over at Uber, and they’re giving free rides to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The freebies are scheduled to run both today and tomorrow—December 23 and December 24—as travelers are welcome to a free one-way ride to the airport.