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Monday, 05 November, 2007

Airport Malls
(with comments)

This is almost a verbatim quote of what I said to Pamn on our last trip: Airports are being transformed into shopping malls.

9/11 had an unforeseen consequence that likely annoys anti-Americans and cheers President "Shop For Freedom" Bush: it triggered an explosion of self-contained shopping malls at airports across the country. One airport consultant says, "All of the sudden, any airport ... can be a retail opportunity. It really has turned into a very different environment than it was 10 or 20 years ago," which is why so many large airports today look like compressed shopping malls instead of travel hubs.

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  1. By Legast. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @05:53pm:
    That was happening long before 9/11/2001. The British Airports Authority, a private airport management company, pioneered it in the UK and brought it to the USA when it acquired contracts to manage several US airports (Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, e.g.) in the early 90's.
  2. By gbradley. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @06:44pm:
    I don't get it.
    Just how is this Bush's fault?
  3. By John Wilson. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @07:47pm:
    Agree that it was happening well before 9/11 (or Bush). Did most of my traveling from '97 to '00. Been to just about every (major) airport in the US. The "malls" are relational to how many people travel through the airport (and have time to leave some money before they leave the airport). The more people, the more stores (Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, etc.). It also makes a difference in how the airport geography is arranged. Take an older (and one of the largest airports), JFK. There are at least 10 separate terminals so to open a store in one of them, those people in the other 9 won't have access to it. Denver, on the other hand, (a newer airport) has a single main terminal for all flights. Once you're in the front door (or even beyond security), eveyone has access to any store that's there. As new airports are being built (or older ones redisigned) there will be more of an incentive to consolidate them (to accomodate more (and larger) stores).
  4. By Rix. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @08:56pm:
    Yep. airports = malls for stranded travelers.
    Here's a bit of Forbes review of the top ten airports
    . Hong Kong - extensive tax-free shopping options
    . Seoul - provides extensive shopping options.
    . Dubai - is known for its "award-winning" duty-free shopping
    . Amsterdam - has a reputation for the best duty-free shopping in Europe
    . Copenhagen - "Excellent" shopping
    . and Sydney - promotes an increase in its duty-free liquor
  5. By cathleen. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @09:12pm:
    i can't see why up a level deck. which i hear have shops a eateries and FUN.... is a risk.
    i'm stuck on the lower deck, waiting for my daughter, with a coffee machine, that sucks.
    Ontario Airport, Califorina........
  6. By rwellor. Comment posted 05-Nov-2007 @09:16pm:
    As long as the bar is open, I don't really care...

    I flew into St. Louis a few weekends ago, landed about 8:30 and they had already had last call. WTF is up with that?

  7. By L.. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @02:21am:
    Certainly in Europe this is increasingly the case because the low cost airlines pay far less to airports than the regular carriers so the only way that the airports can break even let alone profit is by having lots of shopping which is something they can charge for.
  8. By Snag. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @04:06am:
    Its not only happening for travellers. Airports with spare real estate (to within 100 yards of runway verges) are rapidly turning it into public shopping centers and office complexes for adjacent urban areas. We are engaged on such a project near Canberra airport in Australia, at the moment.
  9. By Mike. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @06:37am:
    I say bring on the shopping malls. The airport sucks; traveling sucks. So if I can browse a few stores while my flight is delayed again and again, I'm grateful. The alternative is to sit and stare at the other mutants at the departure gate.

    I remember when the airport was nothing but bars and cheap dining halls. Yeah, those were great days. Are we so anti-corporate business that we would rather sit like refugees in an anticeptic holding tank while we wait for a plane?
  10. By Gary. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @06:39am:
    How much do you save by not paying duty? The prices I've seen at U.S. airport malls don't seem that low.
  11. By bdgbill. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @06:57am:
    Unfortunatley, very few of these stores actually carry the things a traveller may want to buy. I had to walk 2 miles at the Philly airport to find a pen.

    Who the hell wants to buy sterling silver jewlery at the airport? I would like to see a full size Right Aid or CVS in an airport. There should also be a law requiring every airport in North America to have Starbucks.
  12. By Sheldon. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @07:00am:
    I like the airport malls. Anything to help the prison like atmosphere. Somebody please start putting movie theaters in airports!
  13. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @07:14am:
    Yup, it's been happening for quite a while. At least the food is a lot better than it was when I started this job...no more little hot dogs rolling up anddown on those steamer things all night!
  14. By Mean Jean. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @08:09am:
    They have shops so you can buy stuff because the airlines lost your luggage.
  15. By SuperSean. Comment posted 06-Nov-2007 @10:10am:
    I save lots of money stocking my bar from the duty free shops during my travels.
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