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 and beverage, retail and service offerings. Below are 13 airports that have gone above and beyond by offering unique and unusual concessions and services for travelers.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
Are you into golf? Then you will love the Professional Golf Association’s PGA MSP, located on the second level of the Airport Mall in Terminal 1-Lindbergh. The 12,000-square-foot space offers customers 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.
Passengers have access to 7-11, 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.
Do you need a nap to recharge before or after your flight? Finland’s main airport offers a comfortable and private space with its GoSleep pod. The pod features an ergonomic seat/bed that also has storage space for hand luggage and a power outlet to charge up electronic devices. The pods are located at Finnair Lounges near Gates 36 and 22.
Pet parents are accommodated with a location of Paws4Paradise, a resort for cats and dogs, located minutes away from DFW. Services offered include overnight suites for cats and dogs, doggie daycare, obedience training, grooming and massage therapy, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Travelers can park their car at Paws4Paradise for a fee and get either a free shuttle or cab ride (during off hours) to the airport. The resort also has locations at Chicago O’Hare and Midway and Denver International airports.
For travelers driving to the airport and are pressed for time, the airport helps you find a parking space quickly 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. There are also lighted signs that show how many parking spaces are available on each level. The express lot shows how many spaces are available, along with guides to show where parking spaces are available. Once you’ve parked, a shuttle bus will come to your car, load your luggage and take you to the terminal. And when you return, the shuttle will pick you up and drop you off at your car.
Most airport cell phone parking lots offer a parking space and, if you’re lucky, a nice view of the runway. But the Final Approach cell phone lot facility here is a major upgrade, with not only parking spaces but free Wi-Fi, a children’s seating area with iPads built into tabletops with access to games, lounge seating, indoor restrooms, eight flight information display boards and a gas station. There’s also a Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, a Dunkin’ Donuts with a 24-hour drive-through, Subway, Wendy's and zpizza.
General Mitchell Airport
Milwaukee’s main airport has put a free ping pong table in its central concession mall area. Travelers and visitors can get in a game while waiting for a flight or to pick up friends and family. Strangers can become friends over a friendly game in what has become a popular and free source of entertainment while you wait.
Nashville International Airport
The worst has happened — you’ve gotten sick while traveling. This airport is home to Care Here, a walk-in clinic and pharmacy at the airport’s Concourse C Exit. 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.
If you are stuck at this airport with a long layover or delay and you want to get away from the masses, check out Minute Suites. It offers 13 private suites and two workstation cubicles, located in the airport’s A/B Link. Inside each suite has 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.
Portland International Airport
Oregon’s largest airport is home to the 17-seat Hollywood Theater microcinema, located in Concourse C. The microcinema puts the spotlight by showing short films by Oregon filmmakers. The theater is free for ticketed passengers. Movies are shown on a loop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Films will be rotated four times a year. The theater encourages filmmakers to submit their movies for possible inclusion for future showings.
Russian gun manufacturer Kalashnikov, known for its AK-47 assault rifle, has opened up a brand shop in Moscow’s main airport. Travelers can’t buy an actual weapon, but they can buy plastic model guns and other items including AK-47 t-shirts, tote bags, pens and umbrellas. The shop is located in the airport’s rail-link section. Be warned: Transportation Security Administration regulations do not allow gun replicas in U.S. airports, so travelers may want to bypass buying that toy AK-47.
Vancouver International Airport
The airport is home to a branch of the luxury Fairmont chain of hotels, famous for its afternoon tea service. Located right past the International Departures check-in counters, travelers with a reservation can partake of the hotel’s exclusive teas, along with sandwiches, pastries and house-made scones and fresh strawberries with Devonshire cream.