Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

Airports around the world are playing cupid as they pull out all the stops, or at least hand out some chocolates, to help couples celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina is hosting its ‘smooches from pooches’ kissing booth, with the dogs from its ‘Paws for Passengers’ therapy team sharing the love and de-stressing passengers before they fly. Elsewhere in the US, Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California will be handing out sweet treats to passengers and Renoe Tahoe has laid on a pianist to serenade passengers with love songs.

In the UK, for the 50,000 passengers expected to fly to and from East Midland’s Airport (EMA) between Thursday 14 and Monday 18 February, the airport’s control tower will have the words ‘Love is in the air’ projected onto it. And to avoid the potentially awkward moment of an engagement ring being discovered during security searches, passengers carrying surprise engagement rings can request a ‘secret password’ that will enable security staff to separate them from their companion so bags can be searched separately.

“We want to ensure that couples flying off for a romantic get-away have the best possible start to their trip. For those who have been planning to propose while away, we don’t want to scupper the chances of relationships flourishing,” said Andy Tyler-Smith, EMA’s security and customer services director. “That’s why secret proposal measures are in place to get the engagement off to a flying start.”

With marriage on the mind, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, will for the second year running host a pop-up marriage licence office (from 13–16 February), so that couples looking to tie the knot in Vegas can grab a marriage licence as soon as they get off the plane.

With 1,500 marriage licences issued in the days up to and on Valentine’s Day, this is always a busy time of year according to Lynn Goya, Las Vegas’ county clerk. “The pop-up office makes it very easy for couples flying here to pick up a marriage licence,” she stated.

And although it’s not exclusive to Valentine’s Day, McCarran also hit the headlines this week for sharing the love with all its passengers and becoming the first airport in the US to introduce MagnusCards to assist passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism. The innovative app, which has been customised for McCarran Airport, offers step-by-step instructions to guide the user through various airport activities such as check-in, retrieving baggage and security screening.

On that note, I am happy to report that that crazy little thing called love is most definitely in the air, so here’s to wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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