Ugly Bags are Good!
Jun 4 : 12:00AM
Did you read that right? Yes, we are advocating for ugly luggage. We didn’t say in bad shape, we just said ugly. Making your luggage ugly has its benefits. And, what benefits are those and how should you make your suitcase ugly?
Personalizing your luggage with touches that are uniquely yours makes it more recognizable on the baggage belt and lessens the likelihood that someone will mistakenly grab it off the belt – thinking it’s theirs. We all are familiar with the ever-popular colors of luggage – black, grey, navy blue, red – and also the fact that innumerable fellow travelers also have bags in those colors. Make your mundane bag, uniquely yours!
Consider knotting a thick, brightly colored ribbon to one of the handles.
Write or draw something on the side or front of the bag using fabric paints or pens.
Create and laminate custom luggage tags.
Decorate the sides of the baggage with duct tape. Duct tape comes in more patterns and colors then just the standard dull grey anymore!
Luggage straps can serve two purposes – first they can hold your stuff inside the bag more securely and also can identify it as yours.
Fancy yourself a paracord artist? Make some special to tie onto your bag.
Iron or stitch patches to the sides of your suitcase.
If you use a hard-sided bag – perhaps decorate it with stickers from places you’ve traveled.
Have fun with the process. The sky’s the limit, literally! The uglier, the better!
Share your photos of your personalized, ugly luggage with us – we’d love to see your creativity at work.
Tags: baggage, luggage, summer vacation, travel, travel tips
MDT Plane Spotting: Beechcraft 1900D
May 21 : 12:00AM
In this post we will take a look at one of the aircraft that you may spot flying to and from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT).
The Beechcraft 1900D is the smallest commercial aircraft that flies through Harrisburg International Airport. It was manufactured by the Beechcraft Division of Raytheon between 1991 and 2002. The 1900D is the third iteration of the Beechcraft 1900 series, following the 1900 and the 1900C. The 1900 series are all 19 passenger turboprop airliners which were themselves an evolution of Beechcraft’s Model 200 Super King Air.
The 1900C was an early redesign of the 1900, distinguished primarily by the removal of a second airstair door. The 1900D was a more significant redesign. The most obvious feature of the 1900D when compared with the earlier 1900 models is the shape of the cabin. The 1900D is notable in its class for being one of only two 19 passenger airliners in service with a ceiling height that allows most passengers to walk through the craft without bending over. Changing the shape of the body necessitated other changes to the design, including more powerful engines and a larger tail.
Although more than 70 airlines currently operate Beechcraft 1900Ds, the only ones you’ll see at MDT wear the livery of Air Georgian, operating flights for HIA’s airline partner Air Canada. As many as 900 passengers make their way between Toronto and Harrisburg on 1900Ds every month.
Tags: Air Canada, aircraft, airplanes, Harrisburg International airport
Best Practices for Booking Trips
May 7 : 12:00AM
For some prospective travelers, the idea of booking a ticket for a flight can be stressful. At MDT we like to help take some of the hassle out of your air travel experience, not just in the terminal, but by offering tips and insights to make planning a trip just a little bit easier! While these tips cannot be guaranteed to assure you the lowest possible airfare, we do recommend considering them before you book your trip.
As soon as you have an idea of where you’d like to travel to begin comparison shopping for airfare. Check with a travel agent, online booking engines (Hipmunk, Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, etc), and directly on the airline’s website.
Do not wait until the last minute or the day of, to book your trip. You will pay a premium for airfare if you wait too long. Give yourself at least three to six weeks prior to book airfare, if you can.
Shop on a Tuesday. Fare sales are often rolled out on Mondays and usually by the next day competitive airlines are matching their rates to that of sales.
Often airlines will have one-hour specials or short-notice sales that are debuted on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. So, if you’re active on these sites, follow the airlines you are considering flying with to keep up with these specials/sales.
Sign up for e-alerts for notification of sales/specials from sites like AirfareWatchdog.com. The alerts are delivered right to your inbox as they’re available.
Be flexible, if you can, on your departure date and times, you can often save money on airfare by being willing to fly during the week as opposed to leaving on a weekend.
Go where the low-cost carriers fly!
If possible, avoid visiting popular destinations during peak season. You’re bound to run into limited seat availability and higher fares if you choose to travel to a location during its busiest season(s) of the year!
Did these tips help you book a trip with less hassle? Tell us about it! Where did you go and what type of Money, Distance and Time savings did you experience?
Tags: discounts, family vacation, MDT, Money, online, planning, summer vacation, tips, travel tips, vacation, web site
The History of Middletown
Apr 24 : 12:00AM
Early 1700 maps of Pennsylvania show that the area of land, now called Middletown, was once the village to the Conoy Indian Tribe of the Susquehannock Nation. When the town was planned out in 1755, some of their lodges were located in the area of where the town square is now located.
Middletown was founded in this rich agricultural area, thirty years before Harrisburg. Due to its location for trade, the town grew rapidly in the next century and a half both by land and water. The Scotch-Irish were the first white settlers in this area. It is estimated that nearly 200 Scotch-Irish families resided in the vicinity. With the sudden growth of settlers, several well-constructed roads had to be built. Middletown was named for its location midway between Lancaster and Carlisle along the Old Stage Coach Road on the Wagon Trail.
Many different architecture styles can be found in Middletown today since the town is so old. Log cabins, Victorian mansions, churches and several houses are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Middletown is noted in colonial records as being a supply depot for the Revolutionary Armies. Small boats for General Sullivan’s army were built here and his troops were supplied with provisions from local farms. The Swatara Ferry House is said to have housed Hessian prisoners during the Revolution.
Residents of Middletown published their “Resolves of Independence” from Great Britain at a meeting in 1774 chaired by Colonel James Burd. These ideas would later become incorporated in the colonies’ “Declaration of Independence”.
After the Revolutionary War, trade grew with the completion of the Pennsylvania and the Union Canals. Joined together at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Swatara Creek, the town was an important trading center for lumber, flour and iron. The Harrisburg-Lancaster Railroads were also in this area, as well as a ferry which ran back and forth across the River to York County.
Volunteers from Middletown enlisted in all wars leading up to the Spanish-American War of 1898. Camp Meade was set up as a troop garrison during the Spanish-American War. Named for the Civil War General George Meade, the camp was visited by President William McKinley.
The proud history of the Olmsted Air Force Base is said to have begun here when the United States Army Signal Corps established a military presence in Middletown with this temporary staging area during the Spanish-American War.
When the Middletown General Supply Depot broke ground on the site of what had been a pickle farm for the H.J. Heinz Company in 1917, the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps and the 113th Aero Squadron of the Pennsylvania National Guard were assigned to the new facility and the first aircraft landed in 1918.
By 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Depot became an important part of the war effort. As the largest airplane overhaul center in the world, it employed 17,000 civilian employees.
The Middletown General Supply Depot became Olmsted Air Force Base in 1948 and the Olmsted Field runway was expanded and modernized in 1958. During the Korean Conflict, the base continued to overhaul jets until its closing in 1964. Olmsted Field then became Harrisburg-York State Airport which would later become Harrisburg International Airport.
The lives of many residents of Middletown were impacted for nearly a half century by Olmsted Air Force Base; as well as playing a very important role during war times.
Tags: blog, history, siteseeing
MDTrip Report: Denver, Colorado
Apr 9 : 12:00AM
Got the urge to go West? We recommend a visit to Denver, Colorado. This vibrant, thriving city situated in the midst of the Rocky Mountains is an eclectic mix of arts, outdoors, culture, history, food, shopping and more. Widely known on the East coast as a winter sports destination - there is far more to do and see while in the Mile High City.
We encourage you to check out a few of the prime spots we visited on our recent trip to Denver. Starting with the Denver Art Museum located on 13th Avenue in the Civic Center Cultural Complex. The museum architecture is as much of a work of art as the timeless pieces housed within its many facilities, galleries and studios. We'd recommend at least the good part of day to tour the facility and to get your fill of artwork. And, for the readers in our blog audience, conveniently located right across the Complex from the Museum is the Denver Public Library.
So, you've had your fill of art and now it's time to decide what's for dinner! Hop in the car and drive over to Larimer Square situated between 14th and 15th Streets in downtown Denver. Larimer Square is district of Denver dedicated to one-of-a-kind chef-owned restaurants, unique boutiques and the like - all within a beautiful historic backdrop. So, what's on the menu? Choose from a few examples [or go visit and see for yourself]:
Lime - features fresh Mexican food
Corridor 44 - Denver's only champagne bar and restaurant
Tag - continental social food from chef/owner Troy Guard
Rioja - Mediterranean cuisine by chefs Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasinski
If you've still have daylight on your side after dining, spend some time wandering around the Square taking the Historic Walking Tour. The self-guided tour introduces you to 10 historic properties within a loop around Larimer that are some of the oldest in Denver.
You've studied some artwork, read few books, enjoyed fine dining, and basked in some of Denver's amazing history - so now it's time for a wee bit of shopping! Where's the place to be to shop while in Denver? None other than the 16th Street Mall. This mile long district is dedicated to small shops, restaurants and big name retailers. It's a pedestrian foot-traffic area, other than that it's open only to the free shuttles that run the length of the Mall district all day long.
Before we depart Denver, we cannot miss out on the outdoors culture of the city. Visit the flagship store of REI (Recreational Equipment Inc) in Confluence Park to try your hand at kayaking and indoor rock climbing and to supply your every outdoor activity whim - biking, hiking, trailing, backpacking, running - the list goes on! Once you're geared up there are Open Spaces (parks) in every corner of this 2.5 million person metro area. Biking, walking, running and similar are a daily routine for the residents of Denver. Be prepared to adjust your activities levels to the altitude difference though. If you're not a regular visitor or resident of Denver, you may be at risk for altitude sickness - so take it easy and allow your body and your expectations to get acclimated to being at 5,280 feet above sea level.
Do you have other interests about Denver that we've not covered? Ask us! We'll be happy to look into it for you and/or point you to the right location for more information.
Or, you can take in more about the city on your own by visiting www.VisitDenver.com or actually flying there [NONSTOP!] on Frontier Airlines from MDT - nonstop service resumes on 4/22/13!
Tags: Denver, Frontier, MDT, siteseeing, tourism, travel, travel tips, vacation
Mar 21 : 12:00AM
'What is XpressPARK?' you ask. It's the latest in customer service programs and initiatives offered to patrons from Harrisburg International Airport (MDT). XpressPARK is the newest way to save TIME and add CONVENIENCE to your onsite parking experience at MDT. Is that possible? Of course it is. Get yourself enrolled in this new parking program and experience how easy it is!
How does it work? Sign-up for the program by dropping off your completed enrollment form and fee in person at our Administrative offices (located on the third floor of the MDT terminal) or mail the form and fee back to us. We'll process your enrollment and issue you a parking card. The parking card is affiliated with the credit card you used to enroll in the program. So instead of having to take a parking ticket and use your credit card each time you park at MDT, all you need is your parking card!
That's right - no parking tickets, no credit card in/out, automatic payment, emailed receipts, use of the express lanes and less hassle!
Anyone with a valid credit card whom parks onsite at MDT is eligible for the program - so tell your friends, family and colleagues!
XpressPark, the new way to park at MDT.
Tags: customer service, Harrisburg International airport, local
Tips for Speedier Check-In
Feb 15 : 12:00AM
Did you know there are steps you can take to speed up your flight check-in process on the day of your departure? By following these few simple steps you can lessen your air travel hassles at any airport!
Check-in online for your flight before you arrive at the airport. Airlines allow you to do this up to 24-hours in advance as long as you have your confirmation number and of course your name!
If you need to check a bag, pay the baggage fee online before you get to the airport. Many airlines offer the ability to pay your fee by credit card via there website. This cuts down on the amount of time you spend at the ticket counter dropping off your checked bag with airline personnel.
Give yourself sufficient amount of time to arrive at the airport pre-flight. If you wait until the very last minute to depart for the airport, chances are Murphy will rear his ugly head and slow down your journey! For MDT, we recommend you show up at least 75 minutes prior to your flight departure time.
Know your flight number and the airline you're flying with before you depart for the airport. In the event that your flight is delayed, or your flight experiences a gate-change, you'll have the pertinent information to assist in tracking these changes.
Check your flight status before you depart for the airport! The best means to do this is directly with your airline via their website, phone or by signing up for flight tracking alerts which can be emailed or text messaged to you directly.
Pack your carry-on luggage appropriately. Be sure that you've followed the Transportation Security Administration's guidelines for packing carry-on luggage BEFORE you get to the airport. Review their website, www.tsa.dhs.gov for the full details.
Be prepared for the worst, but expect the best. Air travel is subject to weather, mechanical and other types of delays and cancellations - so be prepared. And, keep your airlines 800# and ticket counter location close-at-hand in case you get to the airport and find out that you need to re-book your flight.
What tips and tricks for speedier check-in do you use that we've missed? We'd love to hear what works best for you!
Plane Spotting: the Presidential 747
Jan 12 : 12:00AM
Many of you may have plane spotted a large, low-flying aircraft in the airspace around MDT earlier this week. If you're not following the airport's Facebook fan page or Twitter feed, you may not realize that aircraft was the modified 747 used as 'Air Force One.' No, the President wasn't landing at Harrisburg, nor was he just flying around on the plane. The reason the 747 is an oft visitor to MDT is because of the flight crew's responsibility to practice flying the aircraft and its landing/departure maneuvers on a regular basis. It's not uncommon to see the modified 747, 757, 737 and other aircraft in the governmental fleet practicing maneuvers on our runway. Do
we get fore notice that they'll be here? Not usually, we often
know they're here when they're spotted by airport staff.
The various planes in the governmental fleet practice at MDT due to the abundant length and width of our runway (we can accommodate any type of aircraft flying in the world) and due to our proximity (via air) to Andrews Air Force Base (AFB), wherein many of the fleet are stored. We're an approximately 20-minute flight from the AFB.
So, you're now curious to learn more about the various aircraft that practice maneuvers at your hometown airport, aren't you? We've found a few resources that detail the various aircraft:
Next time you see this aircraft or similar at MDT in your neck of the airspace, tweet us a photo using the hashtag, #MDTPlaneSpot or post a photo to our fan page wall. We love to see the various aircraft from your perspective, too!
Photo credit: Facebook fan, Eric Moon, captured the image used in this post during it's practice maneuvers at MDT last week.
Holiday Shopping and its Impact on MDT
Dec 18 : 12:00AM
'Tis the season of gift giving as Christmas is just around the corner! With gift giving comes an increase in packages being shipped to and fro across the country via train, truck and of course, aircraft. Many of you may be aware that UPS, FedEx and DHL conduct air cargo operations at your hometown airport, Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), on a daily basis.
But, did you know that at this time of year, due to the increase volume of package shipment from online holiday shoppers, UPS contracts a 747 for their fleet at MDT to help offset the increased flights needed? That's right, plane spotters! There's a 747 based at MDT for the next week and its departing daily around mid-morning flying the country delivering your gifts where they need to go.
Today's flight departed around 9 am EST and was bound for Denver, Colorado. If you 'plane spot' the 747, be sure to tweet us about it with the hashtag '#MDTplanespot' or post the photo to our fan page!
Tags: air planes, aircraft, airports, avgeeks, business aviation, employees, Harrisburg International airport, hashtag, hia airport, HIA on Twitter, HIAairport
Snow, plows, and ice - oh my!
Nov 26 : 12:00AM
With winter just around the corner and snow in this week's forecast, Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)employees are prepared to work hard to keep the airfield clear for aircraft take-offs and landings, the roadways clear for drivers and the walkways clear for visitors.
While most of us are thinking about swimming pools and jet-setting away from the region in the warm summer months, for the maintenance and operations crews at MDT it is strictly Christmas in July. This is when intensive planning stages begin for the coordination of plowing routes on the airfield and terminal roads, getting the essential winter vehicles prepped, and training drills take place.
Crews battle the snow and ice
And when the colder months and precipitation come, crews are ready to take on Jack Frost. To stay on top of the forecast, airport maintenance subscribes to Accuweather as well as checks with other weather sources to determine the incoming storm. Unlike highway road crews, MDT’s crews are called in before the snow hits, which means no build up on the runways or the public access ways.
Assistant Supervisor of Maintenance Mark Hake takes pride in his dedicated group of employees who maintain the terminal road ways and parking garages. Even when the team is not on airport grounds, they are always a call away. In the event of a storm, the crews begin the continuous process of plowing, brooming, and de-icing the grounds to ensure passengers can make their flights.
On the other side of the terminal, Airfield Maintenance Supervisor Shawn Rupert and his men work hard to make sure airplanes continue to travel to and from the airport. In his experience with the airport, MDT closed because of weather only one time. A direct reflection of the dedication his team of 16 workers possesses, which lets the airport continue to operate in hazardous conditions. It is not uncommon for both Rupert and Hake’s teams to sacrifice time with their families or even holidays to shack up in the bunk room at the airport for a 24-hour storm.
Plowing the runway one full length and one full width is the equivalent of plowing 31.5 miles of a single lane road. Using a variety of different sized plows and trucks with brooms, totaling at 20 different vehicles, and burning through an average of $190,000 of airport-safe chemicals and sand to help manage the snow, treating the airport passageways becomes possible. Also unlike regular highway crews, the airport does not use rock salt because it is too damaging to the airplanes.
The Operations Department works in conjunction with Airfield Maintenance to test the conditions of the ground. Using a machine called a Bomonk AFM, they are able to test the friction of the surface of the pavement to make sure each airline’s requirements for landing are met.
While conditions in the winter months at MDT can be cold and blustery, it is evident that there is a warm camaraderie and a high level of dedication burning inside each of these employees. At the end of the storm, when crews are finally able to rest, they are left with a keen sense of pride and a job well done.