From snooze cubes to rooftop pools to art museums, air travel doesn’t always have to be such a drag. That is, if you’re flying through the right airports.
With a golf course, movie theater and skating rink, it would be easy to lose track of time at Incheon Airport in South Korea. The rooftop pool at Singapore’s Changi Airport may just make you less likely to rush to your connecting flight.
Airports around the world are making travel fun and stress-free. From surfing lessons to recording studios, check out these 20 attractions from airports around the world.
At San Francisco International, the airport provides stressed out travelers with a space to relax, reflect and practice yoga. Its “Yoga Room” is equipped with mats, pads and other accessories to help travellers catch a few minutes of zen time.
Pet “relief” areas
Tim Boyle | Getty Images
A number of airports across the U.S. provide people travelling with pets an area for their furry friend to go to the bathroom. Labeled as “pet relief areas,” these can be found at Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and more.
If you’re a frequent flyer with Virgin Atlantic and a musician, you’re in luck. Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse at the London Heathrow Airport has a professional recording studio in case you want to record or edit any tracks. Of course, Virgin founder Richard Branson got his start by owning a record store, so it's no surprise his airline offers this perk.
Travel can be exhausting. Luckily, the designers of Dubai International Airport kept that in mind when they were constructing the massive airport by setting up “snooze cubes.” Travellers with long layovers can relax and take an hour-long nap in one of the airport’s snooze cubes for $21. Napping areas are also available at other airports including London Heathrow, Munich, Tokyo and Amsterdam.
Known for its music scene, it’s no surprise that since 1988 the Nashville Airport has offered live music to travellers. There are six performance areas set up throughout the airport, and there are more than 700 performances per year.
Being cooped up in an airplane all day can be difficult, and sometimes you just need some fresh air. Luckily, people travelling through the Changi International Airport in Singapore have a number of options when it comes to getting outdoors. The airport boasts a cactus garden, a sunflower garden and an orchid garden.
At Japan’s Haneda Airport, travelers with limited mobility have the option to use one of the airport’s autonomous wheelchairs. Created by Panasonic, passengers no longer need to depend on airport employees to wheel them around. Instead, they can simply put in their gate destination through a smartphone and the electric wheelchair will figure out the best route to get them there.
The Incheon Airport in South Korea offers an artificial ice skating rink, called the Ice Forest, where travellers can get a few minutes of fun and exercise in. The indoor rink is open year-round and can hold up to 150 skaters.
London Heathrow Airport
If you didn’t have enough time to stop by all the designer shops in London, there’s no need to worry. You can hire a personal shopper at the London Heathrow Airport who will do all your luxury shopping for you. By booking an appointment in advance, your personal shopper will have a number of luxury brands to choose from in the airport including Chanel, Chloe, Gucci, Prada and more.
Jock Fistick | Getty Images
At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, travellers can enjoy a curated mini art museum. In partnership with the Rijksmuseum, the art exhibit features 10 masterpiece paintings, including famous works from Vincent Van Gogh. The exhibit is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free.
Travellers at the Vancouver International Airport have the option to stop by the airport’s marine exhibits. There is one 114,000-liter aquarium with marine wildlife and a smaller 1,800-liter jellyfish tank.
Enjoy a few rounds of golf at Hong Kong International Airport’s Skycity Nine Eagles Golf Course. Offered to travellers, frequent flyer club members and airport staff, people can make reservations to use the facilities or maybe even get in as a walk-in. Of course, if you’d like to play, it’s important to note the club does require golf shoes.
Bike and skate rentals
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While many airports don’t encourage travellers to get out and explore -- that’s not the case at Zurich International Airport. In fact, this Swiss airport offers travellers sport rentals including inline skates, bicycles and most importantly, Nordic walking poles.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Whether you’re entering or leaving the country, you can catch a glimpse of the rainforest at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport. While the airport itself is located in the middle of the rainforest, the designers used the concept “airport in the forest, forest in the airport” when building it. Thus, in the middle of airport’s “Satellite Building” is a section of the rainforest.
Enjoy some nice R&R during your next layover at the Helsinki Airport in Finland. Created by Finnair Airlines, the Via lounge and Spa features a 1,000-square-foot lounge that seats up to 1,000 business class and Finnair members and a 600-square-foot spa. The spa has six private shower suites, a wine and champagne bar, a steam room, four saunas, a stone bath, a mineral pool and loungers overlooking the runway.
At Portland International Airport, travellers with a long layover can enjoy a free feature film in the airport’s 1920s Hollywood-inspired mini cinema. Portland’s not the only airport to add a movie theater to its facilities: travellers can also catch a flick at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport, Hong Kong International and South Korea’s Incheon.
Airbrau | Munich Airport
Munich Airport is not a bad spot for a layover. On top of its wave pool, a Christmas Market, napping pods and children’s play rooms is well-known German sustainable beer brewery Airbrau. As Europe’s “only airport brewery,” they make and serve the beer on-site and offer tours.
Thanks to its special PUP program -- “Pets Unstressing Passengers” -- anxious travellers passing through the Los Angeles International Airport can play with a “therapy” dog to help ease their nerves. As part of the program, volunteers are constantly walking 30 dogs around the gates for any passengers needing some comfort.
While the Changi Airport in Singapore already boasts indoor gardens and a movie theater and has been awarded best airport in the world, the cherry on top is its rooftop pool. That’s right, the Changi Airport features an outdoor rooftop pool, jacuzzi, lounge chairs, poolside bar and shower facilities.
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