Why you should care
Because there’s more to airports than long lines at security checkpoints.
For today at least, heading into the holidays and one of the busiest travel times of the year, airports will be “home” for a lot of folks. And not a very comfortable home either, what with lines, congestion, headaches and lost luggage.
But not in Spain, where an airport building boom in the early 2000s created a surplus of airports and not enough passengers. Nor in Dubai, where, we suspect, flush passengers will spend their layovers stocking up at Le Clos, the best wine store in an airport and maybe in the world. Yet even there’s a limit to airport luxury, even when Emirates is in charge, and that’s because of noise. Recent studies show how airports can be bad for your health.
Spaniards built not just housing during the boom of the early 2000s but also airports galore. Yet out of Spain’s 46 publicly managed airports, only eight are making a profit. The rest are struggling to break even. About 20 of them have barely any passengers. Spaniards call them “ghost airports.” Airports like those in Burgos, Sabadell and Albacete used to stand as symbols of modernity and economic growth. Today they’re a national embarrassment: Terminals sit eerily empty, luggage belts gather dust, and some runways host illegal drag races. Read the story here.
The last time I passed through a duty-free shop, I bought an $8 bottle of Malbec and a bar of chocolate. In Dubai’s airport, individual wine purchases can routinely exceed $30,000. That’s thanks to Le Clos, a wine store with five outposts in the dizzying futurama mallscape of the international terminals. The snooty factor here is shockingly low considering the shockingly high prices. And that’s thanks to Emirates Group President Gary Chapman. Though he spends his days managing corporate support for the global behemoth, his real passion is wine. Read the story here.
Airports are stressful. Delayed flights and long security lines can raise blood pressure. But we tend to overlook airplane noise on the list of stressors, and it may be more harmful than we realize. Two recent studies in the British Medical Journal have shed light on the deleterious effects of long-term exposure to airport-related noise — and its impact on our hearts. Read the story here.