July 03, 2008
A delay for you is an opportunity for someone else

I know that every cloud has a silver lining and all that, but somehow that thought isn't enough to cheer me up as I read this.

As fliers like Perez spend more time waiting in airports -- in part because of modern security requirements, and possibly in the future by planned flight cutbacks -- high-end stores are becoming more prevalent, said Steve Johnson of HMSHost, which runs Destinations.

The store in Terminal C includes a boutique called Occhaili da Sole that sells $685 Dior sunglasses for those who want ultra-stylish UV protection.

"(Travelers) are spending more time in airports, having more time to shop and more time to eat," Johnson said. "Pre-9/11, people kind of flew through airports."

So to speak.

Idle passengers have created opportunities for businesses like HMSHost, the biggest airport concessions operator in the country and one of nine at Intercontinental.

Retail consultant Jeff Green said that even though carriers are planning to run fewer flights to minimize record fuel costs, the reduced service also should cause more delays.

"People expect to spend longer in airports," Green said. "It is just an opportunity for retailers to catch that customer who has to wait."


Experts familiar with airport concessions, like Bruce Katz of Retail Focus, said the upscale trend is the future of airport concessions.

"High-end customers going through airports is definitely being reflected in retail," Katz said. "You have more fashion orientation than ever before."

How nice to know that as I am forced to kill time in the airport, at least I can spend more money on higher-end junk. Somehow, I just don't find that particularly comforting.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 03, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

This is wishful thinking! As the airline industry contracts, fewer people will fly, so there will be fewer eyeballs window shopping.

Posted by: Peter Wang on July 3, 2008 7:58 AM

The logic is no different than stadium concessions.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on July 3, 2008 11:42 AM
Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)