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29th Nov 2017

Five Ways Airports Manipulate You Into Buying Things Without You Even Realising It


Over the years, airports have transformed from a stressful area where you could only get a grim cup of coffee waiting for your flight and maybe a magazine, to stylish hubs that often more closely resemble shopping centres. 

Turns out that there’s a lot of psychological science behind airport design. Basically, they want you to spend as much money as goddamn possible. Think you are immune to manipulation?

Think again. Here’s X ways you’re tricked into spending money without realising, according to the Irish Independent’s report…

1. Duty-free is always right after security

After going through the stresses of taking off your belt and shoes and getting patted down by a stranger, duty-free represents the perfect opportunity to treat yourself. 

It’s even been called the “re-compsure zone” by an aviation consultant.

2. And there’s no way of avoiding it

“The classic airport design forces the passenger flow through the duty-free store, while people often have to walk through a duty-free shop again in order to reach their gates,” says Julian Lukaszewicz, senior business designer.

3. Walk ways usually always curve to the left 

Because the majority of people are right-handed, they tend to pull their suitcases with their right hand, forcing them to walk anti-clockwise.

With walkways curving to the left, people have to “look to the right far more than the left, and see more things on the right than the left”.

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4. There’s signs everywhere

All those signs telling you how far away your gate is? It’s just a clever ploy to relax you into knowing you can spend more time in duty-free.

The signs tell you how many minutes walk it is to each gate, “therefore passengers know how much longer they can spend in the shopping area, before they have to reach their gate.”

5. The airport shops are in a serpentine layout

“Duty-free shops configured in a serpentine walk-through layout achieve sales as much as 60pc higher than other configurations because 100pc of customers are exposed,” a study notes.

You have to walk past each and every shop, rather than being able to walk directly from A-B.

Sneaky, but very smart.

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