You can play nine holes of golf while waiting for a flight in Hong Kong, or shop at Harrod's while waiting for a flight in London.
Almost all air travelers have the same goal: to get where they want to go. But sometimes getting there requires a great deal of time in which no traveling is taking place.
Airport layovers - whether they be scheduled or sudden, impromptu and unwelcomed – are the bane of existence for many travelers. It is a stage between leaving one place and getting to the other. It feels like wasted time. It is often expensive. And they are becoming more frequent as airlines fly more passengers on fewer planes.
But as travel on airplanes gets less pleasant, spending time in airports is getting more pleasant.
Travel & Leisure magazine presents the “best airports for a long layover”, pointing to places like Singapore’s Changi Airport, that has a movie theatre in its secure area, or San Francisco, which has a branch of the city’s Steinhart Aquarium on the restricted side of the security line.
Unfortunately, on the list of 10 airports, San Francisco’s is the only American airport to be selected.
Airports are spending more money to attract travelers and get them to spend their money while waiting for flights to show up. But India-born travel agent Pallavi Shah told Travel & Leisure the keys to a good airport for layovers is: “Easy connections, Wi-Fi that works, great meal options, clean carpets, comfortable seating and hotel rooms. A lounge attendant who will actually make sure you don’t sleep through your flight call? That’s a rare but special touch.”
RELATED: Airport Shopping, Dining Options Improving
The airports selected for special notice by Travel & Leisure include:
London’s Heathrow Airport – Besides its 105 restaurants and the Sofitel hotel connected to the airport, Heathrow offers a personal shopper to help travelers make selections at the Heathrow Boutique in Terminal 5. There is also a 110,000 square foot Harrods, London’s most famous store.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – It has a fully stocked library, with books in 29 different languages. It has showers available at a luxury hotel. And it has the Silence Centre, which is electronic device-free. Not only can you not use it, you cannot bring it in.
Munich International Airport – The airport’s hubs include secluded individual sleeping pods with USB and iPhone ports for $20 an hour.
Hong Kong International Airport – Outside the terminal and away from the runways is a regulation nine-hole outdoor golf course. The Regal Airport Hotel has been named the Best Airport Hotel in the World for two years in a row by Skytrax.
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport – An ice skating rink and a miniature golf course are in the terminal. There are also seven walk-through gardens.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.