8 underrated amenities all airports should offer

Nov 24, 2019

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I admit that I am an airport geek. I get to them early when I’m traveling so I can walk around and see what’s new and interesting. One of the fascinating things I like to discover are unusual services offered for passengers at airports. So I’m sharing this list of 8 cool concessions that I’ve seen in my travels.

Light-up parking

Nothing is more frustrating than going into a daily or hourly airport parking lot and wandering around desperately searching for a space, especially if you’re short on time. At Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), the daily and hourly lots not only tell you how many spaces are available, but they use an overhead light system to lead you to open ones. Red means a space is occupied and green means it’s open. Look for blue lights if you have a placard for disabled parking.


The Xpres Spa at JFK Airport. (Photo courtesy of Xpres Spa)
The XpresSpa at JFK Airport. (Photo courtesy of XpresSpa)

If you spot one of the 56 XpresSpas located in 23 airports and have time to kill, go in. If you’re about to get on a long-haul flight, you may want to get a back or foot massage. You can get quick nail services, facials, waxing and hair services in certain locations. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) even has shower rooms. In 2018, wellness app Calm invested $3 million in XpresSpa, which means that if you’re a subscriber, you can get a free Calm x XpresSpa luggage tag when you show the Calm app on your device to an XpresSpa employee. You also receive a free 10-minute relaxation lounger massage when you show the app’s home screen with an unlocked Daily Calm.

Supersized cellphone lot

The Final Approach cell phone lot at Denver International Airport. (Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)
The Final Approach cellphone lot at Denver International Airport. (Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

The cellphone lot at Denver International Airport (DEN) is not like other lots. The Final Approach, open 24 hours a day, has five restaurants (including a Dunkin’ Donuts with a 24-hour drive through), 253 parking spaces, free Wi-Fi, a children’s seating area with iPads built into tabletops with access to games, lounge seating, indoor restrooms, eight flight information display boards and a gas station.

Renaissance Books

(Photo by FabrikaCr/Getty Images)
(Photo by FabrikaCr/Getty Images)

Located in the Main Terminal at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE), this isn’t the bookstore you’re used to seeing. This gem has a fantastic mix of new and used books. If you’re a collector, Renaissance even carries rare books. The main location, in downtown Milwaukee, has operating since the early 1960s.

Animal relief areas

The Paw Pad at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport's Terminal 3.
The Paw Pad at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport’s Terminal 3. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)

Dog owners who travel with Fido have access to nine pet parks at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. They all offer a grassy area, mitts and bags to pick up poop and a watering station. The Pet Patch is located just east of Terminal 2The Paw Pad in Terminal 3 – Level 1 is located outside on the West End and features native Arizona plants. The Bone Yard is on the west side of Terminal 4 on Level 1 just outside of baggage claim. There are animal relief areas located near the PHX Sky Train® stations: the East Economy Park & Bark, located near the East Economy parking garages; and the Park ‘n Play, located on the northwest corner of the 44th Street PHX Sky Train® Station. Find more animal relief areas post-security at: Terminal 2 on the lower level near the family restroom; Terminal 3 on the South concourse; and Terminal 4 in the D1-D8 gates concourse near the Family Restroom and in the B1-B14 gates concourse near the restrooms at Gate B2.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve card includes travel protections such as emergency medical and dental benefit. (Photo by Musketeer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Musketeer/Getty Images)

You have a dental emergency on the way to the airport or you want to kill two birds with one stone and get a cleaning before your flight. Thanks to Dr. Robert Trager, you can — if you’re flying out of JFK Airport (JFK) or LaGuardia Airport (LGA). He has a full service dental clinic that handles all common dental procedures, from filling cavities to tooth implants. The clinic accepts all forms of insurance.

Liquor store

The Bayou Spirits liquor store at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)
The Bayou Spirits liquor store at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. (Photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy)

Both Las Vegas and New Orleans are known as party cities. So it would only make sense to get the party started right after you land at the airport. McCarran International Airport (LAS) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) both have liquor stores near baggage claim where you can shop while waiting for your luggage. Bayou Spirits is located in the baggage claim area of Concourse B and in the new terminal. The Liquor Library at McCarran is located in the baggage claim area in Terminal 1.

Farmer’s Fridge

The Farmer's Fridge Asian chopped salad. (Photo courtesy of Farmer's Fridge)
The Farmer’s Fridge Asian chopped salad. (Photo courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge)

You’re at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Indianapolis International Airport (IND) or MKE and you’re hungry. But you’re short on time and want a healthy meal or snack. This vending machine is ready to serve you freshly made salads (including Asian chopped, Greek and Cobb), snacks (trail mix, spiced nut mix and cookie dough bites), breakfast (Greek yogurt and granola, oats bowl or hard-boiled eggs), bowls and wraps. The O’Hare machines are at seven locations in terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5. Indianapolis machines are located on Concourse A and B just after the TSA checkpoint, or in baggage claim by door 3. The Milwaukee locations are at the departures food court before security and in Concourse D next to Gate 42.

Featured photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

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