There’s a Mattel toy store in the Delta Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). WTF? Who knew? Well, we do, now. So in case we need a set of Hot Wheels at the last minute, we’re all sorted out.
The shopping-mall-ification of airports isn’t new. In places like London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schipol, Milan Malpensa, Dubai and Barcelona (especially Barcelona!), the airport terminals are practically luxury shopping malls on their own. But aside from the usual duty free, magazines-and-snacks and tourist merch stores and retail food chains, there aren’t as many major luxury or mid-range retail brands with stand-alone stores in most major American airports.
But that seems to be changing rapidly, though through a process that we imagine has been years in the making. The Mattel store is an example. At Atlanta’s Hartsfield, there’s a Kiehl’s. At New York’s JFK’s Jet Blue terminal there’s a Muji store. and the Virgin America terminal at JFK really looks more like a shopping mall than an airport.