- Airports are offering more unique and unusual items or services to cater to travelers’ changing preferences.
- Examples include selling fresh honey produced by onsite bees, offering travel vaccinations, selling water from Niagara Falls, and selling scorpion suckers as souvenirs.
- Some airports even provide dental clinics, offering emergency treatments and cosmetic work, which may be cheaper than getting the work done at the destination.
For travelers, airports around the world offer no shortage of ways to part with their money. From restaurants and bars to retail establishments, the options are limitless, and often familiar to what can be found outside the airport.
Yet airport establishments have had to keep up with changing travel and spending habits. Passengers are looking to spend their cash on something unique, that they may not find in the outside world. What are some of the more unusual items or services for sale at major airports across the world?
5 Fresh honey
Passengers looking for a sweet treat or a gift for loved ones may be tempted by jars of fresh honey produced by onsite bees. In the US, Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) are among the major airports to sell freshly produced honey.
Photo: Angel DiBilio | Shutterstock
Chicago O’Hare, home to United Airlines, became the first major US airport to introduce onsite bee colonies back in 2011, selling raw honey in addition to body care products infused with the product.
Greenpeace estimates that bee populations across the US have plummeted by up to 90% since 1962, primarily due to the destruction of their habitats. Yet airports often boast vast expanses of green space, which can be used to help boost declining bee populations across the country.
4 Travel vaccinations
The SFO Medical Clinic at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located in the international terminal, and is open to all passengers between the hours of 08:30 and 17:00, Monday through Friday. In addition to urgent care needs and immigration-related health checks, the clinic also boasts a certified immunization center, where passengers can be given any vaccinations required for their upcoming trip, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Photo: Daily Travel Photos | Shutterstock
With flights from San Francisco regularly departing to long-haul destinations across Asia (including a new service to Taipei from the Taiwanese carrier Starlux), Oceania, Central America, and Europe, there is no shortage of passengers who might be looking to get a last-minute vaccination. Vaccinations on offer include hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis, tetanus, and rabies.
3 Water from Niagara Falls
Seeing bottles of water for sale is nothing unusual in an airport, with plenty of thirsty travelers needing to quench their thirst. However, at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), passengers can buy a rather unique souvenir bottle of water, containing water from Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls, 43 miles south of downtown Toronto, is one of the top visitor attractions in Canada, and many of the tourists passing through Toronto Pearson will have no doubt been to visit. Thanks to this unique purchase, they will be able to remember their trip with a keepsake bottle.
Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying
Later this year, Toronto Pearson International Airport will have more international visitors when it welcomes Arajet for the first time. The airline, based at Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic, will start flights in October.
2 Scorpion suckers
Arizona is home to several species of scorpion, and in keeping with its desert surroundings, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) sells hard candy with a scorpion suspended in the center. This unusual product is, in fact, one of the airport’s best-selling items, according to a 2017 report from CNBC, proving popular as souvenirs.
Photo: BCFC | Shutterstock
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a base for Southwest Airlines and a major hub for American Airlines, which, thanks to recent expansion, is set to operate its largest winter schedule from the airport in almost a decade. The airport also boasts a limited transatlantic network, operated by American Airlines and British Airways (to London Heathrow), and Condor (to Frankfurt).
1 Dental treatments
São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) provides passengers the chance to get some dental work done while they wait for their flight. The dental clinic offers emergency treatments, as well as cosmetic work, such as teeth whitening, and for those heading to Europe and North America, it is likely to work out cheaper for passengers than getting the work done at their destination.
Photo: Leonid Andoronov | Shutterstock
And the self-care does not stop there – the airport also boasts a hair salon, pharmacy, and medical center. New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) are two other airports boasting dental clinics, making Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) the only major New York airport not to offer the service.
Regular travelers often look for more diverse ways to pass the time while waiting for their flights, and airports are beginning to tap into this growing trend and offer items, services, and experiences that in the past would not have typically been found in the airport, or that even cannot be found at all in the outside world. It remains to be seen how the ever-changing travel and spending habits of passengers will shape the airport experience in years to come.
What do you think of the five items featured in this list? Have you experienced anything like them at an airport before? Or have you bought any other unusual items at an airport? Let us know by commenting below.