Here's Why There Are Mirrors Everywhere In Airports

It's like airports were made for selfie-takers before that even became the norm, as there are mirrors everywhere you look when you're inside one. As airports are usually designed in a minimalist or futuristic way, you may not notice how many mirrors there are until you start looking. They also have a plentiful amount of windows which reflect passengers as they pass through in a similar way to a mirror.

These mirrored surfaces provide all sorts of benefits to the airports, which is important as they deal with so many passengers every day. For example, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia is the busiest in the world and in 2021, it handled 75.7 million flyers according to the Airports Council International. When there are so many people coming and going, it is the airport's responsibility to keep them safe and happy, so mirrors can help achieve this. A big reason why so many mirrors are needed is security, says Vocal Media's Lifehack website.

Why airports need mirrors for security

Mirrors are important because they give security guards and police the ability to view people from different angles, which makes it harder for things to be hidden or disguised. It is also a way of monitoring people's behavior so that any suspicious actions can be flagged up. The Department of Homeland Security uses the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) system to find potential dangers.

Security personnel do this by looking for behavior that signals "stress, fear, or deception." The TSA has a list of these behaviors to look for which was leaked and published in The Intercept. These included "exaggerated yawning, looking down, throat clearing and fidgeting," among many others from a 92-point checklist. As there are so many things for security professionals to notice, it is not surprising that they need mirrors to help them monitor high numbers of passengers. However, security is not the only purpose that these mirrors serve.

Other reasons for mirrors in airports

The abundance of mirrors and windows in an airport makes it feel much bigger and more enjoyable to spend time in when you're moving around it. If passengers are happy in their environment, they're twice as likely to go shopping and "spend 10% more on duty-free," according to DKMA, an airport market research company.

As international airports tend to be quite sprawling, mirrors can help those who use them to navigate their way around. Mirrors assist people as signs and gates are reflected in them, so it makes it harder to miss and you can make them out from more than one direction. They also help stop people who are rushing from bumping into each other. In an elevator, a mirror helps a person to see which floor they're on which is why so many have them and important if you're trying to find your gate in a hurry. So next time you check out your appearance in an airport mirror, remember that they are one of the hidden ways that airports keep you safe.