Major upgrade: The newest AvGeek-approved amenities at airports and hotels

Oct 21, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

An ice cream shop with a specialty shake in Denver and a bathtub with a view for planespotters in San Francisco are a few of the new airport attractions to help you pass the time waiting for that next flight.

Here’s what to check out on your next layover:

Bag storage/delivery service at San Diego Airport

A new service called Baggage Nanny at San Diego Airport (SAN) will help you with your bags if you’ve arrived in the city but it’s too early to check into your hotel or Airbnb.

The service, which hopes to expand to other airports soon, allows arriving travelers to drop bags at Baggage Nanny kiosks in the airport baggage-claim areas and specify a time they’d like those bags delivered to them in town. Baggage Nanny will also pick up bags in town and store them at the airport until a traveler arrives for a flight.

The cost for each bag is $20 for pickup/storage within a 15-mile radius of the airport, no matter the size/weight.

New batch of airport trading cards: Collect them all

The 2019 set of trading cards in the North American Airport Collectors Series (NAACS) has been issued and the 20 cards include Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO), Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and 15 others.

The series kicked off in 2014, with cards distributed by airports at information booths and events. Want to collect them all? To date, there are around 130 officially approved cards in the series, though there doesn’t seem to be an official count. New airports are added all the time, but over the years some airports have released multiple cards with different images.

A selection of 2019 trading cards. Image courtesy of Airports Council International
A selection of 2019 airport trading cards. (Image courtesy of Airports Council International.)

Bonus for AvGeeks at the new Grand Hyatt at SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) now has its own at-the-airport hotel with its own stop on the airport AirTrain. In addition to being super-convenient, the hotel is also a gift to AvGeeks because one side of the 12-story, 351-room Grand Hyatt at SFO overlooks the comings and goings of airplanes at the International Terminal.

To assist planespotting, the hotel provides each room on the terminal side of the hotel with a planespotting brochure and a pair of loaned binoculars. You can watch planes from the desk, the bed and, in some rooms, from the bathtub. Day rates are available.

A bathroom at the new Grand Hyatt SFO. Photo by Harriet Baskas for TPG.
This hotel bathroom has a view of the airport at the new Grand Hyatt SFO. (Photo by Harriet Baskas for TPG.)

Local food and drink featured at airports

Denver’s iconic Little Man Ice Cream shop has opened an outpost at Denver International Airport (DEN), near Gate C27. And, with a wink and a nod to local airport lore, Little Man has created an only-at-the-airport Illuminati Shake.

Some of that airport mythology involves lizard people, space aliens and a secret cabal of the Illuminati, along with assorted conspiracy theories that have been swirling around Denver Airport since it opened in February 1985.

“The alien lizard people who live in the tunnels under the airport inspired our chef to create a drink using Leopold Bros. Absinthe Verte, a green-colored, anise-flavored spirit, which was historically known as an hallucinogenic drink called The Green Fairy,” said Basha Cohen, director of marketing for Little Man. “By combining absinthe with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and maraschino liqueur, we hope to send travelers on their own secret flight of imagination,” he said.

The new shop also serves other flavors of homemade ice cream, sorbet, vegan ice cream, ice cream sandwiches called Sammies, and some boozy options such as Strawberry Margarita Freeze, Whiskey Apple Pie and Oreo Java Spiced Rum.

Elsewhere, another local favorite, Pittsburgh’s Franktuary, which serves signature franks with locally sourced condiments, has set up shop at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). McCarran International Airport (LAS) recently scored a Shake Shack in Terminal 1 and Calgary International Airport (YYC) opened Flames Grill, a hockey-themed restaurant honoring the Calgary Flames, complete with life-size images of players.

And get ready to chow down at the new New Orleans International Airport (MSY), which is scheduled to open Nov. 6. Dining venues will include an instrument-adorned wine bar dedicated to the city’s annual Jazz & Heritage Festival, as well as Leah’s Kitchen, a restaurant created by the late Leah Chase, who was known for her Creole cuisine and civil rights activism.

Pictured here are the ingredients for a Little Man ice-cream Illuminati Shake. Photo courtesy of Little Man Ice Cream.
Pictured here are the ingredients for a Little Man Ice Cream Illuminati Shake made only at the Denver Airport. (Photo courtesy of Little Man Ice Cream.)
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.