Tag Archives: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Random Aviation Photo

1 Mar

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.

TAG – You’re It In DFW Airport’s New Holiday Marketing Campaign

21 Nov

Back when I covered the airports beat, I always enjoyed getting story pitches from Dallas/Fort Wort International Airport.  Their pitches were always well thought out, they always got you access to the executives you needed to speak with and, most importantly, they respected a deadline.

Last week I got a pitch via Twitter on a new marketing campaign designed to offer travelers discounts at the airport’s food/beverage and retail outlets using Microsoft Tags.  Megan Bozarth, DFW’s manager of consumer marketing, says the airport found that passengers were getting there earlier because they weren’t sure about the timing for ticket and security checkpoint lines.

Photos courtesy of DFW Airport

“We saw a lot of people sitting at gates on their smartphones,” Bozarth recalled.  “So we did some marketing research and found that 85% of passengers at DFW use smartphones.  We wanted to figure out how to utilize that technology and provide information to passengers in a non-intrusive way.”

DFW did the research and chose Microsoft Tags over QR Codes or other tag technology, said Bozarth.  “We knew there was a lot available.  For us, tags are highly customizable and use colors, while  QR codes are pretty standard,” she states.  “And tags provided us the most robust analytics, including where passengers scan the tags, what offers they loaded and if they redeemed them.”

The information DFW is providing through the scans that are non intrusive, says Bozarth.  ” Passengers can be in control of the information they want by scanning the tags,” she explained.  “They get offers from the concessionaires  near their gates.  We see it as an unexpected gift for DFW holiday travelers and a way to  spread holiday cheer.”

DFW has 270 concession outlets and currently, 50 are participating in the tag program, says Bozarth.  Vendors include Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s, Papcitos, the FOX News Channel news stand and the La Bodega winery, one of my personal favorite airport outlets ( my review of it, posted on Jan. 18,  is here).

The current offers will last through the end of the year, says Bozarth.  “Then we’ll ask concessionaires again when we do our next campaign in 2012.”

Lovin’ The Airport Lavs

25 Oct

An article in SmarterTravel on a contest naming America’s best public restroom (Chicago’s Field Museum) prompted me to look at this topic on the airports side.

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.

  1. Sanitary Seat at Chicago O'Hare International Airport Photo by Näystin, via Flickr

    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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

Random Aviation Photo

26 Sep

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!!

Top Five Airports Housing Great Art

9 Jun

The first piece of art I ever bought

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.

  1. Ghost Palms. Miami Intl Airport

    Miami International Airport, South Terminal. And check out my Aviation Week Towers and Tarmacs blog post on the facility’s art efforts.

  2. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Terminal 4.  I just love the ceramics collection on display in front of the US Airways ticket counters.
  3. 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.
  4. Calder Mobile, Pittsburgh Intl Airport

    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.

  5. Pittsburgh International Airport. Not only does this airport have an original Alexander Calder mobile, they have major pieces from the Andy Warhol collection.

Top 5 Interesting Stories Of The Week

3 Jun

I was a little out of the loop this week as I celebrated my daughter’s kindergarten graduation and the loss of her first tooth.  So I’m not as up on the news this week, but I do have my weekly picks.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!!

Best Of Aviation Queen: How To Find Those Elusive Airport Power Outlets

31 May

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:

  • Sky Harbor plugs, Terminal 4 behind the elevators near security Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    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!

 

When The Airport Becomes An Emergency Hotel

27 Apr

I have a bookmark folder full of links to stories I plan on blogging about in the future.  On April 12, CNN did a story entitled “Hotel of last resort: The airport.”  While I have spent more than my fair share of time in airports, thankfully, I’ve never had to sleep in one.

But if I did, my airport of choice would be Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.  DFW has been a leader in advocating for stranded passengers and has a great plan in place to help out those who may be spending more time than they planned at the airport.  First, the airport has hundreds of cots and blankets available.  Second, it requires certain vendors to stay open late to accommodate stranded passengers.

And third, they have Shop24, a giant 3 feet by 10 feet vending machine that dispenses everything from diapers to soda to beauty products to Caesar Salad.  The store is located in DFW’s Terminal A across from Gate 29.  You can read my Towers and Tarmacs blog post on DFW’s efforts during a series of storms that hit the region back in April 2008.

For more reviews on the best — and worst — airports for sleeping, I highly recommend The Guide To Sleeping In Airports website.  And if you want to have your own hotel with you at all times, check out my Towers and Tarmacs blog post on the Mini Motel!

Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel

But if you have the cash (or the expense account) to stay in an airport hotel, you’ll find that the World Airport Awards 2011  recently named its top airport hotels:

1.  Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong (HKG)

2.  Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (SIN)

3.  Sofitel London Heathrow (LHR)

4.  Kempinski Hotel Airport Munich (MUC)

5.  Fairmont Vancouver Airport (YVR)

6.  Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)

7.  Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL)

8.  Hyatt Regency Incheon (ICN)

9.  Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport Hotel (SYD)

10.  Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok (BKK)

I’m pleased to say that I’ve stayed in three of them — Sofitel, Kempinski and the Hyatt Regency — and all of them were worthy of selection.  The only North American hotel to make the cut was Vancouver.  I’ve never stayed there, but I hear the amenities are great, and that airline passengers can buy a day pass to use their facilities.  And i was thrilled to see that three of my favorite U.S. airport hotels — the Grand Hyatt Dallas/Fort Worth, the Westin Detroit Metropolitan and Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport  — made the cut for North America.

How To Find Those Elusive Airport Power Outlets

27 Jan

 

Samsung Power Pole at MSP Airport Photo by Benet J. Wilson

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.

 

Southwest Airlines power chairs, outlets in Orlando International Airport Photo by Benet J. Wilson

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:

  • Sky Harbor plugs, Terminal 4 behind the elevators near security Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    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!

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