Weekend what we’re reading: Airport coat check? Homey airport restaurants, great places


Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check a heavy winter coat at your departing airport when flying to tropical destinations? Can fliers find a taste of home at airports? It depends on in what airports they search. And, what makes a “Great Place”? We see survey and use the words themselves, but never really think of criteria. Here is a checklist.

A winter innovation: the airport coat check

It is wintertime across much of the northern hemisphere. Minnesota has been pounded with several feet of snow, ski resorts are opening in the mountains and in Europe weather has already wreaked havoc with travel plans. These days also mean a new problem for airline passengers — less overhead space as bulky winter coats get stuffed into the airplane bins along with rollaboards.

Now there is a partial solution — for travelers going from cold climes to sunny locations, two airports are providing coat checks so that passengers don’t have to lug a bulky coat from Frankfurt, Germany, to Palma di Mallorca in the Mediterranean. It only works with some passengers, but still helps keep bins emptier than they would be and makes life easier for travelers who only need a heavy winter coat while departing.

With passengers stowing all those coats on jam-packed airplanes, it’s more difficult than ever to claim space in the overhead bins for carry-on bags. Ask any flight attendant about that challenge. But one international airport has come up with an idea that in a small way addresses the question of what to do with that bulky coat.

Check it, just as in a restaurant.

That would be Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s main hub and, with 57.5 million passengers last year, the third-busiest in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

10 airport restaurants that taste like home

CNN puts it this way, “From the interminable security lines to boarding cattle calls, anonymity is the order of the day, and that often extends to the food court. In a sea of endless soft pretzel vendors, undistinguished subs and sad, wan salads, it’s always a treat for a hungry traveler to come upon an airport that’s serving food specific to its city.”

The author admits that the cooking doesn’t always match up with their namesake’s great downtown eatery cooking, but they come pretty darn close. Plus, it sure beats the normal fast-food fare. Here’s CNN’s list with links back to the eateries.:

The Varsity, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
The Salt Lick, Austin-Berstrom International Airport
Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville International Airport
Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Obrycki’s Restaurant and Bar, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Gold Star Chili, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Cowgirl Creamery/Acme Bread counter, San Francisco International Airport
Tia Juanita’s, Albuquerque International Sunport
National Coney Island Bar and Grill/Express, Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Great places. You know them when you see them — but how do they become great?

I don’t always agree with these kinds of surveys that aim to put “great” on a place, but they are food for thought about what makes your favorites, well, your favorites. This organization has ranked great neighborhoods, great streets and great public spaces.

For example, the American Planning Association explains what makes streets great.

Probably we all can think of a street, neighborhood, or public place that is unique or memorable, but what makes it special? What elements combine to produce a place that not only works for people in the community but rises far above the ordinary?

Characteristics of a Great Street include:

• Provides orientation to its users, and connects well to the larger pattern of ways.
• Balances the competing needs of the street — driving, transit, walking, cycling, servicing, parking, drop-offs, etc.
• Fits the topography and capitalizes on natural features.
• Is lined with a variety of interesting activities and uses that to create a varied streetscape.
• Has urban design or architectural features that are exemplary in design.
• Relates well to its bordering uses — allows for continuous activity, doesn’t displace pedestrians to provide access to bordering uses.
• Encourages human contact and social activities.
• Employs hardscape and/or landscape to great effect.
• Promotes safety of pedestrians and vehicles and promotes use over the 24-hour day.
• Promotes sustainability through minimizing runoff, reusing water, ensuring groundwater quality, minimizing heat islands, and responding to climatic demands.
• Is well maintained and capable of being maintained without excessive costs.
• Has a memorable character.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    I’m proud to say that my neighborhood in Charm City (Baltimore) was chosen by the APA as one of America’s Great Neighborboods: Charles Village.


  • mike313

    Airport Coat Checks? Nothing new here – Toronto and Montreal airports (and I’m sure other Canadian airports) have been offering this service for years!

  • Robert Hollis Weber

    This will be just fine until the TSA decides that there’s too great a chance that a terrorist might leave exploding earmuffs in the pocket of his London Fog.