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.
“What’s important about airport traffic is the volume of travelers,” said Daniel Butler, vice president of merchandising and retail operations at the National Retail Federation. “It’s … new traffic every day.”
The number and variety of airport retail offerings has been growing for years, experts say. But it really took off after 9/11. As travelers were urged to arrive more than two hours before flights to clear security, the captive audience in the terminals shot up.
Not that travelers are necessarily suffering from the increased options—when you’re stuck in a terminal for several hours and numb from travel, it can be a pleasant diversion to wander through the shopping district like a mall zombie.
“Travelers get new and cheaper shopping options in airports” [The Kansas City Star]
(Photo: Doug Letterman)