Ritual Airport Amenities

i have a sneaking suspicion (and hope) that i’m not alone in this — for those of us who fly often but are not blessed with a lounge membership, are there particular airport amenities that have become habit? specifically, the ones that come to mind for me are restaurants (mostly, though i do have my preferred bathrooms at SFO). regardless of the time of day, i almost always went/go to the following for a drink or bite to eat (see also #thisiswhyimfat). these aren’t necessarily favorites, but rather have somehow become necessities.


in college i started out mostly using TWA youth travel pack passes (four one-ways for $548) to get home for the holidays, but i later transitioned to united and since then have flown through often for work. my go-to stop was the mcdonald’s at the south end of concourse C. when flying through now (not a big fan of the airport, but as a united flyer, if i must, i must) i often walk by and take a whiff just for old times’ sake. i suppose you can say i’ve graduated.


in grad school i was at this airport often (again, home for the holidays but also thank goodness for the plethora of german holidays for enabling a lot of european travel). the burger king on the mezzanine level of terminal 1 kept me well-fed while waiting for those buses to take me out to the planes (i often took low-cost carriers who don’t pay for gates). also, it’s a prime planespotting location with large windows that overlook the apron. whopper menü mit pommes, ketchup und mayo, keine tomaten, und eine cola light. and yes, i have been known to ask for a crown and wear it on a flight (sadly, no picture, but it was STR-BCN on the now-defunct spanair).

photo via waymarking.com

photo via flughafen-stuttgart.de


now that i often go back to work HQ near philly, i find myself in line at the dunkin’ donuts at the end of terminal D. (maybe it’s just my lazy american ass’s expectations, but they need to install a moving walkway for that long corridor, btw.) it’s always the same story: medium hazelnut, cream and sugar, sit down by the power outlet across the way next to the bar’s big windows, wait until 5 minutes before boarding, go make a pitstop, then head onto the plane.

photo via yelp.com

anyone else? bathroom, restaurant, shoe shine, newsstand? oddly enough, i haven’t developed any such habit for my hometown airports (SFO, OAK, SJC). not quite sure why, but maybe it’s because i keep switching between them so there hasn’t been an opportunity for a literal rite of passage to emerge.

3 Comments on "Ritual Airport Amenities"

  1. I tend to gravitate toward Starbucks in airports. There’s a particular one in Terminal 3 at LHR that I used to go to all the time when I was travelling out of there.

    • ahh yes, always a good choice! there’s one at OAK that i often go to. unrelated, how are costa coffees? i see them all over there but have never tried.

      • I don’t particularly like Costa Coffee, but some do. Starbucks is my choice because it is predictable no matter where you are. When I was in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Shanghai, and the United States and Canada, you know exactly what you will be getting. Costa is not international.

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