By the time you’ve completed the obstacle course of airport security and walked for what seems like miles through the terminal—dodging fellow harried travelers left and right—getting to plop down in the carpeted gate area for a little while before boarding feels nearly as nice as kicking back in your own living room.
That’s pretty much why so many airports installed carpeting in the first place. If you’re feeling cozy and relaxed while you wait, there’s a better chance you’ll end up exploring the terminal and shelling out cash in a store or two. According to airport research company DKMA, satisfied passengers are twice as likely to shop, and they spend about 7 percent more money on retail items and 10 percent more on duty-free items.
As Travel + Leisure points out, it’s apparently enough of a boost to outweigh the obvious drawbacks of carpeting, which is more difficult to clean than hard flooring and probably slows down luggage-laden travelers. It also has the added benefit of giving everyone a break from the sound of our suitcases rolling across the floor.
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The carpeting isn’t boosting sales all by itself. Gate areas often feature lower ceilings, more comfortable seating, and more natural lighting than the rest of the terminal, which work together to make you feel at home. And airport management is always looking for new ways to keep their passengers calm and happy enough to widen their wallets—many airports these days even have spas and yoga rooms to help you pass the time during delays or long layovers.
Wondering what other tricks airports use to secretly manipulate you? Find out here.
[h/t Travel + Leisure]