When travelling home to California, I can deal with cramming my belongings into a carry-on bag, taking off my shoes to go through security and sitting way too close to strangers. But the one thing I cannot deal with is the airport food. I pack a lunch, but I somehow either forget it as I dash out the door or I find myself hungry during a long layover. Inevitably, I end up hunting down food in the airport, which is always a disappointment and leaves me wishing I had stayed hungry. Now, it looks like my flight home might be a little more enjoyable. Airports are offering more exciting options to hungry flyers. I know I’ll be looking out for these trends next week as I make my trek to the west coast.
1. Farmers’ Markets
Imagine being able to grab something fresh, healthy and tasty as you rush to your connection. Boston Logan airport now sports a Berkshire Farms Market, which has fresh smoothies, freshly-baked bread and home-brewed Fire Cider. Similarly, there is a Napa Farms Market in San Francisco International airport and an Original Farmers Market at LAX.
2. Food Trucks
You don’t have to be on campus to visit a food truck; airports now have food “carts,” an indoor version of a food truck. Portland International Airport recently opened Koi Fusion, which has Asian-inspired cuisine, and Pok Pok. For variety, the food carts rotate every six-months.
3. Onboard Picnics
At London Heathrow Airport, passengers can buy premium meals at the 118 restaurants. Plane Food picnics are small carry-on bags with fresh portable food. Pret allows you to order online, and Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar offers a King Seafood Platter to take to go.
4. High-Tech Restaurant Tables
By mid-December, Denver International plans to have iPads at tables, so travelers can read the menu, check flight status and order and pay for food. Similarly, by spring, Reagan National Airport plans to have the same technology when new restaurants come online.
5. Local Fare
Airports are now offering local flavors with everything ranging from pulled pork in tangy Carolina vinegar barbeque sauce at Brookwood Farms BBQ at Charlotte Douglas International to pecan-dusted scallops at One Flew South at Atlanta International. If you’re flying out of Newark, you can pretend you’re in the Big Apple by sampling some crab cakes and fried calamari at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, or if you’re connecting in Phoenix like I am, it might be worth checking out the green chili tamales at El Bravo.