Airport hotel guests to get Air Mall access

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Under a pilot program, guests at Pittsburgh International Airport's Hyatt Regency Hotel will have access to the popular Air Mall even if they are not flying.

Under the program, announced today and starting Monday, hotel guests still will have to be screened at the checkpoint and will have to follow guidelines regarding prohibited items.

The program is a small victory for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which has been pushing for three years to open the Air Mall access to non-ticketed shoppers.

The shops are in the Airside of the airport had been a popular attraction, even for non-flying customers. But security measures put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks limited access to the Airside to ticketed passengers because that is the part of the airport with the boarding gates. Those without boarding passes have had to stay at the Landside Terminal.

"I'm happy that this is a good first step, and we're looking to bigger and better things in the future," said authority Executive Director Kent George.

To have access to the shops and restaurants, hotel guests will have to let the Hyatt front desk know they are interested. The airport authority will verify the guest's identification and will provide a pass to be presented at the security checkpoint.

Similar programs in place at hotels at Dallas-Fort Worth International and Detroit Metro Airport. The program is being conducted in cooperation with the federal Transportation Security Administration.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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