Sticky Situation at Airport?

By Al Pefley   email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

Here's a story you can chew on for a while.

Last month, Palm Beach International lifted a ban on selling chewing gum at airport gift shops.

Gum was not sold there for years, because they didn't want a mess in the terminal. So how's it working out?

If you look hard enough, you'll find it here and there.  But very little.  We found some discarded gum on the tile floors, and also on the carpet, where maybe some passenger late for a flight dropped his gum, leaving behind a blackened mess.

"It's kind of ugly.  It looks like it's been sitting there for a while," said Maria Spencer, an airline passenger waiting for a flight.

Chewing gum went on sale June 18 at Palm Beach International. Although no exact figures are available, gum sales are described as "very strong."

Daniel Ankner, a 7th grader we found at the airport with his parents, was enjoying some gum.

"It does pop your ears while you're on the flight. So it helps huh?  Yup.  If you fly somewhere you always chew some gum? Yup,"  Ankner said.

Although gum has been on sale at airport gift shops for a little over a month now, he says the airport seems pretty clean as far as he can tell.

"I don't see a lot of gum everywhere.  I never look under the chairs but I don't see any on the carpet or the walls or anything," Ankner said.

"I think this is one of  the cleanest airports I've been in. I travel a lot and this seems to be one of the cleanest," Spencer said.

PBIA has not sold gum here since the terminal opened in the late 1980s.  But travelers will now find a wide selection of gum on sale, at a hefty price of $2.00 a pack.

One of the folks who has to clean up discarded wads of gum,  an airport custodian, says it hasn't been a big problem so far.  Although we did find some stuck under a few tables.

"Do you see much chewing gum on the floor? No, no, no. Do you have to clean up a lot of chewing gum? No," said Clarivel Bruceta-Lopez, custodian.

The airport hopes travelers will keep on chewing, and not leave any of it  behind. The airport gets a wad of the money from gum sales at airport gift shops, and expects to get about $50,000 a year from chewing gum sales.