Back in April 2008, I was speaking at an airports conference. The host was DFW Airport, and they were kind enough to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of their impressive facility. As the home airport for American Airlines, I managed to get dozens of shots of the fleet. Here’s one, below.
So, kids, let’s talk toilets — airport toilets. To be real, I’m one of those folks that hates using public restrooms. But sometimes, you just have to go, and I know what I like in a good bathroom.
Larger stalls. When I’m traveling, I usually have my backpack and a rollerboard, and I don’t want them out of my sight. Or I’m traveling with my daughter, and I REALLY don’t want her out of my sight. So I appreciate the larger stalls that accommodate my stuff, at airports including Terminal A at Boston-Logan International Airport or Terminal D at DFW Airport.
- Purse shelf above the toilet. We’ve all heard the stories about people reaching over and taking purses when you’re at your most vulnerable, so you want that shelf that is way out of reach, like those at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport.
- A sani-seat. I’m one of those people who carry their own paper toilet seat covers and a purse-sized can of Lysol just in case they’re not available. But I love the toilet seats at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, because they have the automatic plastic sleeve that covers the seat — the ultimate in cleanliness and sanitation.
- The Dyson Airblade hand dryer. Paper towels are messy and wasteful. The old-school hot air hand dryers take too long and leave your hands dry. I tested this hand dryer on the exhibit floor of an airports conference and was sold. It dries quickly and leaves your hands soft, so I’m glad to see airports like Los Angeles International installing them in restrooms.
I can’t end this post without mentioning the bathroom attendants at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. I had come off a US Airways red-eye and was desperate for a bathroom. I go in and I’m startled by a bathroom attendant in NASCAR clothing. But she turned out to be a lifesaver, since she had some mouthwash, among other necessities, on her tray. And yes, I did leave a tip.
So what do you like to see in your airport restroom?
Back in April 2008, I was speaking at an event hosted by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As part of that event, our hosts took me, along with a nice group of airport communicators, on a tour of their facility. Nothing makes me happier than trolling around in the underbelly of an airport, the parts the traveling public normally doesn’t get to see.
The shot below was taken in Terminal B. A United Airlines Boeing 737 sits at the gate, waiting to make its turn. Enjoy!!
I am an art lover. I became a fan in the fifth grade, where my art teacher, Miss Sappington, opened my eyes to Paul Klee and Henri Matisse. I bought my first piece of official art when I was 16, and I was lucky to grow up in a house where my father valued art on our walls.
My own home is a showcase of African-American artists and Art Deco posters from the early 20th century, although I do have a Salvador Dali lithograph of my astrological sign that my father won at an art auction and gave to me.
So I really enjoyed this New York Times article on the art museum at San Francisco International Airport. I have spent many a happy day at that airport looking at artifacts from their vast collection. Below is my list (by no means complete) of airports with great art collections.
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Terminal 4. I just love the ceramics collection on display in front of the US Airways ticket counters.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse E. The airport has great art, but my favorite installations are in the international terminal. I’m a quilter, making me a big fan of the art quilts hanging in the concourse.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal D. I did a walking tour of this terminal and was just mesmerized by all the great art showcased there.
- Pittsburgh International Airport. Not only does this airport have an original Alexander Calder mobile, they have major pieces from the Andy Warhol collection.
- My airport soul sister Harriet Baskas wrote a piece for MSNBC that struck close to home. As a mother who traveled with my daughter starting when she was 10 days old, having the ability to gate check her stroller was a big comfort. That comfort went away for parents flying with strollers on American Airline starting June 1. The carrier will allow collapsible umbrella-type strollers under 20 lbs., but the larger ones — like the one I used — will have to be checked in at the ticket counter. The small consolation is that American won’t charge you to do it. Here’s hoping this is one trend that doesn’t catch on.
- A funny thing happened to the new Qantas flight between Dallas/Fort Worth to Brisbane — it had to make an unscheduled fuel stop in Noumea to refuel, reports my Aviation Week colleague Adrian Schofield.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Andrea Ahles reports that AirTran will continue flying into DFW Airport through Nov. 21 to stay in compliance with the Wright Amendment limits.
- USA Today’s Technology Live blog posts about the ambitious efforts by Virgin America to extend its multimedia reach. The airline says it will have multimedia elements such as social gaming, real-time geolocation services, highly curated news content and specialized social-networking privileges for Virgin travelers on its fleet by mid-2012.
- The Los Angeles Times profiles Alaska Airlines and its efforts to continue as a stand-alone carrier.
I wanted to give a shout out to my reader Matti in Finland, who recently got three hours in a DC-9 simulator as a birthday gift from his wife (lucky man!). You can read his account here. And of course, no Friday is complete without Strange But True Aviation News. Enjoy!!
Editor’s Note: I have a bunch of family obligations going on this week, so for today, tomorrow and Thursday, I’ll be re-posting some of my more popular topics. The post below on power outlets in airports was first published on Jan. 27. It’s all about the Air Power Wiki, which tells you exactly where to find those elusive outlets in hundreds of airports worldwide. I’ve made submissions to this wiki, and I encourage you to do the same. Enjoy!
We’ve all been there — our laptop/smartphone/iPad is running on fumes after a flight or a long delay and we’re desperate to find that power outlet. Many a time I’ve seen people wandering an airport like the lost tribes of Israel, looking for that plug. I’ve even seen people almost come to blows over outlets.
Airports and airlines are getting better at providing more plugs. Several, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newark Liberty, Los Angeles International, have power outlet poles sponsored by Samsung. DFW Airport has a Samsung Lounge with power outlets and work stations, and Delta announced in December that it was adding recharging stations at 19 airports that will have 6 110 volt outlets as well as two USB ports. Southwest Airlines also provides outlets and USB ports at many of its larger cities.
But there is a great resource that can help you find outlets in hundreds of airports worldwide – the Air Power Wiki. This wiki was created by Jeff Sandquist, a team leader at Microsoft who became frustrated when trying to find power plugs in airports. It even has a companion Flickr group with actual pictures of some outlets and includes available free and paid wi-fi access at some airports.
So let’s say you’re stuck waiting in Phoenix/Sky Harbor International Airport (one of my personal favorites) and you need a plug. Here’s what that entry looks like:
Gate 10: to the right when facing the gate (2 outlets, chairs, good WiFi signal)
- Gate A-17: on the pole near the bank of payphones (2 outlets)
- Gate A 18: on the pole near the women’s restroom (2 outlets) – chair close by!
- Gate A 18: on the wall about half way up (2 outlets) – above bank of chairs!
- Gate A-19: under the arrival/departure televisions (2 outlets)
- Gate A-20: on the pole near the Gate A20 sign (2 outlets)
- Gate B-25: on the pole beside the seating near the gate desks (2 outlets)
- Gate D-1: on granite pillar
- Gate D-5: also on pillar facing terminal hall. Most outlets in D are covered!
- Wireless internet service is now available free of charge to Sky Harbor visitors. It is available on both sides of security, in retail areas and near the gates at the airport. If a passenger’s laptop computer or wireless electronic device is configured to operate in a wireless mode, it will automatically connect to the internet when powered up near the shops and gates at Sky Harbor.
And yes, I’ve contributed power outlets to the wiki and pictures to the Flickr group. Now that you know about this wiki, I hope you do the same!