How airports manage to get passengers to spend more.
How airports manage to get passengers to spend more.

Hidden trap airports use to make you spend

AIRPORTS are full of hidden design features that help move passengers to the right places and at the right speed.

But did you know there are a number of ways that design features are used to get you to spend more money in airports?

They can include everything from where the shops are located to how quickly you're moved into an area where you can spend your hard-earned cash, The Sun reports.

Here are five things you might notice on your next journey through an airport terminal.


Faster, more efficient check-in desks and security checks are better for everyone.

And in recent years, we have seen a number of improvements in this area, from apps where you can download your boarding pass and counters where you can check your own luggage to gates where you pre-screen yourself as you pass through security.

Research suggests that automated services like these are up to 25 per cent faster than with a human involved.

How airports are getting you to spend money. Picture: The Sun
How airports are getting you to spend money. Picture: The Sun

But while you might still be getting to the airport two hours before a flight, getting you through check-in and security checks as quickly as possible has another benefit for the airport - you have more time to spend your money.

And in fact, the longer you get to spend in an airport, the more likely you are to spend money according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

What's more, the areas where you re-pack your bags after you go through security could also help you become a spender.

According to a report by consulting group InterVistas, a "re-composure zone" will help passengers get past the stressful aspects of travel so when they get to the retail sections, they're ready to spend.


According to Julian Lukaszewicz, a lecturer in aviation management at Buckinghamshire New University, shops that face the tarmac could potentially do better as passengers "tend to walk more into shops that have direct access to the sunlight".

He also told MentalFloss that travellers actually avoid shops "if they're closed off with artificial light".

How airports are getting you to spend money. Picture: The Sun
How airports are getting you to spend money. Picture: The Sun


The layout of shopping areas is very specific too.

Shops and restaurants are generally clustered together for example, to mimic the high street.

To maximise floor space, they're also curved in such a way that passengers have to walk longer distances through the retail areas to get to their boarding gate.

In fact, serpentine shopping areas, such as the one found at London's Gatwick Airport, can see as much as 60 per cent more sales according to InterVistas.

But even the direction of the curve is important.

Since most customers are right-handed, having a walkway that curves to the left will get people to see more of the products on show as they're subconsciously looking right while wandering left.


Creating a nice atmosphere can help passengers spend more as well.

Art, for example, will draw people to a retail area and make the environment seem nicer and therefore passengers are more likely to spend money.

Using carpet, rather than tiled floor, is another way to create a nice atmosphere.

The cosiness underfoot will encourage passengers to linger, while tiles, especially ones of different colours, will encourage them to move along.

The tricks airports do to get passengers to spend more money.
The tricks airports do to get passengers to spend more money.

And then there are the signs pointing you to your boarding gate.

It's incredibly helpful to know how long the walk to your gate is from the retail area, but it can also be a good way to help you decide how long you have to spend shopping or eating.


As bestsellers lists from airports reveal, the products that speak to a destination sells the best.

For example, nightshirts featuring the words Sleepless in Seattle remain a bestseller at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport decades after the film of the same name came out according to USA Today.

So as much as it might be tacky, airports are often stuffed with touristy products that travellers will have seen during their holiday - perfect for an impulse buy.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission