From humble post-war beginnings, commercial airports have continued to evolve from simple passenger processing facilities to include shopping centers, business centers and even entertainment hubs. Our fascination with travel has even spawned films capturing and romanticising the evolution of aircraft travel and airports such as Catch Me If You Can, Up In The Air and the Tom Hanks classic, The Terminal.
With the increasing accessibility of aircraft travel, more and more cities across the globe are recognising the business and economic benefits of being an international transport hub. This, in turn, has spawned fierce competition to offer the best airport features to entice travel through their cities. Here we’ve listed some of the unique and standout features for transit passengers in airports around the world; from Qatar to Korea.
1. Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)
Changi was voted the World’s Best Airport once again in 2018. This is the sixth consecutive win for Singapore airport at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, and it’s not hard to see why! The airport boasts several incredible floral spaces, art installations and the world’s tallest slide at a towering 12 metres high. Other attractions include two free 24-hour cinemas, koi fish pond, multimedia entertainment deck and butterfly garden. Transit passengers can also take advantage of the luxurious rooftop pool atop Terminal One’s Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel for $12 pp. Business travellers are also well-taken care of at Changi Airport with a number of pay-per-visit lounges, rest areas, wellness salons and free internet connectivity in both the public and transit areas.
2. Munich Airport, Germany (MUC)
Munich Airport is home to one of the most beautiful atriums in the world as well as a mini-golf course and aircraft display at its Visitors Park. The Hilton at the airport, directly accessible by Terminals 1 and 2, is open for travellers to rent a day room or take a dip in its 17-metre heated indoor pool. There’s free 24-hour WiFi and an adjacent conference centre available to those travelling for business. If you’re looking for something completely different you can take a tour of the onsite Munich Airport Fire Department and learn more about how they operate or visit Airbrau the worlds only airport brewery.
3. Hamad International Airport, Doha (DOH)
Qatar’s major airport is described by Skytrax as the most architecturally significant and luxurious terminal complex in the world, a title which it has rightfully earned with it’s $16 billion price tag. Those looking to relax are invited to take a lap of the Airport Hotel’s 25m temperature-controlled pool, play a few rounds at the squash courts or work up a sweat at the fully equipped gym, all located as part of the Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre. As expected, the airport also offers free WiFi connectivity and web browsing kiosks located throughout the passenger terminal as well as a variety of quiet rooms and rest areas for transit passengers.
4. Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya (NGO)
Travellers to Central Japan may be interested to know they are flying into the best regional airport in the world. Like many Japanese airports Chubu Centrair – also known as Central Japan International Airport – is built on an artificial island, an impressive feat of its own. Within the main airport is a 1,000-foot sky deck and traditional bathhouse offering views of the local port and the sunset. The publicly accessible Sky Town Shopping Centre also features over 60 retailers and restaurants individually themed with an authentic Japanese feel. Corporate flyers will also find conference rooms, mobile phones and “classroom-style” lounges all available for hire at the airport.
5. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong (HKG)
Colloquially referred to as Chek Lap Kok Airport, this facility has been simultaneously voted The World’s Best Airport for Dining and Best Transit Airport for 2018 by the World Airport Awards. It is home to seasonal musical performances, virtual golf centre and China’s largest IMAX theatre within its terminals. Business travellers can make use of the Airport World Trade Centre building conveniently located next to Terminal 2, equipped with fine dining and conferencing facilities. Another suggested activity is the Sky Terrace with panoramic 360-degree views of the airport’s surroundings.
6. Zurich Airport, Zurich (ZRH)
The Swiss are known to be resourceful people and Zurich’s award-winning airport is no exception. With the area surrounding the airport ideal for sports and activities, Zurich Airport offers bikes, skates and walking poles for hire for travellers who have a little extra time to fill. More culturally inclined travellers can even book an excursion to the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne. The airport also boasts a variety of day rooms, rest areas and shower facilities, perfect if you have just come off a flight or waiting for your next connection; so you can arrive refreshed at your destination.
7. Incheon International Airport, Incheon (ICN)
This airport, serving South Korea’s capital city, is built in the shape of an arc, in reverence to traditional styles of Korean home design. Contained within is a wide array of shopping and dining options and an observation deck for travellers to enjoy gazing out over the runway. In addition to the free WiFi, there are charging stations and rest areas located throughout the airport where you can take a break or catch up on work. The airport also hosts cultural exhibitions and a Korean museum, making it more like a tourist attraction than an airport. For travellers looking for a bit more excitement, Incheon Airport is also home to a casino, golf course and ice skating rink.
8. Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam (AMS)
Before boarding a long flight, it can be nice to find a quiet space, relax and settle down with a good book. If you’re an avid reader, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is the perfect transit airport for you. Located within its Holland Boulevard precinct is a fully functional library available to all travellers. iPads and touchscreen devices containing an array of image stories are also available to peruse. The airport also offers free WiFi throughout, easily accessible workspace lounges and meetings rooms for hire for those needing to do business on the go.