The world’s largest soft-drink maker has picked DFW International Airport for the first location for a “Coca-Cola Around the World Experience,” a new area in Terminal D where passengers can charge phones, check out a Coke mini-museum and grab a cold beverage.
Local bottler Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages opened the 2,016-square-foot space on Nov. 2, trying to give passengers traveling through DFW a “wow moment,” said the bottler’s vice president of sales Bob Sweeney.
“We had talked about putting a Coke Store here, but they couldn’t make it work,” Sweeney said. “This is something big that catches people’s attention.”
The space isn’t staffed and the only Coke products for sale at the location are in vending machines.
Coca-Cola pays big for its presence at DFW. Coca-Cola signed a 10-year deal in 2016 worth $35 million, wresting beverage control from its chief rival PepsiCo. PepsiCo, parent company of Plano-based Frito-Lay, had rights to airport soft drink sales dating back to 1995.
Sweeney said the bottler isn’t paying for the area, but it’s a part of the company’s partnership with DFW to try to add more interactive spaces for passengers.
DFW is the world’s fourth-largest airport, having served 75 million passengers in 2019. The airport “world experience” could expand even more in the next few years after American Airlines dubbed DFW its trans-Pacific hub, meaning that most of its Asian traffic will come and go from North Texas.
The permanent exhibit adds to Coca-Cola’s already dominant position at DFW, where the soft drink brand has two lounges called “The Bubble by Coke” in Terminals A and E.
Those tucked-away lounges are small in comparison to the stand-alone Coca-Cola Around the World Experience, which will feature an interactive photo booth where visitors can send virtual postcards through email and a kiosk for Coke products.
There are also chairs and charging stations for passengers to relax and recharge.
But mostly the “Coca-Cola Around the World Experience” is a massive advertisement for the company that already does plenty of business at DFW. Coca-Cola has been the “official beverage sponsor” of DFW since 2016.
The space stands tall in the middle southeast corner of Terminal D, near Chick-fil-A, with a soaring chrome finish branded with the Coca-Cola logo.