Will your plane travel take you through Baltimore this holiday season? If so, you’re in luck! Today, Real Food Real Jobs is publishing our Eater’s Guide to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, which is aimed at helping you navigate the DC-area’s busiest airport’s landscape of available food options.
So… what will you find?
According to AirMall USA—the private company contracted by the state of Maryland to manage the concessions program at BWI—$15 million has been invested in renovations to food, beverage and retail options at the airport in just the past two years. On the surface, those renovations appear to have been successful: just last week, BWI ranked sixth on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s 2013 Airport Food Review, rising four spots from its position in 2012 in the report’s evaluation of the availability healthy food options.
BWI passengers, however, told a different story. A survey conducted by Real Food Real Jobs between May and July 2013 revealed that, though those options may be available, passengers want more:
- 61% of surveyed passengers indicated that there were not enough healthy food options at the airport;
- This number rose among frequent flyers: with 74% of those who indicated that they had flown 10 or more times in the previous year reporting not enough healthy options;
- Among those with a dietary preferences or requirements, 70% could not find desireable food that also met their dietary needs; and
- Only 16% of surveyed passengers found food at BWI to be better than that found at other airports.
These numbers indicate that, though airport food across the country is evolving from a traditional fast food model to one that thrives on local, fresh and healthy fare (take LAX and Chicago O’Hare as examples), passengers would like the “AirMall at BWI” to move in the same direction.
In the meantime, use our Eater’s Guide as a reference to find the airport’s best vegetarian/vegan, gluten free and local restaurants, and to stay on top of ongoing labor disputes involving a number of AirMall USA’s BWI subtenants—including Silver Diner, Sam Adams Brewhouse and McDonald’s.