Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is becoming a bigger gateway to Mexico and the Caribbean with the kickoff of this year’s winter and early spring vacation season.
In 2014, Lambert will see a 12 percent increase in flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. During the peak travel period between February and April, Lambert will serve as many as 14 flights per week to six vacation destinations.
Two new Mexico destinations from St. Louis highlight the increase in flights. Lambert will offer new weekly service to Puerto Vallarto (PVR) and Los Cabos (SJD), starting February 15 and February 17, respectively. The most popular vacation market from St. Louis is currently Cancun, with service to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico operating as many as six days a week. Lambert also has weekly flights to Huatulco in Mexico, Montego Bay in Jamaica and and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
“Our vacation charter partners are seeing a great draw in our region for these trips even if customers have to drive several hours to the Airport,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “We’ve witnessed a growth in our leisure travel customer base that extends beyond our normal catchment area for these vacation package trips because of our ability to offer great frequency and destination choice.”
The direct flights are offered on Frontier Airlines, with vacation packages offered through Apple Vacations and Funjet Vacations.
Crews remove snow on the top level of the Terminal 1 Garage after one of the biggest winter storms in decades to hit the St. Louis region.
The Polar Vortex turned into a Polar Cleanup across the St. Louis region this week. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport recorded nearly 11 inches of snow in less than 24 hours after the storm pushed through on Sunday, Jan. 5. The snow and high winds pushed ahead of the polar plunge in temperatures that saw negative highs for the first time since the 1980s. The Airport saw hundreds of cancellations but the force of Lambert’s snow removal crews kept the airfield open, roadways driveable and parking lots passable through the worst of it. The Airport snow removal effort and cleanup continued the rest of the week even as another round of snow (1.5") hit St. Louis- the third snow storm just this month.
This new breed of snow machine does double duty on Lambert’s airfield as both a snowplow and a jetbroom.
Big machines are needed to clear snow from Lambert’s runways and make sure our airlines can continue to operate when severe weather hits. St. Louis was hit with its first snow storm of the year this week. To conquer the snow, the Airport has a new breed, a new beast, among its fleet of snow removing machines. It’s a MB5 Multi-Tasking Snow Vehicle (Manufactured in Wisconsin). This snow machine is a double-duty workhorse that can do the job of both a snow plow and a jet broom. It’s powered by two 500 Horsepower engines. Lambert has seven of these machines which will be back on the job this weekend when another storm is expected to hit the area.
Inesia Runnels (far left) and five-year old Za Shaw decide which perfect pretzel they would like from Auntie Anne’s in Terminal 2.
The world’s favorite pretzel place, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels is now open in Terminal 2, home of Southwest Airlines and Air Tran Airways. Auntie Anne’s is known for it’s delicious hand-rolled soft pretzels and freshly baked treats. Wherever Auntie Anne’s opens, it’s guaranteed to draw a crowd! Inesia Runnels and Za Shaw of Dallas, Texas stall for a minute as they choose from Auntie Anne’s tasty menu. The menu includes the yummy original salted pretzel and other popular flavors like cinnamon, jalapeno and garlic. Shaw was excited to get her favorite cinnamon flavored pretzel. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels is in partnership with Lambert’s master food concessionaire, HMSHost.
Military men and women from Fort Leonard Wood occupy time before catching a flight home by using their electronics. Lambert Airport hooked up extra outlets to accomodate the soldiers.
The Christmas holiday season is already a busy time at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The annual Military Holiday Block Leave provided a bigger boost this week with a sea of green as far as the eye can see in the terminals. The mass exodus of soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood is when more than 5,000 military men and women head home for the holidays. The USO, the Airport and many other groups ensure the soldiers get in the holiday spirit with numerous events and special apperances (Santa Claus) for the soldiers. The biggest hit, however, were temporary plug-in stations set up for the day so soldiers could charge up their electronics for games, videos and holiday phone calls.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is preparing for a busy holiday travel period surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Passengers should expect an increase in passenger traffic of 15-20 percent at times in the next two weeks versus non-holiday travel periods.
The kickoff begins this week with the Airport expecting 19-20,000 departing passengers on December 20. Friday marks the annual Military Holiday Block Leave with more than 5,000 soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood being transported to Lambert for flights home and elsewhere. The TSA will plan on opening all checkpoints on this morning by 3 a.m. Any passenger flying out prior to 9 a.m. Friday should expect long lines and congestion in Lambert terminals and concourses.
The USO of Missouri is planning a series of events at both terminals for military personnel who will begin arriving as early as 1:30 a.m. Friday. Events include the annual appearance of Santa and Mrs.Clause, music, military giveaways and a live broadcast of 97.1 FM’s Allman in the Morning from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m. in Terminal 1.
U.S. Airlines are predicting a two percent increase in air travel over this winter holiday period with passenger loads on planes to be 80-90 percent full. Friday is expected to be the busiest air travel day across the U.S. prior to Christmas.
Passengers should arrive 90 minutes to two hours prior to their flights during holiday travel period. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding passengers that they can help reduce wait times at security checkpoints with the following tips:
·3-1-1 for liquids: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less. and all bottles must fit in 1 quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening.
·Gifts: TSA recommends passengers wrap gifts after their flight or ship them ahead of time to avoid the possibility of having to open them during the screening process.
·Food: Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted, but may require further inspection
· Children 12 and under and adults 75 and older: TSA has modified the screening procedures for children 12 and under and adults 75 and older.
·Check for prohibited items: Travelers can use the “Can I bring my...” app on www.TSA.gov or www.TSA.gov/mobile to check what items are allowed/not allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. Smartphone users can easily download the “My TSA” app to quickly find helpful information about TSA policies and procedures.
·Prepare for security: Have a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID and boarding pass out and remove liquids and large electronics, including laptops, from carry-on baggage. Remember to remove shoes, outerwear, and bulky jewelry and empty pockets. Place valuable items in a carry-on bag.
·TSA’s Wounded Warrior Screening program: This program allows expedited screening and curb to gate service for this trusted group of citizens. Wounded warriors or their care coordinators can contact TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with details of the itinerary once flight arrangements are made with the airline.
·More Travel Tips: Check out TSA’s helpful Traveler Information site for more useful information to help ease the traveling public through security checkpoints. Additional holiday travel tips are available: http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/11/tsa-2013-holiday-travel-tips.html
Picking Up Passengers: Use Free Cell Phone Lots
The impact of this busy travel season also applies to those picking up passengers at Lambert. The Airport recommends motorists use one of two cell phone lots to wait for passengers to arrive. These free waiting zones are conveniently located within a few minutes from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and feature display boards to help check the status of incoming flights. Motorists should contact arriving passengers via a mobile phone before leaving the Cell Phone Lot to confirm they are ready for immediate pickup at the terminals. Passenger pick up zones at each terminal are for active loading only; no waiting is allowed. For cell phone locations and more information, click here.
Seven-year old Corben Phillips gives a Marines Master Sergeant a high-five on his way to the gate for American Airlines annual Snowball Express.
Eleven families from St. Louis and Illinois will share a special Christmas celebration thanks to American Airlines’ Snowball Express. Snowball Express started in 2006 to provide hope and new memories to the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11. This year, eighteen children from the St. Louis and Metro East area will enjoy a four- day Christmas party with other families of fallen heroes in Dallas, Texas. Organizers say the main goal is to honor the sacrifice the families of the fallen have made and make sure that children who lost a parent can connect with other children who are experiencing the same. This is Corben Phillips (pictured) second year attending the Snowball Express. Corben’s dad was killed in 2012.
New trees planted outside Terminal 1 are decorated in lights to offer a perfect accent to the terminal’s domes.
The historic vaulted domes at Terminal 1 always cast a shine in the night’s sky. Now the Airport is taking advantage of nature to feature a new accent. Lambert has planted a half-dozen Heritage River Birch trees in front of one of the domes. The new trees and a set of large planters are part of a courtyard makeover to enhance the views looking in and looking out of the terminal. The trees are now trimmed in classic white lights for the holiday season. The new trees feature exfoliating bark that reveals a colorful inner trunk as they grow. The trees can grow 30 to 60 feet high.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is about to get a lot more kid friendly.
Today officials from Lambert, The Magic House St. Louis Children’s Museum, and Rally Saint Louis announced that a 1,500-square-foot, hands-on children’s exhibit has received full funding and approvals to begin construction. This is a $150,000 project. It will open in late May for the start of the busy summer travel season.
“We’re thrilled to welcome The Magic House’s unparalleled brand of engaging children’s exhibits to the Airport in the C Concourse,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. “This is just one more element that is helping to build upon the overall airport experience.”
“The Play Port” will feature a transportation hub of fun with climb-in and climb-out venues, including a plane, a train and multiple cars. The play area will also include a child-size air traffic control tower, car rental counters and an airport screening area.
“Traveling with young children can be challenging, and our goal is to create a fun and welcoming experience in St. Louis and convey what a wonderful place the metro area is for families,” said Beth Fitzgerald, President of The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum. “This has been a longtime dream to use The Magic House’s unique interactive play and learning concepts to welcome and entertain visitors to our airport.”
City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay applauded the idea, as well as the grassroots and corporate support the project received to make it a reality.
“We’re living in a new era of collaboration and innovation across St. Louis,” Mayor Slay said. “We’re all working to improve our City and region and to see projects coming to fruition through Rally Saint Louis is rewarding, to say the least.”
Major donors and supporters of this exhibit include Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Carr Lane Manufacturing Co., the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, Bi-State Development Agency/Metro, Jane and Dave Peacock, as well as private donations generated through Rallystl.org.
After launching in November 2012, the first-of-its-kind platform allows consumers to submit, vote for, and help fund ideas that drive progress in greater St. Louis. Rally Saint Louis has served as a key player in generating and funding five projects, including The Magic House exhibit, across greater St. Louis, as well as:
“Rally Saint Louis has continued to spark the imagination and civic pride of our fellow St. Louisans,” said Brian Cross, who co-founded Rally Saint Louis alongside partner Aaron Perlut. “Seeing great projects like this reach funding and become a reality for everyone in the region hopefully will inspire more people to get involved and create the next big thing to make St. Louis even greater.”
Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.