When we travel by air, we all long for the best flight ever. Of course, everyone’s preference is a non-stop flight to his or her destination, but that’s not always a reality. While most travelers will only have enough time to get to the next gate be
fore their connecting plane departs, others might be stuck in an airport for hours. In most cases, those unfortunate travelers will just have the standard set of shops, newsstands, and restaurants to pass the time, but some other airports put these folks first and are initiating programs and other amenities to help make layovers less painful and more fun. If your layover is long enough, you might be able to take a quick trip to the nearby city center, but if your layover is long, but not long enough for traveling, these are the airports where you’ll find the most—and most interesting—options to keep you busy.
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco, California
Museum-lovers will be thrilled to see the first national airport-commissioned art museum within San Francisco’s airport. At any given time, you’ll be able to view more than 20 temporary exhibits and over 60 permanent exhibits. The museum also has science and cultural exhibits. Kids will love the on-site branch of the Steinhart Aquarium in Terminal 1, which features live animals from the rainforest as well as from a Philippine coral reef.
Techies will love the free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and cell phone charging stations throughout the hotel. And if you want to relax away the stress of traveling, stop by the Yoga Room in Terminal 2 for some silence and zen.
Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The Vancouver International Airport is one of the best airports for long layovers for many reasons. The airport’s Fairmont Hotel can be booked for just four hours, letting you have a nice space to grab a few winks. If you’re looking for another kind of relaxation, head to one of the four spas within the airport.
Whether you’re staying at the hotel or just want to use your time wisely, you’ll be able to access a full-sized fitness center with tons of modern exercise equipment. Saunas, a pool, and shower facilities are also available to travelers.
Vancouver boasts an art museum of the First Peoples’ native work as well as an aquarium full of regional marine animals.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re feeling a bit peaked, there’s a pharmacy and medical clinic as well.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The first international art museum, an annex of the world-renowned Rijksmuseum, was opened at Schiphol Airport, offering free admission to both permanent and revolving exhibits. There are also over 70 duty free shops and a service where you can actually shop ahead of time and pick up the souvenirs later. A device-free area dubbed the Silence Centre offers peace and quiet to the tech-weary in the crowd.
Foodies and shoppers really love the Zurich Airport and think it’s one of the best airports for long layovers. Not only can you shop and eat until you drop, but you can also go for a healthier route. Exercise! You can rent bikes, inline skates, and even Nordic poles so you can venture outside of the complex and have some fun on your layover.
Changi International Airport
Throughout the Changi airport, you’ll find five gardens and a rooftop swimming pool with your name on it. The gorgeous gardens include a butterfly garden with over 1,000 butterflies, native plants, and a 27-foot waterfall. There’s even a post office inside the Changi International Airport. Also offered to the waylaid traveler: free calf-massages, a spa, free movies, free Xbox and PlayStation gaming, prayer rooms, napping areas, and a 40-foot slide.
Miami International Airport
Miami International is the best for people traveling with their furry friends. You’ll find several areas for your pet to relieve himself or herself, plus you’ll also see a friendly Gold Lab roaming about advertising the almighty “pet me” sign.
Shoppers will love all of the terrific stores within the terminals, including Coach and Montblanc, as well as the luxury shop Emporio Armani. Tech stores are also on site.
So,the next time you go flying and you have a long layover you may want to consider one of these fantastic airports. You can have a bit of fun in between destinations instead of spending a few hours sleeping in an airport chair because there’s nothing better to do while waiting. Sounds like a great trip!