Los Angeles, O’Hare Predicted To Be the Busiest U.S. Airports this Thanksgiving

LAX Shooting TSA Officer
Assosciated Press

Los Angeles International (LAX) and Chicago O`Hare International (ORD) are expected to be the busiest U.S. airports this Thanksgiving, according to Orbitz’s Insider Index. The two airports switched positions from 2012’s ranking, when O’Hare was busiest.

Rounding out the top five are Boston Logan International (BOS), San Francisco International (SFO) and New York LaGuardia (LGA).

The least busiest airport is predicted to be Syracuse Hancock International (SYR). So all you folks living in New York state (talking about you Binghamtonites) might want to look to Syracuse rather than New York City for booking a flight.

To arrive at these rankings, Orbitz reviewed its booking data from the top 50 U.S. airports over the Thanksgiving travel period (Nov. 26 through Dec. 2, 2013).

Dry Ice Bombs at LAX Bring Increased Security, Quick Arrest

dry ice
Flickr/ oskay

Regardless of how it happens, who made it or where it came from, when something explodes in an airport, it’s serious business. After not one but two dry ice explosions occurred on consecutive days at California’s Los Angeles International Airport, police are increasing securlty.

They are simple enough to make; add dry ice to a 20 ounce plastic bottle and wait. There is plenty of dry ice in the area, food service vendors use it daily.

Finding out who did it, apparently, might not very difficult either; police arrested an airport employee Tuesday night. Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was charged with possessing and exploding a “destructive device near an aircraft,” according to a statement from police, reports CBS News.

The exploded bombs did not cause any injuries or damage.Bennett apparently took the dry ice from a plane and placed it in an employee restroom Sunday night where it exploded about 7pm, locking down terminal 2. Another device exploded in a restricted area outside the international terminal on Monday.

Second Dry Ice Bomb Explodes at LAX

Iconic Airports: Where Are They Now?

Original LAX airport design
Original LAX plan, courtesy LA World Airports Flight Path Learning Center

Yesterday, I went out to JFK Airport with no flight to catch and no visitors to greet. It was the annual Open House New York event, where private buildings and homes all over the city open to the public for a few hours, and it was a last chance to see the iconic TWA Flight Center before it is turned into a hotel. (You can see our photos from last year here.)

Native New Yorkers, retired flight attendants, tourists and architecture enthusiasts flooded the airy terminal, closed since TWA ceased operations in 2001, taking photos and sharing stories about the good old days of air travel. The mid-20th century was the high point in airport design; its airy and futuristic buildings can be appreciated by any modern day traveler who has ever had a layover at La Guardia.

We looked at some of the most iconic airport architecture in the U.S. and their current status. Is your favorite still flying?

%Slideshow-100872%DCA Terminal A – Washington D.C.’s first airport opened in 1941, and was considered to be the most modern in airport design at the time. In addition to its status as historic landmark and aviation icon, it’s also an archaeological site: the airport was built on a former colonial plantation and the birthplace of George Washington’s granddaughter.

Status: The original terminal was restored to its original look in 2004 and 2008, with the interior currently undergoing a massive renovation. You can still see many parts of the original lobby and building as it looked when President Roosevelt dedicated it. Check out some vintage postcards of the airport from the Boston Public Library.

IAD Main Terminal – One of Swedish architect Eero Saarinen’s airport designs, Dulles was designed in 1958 and dedicated in 1962, the same year the TWA terminal opened. The architect called the building and control tower “the best thing that I have done,” and inspired the design of Taiwan’s international airport. The “mobile lounges” were one of the most innovative concepts, carrying passengers in relative luxury from the terminal right to the plane

Status: Dulles wasn’t a popular airport from the beginning, as it didn’t allow jumbo jets until 1970 and the distance from the city is still off-putting, but it’s now one of the busiest in the country and is continuing to expand. The mobile lounges are still around, but the new Aero Train is more commonly used.

JFK Pan Am Worldport – The 1960 “flying saucer” was designed to bring the airplane to the passenger, sheltering the planes under the overhang for all-weather boarding. It was opened for Pan Am and renamed the Worldport in 1971 when it was expanded to accommodate the Boeing 747, and was the biggest passenger terminal in the world for several years. After Pan Am went bankrupt in the ’90s, Delta acquired the terminal and used it for many long-haul flights.

Status: Although it is on the list of the most endangered historic buildings and beloved by many airline and architecture enthusiasts, it looks like the Worldport is permanently grounded. While Delta just completed a major renovation of their other terminal at JFK, they need the room for airplane parking, and the flying saucer is already beginning to be demolished.

LAX Theme building – The distinctive Theme building is a perfect example of 1960s futuristic architecture, resembling something out of the Jetsons and actually inspiring the cartoon’s design. Part of the original ambitious plans for the airport was to connect terminal buildings with a giant glass dome, with the Theme Building serving as the main terminal, as in the picture above. One of the most famous buildings in the world, it’s photographed more than the Eiffel Tower.

Status: The Theme building has been a restaurant since 1997, and you can visit Encounter for a meal even if you aren’t flying. The free observation deck is open on weekends only if you just want to watch the planes taking off.

LGA Marine Air Terminal – For a passenger who arrives at one of La Guardia’s many dim and low-ceilinged gates, it’s hard to imagine that an Art Deco beauty is part of the same airport. Opened in 1940 and funded by the post-depression Works Progress Administration, the Marine Air Terminal originally served the glamorous Clipper planes, carrying 72 passengers on long transoceanic flights with sleeping berths and a high-end restaurant. The second World War made such flying boats obsolete, and the terminal sat unused for several decades.

Status: It’s now the main hub for Delta’s shuttle service to Boston, Chicago and Washington, even after a massive renovation to Delta’s other terminal at LGA. While it might have less modern facilities, it’s the only terminal to feature an original mural dedicated to flight (with a secret message).

LGB Main Terminal – The first trans-continental flight landed at Long Beach in 1911, but the Streamline Moderne terminal wasn’t built for another 30 years. The modernist building was considered avant garde at the time, but now feels classic and a bit romantic among airports, the kind of place you can imagine passengers boarding with hat boxes and cat eye sunglasses. Much smaller than nearby LAX, JetBlue made it a west coast hub in 2001 and put the California airport back on the map.

Status: Last year, LGB was fully modernized to make it more green and “resort-like,” with outdoor spaces outfitted with fire pits and cabanas. The renovation uncovered more of the mosaic tile art by WPA artist Grace Clements, then 28 years old, and covered by carpet for 70 years.

Cockpit view of night landing in Los Angeles

Landing in any major city at night can be a thrill. The lights down below are enticing and the energy of a city after dark gets your pulse racing. Or, you know, maybe you’re just exhausted and ready to collapse. This video of a plane coming in for a landing at LAX offers amazing views of the many neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the surrounding area (all labeled for our benefit). It’s a view we don’t often get to see (directly from the cockpit of the plane) of a city that’s incredibly spread out.

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Airberlin announces new direct route from Los Angeles, California, to Berlin, Germany

berlin germany airport airberlinThe USA is Berlin’s most important market overseas, as can be seen by the 180,000 Americans that visited Germany’s capital from January through August, 2011. That is why it is so exciting that airberlin has announced a new, direct route from Los Angeles to Berlin that is set to begin on May 11, 2012. From then on, travelers will be able to take the Airbus 330-200 direct, with three flights going out per week.

Airberlin is the first airline to offer nonstop flights from the west coast of the United States to Berlin. The tourism industry in Germany’s capital plans to work with the airline to heavily and successfully market the new route.

For more information, go to visitBerlin.