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When it comes to airport news you know that we can’t get enough, so when we heard that Tampa was planning a revamp and reno at its facilities we just had to share.
The Tampa International Airport is famous for connecting chilly passengers with some fun in the sun, and now the place is going to exude a little bit more warmth. It’s all about a more modern and open feel, as even some of the shops and restaurants will be moved from the middle to make some more space.
Airport News / Toilets / TIA / TPA / Tampa Travel / Lists / Airports / → All Tags
Public restrooms aren't the most thrilling topic, but we've all used them and considered them a godsend at some point. Well, the folks over at Cintasyou know, the people behind the management of many such bathroomshave put together a list of the nation's best public commodes. It's actually more of a contest, and this round sees an airport facility in the running. No, it's not the infamous Larry Craig bathroom at MSP, but the regular stalls at Tampa International Airport.
Airport Dining / Food Trucks / Food Travel / Airport Restaurants / MCO / TPA / AUS / Airports / Airport News / → All Tags
We’ve seen celebrity chefs, organic ingredients, and even technology—think iPads—show their influence on the airport dining scene, but now it looks like another trend is heading to the airport. Apparently the food truck craze has arrived at the airport, so the long-term parking lot is no longer just for parking.
Obviously food trucks aren’t exactly arriving inside the airport—at least not yet—but if you need to grab a bite before hitting the terminal or after touching down they’ve now got you covered. ABC News reports that the cell phone lot seems to be the new food court, as airports like Orlando International Airport have started slinging street fare right outside of security. In fact over at MCO it sounds like they’ve got at least six food trucks rotating in and out over a their commercial lot as well as their taxi staging area. Clearly the airport eats aren’t just for travelers anymore.
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HMSHost—you know them from airport restaurants everywhere—is teaming up some new up and coming chefs, as they just tapped the Culinary Institute of America for some new menu ideas. They held a little contest for some new and tasty recipes, and two students—Jessica Hargrove and Lauren Fury—came out on top. Among some other stuff their culinary creations will now be featured at airports across the country, so it’s time to dig in during your next layover.
The winning dishes are Toasted Flatbread Mac n’ Cheese and Chicken and Waffles, and will be available at select restaurants through the end of February. For those looking to indulge in the macaroni and cheese dish, you can expect the usually stuff piled onto a whole-wheat flatbread topped with candied bacon—nice. As for the chicken and waffles it’s pretty much what it sounds like, but there’s also white gravy, maple syrup, and green onions to top things off.
Anytime an airport starts spending cash on improvements and upgrades we get a little excited, and this is especially the case when it comes to refreshing and renovating airport restaurants. We mentioned a while ago that officials at Tampa International Airport were hard at work keeping the airport fresh and fun for years to come, and now it looks like some of the initial work has been completed.
The main terminal is scoring a new wine bar—First Flight—that’s run by a local Tampa area restaurant, and of course we can never complain when it comes to another drinking establishment being added to an airport. Green Iguana Bar & Grill is coming to the post-security side of Terminal A, and Cigar City Brewing is doing the same thing over in Terminal C. Football coaching legend—and Florida resident—Don Shula is expanding his meat and potatoes empire into Terminal C with Shula’s Bar & Grill and Shula Burger.
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Not that long ago we mentioned that TLC—the network that used to teach you stuff, but now just has Jon and Kate reruns—was looking to film a new reality television show starring Southwest Airlines. It looks like filming has already begun, and crews will be roaming the terminals and concourses of Tampa International Airport as soon as this week.
That means if you’re flying through Tampa—or to Tampa—now’s your chance to score fifteen minutes of reality show fame. We’d recommend causing a scene or just totally being rude and flipping out at a gate agent, because that should definitely get the attention of anyone with a camera—especially some fancy pants TV cameras. Of course we’re kidding, but the crew should be doing their thing at the airport this week so be on the lookout.
The folks over at Tampa International Airport are taking a new approach to airport dining, but it has nothing to do with serving up sandwiches and other on-the-go items within the terminal. They’re ensuring that any and all airport leftovers make their way to those in need, instead of simply tossing the leftover Sbarro slices in the trash.
It’s been about two years since someone at HMSHost—purveyor of fine airport foods everywhere—was concerned about the amount of waste from airport dining establishments. Things like sandwiches, fruits, and yogurt parfaits were past their sell-by-date, but they were hardly spoiled or expired. So instead of just sending them off to the landfill, the airport began partnering with organizations like Feeding America to ensure that someone else could benefit from a little extra nourishment.
We love oversized checks and construction equipment, and both of those things are now slowly making their way to Tampa International Airport. In total the airport is planning to spend around $30 million to refresh and update some of its terminals, and we’re sure we’re not the only ones who enjoy an airport concourse with a fresh coat of paint.
Some of the airport signs, restrooms, and flooring are approaching 40 years old, so officials want to make sure everything is renovated before it's too late. Some of the updates have been made a priority, as they’re hoping to get at least half of the bathrooms fixed up before the end of next summer.
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TSA has finally begun deploying the Gingerbread Man scanners that we started telling you about last February. The scanners detect suspicious objects and project them onto androgynous, human-shaped cutouts, the upshot being that they're as effective as current full-body scanners but without all the "having people see you naked" discomfort.
The same rules apply to these scanners as to previous full-body scanners, which is to say that you get pulled aside if the machines detect a suspicious object or you refuse screening. But we expect, at the very least, that less people will opt out of scanning now that their actual images aren't being viewed by some unknown agent in some locked room.
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Oh wow. Steps towards the re-opening of Cuba are coming quicker and quicker now, and the latest advance is a huge one: Eight new US airports have been given permission to operate charter flights to Cuba. It was only back in January that Obama and Congress re-allowed educational and religious groups to travel to Castro's island, but their departure points were limited to NYC, Miami and Los Angeles.
With the news that eight more airportsdeemed to have sufficient customs and immigration facilitiescan now begin their own travel agency-arranged flights, you can expect to see many more "My Cuba Trip" photo slideshows from your neighbors. The new airports are: Chicago-O'Hare, Baltimore, Dallas-Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Atlanta and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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We’re not here to give you a lecture on what’s best for your health, as we realize after a stressful flight the only way to make things better might be with a cigarette. Smoking is a big no-no at most airports across the US, but there are still some where smoke in the terminal doesn’t require a police investigation. Here are five airport smoking lounges where you can still light up:
· Denver International Airport:
Colorado seems like a pretty healthy place, but they still have a spot for cigarette smoking at the airport. Don't hesitate to bum a smoke off a fellow passenger at The Aviator's Club on the west side of Jeppesen Terminal. If that’s not convenient for your layover, there’s the Mesa Verde smoking lounge within the A gates on the mezzanine level of the airport. The B gates have a smoking lounge as well, and the Smokin’ Bear—awesome—is located in the center of the C gates. Just keep track of time if you decide to try out more than one lounge, as your flight is not going to wait.
· Tampa International Airport:
Airports in Florida have the best smoking areas in the United States, as they usually have outside options so you can get some kind of fresh air at the same time as you ruin your lungs. We’ll pick Tampa International Airport as the best, since it boasts observation decks that double as smoking lounges on the airside of A, C, E and F. There are plenty of benches and ashtrays to make you more comfortable, as well as plenty of taxiing airplanes to check out. Although we're non-smokers, we kind of want to check this one out on or next trip to the Sunshine State.
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TPA: Great airport=no lines...
We admittedly have a bit of a Zagat obsession right now, but we can't overlook the latest survey from the folks at the Burgundy Bible. A look at US airlines, it was compiled in conjunction with the Today show and relied on the opinions of 7,498 flyers and travel pros.
We probably don't need to tell you the big-picture findings:
Overall, our survey results reveal continuing frustration with the state of domestic air travel... Delays and cancellations were cited as the top airline irritants, follwed by cramped seats/crowding and poor service.
But there were some high points. Virgin America ranked as a "premium" airline (rather than an "economy" one, despite low fares) and performed miles ahead of other carriers in comfort, service and food. VA topped second-place Continental in all three categories. On the budget side of things, Midwest Airlines was the clear favorite. (Could it be simply because of the free cookies on every flight?)
Airports also got the critical eye, with Tampa and Denver earning the best scores from travelers. Two of New York's much-maligned time vortexes (JFK and LGA) earned spots at the bottom of the list, along with Miami, LAX and Philadelphia.
[Photo: Tampa International Airport]