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Originally published Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 7:00 PM

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Travel Wise: Business booming at Sea-Tac shops and restaurants

Highest-grossing restaurant, new shops and more at Seattle’s airport

Special to The Seattle Times

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We might not like waiting around airports for flights, but you won’t get any pushback from the concessioners who profit from how we pass the time.

A record number of passengers spent a record amount eating and shopping last year at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with businesses racking up $180 million in sales.

Anthony’s, in the Central Terminal, was the highest-grossing airport restaurant in North America at $12.8 million in 2012, according to the Port of Seattle.

Look for the uptick to continue this year as Sea-Tac adds and replaces more airport concessions.

Existing duty-free stores are being demolished to make room for three new stores selling Washington products. The stores will be jointly operated by an arm of Switzerland-based Dufry AG, and Seattle partners Kalison and Skyview Concessions. Plans are for a 3,500-square-foot store to open in July in the South Satellite where most international flights depart. The others will open in August in the Central Terminal and Concourse A.

The Hudson Group just opened the first of what it’s calling “new concept” travel essentials stores in the Central Terminal.

The Wishing Stone, a Seattle-area jewelry store, will open in June in Concourse C. Coming to Concourse B is Sea-Tac’s first McDonald’s.

This is all fine, although I’d rather see a Veggie Grill or similar healthy clone. More importantly, I’d like to see Sea-Tac offer more free amenities that cut down on the stress of traveling, especially as construction progresses on plans to relocate various airline ticket counters and gates.

Free Wi-Fi is a good start. Now how about following the lead of airports in San Francisco, Dallas and Burlington, Vt., all of which have added yoga rooms.

How about free luggage carts, a perk that would benefit travelers making the long trek to and from Sea-Tac’s Link light-rail station. Or free phone calls: Denver offers free local and international calls on 200 advertising-supported landline phones located throughout the airport.

Sailing into 2014

Cruise lines announce their schedules far in advance, so even though this season’s Seattle-Alaska cruises are just about to get under way, it’s easy to begin planning for an Alaska cruise in 2014.

Disney fans will be disappointed to learn that Mickey and his pals won’t be returning to Seattle. Disney sailed the Disney Wonder from Seattle last year but left this year for Vancouver, B.C., where it will stay in 2014.

Oceania Cruises, sailing from Seattle for the first time this year, will be back in 2014 with several 10-day Alaska cruises aboard its 684-passenger Regatta.

Care to stay up all night eating, drinking and gambling on the cheap? Princess plans one-day mini-cruises on May 2 and May 17, 2014, departing Vancouver at 4:30 p.m. and arriving in Seattle at 7 a.m. (The line is offering similar cruises this year in May and September.)

Prices in 2014 for an interior cabin (who needs to sleep?) start at $318 for two, including taxes.

Offbeat accommodations

Bored with standard hotels and frilly B&Bs? How about spending a night on an Oregon goat farm or bedding down in a repurposed Ukrainian dance hall in Brooklyn?

Airbnb (airbnb.com) has grouped some of its bargain-priced lodging offerings — mainly rooms in the homes, apartments or condos of private owners — into various types of experiences.

At the Rogue River Airstream Farmstay, on a goat-cheese farm in Oregon, guests sleep in a refurbished 1970 Airstream Land Yacht outfitted with a covered porch and stocked fridge.

Listed among 35 “atypical places to stay’’ is a dome-ceiling Hobbit house in Trout Creek, Mont.

Clicking on “Trees & Zzzs’’ brings up treehouses offering overnight stays in Washougal, Clark County, and Cave Junction, Ore.

News where, when and how you want it

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