Tampa Bay's road warriors know the ropes at Tampa International Airport.
The best parking spaces. The place to grab a decent sandwich on the run. Where to catch a cab on the return trip.
But occasional fliers and visitors will appreciate a new service introduced Thursday: a mobile website for travelers with smart phones. It's a condensed version of Tampa International's website: tampaairport.com.
Smart phone owners who tap in that address will automatically be directed to the mobile site.
"The whole point is distilling the information people need going to the airport," said Christopher Minner, TIA's vice president of marketing. "Is my flight on time? Where do I park and for what price? Is there a restaurant or shops within five minutes of my gate?"
Sometime soon, passengers might browse menus from airport restaurants before they decide where to chow down, staffers told the airport's governing board at its monthly meeting Thursday.
The mobile site is available over a variety of platforms, including iPhone and Android.
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A major renovation of the main terminal interior space, from baggage claim to the third-floor transfer level, begins next year. You'll see new carpeting and flooring, new colors on the walls and lots of spruced-up bathrooms.
But airport renovations can be messy and inconvenient — just like remodeling your home, only with upward of 50,000 people a day tramping through.
That prospect caused board chairman Al Austin some angst Thursday. The Republican bigwig was the moving force behind steering the party's 2012 national convention to Tampa next August. His question: Will the restrooms be done by then?
Some will be remodeled, staffers said, but they'll stop work and button up construction on the rest while delegates and VIPs move through, said Al Illustrato, vice president of facilities. "We'll have it looking as good a it can look," he said.
Steve Huettel can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3384.