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Briefs: Website names best restaurants; Virgin lounge debuts at EWR

In airport news, a website called The Daily Meal has issued a list of what it has judged to be the world’s best airport restaurants; Virgin Atlantic cuts the ribbon on a new Clubhouse for premium passengers; Alaska Airlines adds outlets at its hubs; and American expands self-checked baggage to another airport.

  • A restaurant website called The Daily Meal has singled out 31 airport restaurants as the best in the world, following “a six-month-long nomination process, wherein a preliminary list of more than 100 restaurants was measured against two categories (cuisine and style/decor/service),” a spokesman said. Number one on the list is Porta Gaig in Barcelona International Airport, followed in order by Salt Lick BBQ at Austin-Bergstrom, Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare, Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar at Amsterdam Schiphol, and Obrycki’s at Baltimore-Washington. Rounding out the top 10 were Crust (New York LaGuardia); Five Guys (Washington Dulles); Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda (New York LaGuardia); Encounter (Los Angeles International); and Legal Sea Foods (Boston Logan). For the full list, go to www.thedailymeal.com/31-best-airport-restaurants-around-world.

  • At Newark International, where Virgin Atlantic has two London flights a day, the airline has opened a new Clubhouse lounge for Upper Class (business class) passengers. The 5,000 square foot lounge is past the security checkpoints in Terminal B and close to Virgin’s gates. It has a cocktail bar in the center, and also offers a sunken lounging area; a privacy section; a screening room for student films; a Brasserie dining area; and extensive installations by local artists.

  • Alaska Airlines said it has installed new power outlets at its hub airport gates in Seattle, Portland and Anchorage where passengers can charge up their electronic devices. The company added 200 outlets in total, each with a 120-volt receptacle and two USB ports. “Power outlets in gate areas are also available at Alaska Airlines’ new Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport and at Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose airports, and the carrier plans to add outlets to more of its major airports,” the company said.

  • After testing the concept successfully at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, American Airlines has added a baggage self-check-in option at Orlando International. Passengers who check in at a kiosk can input the number of bags, pay any fees, print bag tags and put them on the luggage. Then they take the bags to an AA agent who scans their boarding pass and verifies IDs. The system reportedly speeded up check-in times by more than 50 percent at Austin.

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