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Traveler's Aid: Fun Things to do at the Airport (12/21/2001)

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Diana: If you're flying this weekend, odds are you're going to be spending a lot of time waiting around. Get to the airport two hours in advance, leave lots of time for connections, etc. etc. What does all that mean, really? Well, it means you better take a good book. A good, LONG book.

But. There is hope for those of us who are fast readers. Rudy Maxa is joining me now to tell you the best ways to kill time at five of the biggest airports in the country. Rudy, welcome.

Rudy: Hello Diana, happy holidays.

Diana:Happy holidays to you. Got any plans?

Diana: So Rudy, what is there to do at airports these days?

Rudy: You don't just have to sit around. There's stuff to do! I'm gonna focus on the busiest airports and the hubs.

  1. At Atlanta-Hartsfield airport, the Airport Art Program has put together a series of concerts for travelers. They take place in the airport atrium - which is the space between the ticket counters, before you take that shuttle out to the different terminals - and they're scheduled everyday between 5 and 7 pm. [Before the security checkpoint, so if lines are long, you'll pretty much have to listen no matter what.] On the bill are Classical, Celtic, Blues, Dixieland Jazz. And if you're in a rush and can't sit and enjoy the music (or if you don't want to leave the security zone) there will be Carollers roaming the terminals.
  2. At LAX: one of my favorite things to do is head out of the terminals to the center of the airport and go to that weird, giant space ship thing. It's actually a restaurant, called Encounter, which is done up in this cool 60s lounge scifi motif. Kind of like stepping into a Jetsons cartoon. (Diana: how's the food?) Not bad. But you are still at the airport, so things are kind of pricey. Closed Christmas Eve and Day, New Years Eve and Day.
  3. At Dallas Fort-Worth: The American Airlines museum is just southwest of the airport - named after CR Smith, who designed the DC-3 and was the first head of American Airlines. Lots of interactive exhibits - a pretty good flight simulator, a movie theater where you sit in real first class seats. It's about a $12 cab ride to the museum, but once you get there, admission is free. It's worth it.
  4. Snowed in at Denver International Airport? Take in a show. Last year they had groups all over the airport, but this year, because of those heightened security concerns, they're only playing in the main terminal. The concerts take place This weekend and next, from 9 am to about 8 pm. It's called the "International Performance Series" so the emphasis is on world music - Andean flutes, Gypsy flamenco, American folk, you get the picture.

If you'd like us to address your travel questions or concerns, send us an email. Or, you can snail-mail them in. The address is The Savvy Traveler, in care of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007. Or call us at 888-SAV-TRAV.

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