Feeling extra hungry at the airport? It’s not your fault


Two businessmen enjoy a beer in an airport terminal. Source: Shutterstock

HAVE you ever found yourself feeling unusually peckish at an airport and not knowing why?

Of course, confused body clocks (circadian rhythms to be precise) don’t help the matter and channeling the “vacation starts at the airport” vibes only add to the stomach grumbles.

But what’s the deal with wanting to eat 10 hot dogs and drink three beers at 11am?

If you resonate with this feeling, don’t panic, because it’s not quite your fault. Airports, it seems, are intentionally built in a manner that simply encourages you to spend more.

How, you ask? First of all, there’s something called the “smart glass”.

What the heck is smart glass?

It is a dynamic self-tinting glass which reduces the sun’s glare into the terminal, increasing passenger comfort.

However, since the installation of the special glass at Dallas Fort Worth airport in the US, the team monitoring its effects have noticed sales increasing in the terminal’s restaurants.

The glass marginally darkens the terminal and can reduce temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees.

This means diners no longer have to endure sweltering sunshine beaming down on them at terminal restaurants.

The smart glass also works towards making airports greener as less air-conditioning is needed to cool these huge buildings.

While this was an accidental discovery to make passengers spend more in “airport dwell time”, there are other methods airports adopt to get the dosh out your pocket and into their tills.


Ever noticed how commercial airports tend to have swathes of carpet covering the terminal floor, as opposed to the usual tiled hard flooring seen in most other transport terminals?

This is supposed to make passengers feel more relaxed, more at home and more likely to spend moolah.


In almost every international airport, the duty-free department is right behind the security counter.

Irrationally panicking about packing contraband even though you checked your bags thrice before hitting the airport or wondering if your recently renewed passport is still in date can be quite the ordeal.

So when you finally make it through check-in and security, you might feel the need to reward yourself.

Hey, Presto – buy a giant bag of M&Ms or a US$300-dollar bottle of perfume.

The left curve

You’re still in duty-free, basket full but you continue to touch goodies, spray perfumes, and color shades of lipstick on your hand.

This is because airports have wised up to the fact that 90 percent of the world is right-handed, and therefore are inclined to pull their suitcases with their right hand.

So architecturally, airports decided to make duty-free walkways curve to the left, with most of the high priced treats also on that side.

Meaning your free-left will be more likely to pick stuff up and pop it in your basket. Sneaky, right?

See if you notice it next time you’re in an airport.