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Tampa International Airport Expands ‘TPA All Access’ Program

Tampa International Airport airside terminal
Non-flyers are now allowed to access TPA airside gates with 'TPA All Access' pass every day of the week. COURTESY: Tampa International Airport

Non-flyers looking to check out Tampa International Airport will be happy to hear that it is expanding its “TPA All Access” program.

The program, which was created in May 2019 to give the public access to TPA’s airside boarding gates on Saturdays, will now be made available every day of the week.

“The main purpose is for community outreach,” said Emily Nipps, the spokeswoman for TPA. “We really want to be the community’s airport, not just enjoyed by travelers, but also by people who live here.”

The program exhibits various activities offered at the airport, including shops and restaurants like Cigar City Brewery, Columbia Restaurant and Tampa Premium Outlets.

“We have the only Potbelly (Sandwich Shop) in Florida, some really cool restaurants, and there’s just different things you can try here that you wouldn’t be able to do unless you were flying in that airside,” Nipps said. “Some people have used (the passes) for date night or to bring their families and go and plane watch. And there are some people who haven’t flown, and they just want to go through the process.”

An all-access program for airports was initially piloted in September 2017 at the Pittsburgh International Airport with “myPITpass.” Since its launch, other airports have debuted similar programs.

TPA’s expansion came after requests were made to make the program more accessible than simply one day a week.

“We’ll see how it goes for now, at least for about six months, and we could very well expand it more in the future,” Nipps said. “We want to maintain that high level of customer service that our airport is famous for.”

Those interested can apply for All-Access passes through the TPA website. The program allows up to 100 people per day – 25 per airside, one airside per visit -- and all are still subject to the typical security processes like regular travelers. Visitors must sign up at least 24 hours prior to their visit, and an adult must accompany children under 18.

The program is the most recent of several renovations to the airport in its effort to improve the consumer experience. TPA has continued to monitor this program through surveys given out after the visit for any improvements that can be made in the future.

“Everybody seems to really like it,” Nipps said. “It’s interesting to see what restaurants people like to try and where people like to go, but we wanted to make it more accessible to people, which is why we’re going daily.”

For the application, go to http://www.tampaairport.com/tpaallaccess.

Dylan Rudolph is the WUSF Radio News Intern for the spring 2020 semester.
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