Happy Travels to You

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports as I race from one convention or press event to another, and I confess that I’m not hating it. I’m a mother of five, and while only two still live at home, I do like the solitude I experience while traveling.

I know solitude is a strange word to use when one is talking about airports and air travel. But I’m not kidding when I say the passenger experience at today’s airports is leaps and bounds beyond where it once was.

Are you a reader? Check out Philadelphia International Airport’s Virtual Library Hot Spot, situated on a busy walkway between Terminals D and E. Here you can log onto the airport’s free WiFi to access e-books and more.

Need to get some work done? I’ve found SeaTac International Airport’s Quiet Zone, an area with plenty of seating, a big screen TV and power outlets, a pretty awesome place to pass the time.

At Minneapolis’ Concourse G travelers can borrow iPads through a program started by OTG Management, an airport concessions firm based in New York City. Travelers waiting in airport lounges can borrow OTG’s free iPads to surf the Internet; play games; or order food, beverages, and other last-minute concessions for walk-up delivery. Before I began traveling with an iPhone, iPad, and laptop in tow, I found this feature pretty cool.

While I haven’t checked it out personally, I hope someday to have an opportunity to visit San Francisco International Airport’s yoga studio and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s nap-by-the-hour suites. Yes, a delay in these locations would be A-OK for this busy mom.

With these kinds of offerings springing up at airports across the country, it’s not surprising that headlines are announcing an airport race to upgrade. Consider that:

• Charlotte Douglas International Airport is spending $1 billion to renovate itself inside and out. This airport is adding pedestrian tunnels, automated passport kiosks, improving concessions and more.

• Dallas/Fort Worth is shelling out $2.3 billion to renovate its terminal and improve baggage systems, concessions, and provide an in-house kennel for travelers’ pets.

• Los Angeles International Airport’s multi-billion-dollar modernization plan will upgrade its international terminal and Terminal 5, and improve escalators, elevators and moving walkways.

These projects, which include things like rocking chairs, atriums with pianos, upscale eateries and wine bars, make it fun to be a road warrior. But let’s keep this on the down-low. We don’t want my family thinking that I like business trips!

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