Airports sweeten the deal for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year, so frequent travelers have a good chance of working out those plans to touch down in the same town as their sweeties. And while just showing up may get you a few extra points, arriving empty-handed just won't cut it. Even if you have flown through three zones just to be there.

Romantic road warriors needn't worry about making an extra stop at the mall. Many airports and airport shops around the country are rolling out love-themed art exhibits, giveaways, and special deals on romantic gifts you can grab-n-go in a heartbeat.

Hearts and art

To set the mood, a new exhibit titled Sweetheart Town – Loveland, Colorado at Denver International Airport is filled with items on loan from the Loveland Museum/Gallery, including Victorian-era valentines, historical photographs, memorabilia and new work by Loveland-area artists. Address one of the free exhibit-themed valentine postcards to your sweetie and the airport will take it to Loveland, 60 miles away, so it can be canceled with the town's sweetheart postmark and then mailed for free. The exhibit is located pre-security in the walkway between the Jeppesen Terminal and the A gates.

At Miami International Airport, the newly renovated mia Central Gallery (Concourse E, second level, post-security) is home to a 120-foot-long art installation that uses 10,500 brightly-colored silk flowers to spell out the words "All we need is love" in six-foot-tall letters. The oversized artwork is by Miami architect/artist team Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, who call themselves R&R Studios. "People walking by start singing that Beatles song All You Need Is Love all the time," says Yolanda Sanchez, the airport's director of Fine Arts and Cultural Affairs. "So the artwork makes its own soundtrack."

Elsewhere at MIA, there will be free music on Valentine's Day between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Mercado Miami and special offers in many airport stores. For example, on Feb. 13 and 14, purchase one item in a participating Westfield shop and you'll get a free chocolate heart and a coupon good for a 10% discount on the purchase of two items later in the month. Participating shops include Hudson News, Bayside Brush, Newslink, Borders, $10 Boutique, Mercado Miami, Ron Jon, Mindworks, Bijoux Terner, Taxco and Havana Shirts. (There are some restrictions.)

Sweets for you and your sweetie

On Feb. 13 and 14, the Food & Shops in the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York will be distributing free chocolate kisses to all travelers. And through Monday, Feb. 16, the shops in the Central Terminal will be offering special prices on gifts displayed on tables marked "Gifts for Your Sweetie."

On Valentine's Day, folks from Boingo, the new Wi-Fi provider at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, will be handing out free one-hour service cards to 100 travelers on their way into the terminal from the parking area. (Think e-valentines.) And on Feb. 13, 14 and 15, local favorite Amy's Ice Cream will be setting up a temporary shop in the baggage claim area so travelers can grab their luggage and some chocolate-covered strawberries on their way home.

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