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Buying and flying at Dulles International Airport

High-end shopping can be found throughout Dulles International Airport. Courtesy Photo/Washington.org
Looking for a one-stop shop for spa services, luxury handbags and gourmet dining?

For busy people on the go, there is no need to head to the nearest upscale shopping mall. Thanks to a new trend, dining, shopping and massages can all be experienced on the way to your next destination at the airport.
Over the past two years, Washington Dulles International Airport has introduced new upscale dining and retail options in an effort to improve passenger experience while traveling.
Steve Baker, deputy vice president for customer and concessions development, said the airport had an opportunity to put together a collection of better brands a few years ago when several leases were expiring.
They looked at traffic demographics and examined what people are looking for, especially among international travelers.

“We have found international travelers are more inclined to spend three times as much as a domestic traveler.  The inclination is to take back souvenirs and gifts in a way that you don’t see domestically,” Baker said.
Several new brands have been in place for two years, including L’Occitane, Burberry, Coach, Michael Kors, Mont Blanc, Kiehl’s and Thomas Pink. 

“They have been received very well because of their location and proximity to travelers going abroad,” he said.
International travel now includes the Middle East at Dulles, he said, and July 7 they are soon adding non-stop flights to New Delhi, India, which will be Dulles Airport's 33rddirect capital to capital flight.

"Our demographics analysis from an eight mile radius, with the Dulles tower at the center, shows we are in the wealthiest section of the commonwealth. The airport is serving a clientele that expects good amenities," said Eileen Curtis, president of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. "The airport is doing its part to meet the needs of its clientele, it is definitely an affluent community,"

According to Credence Research, the airport retail market is expected to reach $90 billion by 2023 and will experience “significant growth” as more middle class families from emerging countries take to the skies. The research also points to construction of new terminals in countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China as an indicator of what's to come. 

The Asia-Pacific region is the largest regional airport retail market, accounting for 41 percent of all revenue share in 2015. North America is also expected to witness significant growth with the rising sale of duty-free luxury products.

Baker explained the concourses at Dulles are co-mingled among domestic and international travelers. 
He said domestic travelers are mostly concerned about food options, and they have worked to bring new restaurants into the airport.
Dulles opened the first Evening Starbucks in the D.C. area, which sells wine and beer and light food. Other new restaurants include Bistro Atelier, Firkin & Fox, Bar Symon, Chef Geoff’s, Bracket Room, American TapRoom, Wolfgang Puck’s The Kitchen, DC3 Hotdog’s and Pei Wei.

A Redskins-themed restaurant is expected to open in August. Baker said this fall they will introduce Cafe Americana, which is the first bar and restaurant located pre-security in baggage claim for visitors to enjoy while waiting for passengers to arrive or before departure.

For spa services, Be Relax offers a full menu of spa options, such as express manicures and pedicures, facials, waxing and anti jet lag treatments. There is also a steam room and showers to freshen up before or after a flight. All of the services can be booked online or via an app at one of their 40 locations worldwide.

“We continue to look for innovative ways to make passengers comfortable,” Baker said.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @KarenGGraham.


It’s unfair that I’m forced to buy a ticket somewhere in order to shop at Dulles.

I’m pretty sure all the domestic passengers…aka the Americans that are unfortunately forced to go to Dulles out of the sake if it being closer but incredibly overpriced compared to its counterparts could care less about more overpriced food options that basically just serve what the next mini bar in a terminal ride over that only provides frozen food off the back of a truck with encourage anyone to purposely choose to eat at this airport will be appreciated. All all the new improvements only seem to benefit foreigners who view some of these American brands as the Holy Grail of the fashion industry. Instead of squeezing in another trendy wannabe Wine Bar boasting that serves local beers they should focus on their poor security checkpoint that forces people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder when there’s plenty of space if you could just simply get a pair of monkeys to move the detachable ropes that herd all of the poor people around before they get to the half a mile hike to the train that doesn’t even go to one Concourse d, you know the one conquest that basically every American is using cuz and unfortunately houses United.

The entire issue with Dulles is the fact that flights are way to expensive. We live 25 minutes from Dulles and regularly fly out of Washington or BWI, which are much further away. Shops and restaurants mean nothing if they can’t get the prices even remotely competitive.

What Mr. baker failed to mention:  IAD has given up on their policy of vendors charging the same price on airport and off airport. (i.e. meals an goods in the airport might cost lots more $$ than off airport)  Why abandon this policy? The greedy WAMAA charges outrageous rents and landing fees making it impossible to stay in business at fair and reasonable prices.  (2nd highest city in the USA after NY)  Ever wonder why traffic isn’t growing at IAD? High landing fees discourage airlines from adding flights.  Wonder why jetBlue has substantially departed from IAD?  high landing fees and rents.  The WMAA is a management train wreck and accountable to no one.

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