Why should airports do anything for the goons who bring small children on a plane ride? We parents are asking for trouble just by setting foot in the airport, and now we also want play areas. First we expect preferential treatment like early boarding, and now THIS.
To be clear, I'm not complaining that airports don't always have fantastic play areas and kid friendly zones. It's true that, by choosing to fly with tots, I'm signing up for a certain amount of misery. However, given the choice, sometimes I'd be willing to pay another $10 on my ticket if it means I'll be routed through a fun place where my kids can get their wiggles out, rather than a yucky, smoke-filled airport with no seating and dirty floors. It's hard to find enough information to make these decisions, however, so I started a blog to help my fellow travelers. Please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Portland International Airport (2.5 stars)

Portland's airport is a wonderful little haven.  So small it's refreshing, with a number of stores that capture the independent feel of the city, somehow avoiding becoming the cliche airport shops.  Surprisingly, for an airport this size, Portland does in fact have a children's play area.  It's pretty small-- basically a few interactive cubicle-wall style games and a television, with some kid-sized chairs.  It's in the middle of the hall, surrounded by some eating establishments, so mom can grab a coffee and watch the kids.

Here, then, the complete review:

Are there one or more play areas?  yes, there's one!

Is there one in every terminal, after passport control?  it's in concourse C, but the whole airport is small enough that it's not far from any gate.

Is the play area conveniently located?  how could it not be...

Is there information about the play areas available online?  yes, the play area is marked on this map: 

Are maps clearly labeled to make finding the play areas easy?  yes

Are there one or more nursing areas?  I don't think so; I didn't see one.   Oregonians are maybe not as shy about nursing in public as the rest of the country!

Description:   I think I've about covered it already in the intro.  Like the rest of the city:  small but a nice little gem!   sorry, no pictures this time because I lost my camera on that trip.  Bummer!

Here's a quote from another website (Kids Airport Diversion Guide), I did not read this before going to Portland, so can't say if it's all accurate or not:

Portland International Airport (PDX): The people who run Portland International Airport seem to do almost everything well, not the least of which is catering to families with children. There are lots of opportunities for kids to work off steam before being strapped in for a long flight. Pre-security near the checkpoint for Concourses D and E, you’ll find a multi-colored jungle gym, replete with padded surfaces. It’s got a pair of stairs that lead to a couple of slides and a “lookout” with a toy telescope and steering wheel so kids can spy aircraft out on PDX’s tarmac. Post-security on the C Concourse there’s a play area with a bunch of attractions: Lego tables, bead maze, play cars, and a TV monitor that’s set for children-friendly channels. Best of all, the area is close to restrooms and has plenty of seats for parents.
Need something more stimulating than mere play? Take them to the ABC lobby post- security. You’ll find a stunning Columbia River exhibit with interactive monitors and native artifacts, maps, photos, and excerpts form the journals of Lewis and Clark. When you’re flying east from PDX, get a window seat for your child and see if they can spot the areas they saw on the map. That’s the essence of interactivity. Stop by Creative Kidstuff on Concourse C to get your kids come travel-worthy games to keep them occupied during the long flight.

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