Airport follies

By Megan McArdle

Maria of Crooked Timber asks a question:

Here are the things most people would happily pay for at an international transit airport: – a shower – clean underwear (for those of us who habitually forget to pack it) – daylight – an exercise facility to help with the jetlag and minimise DVT – nutritious but not too heavy food – a nap, lying flat, somewhere quiet.

And here’s what is generally available: – Gucci – Chanel – l’Occitane – Bodyshop – Lacoste – Nike – a few plastic seats – McDonalds, dougnuts, and the local variety of fried, sugary dross to add a sugar hangover to your jetlag.

. . .

So why the complete mismatch of trapped and exhausted consumers to luxury goods? Surely the airports have woken up to the fact that travelling is mass market. Or are travellers such a captive market that airports can completely ignore what they actually want…?



My answer: in an airport, foot traffic is very high, and space is at a premium. So you should expect to see things that go at a very high volume (McDonalds) or things that are very expensive per-inch-of-display-space, such as Gucci. Showers and napping capsules do not meet either criteria.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/08/airport-follies/1835/