With the opening of 20 new shops and restaurants in the Philadelphia International Airport's busy Terminal F, travelers can now get a shower, a haircut, fancy eye cream and lotions, and they can dine on burritos, gourmet burgers, sushi and noodles, roast Brussels sprouts, duck-fat fries, and grilled salmon.
Man, reading it really got to me. I'm not the most frequent flyer in the world, but as a travel writer on the road two to three weeks a month, I've got a pretty good idea of the needs of both business and leisure travelers (travel writing, after all, is the perfect combination). Turns out, I've never needed a haircut that badly, or an iPad. And I showered before I left this morning, thank you very much. That grilled salmon looks delicious, for sure, but do I really want to spend $40 on lunch?
I'm not sure how it happened, but airports, especially international terminals, seem to think that all travelers have a wad of twenties in their pockets they're just dying to unload. Has anyone else noticed how these redevelopment projects seem to be forgetting about the budget traveler? All the new nice restaurants, high-end shops, etc., are great, but those of us who don't want to spend beaucoup on lunch or $200 on perfume are still left with the basic fast food and nothing else to do for the most part. What's up with that?
I'm not just picking on Philly; this is happening across the globe. I see glimpses of hope from time to time, but nothing to make me feel warm and cozy about the future. I can't tell you how many times I've had to decide between "budget-friendly options" that include an $8 pre-packaged sandwich that's been "chilling" in a cooler all day, McDonald's, a $12 made-to-order deli sandwich, or a butter-loaded muffin from Starbucks. The major problem is that even the "budget" food options, like a McDonald's, are overpriced, not to mention the last thing you want to put in your body during a travel day.
I know airports have bills to pay and high-end establishments can afford high rent, but I think the vision is short-sighted as it caters to only a small percentage of travelers while the rest of us are left munching on the carrot sticks we stuck in our carry-ons.
Are you seeing this too?