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How many hundreds of millions do air passengers spend waiting at airports?

5:17 AM, Nov 18, 2013   |    comments
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Terminal B, Sacramento International Airport

SACRAMENTO - How much money do passengers spend on food and drinks while killing time at the airport? 

The Airports Council International-North America found that passengers are spending more money on the ground as airports are expanding their unique retail and restaurant options.

Those figures translate to $553 million on food and beverage items at U.S. airports last year, and $630 million on retail items.

And more airports are now offering restaurants that are airport-specific or reflect a local or regional brand, to which travelers are drawn.

Making spending easier are a slew of mobile apps that let passengers know what shops and restaurants are nearby and which may be offering specials.

Something else that's popping up at some airports are automatic apparel kiosks. For example, machines at Boston Logan International Airport dispense things like t-shirts, socks, underwear, and sunglasses, all for under $15.

Automated retail units, which may be best described as upscale vending machines are also becoming more popular. According to the survey they're in 50 percent of the responding airports, and most have gross sales of more than $100,000 a year.

News10/KXTV

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