The Liquor Library operates in a unique space in Las Vegas—the baggage claim of Terminal 1 at McCarran International Airport. For the past year, it has been offering passengers and their greeters the opportunity to shop for—and sometimes sample—beer, wine and liquor while waiting for checked baggage.
"There's no airport concession like this anywhere," said Liquor Library spokeswoman Diane Boyle. "People come to Las Vegas to get their party on, and we're the first stop."
Passengers are spending more money on the ground as air terminals are offering unique retail and local restaurant options, according to a new survey from the Airports Council International-North America.
Options range from a Mattel-branded shop at the Los Angeles International Airport to the trendy ICE Dishes and Drinks lounge, offering offering $14 cocktails and 25 premium vodkas at Chicago O'Hare.
Those new options to spend fit right in with a nationwide trend that hearkens back to the early 1990s, when Pittsburgh International Airport introduced its shop and restaurant-filled AIRMALL.
"Airports are listening more to passengers and introducing new retail and dining concepts. As a result, the spending trend in these categories is gradually going up," said Aneil Patel, economics and research manager for the Airports Council International-North America, which conducted the study.
(Read more: Airport dining upgraded with high-profile names)
During 2012, the median amount spent by departing passengers at North American airports was $5.15 on food and beverage and $3.31 on retail items.
In 2011, passengers spent an average of $5 per boarding on food and beverage and $3.10 on retail items. In 2010, it was $4.69 and $2.91, respectively.