Travelers are spending more time in airports thanks to things like longer security lines and airline flight delays. With that, airports around the world realize that they have a captive audience that’s willing to spend money in their terminals. So they have stepped up their efforts to go after those dollars by offering new and unusual food/beverage, retail and service offerings. Ten airports have gone above and beyond by offering unique and unusual concessions and services for travelers.
London Heathrow Airport has two ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks that allow travelers to pay to download top film releases, television programs, newspapers and magazines. The kiosks target those traveling on airlines that don't have in-flight entertainment options, and they accept ApplePay, credit cards and debit cards.
Washington Dulles International Airport partnered with NASA to build “FunWay” adventure, a children’s play area in Concourse B near gate B70. The FunWay offers climbing attractions inspired by aviation-themed structures. The centerpiece is “Tommy Tower,” modeled after Dulles International’s historic air traffic control tower. A kid-sized statue of Orville the Squirrel, named after Orville Wright of the Wright Brothers, welcomes children as they enter. Additional play area elements include two futuristic jets, climbing luggage and tires.
Finland's Helsinki Airport has created a Book Swap point that allows travelers to pick out new books for free and drop off old books.
The Book Swap is located in the airport's Kainuu Lounge, which is decorated with wooden chairs made from trees blown down in storms, ergonomic chairs and soft carpets.
San Francisco International Airport was the first in the world to open a yoga room, on January 26, 2012. The first one is located in Terminal 2 near Boarding Area 2.
The second room is located near Gate 69 in Terminal 3. Both rooms feature a floating wall and low light levels. Mats are available, and no phones are shoes are allowed in the space .
Los Angeles International Airport has a 7-Eleven, the Dallas-based company’s first in an airport, located in the pre-security area in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The store offers items similar to the ones in its local stores, including fresh and hot foods, beverages and snacks, along with travel-size personal care products and nonfood items. And yes -- you can also get Slurpees, along with coffee, tea and cappuccino. The store is open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
Are you into golf? Then you will love the Professional Golf Association’s PGA MSP at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Located on the second level of the Airport Mall in Terminal 1-Lindbergh, the 12,000-square-foot PGA MSP offers access to golf simulators, putting greens, a pro shop, swing analyzer and professional golf lessons. Fees range from $10 to use the putting green and lounge up to $120 for a 60-minute PGA professional lesson, including simulator time.
You know this has happened to you. You’re running late and you’ve driven to the airport, hoping that you’ll be able to find a parking space quickly.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has eliminated that problem in its hourly, daily and express parking lots. The hourly and daily lots have red, green and blue lights above each parking space to show if it’s occupied, available or reserved for the disabled. These lots also show how many parking spaces are available on each level. The express lot only shows how many spaces are available, but has guides to lead you to parking spaces. And once you’ve parked, a shuttle bus will come to your car and load your luggage.
The worst has happened - you’ve gotten sick while traveling. If you happen to be at Nashville International Airport, you’re in luck, because it’s home to Care Here, a walk-in clinic and pharmacy. It offers medical services including treating colds and common illnesses, performing annual physicals, dispensing basic medications, filling prescriptions, selling over-the-counter health products and administering flu shots.
Most airport cell phone parking lots offer a parking space and, if you’re lucky, a nice view of the runway. But the lot at Denver International Airport is a major upgrade, with parking spaces and a building while you wait. The Final Approach facility features free Wi-Fi in the building and parking lot, a children’s seating area with iPads built into tabletops with access to games, lounge seating, indoor restrooms, eight flight information display boards and access to a gas station. And if you’re hungry, the lot offers Baja Fresh Mexican Grill a Dunkin’ Donuts with a 24-hour drive-through, Subway, Wendy's and zpizza.
Finally, let’s say you have a long layover or delay at Philadelphia International Airport and you crave some peace a quiet. The answer is Minute Suites, which offers 13 private suites and two workstation cubicles located in the airport’s A/B Link. Inside each suite is a daybed sofa with fresh pillows and blankets, a sound-masking system that neutralizes noise, and an audio program that helps deliver the equivalent of three hours of sleep in only 26 minutes. Suites also feature a high-definition television with access to DirecTV, the Internet and flight-tracking information.