When it comes to airports, most are simply a means to an end, a place to hop on a plane and go on your merry way. However, certain airports go above and beyond when it comes to delighting travelers and enhancing the overall travel experience. The Miami airport for example, hosts a therapy dog weekly sporting a “Pet Me” vest to entertain and ease travelers with some puppy love. Stop in at the World Duty Free store in London Heathrow airport to take advantage of a complimentary mini massage, facial or make-up touch up. Order up food and beverage to your gate with the touch of a button using complimentary iPads installed at both La Guardia Airport in New York and the Minneapolis St. Paul airport.
Airports are certainly upping their game when it comes to offering amenities that make your layover feel more like a “playover”. Here are 5 airports that will get you excited for your next layover.
Get in touch with nature during your visit to the Vancouver airport. Start by enjoying some sea life at the airports’ 114,000 liter aquarium hosting 850 indigenous sea animals and a 3,800 liter jellyfish tank with 100 moon jellies. From there, be sure to stop by the impressive 55 foot tall self-sustaining Green Wall featuring 27,000 plants. While you grab a bite to eat or do a bit of duty free shopping, enjoy the indoor creek that flows throughout the terminal. If you have a bit more time, stop off at Chester Johnson Park situated just outside the international terminal and escape in a tranquil oasis featuring lush greenery, a waterfall and pond.
San Francisco International Airport
Leave it to a CA airport to help you find your zen while traveling. SFO airport offers a 24 hour complimentary yoga room along with reflection and reading room for visitors. You can also relax at the Xpress Spa located in terminals 2, 3 and International Area G. If retail therapy is more your style, check out the 80 shops including high end stores like Burberry, Hermes, Coach and Gucci. Also on-site to keep you relaxed while waiting for your flight, is an Aviation Museum and Library, aquarium and several local art exhibits. If you have children that need to be entertained, check in at the information desk to get directions to a scavenger hunt taking place throughout the terminals. If you find yourself in Terminal 3 craving some local fare, check out Boudin Bakery for some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl that’s sure to hit the spot.
Munich’s famous Oktoberfest celebration is not the only place you can sample Bavarian brews and tasty treats. Munich’s airport is packed with restaurants serving authentic Bavarian food. In fact, Munich Airport was named the World's Best Airport for Dining in the 2013 World Airport Awards. Popular food venue Airbrau takes it to the next level boasting its very own brewery, which you can tour for a small fee. They also offer complimentary entertainment featuring local up and coming artists. If you’re lucky enough to fly out of this airport during the holiday season, check out the Munich Airport Winter Market featuring hundreds of decorated Christmas trees, an outdoor ice skating rink and venders selling crafts and local goods. If you’re flying out during the summer time, check out the indoor wave pool and give surfing a shot!
Kill time before or after your flight with a round of golf at Hong Kong airport’s nine-hole golf course just outside Terminal 2. The airport makes it easy with luggage storage and club rental so all you have to do is show up. Not into golf? Grab a bite at their Michelin star restaurant Hung’s Delicacies, watch a movie in the airport’s IMAX theatre, or visit the Aviation Discovery Center. There’s also plenty for kids to do at the Dream Come True Education Park where children can explore different careers through a variety of interactive activities.
Singapore Changi Airport
Expect to be dazzled by this airport! Singapore Changi Airport has long been considered one of the world's best featuring one of a kind amenities like the world’s first Butterfly Garden at an airport, a 12 meter indoor slide and a Balinese-themed swimming pool. If you have at least 5 hours to spare before your departure flight, you can take advantage of a free 2-hour guided tour of Singapore highlighting all the main attractions of the city. What’s more, is this airport was voted one of the best in the world for sleeping, due to its several free rest areas featuring specially-designed snooze chairs equipped with head and leg rests.
These airport designs and amenities will make it impossible not to enjoy the normally mundane layover. If you ever have the opportunity to land or takeoff at any of these airports, try to leave yourself plenty of time to explore. Careful though, you may start to love your layovers! What's your favorite airport to layover in?