New Bedford Regional Airport

Snack Saturday: automated treats

I still get a kick out of seeing those ZOOM vending machines (officially “automated retail stores”) at airports offering everything from iPods to products from Best Buy, Sephora and the SkyMall catalog

Airport vending machine ZOOM SKYMALL

But these aren’t the only unusual vending machines you’ll find  in airports.

Last time I passed through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the SHOP 24 was still there. This giant vending machine fits in the space of a small retail shop and is filled with all sorts of snacks and sundries. It’s as entertaining as it is convenient.

Now comes word that Outagamie County Airport (ATW) in Appleton, WI. has one of the country’s 25 Willy Wonka Candy Machines. The machine draws attention with sounds and flashing lights and lets customers customize their own selection of candy, which is delivered in cups.

Outagamie Airport Willy Wonka candy machine

(Photo courtesy Outagamie County Airport)

Tomorrow (Sunday, July 18th) is National Ice-Cream Day, so keep in mind that you’ll find the country’s only airport-based Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream vending machine at Massachusetts’ New Bedford Regional Airport

Ice cream vending machine

And at Nashville International Airport, there’s a Dippin’ Dots machine.

Know of another fun airport vending machine? Please snap a photo and send it along.

Airport trend I applaud: ice-cream vending machines

Where I live, it’s been very cold and very rainy.

But at the Nashville International Airport (BNA) they’re ready for summer and celebrating the season with the installation of a new vending machine that dispenses that popular ice-cream treat: Dippin’ Dots.

The machine is located on the C Concourse (across from Burger King and The Massage Bar) and is stocked with packages of Banana split, Chocolate, Cookies ‘n cream, Cookie dough and Rainbow ice-flavored dots.

Of course, many restaurants and take-out spots in the airport also serve ice-cream. But it’s fast – and fun – to get this sweet treat from a machine.

Not in Nashville?  Look for the only Ben & Jerry’s vending machine in an airport at the New Bedford Regional Airport in Massachusetts.

Skip the TSA routine with these flying experiences

Getting to the airport, going through the security line, and waiting with a herd of other travelers to board a plane takes all the fun of out of air travel, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you rather get right to the thrilling part – flying?

For a story that went live on Bing Travel today, I found 10 small airports and flying experiences where you get to skip the TSA routine.  Here are a few photos we didn’t get to use in Easy Flier: 10 Airports that Reduce the Hassle.

For a tiny airport, the New Bedford Regional Airport in Massachusetts offers some surprising options.

(Courtesy Greg Cormier)

The only Ben & Jerry’s ice cream vending machine at an airport is located here, along with the Airport Grille, which has a pretty snazzy logo and, we hear, great food.  Learn about the airport’s candy-blue chairs and the routes-served here.

At the Rotorua Airport in New Zealand, you can usually skip security screening if you’re flying on a regional jet with fewer than 90 passengers. So you can spend your time instead learning about the life of Rotorua-born aviatrix Jean Gardner Batten and getting your picture taken with one of the 10 6-foot tall Maori-style carvings in the terminal.

The Easy Flier slide show has more information about 10 small “no-hassle” airports and flying experiences, including the King County International Airport/Boeing Field in Seattle, the Trail Regional Airport in Trail, British Columbia, which doubles as the clubhouse of a local flying club, and the Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage, AK.

Have a favorite small “no-hassle” airport? Share details of your find here.

Snack Saturday: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Machine at New Bedford Regional Airport

Souvenir Sunday is coming up tomorrow, so if you’re at an airport today and find a great souvenir that’s under $10, “of” the city or region, and sort of offbeat, please snap a photo and send it along.

In the meantime, today is Snack Saturday, in honor of something unique I came across while researching a story about service at very small airports.

While telling me about the outdoor observation deck (officially “The Promenade”) and the other charms of the New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB) in Massachusetts, airport manager Ed DeWitt let slip that the airport is also home to what he believed to be a “rare” vending machine dispensing Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.

Rare?  Well, sure enough, it is.  Joseph Beaudette, the owner of Scoopless Ventures, told me that he’s placed some of these vending machines in colleges and other places in New England, but that the New Bedford Regional airport is indeed the only airport in the country that has a Ben & Jerry’s vending machine.

And here’s a twist: while at many airports ice-cream, coffee, and just about everything else costs more than it does in your neighborhood, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream purchased from the vending machine at New Bedford Regional Airport is about 20% less expensive than at most convenience stores or carts.  And, says Beaudette, “These machines hold twelve different flavors.”

Do you have a favorite snack you indulge in when you’re stuck at the airport?  Tell us about it!  Before you scarf it down, take a picture and send it along to us here at

We’re thinking about making Snack Saturday a regular dish.