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And now a perk from our airport sponsor

March 4, 2015

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What do airports have in common with sports teams, universities and fashion shows? They’re turning to corporate sponsors.

It only makes sense, given that airports are trying to raise revenue. And, because airports have a captive audience that has money to spend, the demographics of the typical traveler is an attractive selling point.

Take the case of Toronto-Pearson International Airport. It signed a groundbreaking agreement with American Express in 2012. American Express gained access to more than 33 million travelers, who spend an average of 2.5 hours in Toronto-Pearson waiting for or arriving on flights.

There are some special perks for Amex card members under the multimillion dollar deal, which was recently renewed. Depending on the type of card they hold, these people receive:

  • Access to fast-track airport security priority lanes in both Terminals 1 and 3;
  • Free valet parking services (offered on top of parking fees)
  • 15 percent parking discount in designated parking lots
  • Free access to Plaza Premium and American Express lounges.

Even travelers without American Express cards benefit from the deal, because the company sponsors free wi-fi in the airport, and also puts on entertainment in the terminals.

Speaking of entertainment, Austin, Texas, bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport lined up Pepsi and concessions operator Delaware North Companies for its “Music In The Air” program.

The airport brings in musicians to provide live entertainment to travelers post-security at several stages Monday through Friday.

With travelers now carrying myriad electronic devices — smartphones, tablets and laptops — there is always a need for places to charge them.

Outdoor advertising company JCDecaux partnered with Verizon to sponsor 44 power stations at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 24 at Newark Liberty International Airport, 64 at Miami International Airport and 37 at Los Angeles International Airport. The stations include high-definition screens that run Verizon commercials while devices are charging.

And if you have an electronic device, you will definitely expect free Wi-Fi to go with it — or make that “freemium,” as I recently wrote.

All these sponsorships lead to numerous story ideas. Ask your local airport about existing sponsorships and requests for proposals. Next time you fly, you might find some perks from a corporate name. 


American Express Toronto-Pearson International Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport “Music In The Air” program



  • Benét J. Wilson

    Benét, known as the Aviation Queen, is a senior editor at TPG who is best known for being an aviation journalist for 25-plus years. Her love affair with travel and aviation began at age 6, when her Air Force family moved from California to a military...

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