Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Self-Service Baggage Options Are Coming

Checking bags is a pain. We admit it. We have noticed a trend over the last several years…fewer and fewer checked bags. People prefer to carry-on as much as they can fit in hopes of not having to check a bag. Of course, there is a fee for checking baggage, but that’s not the real turnoff for most people. It’s the wait. Checking a bag at the ticket counter takes extra time, slowing the check-in process for everyone. This may be changing.

United Airlines is beginning to roll out self-service bag checking. The airline is currently offering the service at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Passengers who so choose now have the option of printing their baggage tags at a kiosk where they can also pay for the checked bag(s). Bags will still need to be brought to an agent at the counter who will verify the passenger’s name and ID before sending the luggage on to screening and then to be loaded on the plane. American Airlines offers a similar service which it launched in 2013.

Using the automated system isn’t requisite, and the airline doesn’t expect that it will be. The option of checking bags at the ticket counter is still available, but United hopes that passengers will opt for the self-service option as it can lead to a 15-30 percent increase in efficiency at the ticket counter, according to Ken Bostock, managing director of airport strategy at United.

“All around, it should be a better use of everybody’s time,” Bostock said.

The United ticket lobby at O’Hare has 24 kiosks which can issue boarding passes, check in passengers, and print luggage tags. Currently, the fee is $25 per bag to check with United. There is no fee or discount for using the self-serve option. This service is not yet available at NorthwestFlorida Regional Airport (VPS).

What do you think; are self-serve baggage check-in kiosks a time-saver or just a way for airlines to cut back on one-on-one customer service? Let us know on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 Reasons to FlyVPS This August

There are always great things happening in Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Things really ramp up during the summer and August is prime time for great fun on Florida’s Emerald Coast. In addition to weekly events such as Act 4 Murder mystery dinner theatre, educational beach walks, summer camps, parades, and movies at the landing, there are special events like the guided kayak tour of Rocky Bayou. If you’re going to be in the area, or if you’re looking for a reason to be in the area this month, read on.

Guided Kayak Tour of Rocky Bayou – August 8th:
This space-limited trip will be led by a Park Ranger, providing a unique opportunity for the 12 people who register in time. Rocky Bayou is a fresh-brackish water system which supports myriad fish including the endangered Okaloosa darter and several shellfish. It is also likely that you will see osprey and bald eagles on the trip. Registration is open until the 7th. For more information, call (850) 833-9144.

Billy Bowlegs Amateur Golf Tournament – August 8-9th:
The two-man best-ball tournament will take place at the Shalimar Point Golf Club. There will be special prizes awarded for hole-in-one as well as raffle prizes, free BBQ lunch, free beverages and a $1,000 gift certificate for the winning team. Proceeds benefit the Kay Stokes Memorial Scholarship, the James S. Sutton Scholarship Fund, and the John T. Morgan, III Memorial Scholarship Fund. For additional information, call (850) 585-4097 or visit

Paddle at the Porch – August 16th:
This year marks the 3rd Annual Paddle at the Porch – the Destin SUP Cup! Paddle at the Porch is a showcase of the area’s emerald-green water and white sand. Starting at The Back Porch, the event features several flights including a one-mile recreational race, a three-mile recreational race, and a six-mile elite race. Each race is divided into classes and the day’s stand up paddleboard activities will be followed by an awards ceremony which includes the $5,000 cash purse. For registration information and more details, go to

 Emerald Coast Poker Run – August 16th:
If paddling isn’t your thing, on the same day you can participate in the Emerald Coast Poker Run. This event, put on by the Emerald Coast Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, raises money for youth organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Eleanor J. Johnson Youth Center. Operational funds for these and other organizations depend heavily on money raised during the poker run. For more information, visit

Fort Walton Beach Beer Festival – August 23rd:
From 4-7pm, Chan’s Wine World brings back this beer festival to Uptown Station. Included in the tasting will be more than 50 beers. All of the proceeds will go to benefit SFA Ch. 7, a non-profit volunteer organization that provides support to families of the 7th Special Forces Group. Their primary function is providing support to families of fallen warriors. Additional information and ticket sales can be found at this link.

If these events don’t tempt you enough, check out the things to do section on or contact us on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll point you in the right direction to find some fun in the Florida sun. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Destination: Independence Day 2014

Our nation turns 238 this year. If you are interested in celebrating its birthday on Florida’s Emerald Coast, you’re in luck. There are several great 4th of July options for you and your family in Destin, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Fort Walton Beach. Read on.

In Destin:
The4th of July Extravaganza on the Harbor at HarborWalk Village takes place from the 3rd through the 5th. The festivities begin on Thursday with the Red, White, and Blue Celebration honoring Tom Rice and the Honorable Sam Seevers with a WWII vintage flyover followed at 9:00 pm by fireworks. On Friday, the Victory Belles, dressed in period attire, will sing the 1940s. Fireworks will light up the sky again, beginning at 9:00 pm. Gypsy Riot will provide live music on Saturday night at the Destin Harbor.

In Seaside:
Make plans to attend Stars& Stripes at Seaside – A July 4th Celebration at the amphitheater in Seaside. Beginning at 8:00 am, enjoy the Annual July 4th parade down 30A, concluding in Seaside. Later in the day, grab a spot on the lawn to enjoy Pops from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra followed by fireworks.

In Sandestin:
Have fun with a unique Independence Day golf cart parade at the Red, White, and Baytowne celebration at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. There are family activities throughout the day and a spectacular fireworks display over the lagoon beginning at 9:15 pm.

Bring your bike to the bike decorating breakfast at North Barrett Square at 7:30 am and join in the bike parade. The parade is followed by a family field day from 9:00 – 11:00 am, a barbecue from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, and a concert beginning at 6:30 pm, all leading up to a fireworks display on the beach at 8:45 pm.

In Fort Walton Beach:
Spend the 4th at the Fort Walton Beach Landing on Brooks Street. From 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm there will be food and exhibitor’s booths. Make an afternoon of it and enjoy live music, entertainment, and children’s activities. The fireworks display will begin at approximately 8:45 pm.

Do you know of anything else going on in our area? If so, please share it in the comments. If you have any questions or comments, get in touch with The Northwest FloridaRegional Airport, VPS, via Facebook or Twitter.