In the future, military dominance will depend partly on how fast you can fly and how quickly you can get into space. That’s one of the guiding principles behind an advanced Pentagon project to build a spacecraft able to launch smaller payloads into low-earth orbit on short notice, and at lower cost.
Boeing Co.’s XS-1 (Experimental Spaceplane), which the company dubs “Phantom Express,” got a green light this week by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa. The XS-1 is designed to quickly lift satellites as heavy as 3,000 pounds into orbit for $5 million or less, launching from the ground, deploying a small upper-stage module, and then landing like a traditional airplane—the key to reuse and lower operating expense. Darpa also has a separate program aimed at launching 100-pound satellites for less than $1 million per launch, using conventional aircraft.
“The XS-1 would be neither a traditional airplane nor a conventional launch vehicle but rather a combination of the two, with the goal of lowering launch costs by a factor of ten and replacing today’s frustratingly long wait time with launch on demand,” Jess Spoonable, a Darpa program manager, said in a May 24 statement.
The Phantom Express will be powered with an Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. AR-22 engine, a newer version of the main engine trio that served on NASA’s Space Shuttle. Boeing will design and build the aircraft through 2019, including 10 engine ground firings over 10 days, followed by 12-15 flight tests in 2020. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on the project’s cost.
Let’s have a bit of fun and compare my bathroom to the one on a Boeing Business Jet, which the company has been showing off at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, or EBACE, in Geneva to make us all feel bad about ourselves.
In an effort to give into Boeing’s clear attempt to make me feel like a good-for-nothing “poor,” I just compared my own bathroom (which is built in the proper habitat for bathrooms—on land) to Boeing’s water closet in the sky.
As you can see, the Boeing bathroom—which is just a temporary restroom for occasional bowel movements during business travel—has a nice wide sink counter probably made of elephants’ tusks, tons of shelving and closets probably made out of the middle class’s hopes and dreams, a big wide mirror probably made of diamond, and a fantastic faucet that pours out tears from suckers known as taxpayers.
Plus, unless Boeing found a shrunken bar of soap and a bunch of smurf-sized bottles of shampoo, that bathroom looks enormous. By contrast, my bathroom—which isn’t temporary, and in which I have no choice but to have the vast majority of my bowel movements—is so small, the only way I could get the whole thing in the frame was to take this photo through the doorway. Look at this pathetic thing:
And what you see through the doorway is pretty much all there is. There’s a sink, a toilet and a shower, all far too close in proximity to one another. That means when I sit down to engage in human weight savings, my feet are right up against the sink, and when I get out of the shower, I’ve got to somehow squeeze between the sink and the sliding pane of glass—a move that has sent me on my ass a number of times.
That’s not even mentioning the disaster that lies behind those no-longer-transparent sliding glass panes—it’s bad. I should probably clean it. Plus, just look at the “tiles.” My walls are literally held up by screws:
So to Boeing, I say: I get it. Your little jet bathroom is better than mine (and frankly, my entire house) in every way, and I’m a worthless little poor.
Boeing and Airbus seem to have very different notions of what a “middle-of-the-market” jet should look like.
For the past quarter-century, Boeing(NYSE:BA) and Airbus(NASDAQOTH:EADSY) have competed viciously in all of the biggest segments of the jet market.
The Airbus A320 family squares off against Boeing’s 737 family (and previously, its 757 family) in the market for single-aisle jets that mainly fly short-haul routes. Meanwhile, Boeing’s 767, 777, and 787 widebody families have faced Airbus’ A330 and A350 families (and in prior years, the A300 and A310) in the market for jets with intercontinental range.
Their next big battle looks like it will cover a market segment that barely even exists today. Boeing and Airbus are looking to bridge the gap between single-aisle jets and widebodies in order to capture the “middle of the market.” So far, they seem to have very different ideas of how to attack this new “MoM” segment.
Airbus is starting with an advantage
In recent years, the middle of Boeing’s product lineup has been a big weak spot. Its largest single-aisle jet (the 737 MAX 9) and smallest widebodies (the 767-300ER and 787-8) have fallen out of favor — or never became popular in the first place. Meanwhile, Airbus’ A321 and A321neo have become extremely popular with airlines.
AIRBUS’ A321 HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY DOMINANT IN ITS MARKET SEGMENT. IMAGE SOURCE: DELTA AIR LINES.
In recent years, Airbus has moved to extend this advantage by offering a longer-range variant of the A321, known as the A321LR. The A321LR, which will be available starting in 2019, is expected to have enough range to fly from the Northeast to many of the major cities in Western Europe.
Boeing plans to introduce a slightly larger single-aisle model (tentatively called the 737 MAX 10X) next month, in an attempt to compete more effectively with the A321neo. But the A321LR is still virtually unopposed for airlines that want to operate transatlantic flights without stepping up to a full-blown widebody. (The 737 MAX 8 can only fly the shortest transatlantic routes.)
Boeing mulls a new plane; how will Airbus respond?
While Boeing hasn’t committed to anything yet, it seems increasingly likely that it will launch a new “797” MoM aircraft in the next year or two.
The 797 would be a twin-aisle plane but would have a smaller cargo hold than a typical widebody, thus reducing weight and boosting fuel efficiency. Two different versions would seat 220-260 passengers in a standard multi-class configuration and have a stated range of up to 5,000 nautical miles. (Effective range is typically lower in reality.)
Unfortunately for Boeing, it could easily cost $15 billion to develop the 797 family. Meanwhile, airlines are demanding low acquisition costs, making the business case shaky.
By contrast, Airbus’ most likely plan for the MoM segment is to stretch the A321LR to boost its passenger capacity and equip it with a new wing to give it more range. This “A322” would be relatively cheap to design and build, allowing Airbus to undercut Boeing on price by a wide margin. It would probably be almost as large as the smaller 797 variant, but might be limited to 4,500 nautical miles of stated range.
These concepts will appeal to different airlines
One of the most interesting aspects of this looming middle-of-the-market battle is that Boeing and Airbus are approaching it in very different ways. Boeing is leaning toward an all-new twin-aisle design; Airbus is thinking about a single-aisle derivative. As a result, the 797 and A322 could end up appealing to different groups of airlines.
The 797 is likely to be significantly more popular among legacy carriers. Indeed, executives from both Delta Air Lines(NYSE:DAL) and United Continental(NYSE:UAL) have spoken favorably about the concept, despite initial hesitations.
One potentially large advantage for the 797 is extra range. Carriers like Delta and United are perfectly happy with their current options for domestic routes. They want a plane that can replace 767s — and, to a lesser extent, 757s — on as many international routes as possible, while potentially making new routes viable by reducing trip costs.
DELTA AND UNITED ARE LOOKING FOR A PLANE TO REPLACE THEIR AGING 767S. IMAGE SOURCE: DELTA AIR LINES.
The difference between 4,500 nautical miles of stated range and 5,000 nautical miles of stated range is significant in terms of the number of routes that would be feasible. (This factor could also convince some low-cost carriers to opt for the 797.)
A second major advantage for the 797 — from a legacy carrier perspective — is that it would probably offer a much better customer experience. In recent years, offering flat-bed seats with direct aisle access has become an absolute must for international business class. Delta Air Lines has met this standard for its entire international widebody fleet since 2014. United Continental is on the way there.
However, it’s hard to offer direct aisle access for every business class seat on a single-aisle plane (at least without wasting a lot of space). That’s a big point in favor of a twin-aisle design like the 797. Economy class passengers would benefit, too. A twin-aisle 797 would have more window and aisle seats, and the cabin would have a roomier feel than a hypothetical A322.
On the other hand, Boeing will never be able to match Airbus on pricing for a 797 vs. A322 battle. Additionally, Airbus would be able to offer commonality with its hugely popular A320 aircraft family. This would make the A322 a sure winner with low-cost carriers, especially as many of them already fly A320-family planes. Legacy carriers also might adopt the A322 for 3,000-4,000 mile routes with light demand and fewer business travelers.
Boeing and Airbus seem to have quite different ideas of what a MoM plane should look like. It will be interesting to see whether either of these concepts becomes a clear winner with airlines, or if Boeing and Airbus fight to a draw in the middle-of-the-market segment.
When it comes to travel in 2017, 84 percent of people said they are somewhat concerned about their safety, according to a recent survey conducted by Global Rescue, a provider of medical, security, evacuation, and travel risk management services. Not surprisingly, Europe, along with Africa and the Middle East, has emerged as a top-three destination in terms of concern level.
In the wake of recent attacks in Paris, Nice, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, and Sweden, terrorism remains top of mind as a perceived travel threat, despite accounting for about three percent of U.S. citizen deaths overseas. In fact, 55 percent of survey respondents ranked it as either first or second on a list of greatest threats they see while traveling in 2017; 44 percent rated health and medical issues as a top-two threat; and 37 percent ranked crime as a top-two threat. Traffic incidents — the leading cause of death for U.S. citizens abroad — came in fourth, with 23 percent rating it as a top-two threat. The good news is that nearly all participants (96 percent) said they are still likely or very likely to hit the road this year.
Still, there’s no doubt the world is an unpredictable place. “We all know we can’t avoid a terrorist attack,” says Patricia Aguilera, director of American Citizen Services at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. “They will come without warning.” With that in mind, we spoke to both Aguilera and Scott Hume, director of Security Services at Global Rescue, about what people should do if they find themselves traveling when a terrorist attack strikes.
1. Do your homework.
Precautionary measures should begin before you book your trip. The first and foremost thing a traveler should do is check for safety advisories on the destination. Head to travel.state.gov to familiarize yourself with the current conditions in the country, and load up on other country-specific information, such road safety and entry requirements. If you see a travel warning or alert, the U.S. State Department recommends reconsidering or postponing travel to the destination. “There are plenty of places that have travel warnings and have pockets that are safe, but for the most part, we recommend reconsidering if that’s the destination you want to visit,” says Aguilera. “Carefully read those travel warnings because each one is different. It’s tailored to the situation on the ground — some are for high crime, and some are based on the possibility of being kidnapped. Everyone’s comfort level is different — and our goal is to inform.”
2. Enroll in STEP.
Once you’ve picked your destination, Aguilera recommends registering in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This provides travelers with localized real-time updates and security announcements. It also offers information on demonstrations and protests, so you can plan accordingly. Should something occur, travelers will be notified on which areas to avoid.
3. Share your itinerary with loved ones.
It’s crucial to share your itinerary with your loved ones, including where you’re going, who you’re traveling with, and where you’re staying, so they may reach you in the event of an emergency. Don’t forget to communicate any changes to travel plans, too.
4. Avoid high-risk areas.
If you can, take a direct flight instead of stopping in a place that may have a travel warning, Aguilera suggests. Another tip: Minimize the time spent in areas of the airport where it’s less protected, and make sure you get to a secure area as quickly as possible. “Based on the terrorist incidents in the last couple of years, the [attacks] have happened outside the secure area,” she says. Hume also recommends using a taxi or ride sharing service to reduce exposure to crowds and large gatherings while traveling within a city.
Beyond location, vacationers should also consider when they’re traveling. Plan a trip when it may be less frequented by tourists, Aguilera suggests. “Terrorists want to have a high value impact,” she says. Visiting during an off-peak season means your surroundings will likely be less congested. Last but not least, consider the hotel — make sure to choose a property that has high security standards, as well as Wi-Fi.
5. Make an exit plan.
Before you go, make a note of where the safe havens are located — police stations, hotels, and hospitals, to name a few. If you’re traveling with other loved ones, formulate a plan of action in the event that you are separated and cell coverage is spotty. Pick a designated meeting spot and time, Aguilera suggests. Hume also notes that establishing and reviewing a rally point with travel companions each day can be helpful. Of course, knowing the layout of a city is also vital.
6. Carry cash and a paper map.
“Always have local currency and an ATM or credit card available. This will allow you to pay for transportation and other needs in the event of an emergency,” says Hume. Hume also recommends carrying a paper map in case cell service or internet connection is limited and you need to navigate the city. Ensure your travel companions are using the same map. Local maps are often provided by hotels.
7. Purchase travel insurance.
Part of preparing also means investing in insurance. “Each traveler should look at the fine print as to what they’re getting insured,” says Aguilera. “When you purchase an airline ticket, they might insure you to return without any penalties or fees in case of an incident. There’s also insurance to be medevacked out in case of a medical emergency. Medical insurance is perhaps the most important thing that people should consider spending an extra few dollars on.” As medical evacuations can be a costly procedure, it’s best to be safe.
8. During the attack, run or get low.
Travelers will have two options if they find themselves in the midst of a crisis or terrorist attack. Assess the situation — if you’re not immediately in the vicinity of the attack, run, Aguilera says. If there’s a shooter in place, drop to the floor or get as low as possible in order to get out of the line of fire. Once you know the danger has passed (and you’re not harmed), get to safe place — a hotel nearby, friend’s house, police station, hospital — as soon as possible.
“If a traveler should find themselves in a dangerous situation, remember to move away from the area as quickly and safely as possible. Follow all instructions from emergency personnel, and do not attempt to return to the scene to help or gawk. Remember that your life is not worth recovering luggage or capturing a cell phone video,” says Hume.
9. Listen to local media.
Aguilera advises that everybody tune into the local media to find out what the local authorities are saying. They will likely advise you as to the next best steps to take, whether it’s to stay put or avoid transportation.
10. Don’t contact the embassy unless you are injured.
“We recommend taking the phone number of the closest embassy to you, so you’re able to call if you’re injured,” says Aguilera. That being said, the embassy will focus on those who are injured. It’s important to have a plan to communicate with someone back home. “If you are safe and physically unhurt, call your loved ones,” says Aguilera. “During an emergency, cell phone service can be spotty and landlines can be locked, so get word back to your family members.”
Consider a satellite phone or utilize and internet connection to communicate via email, messaging app, or social media, Hume suggests. But make sure to have another way to communicate as well. “Cellular networks can become quickly overwhelmed, as was the case in Brussels and Paris immediately following the attacks, so having alternate means of communication is a must,” says Hume.
Undocumented immigrant from the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia or Dutch Antilles? A 2001 Supreme Court ruling says you’re in luck.
President Donald Trump’s long-promised deportation force is getting to work. Last Monday, Feb. 13 the Department of Homeland Security announced that 680 people were detained over the past week as federal agents raided homes and workplaces in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities. But there is one category of undocumented immigrant that the Trump administration will have trouble deporting: stateless people whose home countries no longer exist.
The loophole dates back to the bizarre case of Kestutis Zadvydas, who was born to Lithuanian parents in a displaced persons camp in 1948 in post-war Germany and later emigrated to the US as a child. The US government sought to deport him in 1994 after he served a two-year sentence in Virginia for possessing a half-kilo of cocaine. But both Germany and Lithuania denied that he was a citizen of their countries, and he was detained for three years. The US Supreme Court later ruled, in Zadvydas v. Davis, that the government cannot indefinitely detain immigrants under order of deportation whom no other country will accept–or if their home country has simply vanished.
New countries pop up with some frequency. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011, and Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The globe is littered with aspiring nation states: Scotland, the Caucasian breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Catalonia in northeastern Spain, and Veneto, the watery, city-state dream of gondoliers and bankers. Every time a country is born, it means decades of headaches for officials at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
This predicament will sound familiar to viewers of the 2004 film “The Terminal.” In the movie, Tom Hanks’ character, Viktor Navorski, lands in New York hours after a coup in in Krakozhia, his fictional Balkan homeland. Now a stateless man, he spends the better part of a year in the international departures terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport. Navorski cheerfully makes the best of his time in immigration limbo, earning quarters by returning luggage carts and wooing a pretty flight attendant.
The film’s villainous customs supervisor is alternately perplexed and infuriated at his inability to deport him–a frustration common to law enforcement officials dealing with real-life Victor Navorskis.
“People think we can just put someone on a plane and then kick them out in Moscow or wherever,” a Homeland Security official told me last fall. In reality, Homeland Security often spends years negotiating with countries to convince them to accept aliens that may not technically be their citizens, such an ethnic Serb born in Yugoslavia.
Just how many stateless people like Viktor Navorski are in the US? The figure is unclear. In a December 2012 report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugee found that between 2005 and 2010, there were 1,087 asylum requests in the US from people listed as stateless. Between fiscal years 2009 and 2014, records show that ICE succeeded in removing hundreds of people with obsolete passports, including the Soviet Union (309), Czechoslovakia (168), and the Netherlands Antilles (24).
But statelessness plays a part in only a small percentage of Zadvydas cases, an ICE official told me. The most important implication of the Supreme Court’s decision is that aliens typically cannot be detained for more than six months while awaiting deportation. Cuba, Somalia, China, and India are among the countries that Homeland Security tags as the slowest to accept their citizens back, which then lets them walk free.
Immigration hardliners have railed against Zadvydas for this reason for years. Since 2013, 8,275 criminal aliens were released under this judicial precedent, according to statistics touted last year by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.
“The decision has been a flash point for anti-immigrant forces,” says Judy Rabinovitz, who masterminded the litigation strategy that won the Zadvydas v. Davis case in 2001 and is now a deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
What will be the next independence movement to raise a flag, declare a new country, and confound ICE agents for decades?
VT-JEX, one of the Boeing 777-300ER planes of Jet Airways, had a loss of communications over the German airspace near Cologne earlier this week while operating as 9W 118 from Mumbai to London. This lead to the German Air Force scrambling two Eurofighter Typhoon jets. It is usual protocol to scramble jets to check in on the cockpit in case someone stops responding to the radio, to be able to visually communicate with the aircraft pilots and in case something is wrong in the plane, take further steps according to instructions from the ground.
A British Airways plane, operating on BA 2042, was trailing this flight and the pilot managed to capture the footage on his mobile camera. Someone even managed to click the entire chase from the ground.
The first video posted shows the planes catch up with 9W118, and second one shows them disengaging and flying away. It’s good to watch them in succession with audio on! The pilots on the British Airways plane are chatting in a very calm manner as they see this unfold in front of them, and that itself indicates that this is not an out of the ordinary situation.
The second part of the video has a lot of chatter and eventually the fighter jets go away and it ends with a view of the cockpit.
Etiquette expert William Hanson and body language expert Judi James have spoken to The Sun about the big battle of the skies, explaining why people care so much and who can really claim it as their own.
According to the former flight attendant Jacqueline Whitmore, there is an unspoken rule that the person in the middle seat gets both arm rests because the person in the aisle can get up without any problems and the window seat has the view.
But William Hanson says etiquette dictates that both people should share the armrest.
He believes that trying to claim the entire post for yourself is the height of bad manners.
William told The Sun: “The armrest is actually more of a seat divider than an armrest.
“Armrest is misleading as a term, because only one person can rest an arm, but two people can rest their elbows on it.
“One person’s elbow can go on the front and the other person can go on the back.
“Etiquette is all about compromise and not being selfish, so taking up the entire armrest is bad manners.”
While that might seem clear cut, Judi James believes that the no man’s land of the armrest is a battle that will never end, because the battle for space is inbuilt into us as human beings.
She told The Sun: “Space is something that humans and animals fight wars over – it’s the most inflammatory thing.
“It’s why people whose garden wall if half a centimetre to the right can fight with their neighbours for years. We can’t avoid being territorial.
“We even adopt personal ownership of things that really don’t belong to us, like our chair in the office, or our seat on a plane. It brings out the warrior in us.”
While some passengers manage to smile and suppress the urge to fight over the armrest, Judi believes that it is a spontaneous reaction in all of us to try to claim it.
She said: “Armrests are always going to be a problem because it’s shared space with a stranger that you can’t halve equally – the airline is asking you to share something that you can’t share.
“Most people aren’t even thinking about their share though, they’re going for total domination and submission of everyone else around them.”
According to Judi, the reason that we care so much about this spot in particular is because of it has a direct effect on our body confidence.
She said: “Confidence is directly linked to the space under your armpit.
“The upturned V gap that we have under our armpit when our elbows are pointed away from the body gives us body confidence.
“If you are forced into not using your arm and have to bring your elbows in towards your body, you feel physically smaller.
“This in turn makes you feel as though you’ve been lowered and submissive, and no one likes to be locked into a place of submission by a stranger.
“But if you have elbows on both arms of the chair, away from your body, you feel in control.”
Portuguese investigators have detailed a bounced landing at Funchal in which a Jet2 Boeing 737-800 was substantially damaged by a tail-strike.
The inquiry states that an “excessive” nose-up input on the control column after the bounce – during which the aircraft travelled about 300m at a height of 8ft – resulted in a sharp nose-up attitude of 9.15°.
Portuguese investigation authority GPIAA adds that the manual deployment of speedbrakes caused a loss of lift.
It states that the aircraft subsequently struck the runway with a force of 2.15g, at a pitch attitude sufficient to scrape its tail. Inspection revealed damage to the 737’s aft fuselage including bent struts, cracks in stringers, and deformation from frictional abrasion.
Funchal airport is subjected to turbulent winds, and the aircraft (G-GDFC) had been conducting an approach to runway 05 in such conditions on 17 February 2014.
GPIAA says the approach was flown manually from around 1,200ft, but that it deviated from the glidepath, and was below it some 15s before touchdown.
During the last few moments of the final approach the aircraft encountered varying tailwind and crosswind components, and its descent rate reduced and increased with commanded thrust. It experienced oscillations as the control column was turned up to 50° right and 65° left.
GPIAA says nose-down inputs caused the descent rate to increase to 1,000ft/min before a nose-up input reduced this to 150ft/min. But then a nose-down input lasting some 4s, combined with a thrust reduction and a downdraft of 10ft/s resulted in the descent rate rising to 1,500ft/min as the jet passed 220ft.
This was initially limited to 750ft/min with nose-up input, but a subsequent variation in headwind and more nose-down input caused the descent rate to reach 1,100ft/min at 35ft.
After flaring, the aircraft touched down at a sink rate of 350ft/min with a 1.86g impact, and a pitch of about 6°.
Cockpit-voice recorder information reveals that the normal landing checklist had not been carried out during the approach. The speedbrakes were not armed, as required by this checklist, and did not deploy after the initial runway contact.
The aircraft consequently bounced and, once in the air, its speedbrakes were deployed manually, while nose-up column input was increased.
As a result of the loss of lift from the speedbrakes, the aircraft landed heavily – about 5s after the initial contact – at a pitch attitude high enough to allow the tail to strike the runway, causing minor injuries to two members of the cabin crew, before the 737 rolled out.
GPIAA points out that the aircraft had deviated from the stabilised approach profile, and indicates that the crew ought to have executed a go-around, and that a go-around should have been considered after the initial bounce.
By By KELLI KENNEDY – Work out while waiting for your flight? That’s an option now at Baltimore Washington International Airport, where the only gym at a U.S. airport past security opened this week with plans to open 20 more at airports by 2020.
It’s the latest example of how fitness and health trends have started showing up at airports. Yoga rooms and walking tracks have opened at airports around North America over the past few years, and healthier food options are also easier to find in airports now. You can even get a kombucha to wash down a salad made with locally sourced produce.
The ROAM Fitness gym at BWI includes an attendant who monitors guests’ flights and will alert them if there’s a delay. There’s even free luggage storage, options for renting workout clothes and shoes, and showers. Fees range from $40 a day to $175 a month.
The concept was initially envisioned for international travelers and others with long layovers, but research revealed that many other travelers wanted to squeeze in a workout before or after landing.
“A lot of people coming from the West Coast taking red-eye flights are going straight to their business meeting but they land at 6:30 in the morning. They can’t check into their hotel yet … so it just gives them the opportunity to clean up before they head to that meeting,” said ROAM Fitness CEO Cynthia Sandall.
Roughly 4,000 travelers a month use GoodLife Fitness’ gym at Toronto airport, a 33 percent increase from when it opened in 2014, the company said.
But the concept may not work everywhere. The airport at Las Vegas had a gym that closed. Christopher Berger, who chairs the American College of Sports Medicine task force on healthy air travel, says the gyms’ success may depend on the destination. He thinks they may be best suited for hubs with long layovers.
“You take someplace like (Chicago) O’Hare, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle … I think you’ve got a real chance of selling it,” he said.
San Francisco airport’s yoga room has been so successful that a second one opened in 2014. Airport officials say it’s used daily. After a few downward dogs, yogis can also order a green juice or curry bowl at The Plant Cafe where everything is made with local and organic ingredients. There’s also Napa Farms Market, Joe & the Juice and new vending machines offering organic, gluten-free and sugar-free snacks.
Other amenities in the pipeline as major airports look to become destinations in their own right include movie theaters, more fine dining and better shopping, says Lorraine Sileo, a senior vice president with the travel market research firm Phocuswright.
But fitness and wellness offerings may be especially appealing to travelers getting on or off cramped planes.
At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, there’s a yoga studio with free mats, a walking path and two 55-foot staircases for an extra cardio challenge. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has a 1.4 mile walking path. Philadelphia’s airport had a temporary program where passengers could cycle on stationary bikes while waiting for their flights. Baltimore Washington International also offers bike rentals and a 12.5-mile trail just outside the airport.
While airports still sell plenty of greasy fast food, many airport eateries also now feature local, organic ingredients and vegan and gluten-free options. Icebox Cafe at Miami International Airport, which uses locally sourced food, reported above-average sales of $3.1 million last fiscal year. Other examples of vendors bringing healthier fare to airports include Nature’s Table in Atlanta and Orlando, Elephants Delicatessen at Portland International Airport in Oregon, and French Meadow Bakery, in four airports including Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.
Ann Gentry, founder of the popular vegan eatery Real Food Daily, has an airport location in addition to two others in the Los Angeles area.
“I knew it was going to be a hit because in our (two other restaurants) people were coming in getting bags of food for the plane, so we were very accustomed to packing up food for the plane,” she said.
But not everyone who patronizes Real Food Daily at the airport location realizes it’s vegan. Some order a spicy lentil burger and bring it back complaining they didn’t know it wouldn’t have meat. On the flip side, some travelers say they enjoyed her airport grub so much they sought out the restaurant while in town.