Last week, the “Today” show website’s travel section included an article polling writers for Sherman’s Travel on their favorite airports for shopping. I have been to –and shopped in — more airports than I care to remember, so I thought I’d share my top 10, in no particular order.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport– I could spend my life in this airport, and I think they designed it like that on purpose. I have bought everything from tulip bulbs to sunglasses. It’s also a great airport to pick up that last-minute souvenir you forgot to get when you were actually in Amsterdam. The prices are fair, so you don’t have to feel like you’re being ripped off.
- London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 – I know, I know: everyone calls this place a shopping mall with an airport terminal attached. That said, I really enjoyed the shopping. Heathrow is known for its alcohol tastings and they have great duty-free liquor selections. I switched from Tanqueray 10 to Bombay Sapphire gin after a tasting at Heathrow. And the selection at Harrods is pretty good.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — Back in November 2006, the facility rebid its retail concessions contract (my Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that is here), that brought in a bounty of new stores, including Sean Jean, Kiehl’s, Ermenegildo Zenga and Lather, among others. And Hartsfield was the first airport to get ZoomSystems’ vending machines, which at the time sold Apple iPod products.
- JFK Airport JetBlue Terminal 5 — I just love the feel and design of this terminal. And the shopping is pretty good too. I’m a BIG fan of the Harmony Pharmacies, which sell over-the-counter drugs, beauty/cosmetics and will fill a prescription. I went a bit nuts in Japan’s Muji store, which sells everything from travel accessories to office supplies. I just love the shrink-wrap tshirts that are compressed into a cube that fits nicely into a carry-on bag. I could spend hours in the Techshowcase looking at the latest in geek toys.
- Pittsburgh International Airport — Back in the day when it was still a hub for US Airways, the facility decided to go all out and revamp its retail concessions. I bought shoes for the man at Johnston & Murphy and toys for my godchildren at Creative Kidstuff. They also have a Clinque store and the fabulous Pajama Shop.
- Orlando International Airport — The airport for amusement park central has stores from Disney, Sea World and Universal Studio. It also has beauty/bath store Lush (a favorite from my time spent in London), the Kennedy Space Center store, Harley Davidson and Swatch watches.
- Incheon International Airport — a girl could lose her MIND in this airport. The airport authority went all out to attract all the major luxury brands to the facility, including Channel, Burberry, Christian Dior, Missoni, Guess, Max Mara, Dunhill, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, Calvin Klein and Samsonite, among others.
- Changi Airport — see Incheon. Plus a bonus — if you go to the Singapore Visitors Center in any terminal and you have at least 5 hours to kill, you can get a FREE 2-hour colonial or cultural tour.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – I know this one is a surprise, but I like the shopping choices in this airport. The Authors Bookstore is not to be missed, and there’s a nice balance of national and local brands.
- Vancouver International Airport – I had to include this airport. I just love The Gourmet Shop and La Cava del Cigarro, which sells gourmet foods and has a great selection of cigars. Although not shopping per se, Vancouver also has the Plaza Premium Lounges, which features a place to nap, eat and shower.
My list only includes airports that I’ve actually seen and experienced. I know there are plenty of others out there, so what did I miss?