19:54 PM

Welcome, non-travelers! TPA All Access greets its first guests

More than 1,000 people signed up for the Airport's new airside access program, booking up Saturdays through July

Blair Driscoll slipped into her sandals after clearing security at Airside C on a recent Saturday, gearing up for the night ahead. She and her husband, Paul, had big plans for a night of locale fare, handcrafted cocktails and people watching.

But not in some exotic, flung city – right here at Tampa International Airport – a city of its own.

Blair and Paul are just two of the more than 1,000 guests who signed up for TPA All Access in the first week, taking advantage of a new program at TPA which allows non-traveling guests to visit post-security areas on Saturdays.

After enjoying craft cocktails fireside at Ulele’s bar, they took window-side stroll towards Cigar City Brewing where they reveled draft beer brewed on-site, followed by a well-acclaimed local option – Goody Goody pie.

“I’ll happily remove my shoes and wait through security for this,” said Blair Driscoll. “How flippin’ cool.”

TPA is the third Airport to offer such a program following Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s Sea Visitor Pass and Pittsburgh International’s MyPittPass. The news that TPA was opening its airsides to non-travelers reached audiences far and wide, gaining media attention from local outlets in Tampa all the way to The Today Show's Al Roker.

Other guests from the program’s inaugural include a woman who recalled her first date at TPA in 1972, a mother who was able to show her autistic son the ropes of security before their flight in July, aviation enthusiasts and lots and lots of Potbelly’s fans. Tampa International Airport has the only Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the state of Florida.

The program limits the number of guests to 25 per airside per Saturday and requires that guests sign up at least 24 hours in advance – though it may be a good idea to sign up sooner, as summer dates are beginning to book up quickly. For more information about All Access, visit http://www.tampaairport.com/tpaallaccess.

Pictured above: Blair and Paul Driscoll were among the first excited guests to try out TPA's new All Access program, designed to bring non-flying visitors into the post-security airsides, giving them the opportunity to try the Airport's restaurants, bars and shops.