Top 7 Airports for Shopping

Now we are back to one of our favorites topics: Airports. How many times have you spent in an airports with a lot of time to spend and nothing to do? If you want to do some shopping, I hope you are in one of these airports. Here we have the list for the Top 7 Airports for Shopping:

1. Amsterdam (AMS)

Travelers are hard-pressed to stay bored for long at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS), which claims the first-ever airport library, a full-fledged casino, and a branch of the prestigious Rijksmuseum showcasing Dutch masterpieces. Among the layover offerings are the bank of stores, many of them accessible to everyone via the pre-security Plaza Schiphol (located between all gates) and affordable enough to keep shoppers squarely within their vacation budgets. H&M, showcasing their European line (Arrivals 2), and Mexx (Arrivals 3) supply on-trend, wallet-friendly apparel, while Nike (Arrivals 3) and Crocs (Arrivals 4) give road-weary travelers an excuse to change into a new pair of kicks for the ride home. Amsterdam-based Paolo Salatto supplies upscale dress shoes and heels, leather goods and accessories, and men’s apparel at its three airport locations (Paolo Salatto Luxury Leather Goods in Arrivals 2, and Paolo Salatto Menswear and Paolo Salatto Shoes in Arrivals 3). Appropriately in this city renowned for its vibrant, springtime tulips, Aviflora (Arrivals 2), BLOEM! (Arrivals 4), and Fleurtiek (Plaza Schiphol), each hawk freshly cut blooms, bouquets, and even seeds and bulbs, for souvenirs that last long after the vacation ends. Keep an eye out for seasonal markdowns on big-ticket items like electronics and designer accessories in the See Buy Fly Shop just past security (case in point, the shop slashed prices of Missoni scarves by 40 percent last February).

2. Dubai (DXB)

Dubai Duty Free, or DDF in short, opened its shiny glass doors in Dubai’s International Airport (DXB) in 1983, and is the world’s single largest duty-free operation. The 24-hour tax-free mecca houses over 30 superstores offering a range of quality brands at discounted rates (shoppers can expect to pay anywhere between 10 and 50 percent less here than at city retailers), while its multi-lingual staff and sleek glass-and-steel design have garnered over 70 international awards. The contemporary space is easy to navigate though it spans a whopping 161,000 square feet across three terminals (imagine an additional 58,000 square feet when the airport’s new concourse opens in 2012). Expect the best in designer fashion — Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Cartier — and wine by way of Emporium, a plush lounge and liquor store in Terminal 3, or Le Clos, offering a collection of fine French vintages, also in Terminal 3. Although international fragrances are DDF’s top sellers, local Middle-Eastern perfumes like the woody Amouage, packaged in ornate bottles, are climbing the ranks as hot-ticket items. Gold is also extremely popular with airport shoppers who take advantage of the value pricing for pieces like 20-karat chain necklaces and bracelets. Lucky spenders may also leave with up to $2 million or a pricey sports car, thanks to the airport’s famous monthly drawings and giveaways. The more travelers spend airport shopping, the more raffle tickets they receive (raffle tickets may also be purchased individually). DDF stores accept Euros, United States Dollars, British Pounds, GCC Dinars, and Arab Emirates Dirhams.

3. Frankfurt (FRA)

Frankfurt International Airport is the largest airport in continental Europe and with 250 businesses and 60 different stores (many with multiple airport locations) boasts the shopping to match. Most flights from the U.S. arrive at the airport’s larger Terminal 1, which is where you’ll find the broadest selection of stores, from luxury brands like Etro and Hermès to American favorites like Levi’s and Timberland. Look out for SØR, a Germany-based high-end chain stocking brands like Lacoste and Gant; Pfüller Kidskonzept, for upscale clothes and toys for kids; and Porsche Design, a subsidiary of the car company that offers design-centric briefcases, watches, and even cell phones. Once past security, take advantage of duty-free shopping on the likes of Burberry, Ferragamo, and Swarovski. And if your layover in Frankfurt doesn’t leave sufficient time for retail therapy, you can purchase any item from duty-free online up to 12 hours before your flight then pick it up at the airport.

4. Hong Kong (HKG)

Consistently ranked among the world’s best airports overall, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) gets high marks for design, passenger flow, accessibility, and its superlative offerings for dining, entertainment (3-D theater or round of golf, anyone?), and, best of all, shopping. Given Hong Kong proper’s standing as a standout shopping destination, it’s only fitting that its transit hub would cater to commerce for the more than 50 million passengers who circulate here annually. Airport shoppers flock mainly to the some 160 shops and 40 restaurants of Terminal 1’s (T1’s) Skymart, considered one of the best shopping malls in the city, and a destination in its own right. Predictably, the requisite duty-free shops are on offer, as are plenty of electronics and gadgets stores, but most appealing are the big-name designer boutiques like Burberry, Chanel, Coach, and Versace that turn over in the halls of T1 like the boutiques on Fifth Avenue. In fact, the pioneering airport was the first to debut the likes of Prada and Tiffany and beauty outlets like Giorgio Armani Cosmetics and Kiehl’s. What’s more, airport shoppers can enjoy the peace of mind of a “downtown pricing guarantee,” which ensures that airport pricing remains in line with downtown Hong Kong pricing. Download the nifty iPhone app from the airport’s website to help navigate all of the airport’s shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

5. Johannesburg (ORTIA)

Shopping in South Africa is a treat for craft lovers, objet d’art collectors, bargain shoppers, and souvenir junkies — and thankfully Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) has it all, with a microcosmic collection of the country’s best swag. Editors recently flying out of Jo’burg were pleasantly surprised that the airport merchandise was by and large the same quality crafts found at shops and markets throughout South Africa, and that prices were also comparable (minus the added discounts one can score by bargaining elsewhere in the country). The best airport shops for artsy hand-made goods and home décor — think wooden animal figurines, hand-tooled leather accessories, painted ceramics, and animal-skin rugs — are Indaba and Out of Africa (Terminal A, Duty Free Mall), while Big Five Duty Free (Terminal A) busts with fine jewelry, cosmetics, tobacco, and booze. Be sure to pick up a bottle of South African wine or creamy Amarula liqueur, made from South Africa’s own Marula tree fruit. Plus, ORTIA just underwent a major expansion to prepare for the 2010 FIFA World Cup so travelers can expect a gleaming new international pier with an expanded duty-free mall and new mezzanine lounges. Get the scoop on special sales and promotions before you go by checking out Airport Shopping Safari South Africa ( and get a head start on duty-free shopping via the online store (

6. London (LHR)

Take 84 plus stores, from the ritzy (Gucci, Escada, Dior, Cartier) to the essential (Harrods, Dixons Travel, World Duty Free) and 67 million passing travelers annually, and what do you get? Over a billion in shopping sales per year. Well, at least that’s the formula at London’s Heathrow International Airport (LHR), the third busiest international airport in the world. Even UK knitwear shop Pringle of Scotland has twice the amount of sales per square foot at its small store in Terminal 3 than at its boutiques in central London. In 2008, Heathrow welcomed iconic British department store Harrods in all five terminals — the largest is the two-floor superstore in Terminal 5. Most airport shops are located after security and big-name brands like Burberry and Montblanc have locations in several terminals so no matter where you’re flying, you’re bound to hit at least a few favorites (speaking of favorites, there’s a Jimmy Choo store in Terminal 4). Look out for British designer shops like Kurt Geiger (Terminals 3 and 5), L.K. Bennet (Terminals 1 and 4), and Mulberry (Terminals 1, 3, 4, and 5). Weary travelers can fit in some R&R between shopping sprees in Terminal 5. There’s spa Be Relax, Bar 5, a chic cocktail lounge with some 300 colorful fiber-optic tubes suspended from the ceiling, and gourmet eatery Gordon Ramsay Plane Food.

7. Portland (PDX)

In many ways Portland International Airport is a reflection of the quirky city in which it is found. PDX eschews the rows of luxury boutiques and banal duty-free outlets in favor of local and regional retailers. Be sure to check out the outposts for the famous Portland-based Powell’s Books (Oregon Market, pre-security; Concourse C and D, post-security) and regional women’s-wear retailer cc McKenzie Shoes & Apparel (Oregon Market and Concourse C, pre- and post-security), as well as stores for hometown brands Nike and Columbia Sportswear (Oregon Market). A great souvenir to bring home is a bottle of beer from one of the city’s 36 breweries — pick one up at the Made in Oregon store (Oregon Market; Concourse C and D), along with regional wines and other local products. A double boon for airport shoppers: PDX guarantees prices are no higher than what you’d find at downtown stores, and the state has no sales tax. If you need to grab a quick bite before your flight, try Portland favorites like Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery (Concourse D), Laurelwood Brewing Co. (Concourse A and E), or the Flying Elephants Deli, featuring local Stumptown Coffee (Oregon Market). Unwind prior to takeoff at the new Dragontree Day Spa (Concourse C and D), a local full-service spa which opened in 2010. And if you plan on biking around town like a resident, stop by the airport bike assembly and repair station (lower terminal roadway), also opened in 2010, to speedily assemble and disassemble your wheels before and after your flight.



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