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Best Of: My Top 10 Favorite Airport Concessions

27 Dec

Editor’s note: kids, Aunt Benet is taking the week off to enjoy the holidays with the family. So please enjoy these best ofs this week.  Happy Holidays!!

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of judging a contest put on by Airports Council International-North America to vote on the best airport concessions, covering food/beverage, retail and services. I wish I could tell you the winners, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Having spent time in hundreds of airports worldwide (and I have the pictures to prove it), I know what I like and what I don’t.  Below are 10 concessions, in no particular order, that I love to see in airports.

  1. BWI Airport Vino Volo All photos by Benet J. Wilson

    Vino Volo: OK, I lied. This has to be my favorite concession, hands down.  It’s good wine, small plates of food and a quiet oasis with plenty of outlets.  What’s not to love, kids? I was at the grand opening of the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport opening back in April 2007 (check out my Towers and Tarmacs post here).

  2. Bijoux Terner: this store features clothing, hats, jewelery and other accessories, all priced at $10.  I’m a BIG fan of their pashimas and funky necklace/earring sets.
  3. XpresSpa: once at an airport conference, this company set up a full-service spa in the middle of the exhibition floor. Every day I was there to get a service, like a foot rub, a manicure or a massage. Pure genius!
  4. Salt Lick Barbecue: my family is from Texas, and one of the best barbecue restaurants in the state is this one.  They have outposts at Austin-Bergstrom International and Will Rogers airports, and the smell is just divine!!
  5. Renaissance Book Shop, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport: this is not your normal bookstore. They carry a great mix of new and used titles. Be careful-you could easily miss your flight browsing its extensive selection!
  6. DFW Airport Samsung Lounge

    Samsung Mobile Travel Lounge: I went on a tour of DFW Airport and stumbled on these.  They look like airline clubs and feature outlets, desks, flight monitors and televisions.  There are some ads for Samsung products, but it’s not offensive.

  7. Pet Parks, Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport: located in Terminals 2, 3 and 4, they offer a grassy area, mitts and bags to pick up poop and a watering station.
  8. Creative Kidstuff: I have a five-year-old daughter, and I like to get her unusual toys. My favorite airport toy store is this outpost at Salt Lake City International Airport. And they don’t mind if your kids touch the merchandise!
  9. La Carreta, Miami International Airport: I went to college with a bunch of Cubans, who introduced me to their food and coffee. I’ve never looked back.  And when I’m at the airport, I go straight here to get my coffee, my Cuban press sandwich and Lechon Asado. Mmmmm…..
  10. Nuts on Clark: I will not lie-I have routed myself on Southwest flights through Chicago Midway Airport so I can stop and get some of this addictive popcorn.  It comes in regular, cheese and caramel, and its to die for, kids.
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