“Airports Can Be Hell,” Or, How Airports Are Becoming Destinations

Last week, I argued that city and aviation officials need to start thinking critically about how people spend their time at the Provo Airport of the future. Then, just yesterday, Fast Company explained how airports around the world are trying to remake themselves as destinations. It’s a very similar idea to the one I was arguing for, and emphasizes the need for airports to be more than sterile, utilitarian transit hubs.

According to author Bill Hooper, airports are trying to overcome and reverse the idea that “airports can be hell.”

And indeed, with increasing fervor, airport owners and developers around the globe are reinventing the airport as a place that people actually want to spend time.

The article then goes on to explain how airports around the world are investing in shopping, cultural experiences, and entertainment. Hooper also notes that airports generate a lot of revenue for their surrounding cities:

Airport owners and developers learned then that people–even the cost-conscious folks–will indulge themselves at the airport, allowing themselves extra time and, perhaps, a splurge item or two or three.

The Provo Airport probably won’t have an Audi showroom, beer gardens, or an IMAX theater — all things mentioned in the article — anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a comfortable place people enjoy. In light of examples mentioned by Hooper, it’s worth considering how to make that happen.


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