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The Surprising Spending Habits of People Stuck in Airports

The Surprising Spending Habits of People Stuck in Airports

Old Jan 20, 14, 8:45 pm
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The Surprising Spending Habits of People Stuck in Airports

According to the Airport Council International (ACI) of North America, travelers spent an average of $5.15 on food during each airport visit. That number has been steadily growing, but with the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee costing about that much, what's going on at the fancy restaurants and cocktail bars where tabs can easily run up MUCH higher? Not as much. They don't see nearly as much traffic as the fast food places.

http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjourna...l-numbers.html

Airport giftshops, stores, and newsstands don't see as much green either.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 11:20 pm
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$5.15 per person is lower than I had expected. I guess a lot of people arrive at the airport with only a few mins to spare and don't have time to spend Money in a meaningful way.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 11:59 pm
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given how overpriced food is in airports, this shouldn't be too surprising... the only thing I buy in airports for the most part is something to drink because TSA doesn't let me bring that from home... how much does a drink cost? If coffee, about 5 bucks, if juice or soda, just under 5, if alcohol, more like 10, but many more people are buying soda or coffee than alcohol
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Old Jan 21, 14, 1:45 am
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I actually find airports in the US difficult to spend money in post security (and I always want to get airside ASAP) because the food options aren't varied enough, or there's not enough places to sit when you want to eat something. When travelling I prefer quick service restaurants as a personal choice. LAX is terrible, EWR was OK (and pricing reasonable. . .), ORD is OK, BUF is terrible, HNL terrible, LIH terrible etc. This contrasts with places like SYD, GLA, LHR (to a lesser degree in terminal 3) which I have always found adequate choice. Even YYZ and YYC struck me as better (not YUL but it has been a long time since I've been there).

Since the choice is generally poor it doesn't surprise me people are opting for a chocolate bar and a drink. I myself do this often and just eat whenever I get where I'm going.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 8:06 am
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The people who could afford to use the fancy cocktail bars etc are getting it for free in the FF lounge.

Food in UK airports is now generally the same price as on the street. In fact UK airports are getting too much like the boring chain-dominated UK High Streets, although they could still do with an M&S. USA airports I've seen had pretty poor choices.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 8:08 am
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It STILL cracks me up that DEN put in a steakhouse. "Elway's" or something like that.


Like I'm going to eat an over-priced steak dinner. :laughing:
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Old Jan 21, 14, 8:22 am
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DEN is something of a hub so I guess some people would be stuck there for several hours in transit.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by mandolino View Post
DEN is something of a hub so I guess some people would be stuck there for several hours in transit.
Elways is a bit over the top. If I was going to spend the extra $, I would prefer spending it at Wolfgang Puck. Good fresh food at half the cost or less compared to Elways, but certainly much better than any of the junk food places on the first level of the B concourse. WP seems to be doing well. Every time I have eaten there, they are quite busy.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:02 am
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Something easy to carry, appealingly presented and ultimately tasty, would be a wonderful addition to the food supplies at any airport in the US. Maybe a simple selection, two cold and two hot and hopefully on a national distribution basis. Or if some smart airline decided to add $20 to the ticket cost and actually serve an appetizing and nutritious meal on flights of say over three hours duration. I also believe in Santa Claus.....
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:16 am
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I spend more than $5.15. I like to buy a sandwich to carry on the plane if it is near lunch time. If Subway is available, I'll get turkey with almost every vegetable topping they've got...a salad on a sandwich. If not, an overpriced repackaged deli sandwich. I'll buy an overpriced smoothie for the kids. Won't buy a bottled water, just ask for a can of club soda on the plane. It is simpler food than a sit down restaurant where everything comes with more salt, fat and invariably fries. I don't bother with club lounges unless it is a long layover where comfortable arm chairs and free internet are very nice to have.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by atsak View Post
I actually find airports in the US difficult to spend money in post security ... or there's not enough places to sit when you want to eat something....
This is a big one for me. When I have the time and inclination for a sit-down hot meal, there are almost never enough open tables. And when I do manage to get seated, the tables are so close together that my carry-on is a tripping hazard for the serving staff and other customers. I try very hard to be considerate of others, so that's extremely annoying.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:33 am
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We plan our transit thru airports carefully including our meals & snack options ahead of time. If we leave from home/office or hotel for the airport - we eat before leaving, and there is always healthier energy bars and/or trail mixes in the personal bag (Timbuk2 or small computer bag) + a prepared sandwich. Time permitting, stopping at the club/lounge as otherwise, dashing thru the terminals to the connecting flight, sometimes barely time for a quickie restroom stop & to catch up on emails/messages and the latest news.

Spending $3 or $4 (USD) is about right, airside, for a bottle of juice or sports drink - if we spend anything at all.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 9:37 am
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What about those seafood and champagne bars that you see at LHR and AMS - anyone here ever used them?
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Old Jan 21, 14, 10:40 am
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I'm not a particularly healthy eater, but at the same time I really don't feel like filling up just before sitting down in a plane seat for hours. Consequently my purchases tend to be quite limited... coffee/juice/water, newspapers, maybe a light meal (McD's salad, sushi, that kind of thing). Oh, and the duty free when heading back to Canada.

I'm guessing that the amount is so low because many are in a rush and don't have time to spend a dime? I would wager that of the people who actually do spend money, the average must be substantially higher than $5.15. What can you get for less than that besides a convenience store-type drink or food item?
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Old Jan 21, 14, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by mandolino View Post
What about those seafood and champagne bars that you see at LHR and AMS - anyone here ever used them?
I've used the one at GVA a few times, mostly travelling with my wife somewhere for the weekend on a Friday evening in lieu of "dinner" on the plane. It costs a little more than $5.15 each though.
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