In airport news, Houston Bush Intercontinental gets a new Centurion Lounge; Chicago plans a big addition of on-site hotel rooms at O’Hare Airport; San Jose will expand its international arrivals area; and a clever new retail concept comes to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.
In Texas, American Express has cut the ribbon on the seventh location for its Centurion airport lounge network. The new 8,500 square foot lounge is in Terminal D of Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, near Gate D6. It’s open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it’s free for consumer, Business and Corporate Platinum and Centurion Card members, along with their immediate family members or up to two guests. Other AmEx Card holders can buy a day pass for $50. The lounge has plentiful power outlets, high-speed Wi-Fi, a family room, a computer bar and “tranquility areas,” and provides users with a complementary full bar and a selection of light dishes created by Houston chef Justin Yu, a James Beard Award winner.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced plans to build two new hotels at O’Hare Airport, continuing a trend toward new on-site airport hotels that we’re also seeing at Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York JFK, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Emanuel said the new hotels will be financed and developed by the city’s Department of Aviation, and will be linked to O’Hare’s terminals by the airport’s free transit system. One will be adjacent to Terminal 5, providing 300 to 400 rooms and 25,000 to 65,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The second, a smaller property of 150 to 200 rooms, will be built on the northeast side of the airport along Mannheim Road as part of a new mixed-use development. The city will issue a request for proposals later this year, and the hotels are expected to be finished by 2020. In addition, Emanuel said the city plans to overhaul and modernize the airport’s existing on-site hotel, the O’Hare Hilton, after the current lease expires in two years. That project will give the hotel the capability of hosting “large-scale trade shows and events,” the city said, and will add “spas, extended room service, concierge services, and quality restaurants and boutiques.”
Mineta San Jose International Airport said it plans to expand and upgrade its 14-year-old International Arrivals Building – a good idea considering the number of new international flights coming in there these days. Work has just started on the project, which will add 5,600 square feet of space to the facility by the time it’s finished in spring of next year. The building will get 2,700 square feet of additional baggage claim space and a second baggage carousel, and the front of the building will be extended by 2,900 square feet and enclosed. The airport will also add new seating, restrooms and a snack space in the new waiting area.
Ever been waiting at the gate when you realized that you needed some sundries for your flight, but you didn’t have time to run back through the concourse to pick them up? Hudson Group, the company that has ubiquitous newsstands/amenities stores at airports, has launched a new concept at Orange County, California’s John Wayne Airport to meet those needs. It’s a mini-store built into a mobile cart that can easily move around from gate to gate. It has a cash register and wireless capability to handle credit card transactions, and a mini-fridge for cooling beverages. Besides cold drinks, the roving “store” sells electronics, health and beauty items, and snacks and candy.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: How to get the BEST summer fare deals | One airline fee fading fast | Trip Report: Aer Lingus Economy Class | 5 top jobs for frequent travelers | First class phase out coming soon