My story for CNBC this week allowed me to wax enthusiastic about one of my favorite topics: cool airport amenities.
Spokane International Airport gives airport parkers free carwashes. Fort Wayne International Airport in Indiana hands arriving passengers free cookies. Look closely and you’ll notice that many airports around the country have art worth millions of dollars by big-name artists on their walls.
Here are some other fun and usefuly amenities to look for next time you in an airport:
Cupcake vending machines
Leave it to Las Vegas to
make sure travelers have plenty of unique amenities at the airport. In addition
to a bag claim liquor store and 1461 slot machines (which generated about $14
million in revenue for the airport in 2018), McCarran International Airport now has four on-site vending machines that dispense
cupcakes from the Beverly Hill, CA-based Sprinkles cupcakes chain. Hungry? Cupcakes
are $4.95 each and all machines are restocked daily.
Bigfoot hunters believe one some of the native habitats of the
legendary creature also known as Sasquatch are the Deschutes National Forest
and Mount Jefferson Wilderness in Central Oregon, or perhaps Redmond
Municipal Airport. To make the creature – and travelers – feel welcome, the
airport has installed a 6-foot-tall, suitcase-toting Sasquatch statue and named
their new mascot, appropriately enough, Biggie.
everywhere are upgrading their dining options. But sometimes the meal you want
isn’t near the gate you’re leaving from or by the working power outlet you’ve
That’s where a growing
number of airport food delivery services come in. In addition to OTG’s
order-by-tablet option in many airports, travelers can use an app to order food
brought to them by Airport Sherpa in BWI Airport
or by At Your Gate runners in San Diego (SAN), New York (LGA and
JFK, Terminals 7 & 8), Newark (EWR), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and, most
recently, Portland (PDX). And later this month, travelers will be able to pick
up an app-ordered meal at kiosks being installed in Terminal C at Dallas/Fort
Worth International Airport.
Smell, snap a selfie,
but please don’t snack on the wall
April in Louisville, Kentucky is all about the Kentucky
Derby and mint juleps. To celebrate Mint Julep Month – and offer a fun
selfie-station for travelers – the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) has installed a wall
with more than 700 fresh mint plants. The living wall will stay in
place until the end of the April and sniffing, but not snacking, at the wall is
encouraged. Mint juleps are on the menu in several airport bars and restaurants
and a wide variety of Kentucky-made bourbons are for sale in the airport’s
post-security Distillery District Marketplace.
Piano people wanted
St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) recently adopted a “Play Me” grand
piano and installed it in the Terminal 1 “Aero” event space. STL officials say
passengers, employees and “Anyone who has the chops” is invited to sit down and
perform an impromptu concert any time of day.
(PHL) encourages and entices travelers to read with a unique seating area and
book exchange in Terminal A. Books are donated by airport employees and by American
Airlines, which brings over reading material passengers leave behind on planes.
In the Virtual Library in the airport’s Terminal D-C connector a short story
dispenser issues fiction stories that can be read in one, three of five
New views at SFO Airport
observation decks seem like an amenity of the past, but in February 2019, San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
debuted a new outdoor terrace in the International Terminal. The deck has
seating that includes a several chaise loungers, art, landscaping and great
view of the airfield. Another observation deck is being built now in Terminal 2
and will open in the pre-security area in October.
Views and waffles
Many airports around the country are in the midst of
renovation and new construction projects and Seattle-Tacoma International is
one of them. SEA’s Central Terminal, with its iconic glass wall, recently
reopened with fresh new, locally-themed food outlets such as Lucky Louie Fish
Shack, serving adorable fish-shaped waffles.
Health help on the
No one wants to get sick on the road, but it’s reassuring to
know that some airports have medical clinics on site. San Francisco, Chicago
O’Hare and Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) airports have walk-in health
centers with staff on duty to provide urgent care, immunizations and other
services. Virtual care appointments are offered at PHX’s US
CareWays Urgent Care and Portland International’s Airport’s Providence
Express Care centers as well.