A couple of weeks ago, I ran a giveaway where readers had to mention their favorite airport deals in order to enter. While some of you took the pessimistic “There are deals at the airport?!? LOL! OMG! SO FUNNY!,” other people weighed in with great advice and instead of letting it all languish in the comments section of that post, I’ve culled through the responses and picked out my 12 favorites to share with you here. These are Fly&Dine readers’ favorite airport deals around the world:
1. Bring your own water bottle to the airport.
This one was mentioned by several people, including Jen of Deals We Like in the original interview. It’s a great tip because buying water at the airport is so damn expensive. Some people think that just because you have to sacrifice full water bottles at security, it means you can’t bring ANY water bottle with you but that’s just not true. Bring an empty and fill it up while you’re there. At O’Hare, they even have those fancy water fountains that are specially made to fill water bottles with filtered water.
2. Split giant portions between two people.
Another popular tip. American portions are usually larger than those found in the rest of the world. While this is a negative if you eat the whole thing, it’s a major positive when you turn one meal into a BOGO deal! One reader pointed to the Salt Lick BBQ (at DFW and AUS) as a great example for this.
3. Use your AMEX on Small Business Saturday and get free things!
It’s on 11/29/14 this year, so plan your flights accordingly — although beware because it’s over Thanksgiving weekend — because there are great free samples from participating stores.
4. Cuban Pastries
An oddly specific tip, but reader J recommends the pastelitos at Zaza in MCO and I’ve written about the excellent versions in Miami. For $2 or less, you can get some guava-cheese deliciousness and that’s a steal in my book!
Portland is a beautiful place and a wonderful airport to fly through. Even Grimm actress Claire Coffee swears by it. The best part of their airport may be their rules, oddly enough. No food vendor there can sell anything for more than it costs in their regular locations. That means a slice of pizza and a bottle water costs $4 instead of $14. Plus, there’s no sales tax. Thanks, PDX! [Note: I think SEA also operates like this]
6. Airport Takeout
This is so genius. I can’t believe I’ve never tried it myself. If you have a long layover, find a nearby restaurant that delivers and have them deliver to the airport. Just pop out of security, grab your food, and head back through security. Obviously, this is a terrible idea if the lines are super long and it works much better if you’re traveling with someone else who can watch your carry-on for you. I would love to see the look on TSA’s face as you walk through security with just a large pizza and a boarding pass!
7. Asian Airport Food Courts
Readers mentioned Sittwe Airport in Burma and Taipei specifically, but lots of Asian airports offer food courts built around their street food. Prices for these items are usually much cheaper than the traditional restaurants you find in the rest of the terminal.
8. Liquor Samples (at Duty Free and other shops)
Duty Free and other stores can be a gold mine of free samples. At the Flor de Cana boutique at MGA in Nicaragua, they offer free samples of rum and at LAX and LHR, the Duty Free shops offer liquor tastings completely free of charge. Instead of running through Duty Free to get away from the jacked-up prices, take advantage of their desire to get you to stop and shop by drinking their free samples instead.
9. S$20 for Free in Singapore
Changi Airport offers qualifying travelers a S$20 voucher (roughly $16 USD) just for traveling through their airport. More details here. This is totally awesome (if you qualify)!
10. Premium Security Line Access in Boston from Legal Seafoods
I wrote about this one a little while back, but if you buy something at the Legal Seafood outlet outside of security, they’ll stamp your boarding pass to get you into the premium security line.
11. Lounge Access
Not necessarily a new tip, but many readers wrote in to say that spending time in the lounge was the best deal. Free food, free drinks, free wifi, and time to relax. I have to agree, it’s a great deal.
12. Get Bumped
This was another super popular response. Readers relayed story after story of how they got bumped and ended up with massive food vouchers, free hotel nights, and more. If you’re not in a hurry, make sure to listen for those announcements that your flight is oversold. It can really pay off to get bumped!