This Insights article was co-written with Erin McNally, Marketing Specialist for ILM
Airports are diversifying their offerings of facility amenities, food, retail and services.
Next time you have a connection, or are waiting on a loved one, take in one (or more!) of the unique offerings at the airport.
Below is a list of some examples to get you started.
Chicago O’Hare (ORD):
- Yoga Room: The tranquil space, near the Urban Garden, is the perfect place to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of the airport. The 15- by 16-foot Yoga Room features a sustainable bamboo wood floor, floor-to-ceiling mirrors on one wall and exercise mats, as well as an area to place personal articles and garments, making it the perfect space for relaxation, meditation and yoga practice.
- Aeroponic Urban Garden: ORD’s Urban Garden was the first aeroponic garden at any airport in the world! In O'Hare's aeroponic garden, plant roots are suspended in 26 towers that house over 1,100 planting spots. Ticketed airport visitors can view the garden while relaxing or enjoying a meal in the comfortable lounge area – perhaps a meal that contains vegetables and herbs grown just a few feet away.
- Billy Goat Tavern: "Cheezburger! Cheezburger! Cheezburger! No Pepsi; Coke. No fries; cheeps." This famous line from the Saturday Night Live skit is said to be inspired from the Billy Goat Tavern. Aside from just cheeseburgers, the menu also includes a rib-eye steak sandwich.
- Garrett Popcorn Shop: Since 1949, Garrett Popcorn Shops has delighted taste buds with their hot-air-popped signature blend of kernels, doused in their secret recipe of sweetness. Hand-mixed in old-fashioned copper kettles, travelers from all over the world line up to get this irresistible snacking sensation at O'Hare.
Dallas Fort Worth (DFW):
- Walking Path: If you have a longer block of time between flights, visit DFW Airport's walking path. The path, which has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, provides you with the ability to remain active while on the go. The path measures seven-tenths of a mile and is aligned with DFW Airport’s Art Program floor medallions. The course includes informational signage between each of the twelve medallions.
- Dickey’s Barbeque Pit & The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que: These restaurants are local favorites that dish up Texas BBQ.
- Pappasito’s Cantina: Tex-Mex favorites such as breakfast taco platter, Pappsito’s famous shrimp brochette, tacos and enchiladas.
- Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop: The official Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop brings you closer to America’s team with a wide selection of jerseys, shirts, hats and other accessories.
- Brighton Collectibles, Leather & Jewelry: For beautiful leather and sterling silver accessories with a western flair, Brighton Leather and Silver Shop is the place to go at DFW Airport. Brighton also offers a fashionable collection of sunglasses, which make great personal treats or gifts.
Wilmington International Airport (ILM):
- Art Gallery: The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) and the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County have an unique collaboration; showcasing the arts in Southeastern NC. ILM has dedicated a space in the airport as a gallery, which showcases many of the talented local artists. The Arts Council determines the show’s theme(s) and curates the art exhibition quarterly.
- Putting Green: Installed to welcome the PGA golf tournament, the putting green area in ILM was a quick hit with locals and visitors alike. Whether waiting for a loved one or your luggage, travelers can practice their putt before hitting one of the many beautiful and world-renowned courses in the area!
- Historical Area: Located close to the Art Gallery, the Historical Area features a historical mural, information on Wilmington’s aviation history, and a Curtiss-Wright Dehmel P-3 Instrument Trainer. Invented by Richard C Dehmel, PhD, in the late 1930s, this instrument training device was among the earliest electronic flight trainers used on a large scale. It allowed pilots to learn how to fly aircraft without ever leaving the ground.
- Local Beers: Grabbing a quick bite or a beverage before you fly out of ILM? Leave with one last local experience. The Radar Bar and Jet Stream Burger Bar, as well as the Runway View Bar, feature local craft beers from around the Wilmington and Carolina Beach areas. Beers on tap may feature brews from Wrightsville Beach Brewery, Bill’s Front Porch Brewing, Good Hops Brewing Co., and more!
So, next time you have a connection, or have extra time at your hometown airport, remember there are many amenities to discover “on the fly.”
Wilmington International Airport (ILM)
is based in Wilmington, NC and serves over 830,000 travelers annually. ILM proudly offers convenient nonstop flights to top destinations and worldwide connections through its air carrier partners United
, American Airlines
, and Delta
. Learn more at www.flyilm.com
Julie Wilsey has been the Airport Director of Wilmington International Airport (ILM) since December 2013. After six years as an Army Engineer officer, Julie joined the ILM team as the Director of Facilities.Since 1999, she has helped ILM grow with airfield and facility improvements, completing over $100 million worth of capital projects. A career milestone includes earning her accreditation as an airport executive with the American Association of Airport Executives in 2008. Julie holds an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. An active member of the community and aviation industry, Julie serves on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, the NC Aviation Task Force, Cape Fear Area United Way Board of Directors the Downtown Wilmington Rotary Club, WILMA, the North Carolina Airport Association and the Southeast AAAE. Julie is married to LTC (Ret) Donald Wilsey, USA, has a stepdaughter, Lauren, and two cats.