Shopping

You can (and maybe should) do your holiday shopping at the airport


I have it on good authority that Santa grabs a lot of last minute gifts in airports shops, just like so many of us time-pressed travelers. 

Need some ideas?  Here’s a version of a column I put together for CNBC that highlights great gifts you can find at airport gift shops around the country. 

To get you started, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, SanFrancisco International and Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport have put together gift guides highlighting unique items for sale in their terminals.

As the holidays get nearer, community groups will staff complimentary gift-wrapping tables (donations encouraged) in many airport terminals. So no one will be the wiser when you show up with a lovely wrapped gift you bought on the fly.   


Pendleton from Portland 

(2_ Pendleton store at Portland International Airport. Courtesy Port of Portland)

Oregon-made products to pick up at Portland International Airport range from parachuting DB Cooper action figures ($4.99)and Moonstruck Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar honoring the iconic PDX airportcarpet ($12) to woolen scarves, throw pillow, shirts, Native American-inspiredblankets and co-branded Waterstone rain boots at the Pendleton shop. Bonus: PDX has street-pricing and there’s nosales tax in Oregon.

Dainty candy from Detroit

The Frivolous shop at Detroit Metropolitan Airport lives up to its promise of being filled with “wonderfully unnecessary” gift items. Consider candy ‘coal’ and dainty boxes of raspberry gummi candies ($7.99) or brightly colored, fully functional retro push-button phones ($69.99).

Craft beer six-packs

A bottle of wine from any of the more than two dozen Vino Volo airport locations would make a lovely gift. At Nashville International Airport, travelers can pick up six-packs of bottled craft beer to go at the Tennessee Brew Works kiosk and at Yazoo! Brewing or 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at Fat Bottom Beer Brewing. 

The recently opened NoDa Brewing at CharlotteDouglas International Airport offers mix-n-match four packs of cans to go, with signature beers such as Coco Loco and Hop, Drop ‘N Roll.

Channel Seattle with flannel -or soap

Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirts($32.99) are still available at airport shops in Seattle, even though the film is now 25 years old. The Sub Pop retail shop carries some of record company’s cool clothing line, including a $65 “Fremont Flannel.” And, at Made in Washington, Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix is honored with PurpleHaze Lavender soaps ($9.99)

Crabs from Miami International Airport

Some Legal Sea Food branches at Boston’s Logan Airport will pack live lobsters to go, while at Miami’s International Airport, fresh Florida stone crabs can be packed for gift giving at Prive Gourmet Market or at My Ceviche.

Presents for pets and their people

At Phoenix Sky HarborInternational Airport (PHX), Connections (T4) sells Arizona Gourmet Doggie treats ($6.99), while Mosaic (pre-security T4) offers a wide range of fun dog-themed refrigerator magnets ($5.95).

Cute pet toys from BarkBox, which are usually available only by subscription, are for sale this season at numerous airport Hudson shops, including in Phoenix; Fresno, Los Angeles, San Jose, SanFrancisco, Orange County and Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle; andMinneapolis-St. Paul.

Vended treasures

Roeland Park, KS USA – October 13, 2017: zim’s 2017 Product Line

One great thing about doing holiday shopping at airports is that the stores open very early and close super late. Another plus: you can now find SouveNEAR’s vending machines stocked with locally-made gifts and craft items in Oakland International Airport (OAK), Kansas City International Airport (KCI) and NewarkLiberty International Airport (EWR; Terminal A).

Eko Kreations has napkins embroidered with California wildflowers (set of 4; $45) in theSouveNEAR machine at OAK, bottles of Zim’s Hot Sauce (set of 2, 3-oz bottles,$11) are available at KCI, and a tin filled with 10 scented mini soaps from OohLa La Petite Boutique is available at EWR.

Celebrity treatment at LosAngeles International Airport 

A gift membership($4,500; not including per flight fees) or a one-time visit ($2700 – $4,000) to ThePrivate Suite at Los AngelesInternational Airport is a luxury splurge sure to impress.

The private terminal has its own security and customs/immigration screening as well as individual suites for guests with bathrooms, food pantries, daybeds and runway views. Suite-to-aircraft transportation (in BMW 7-Series sedans) is included. 

More things to buy at airports. Plus an avgeek ornament

If you’re spending a lot of time at airports over the next few weeks or shopping for ‘avgeek’ gifts, here are a couple of things I’ve found – so far – for a list I’m putting together.

This ornament ($10) made of tiny little airplanes is for sale on the Boeing Store site, part of the Jet Snowflake collection.

This adorable little box of raspberry gummies is for sale at the Frivolous shop at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, DTW.

And at Nashville International Airport, several brew pubs sell single bottle and six- packs of local beer to go.

More to come…

Souvenir Sunday: island bread from the Honolulu airport

It’s Souvenir Sunday, a day to take a look at unique, locally-themed gifts you can buy when you’re stuck at the airport.

This week’s treats: Coconut Pineapple and Guava Bread from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Courtesy HMSHost

The breads, now on sale in some shops at the airport, started as a treat baked up by HMSHost and offered in employee cafe.

Pilots and flights crews began snapping up loaves to take to the mainland and eventually HMSHost – which operates many shops at HNL and other airports about the country – decided to make the bread available to travelers as well.

Now Makai Plantation and The Local in the Garden View Food Court (C-Gates area) sell the homemade  Coconut Pineapple and Guava Breads.

Other treats to find a HNL airport include fresh flower leis, hula girl ornaments, Spam-flavored macadamia nuts, and ukeleles.

Leis are everywhere at the airport. Even on the sign for the women’s restrooms.

Help out with Souvenir Sunday.

If you find a fun, locally-themed item at an airport shop, please snap a photo, get the price and send it all along to us at StuckatTheAirport.com.

If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, we’ll send you a travel-themed souvenir.

Updated: Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesday deals

Updated on November 23, 2018 with fresh Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel deals.

Have enough stuff? You can still take advantage of travel-related deals during this holiday shopping season.

Here’s the list I put together recently for CNBC.

Walt Disney World Resort guests get to race and dive around a track that stretches across Toy Story Land. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

 

Black Friday and its cousins Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Travel Deal Tuesday and Super Saturday are all projected to be shopping blockbusters this year.

But if you and everyone on your gift list already has enough stuff, rest assured there will be plenty of great deals for travelers.

Some offers have already been posted. Others will go live later. But once Black Friday rolls in,  get ready to wade through oodles of discounts on flights, hotel stays, tours, travel gear and gadgets.

To avoid getting overwhelmed by the options, do some research ahead of time on hotel prices and airfares to places you know you want to visit. That way you’ll be confident about snagging a deal when it flies by. Just be sure to read the small print; many Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers come with blackout dates and restrictions.

Here’s a sampling of what will be offered.

Get there

Amtrak confirms it will bring back its Black Friday sale again this year, offering significant discounts of up to 30 percent on train trips nationwide.

Look for airlines such as JetBlue and Cathay Pacific to bring back their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals as well. Cathay Pacific will offer 60 percent off flights to Asia. Fare sale begins 11/19.

NewEmirates has both Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from all 12 US gateways.

New: Use promo code “Friday” to get up to $750 off flights at Qatar Airways

New: Spirit Airlines:  Use romo code 85PCT  to get 85% off  the base fee on Friday, Nov. 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST. Check the exclusions at Spirit.com.

*New: WOW air is offering $69 and $99 sales to Iceland and Europe and a 40% off promo code on WOWCYBERMONDAY.  “Purple Friday” discounted fares are on sale now through November 25, 2018 for travel through April 2019.  On Cyber Monday, November 26, WOW use the code “WOWCYBERMONDAY” for 40% off flights to all WOW destinations.

 New: Turkish Airlines Friday Flyday will offer special discounted rates for travel travel from November 23, 2018 to May 15, 2019, with a maximum stay of four months.

 *New: Eurostar, the high-speed rail service linking the UK and mainland Europe, is offering savings of up to 30% during Cyber Week (November 23 to 30) for travel between January 8 and April 18 2019.

 Stay there

Hotels from Maine to Hawaii, and beyond, will be tantalizing travelers with room deals. Some offers may be offered to loyalty program members first, so this is a good time to sign up.

New: Travelocity and Orbitz: Save 50% off hotels by shopping on Travelocity and Orbitz mobile app and use the code FRIDAYAPP18 in Travelocity and THANKFUL in Orbitz to save an extra 18% off.

New: Hotwire:  In app-only:

Black Friday: $10 off $100 hotel bookings

  • $40 off $300 hotel bookings

  • $75 off $500 hotel bookings

Cyber Monday: An extra 11% off Hot Rate Hotels sitewide with promo code: TREATYOURSELF from 11/25 at 8pm PST to 11/26 at 11pm PST.  

Archer Hotel, with properties in Austin, Napa, New York City, Burlington, MA, and Florham Park, NJ (adjacent to the Jets training camp) plans a Cyber Monday deal of 25 percent off the best available rates plus direct-book perks of drinks or breakfast for two. Sale runs November 26 to December 3 at this booking link.

Arlo Hotels will offer 50 percent off stays (with no blackout dates) at the Arlo Solo and the Arlo NoMad in New York City with a portion of proceeds going to the Rainforest Alliance. Valid: Black Friday (11/23) to Tuesday, 11/27 for stays through Labor Day 2019.

On Cyber Monday, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, will be offering 25 percent off all 40 of its properties across the Hawaii islands, along with a number of mainland and Costa Rica resorts.

RetailMeNot and Hotels.com have teamed to offer some “Mystery Bookings” on Black Friday that offer 99 percent off.

All 5,300 IHG properties around the globe will be part of a Cyber Week Sale with discounts starting at 25 percent off the best available rate. IHG Rewards Club members get additional discounts starting at 3 percent. Book November 23 through November 30 (“Cyber Weeks Sale” rate) for stays November 26, 2018 through March 31, 2019.

The Kennebunkport Resort Collection (KRC), with 9 hotels and six restaurants in Kennebunkport, Maine will offer gift card bonuses on Cyber Monday. Buy a $500 gift card and receive a $100 resort credit; buy a $200 gift card and receive a $25 resort credit.

 Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is offering 25 percent off its Best Flexible Rates to IHG Reward Club member (free sign-up) from November 19 through November 30 for stays November 19 through March 31, 2019. Kimpton will also be donating $5/night to charity (The Trevor Project and No Kid Hungry)

Millennium Hotels and Resorts will offer 25 percent off flexible rates at its 13 hotels across the United States. My Millennium loyalty club members will get an extra 5 percent off. Book November 21 to 27, 2018 for stays November 21, 2018 – March 31, 2019.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, more than 30 Myrtle beach-area properties will be offering deep discounts of up to 55 percent on stays that stretch through spring and summer 2019. Offers will be posted here.

From November 22 through November 27, Provenance Hotels, with properties in Portland, Seattle/Tacoma, New Orleans, Nashville and Stillwater, MN, will be offering discounts of 40-50 percent off stays through February 2019.

*New: Red Roof Inn: Up to 30% off during the Cyber Monday 72-hour sale (Nov. 26 until Nov. 28). Good for stays through Feb. 28, 2019. Use code VP625099.

Between November 22 and November 26, Viceroy Hotel Group, with 12 properties in cities ranging from Beverly Hills to New York City and Chicago, will offer discounts of up to 45 percent, as well as additional perks such as complimentary upgrades and resort credits.

And from November 23 through Monday, November 26, Pacifica Hotels will offer 40 percent off room rates at 34 beachside properties in California.

Keep an eye out for deals at individual hotels as well.

Walt Disney World adventure-seekers can nab 50 percent off the best available rates on two and three-bedroom suites at The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. (Use code Cyber to book from Black Friday through Cyber Monday). And from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego will offer rates starting at $99 for stays through January 15 and add $100 drinking and dining credit to the first five reservations booked with the BF2018 code on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One guest will also win a complimentary two-day stay, redeemable in 2019 including breakfast, parking and VIP check-in.

Tours, tickets, gear and adventures

Companies offering tours, packages and expeditions, including Intrepid Travel, Friendly Planet Travel and Liberty Travel, all have Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on tap. Glamping Hub, an online booking platform for unusual accommodations such as tree house, tiny homes, yurts and airstreams, will add 20 percent in value to gift cards purchased on Cyber Monday

From November 20 to 29, Visit Orlando will offer an extra 10 percent off purchases at OrlandoTickets.com on top of the deals and discounts offered to more than 40 theme parks, attractions, activities and dinner shows. Most are valid one year from purchase, Use code “GIFT.”

Sea Bags, which recycles sail cloth into travel gear, will offer a 20 percent discount storewide online and at its retail locations from Black Friday through Sunday, November 25. The company’s Portland and Freeport, Maine locations will be selling select for up to 60 percent off. On Cyber Monday, the online discount will be 25 percent, with free shipping.

Don’t shop; do

For those who would rather skip the shopping ritual altogether, there are plenty of other options.

On Friday, November 23, the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI will be holding its 7th annual Black Friday Beerfest.

And in solidarity with outdoor gear store REI, which closes all 153 stores, processes no online payments and pays its employees to spend Thanksgiving and Black Friday outdoors, state parks and recreation areas in Minnesota, Georgia and other states around the country will host Free Park Friday as part of the #OptOutside movement.