I recently went on a trip, and in preparation for the 10-or-so-hour flight, I thought it’d be wise to buy some gum. We all know that chewing gum on a plane helps equalize ear pressure; it’s the best way to “pop” your ears. Aside from my goal of getting to the gate on time, I was on the look out for some gum. I went to three stores before finally asking a sales clerk if she’d kindly point me in the right direction to help solve my gummy dilemma.
Chew on this: Gum can be difficult to find in Hawaii airports.
To my surprise, she told me that the Honolulu International Airport hasn’t sold gum for the past 15 or so years; in fact, all island airports have banned the sale of gum. My look of confusion signaled an extended explanation from her that I wasn’t the only one to ask for gum. She gets the same gum question at least 30 times a day (which explained her aloof response to me).
I didn’t want to bug her any more than she would already be for that day – in regards to the gum or no gum dilemma. Walking away, I wondered if the gum band was a security issue? Gum bombs perhaps…The journalist in me led me to ask one of the flight attendants at the gate. He told me that it wasn’t a security issue but rather an issue of cleanliness. A much less complicated answer, thankfully. Apparently travelers have decided that sidewalks and chairs are the best places to dispose of their gum, which has put airports in an even stickier situation when it comes to the clean-up.
That’s why Hawaii airports and airports nationwide are sticking with the ban on gum, which – ironically – doesn’t prevent travelers from bringing their own gum. They just probably won’t be finding any Big Red or Bubble Yum for sale inside. So if you’ll be taking a long flight out of our Hawaii airports and deem gum a necessity, pick up a pack before arriving to the airport.