Duty-free shops, fancy lounges key attractions for fliers at airports

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2016 15:15 IST
Rendering for the Rain Vortex at Singapore’s Jewel Changi airport. (/Jewel Changi Airport Devt)

For over half of frequent fliers, airport is more than just a place of transit, where they look forward to some pre-flight respite and retail therapy, finds a new international survey.

That’s the overriding conclusion of a survey that polled 3,000 travelers from the UK, UAE, US, Germany, France, Singapore and Hong Kong which aimed to shed light on fliers’ attitudes on their airport experience.

One of the biggest attractions? Not surprisingly, duty-free shopping. More than half (56 percent) said they make a point to arrive at the airport early to shop, and 64 percent said they look for bargains.

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Another 35 percent said they take advantage of duty-free shopping to pamper themselves with a luxurious name-brand gift that they wouldn’t normally buy.

The story is slightly different for business travelers: 40 percent said they bypass the shops altogether and head straight to the airport lounge.

That figure corresponds with the fact that 59 percent of frequent business fliers consider access to an airport lounge to be an important or very important factor when selecting an airport.

Meanwhile, if there’s one airport that has raised the bar in airport experiences, it’s Singapore Changi airport, which has repeatedly taken the top spot in best airport rankings.

The Asian hub is often described as a destination in and of itself, with features that include tropical rooftop gardens, movie theaters, free foot massages, and free sight-seeing tours into the city for fliers with long airport layovers.

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A new addition, the Jewel Changi Airport, is also in development that will feature an indoor living forest spanning five levels, walking trails, and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, all housed under a glass biodome. The target opening date is early 2019.

In Europe, half of travelers said that digital boarding passes and e-tickets make for an easier airport experience. Nearly a quarter — 24 percent — said they use airport mobile apps. That figure rises to 41 percent among frequent business travelers.

The survey was carried out by Priority Pass, a program that provides frequent travelers with airport lounge access irrespective of their class of travel or airline.

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