BuzzFeed, the world’s favorite content coupon-clipper, has put together an excellent post on their top 16 airports that are worth visiting for more than just flying purposes. The list ranges from an art gallery in London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to a massive, two-story slide in Lyon, France. Hey! I was just in Lyon and I don’t remember any giant slides. I guess I wasn’t looking hard enough.
In any case, check out their list (along with my commentary) and tell me what you think.
Thanks, as always, to Mama Fly&Dine for sending me the link and reminding me that BuzzFeed truly does serve an important purpose in the world.
1. Munich Airport, Germany
Charge up your mind, body, and electronics by renting out a Napcab at the Munch Airport. The private areas can be rented by the hour, include a bed, electricity, wifi, and television
While nice in theory, I’m not sure I want to rent a box that someone “napped” in. I know how gross people are. I don’t think their idea of “napping” is my idea of “napping” and my idea of “napping” means sleeping for an hour. I mean, come on, it says “Privacy desired?” on the side of the box. These are sex compartments, right?
2. Samui Airport, Thailand
Say goodbye to stressful transfers and delays – the Samui Airport is the kind you want to get stuck in. The airport’s open design allows for comfort and gorgeous views of surrounding Thailand.
I’ve been to this tiny airport and I have to admit, it’s adorable. They even have a little tram that takes you from your plane to the terminal and it’s just like going on a jungle tour at Disney Land, but with less wide-eyed wonder from children.
3. Heathrow Airport, England
If you’re stuck on a layover in Heathrow, head over to Terminal 5 to check out the T5 gallery, featuring a number of sculptures, paintings, and more temporary exhibits to take your mind off of your travels.
The only sculpture I saw when I was running through Heathrow trying to make my transfer from Madrid to LA was an old man trying to sleep while also charging his phone. It was a living sculpture, but I was really struck by the statement he was making that sleep is just our very human act of recharging the body. So beautiful. So thoughtful. I think he’s taking the performance to Munich where he’ll be part of an installation in one of those sex boxes for a week.
4. Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport doesn’t keep you cooped up while you wait for your flight. You can explore five different nature trails during your time at the airport, including a rooftop cactus garden and a butterfly enclosure.
The cactus garden is also used as a torture chamber when they catch you flying with drugs or disparaging the King.
5. Incheon Airport, South Koreakoogle.tv / Creative Commons
Incheon is a massive airport with plenty to keep you busy, including a golf course and cinema, but the most important thing to squeeze in on a layover in Seoul is a spin around the airport’s indoor ice rink, Ice Forest.
For real, Incheon is one of my favorite international airports. I wish I had more time in there the last time I flew to Asia. I didn’t know there was an ice rink, but that doesn’t surprise me in the least.
6. Chicago O’Hare Airport, Illinois
It’s hard to miss the four story brontosaurus skeleton on display at the Chicago O’Hare Airport. The 72-foot long skeleton is on loan to O’Hare Terminal 1 from Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, and finding it makes for a good scavenger hunt on a long layover.
That’s not a brontosaurus skeleton from the Field Museum. It’s an actual brontosaurus that checked in for a United flight that’s been delayed for the past 180 million years. Fun fact: brontosauruses (brontosauri?) are actually called apatosauruses (apatosauri?) by dinosaur experts!
7. Helsinki Airport, Finland
The Helsinki Airport is all about making you cosy during a layover. Several lounges throughout the airport offer comfort for a range of budgets. The Almost@Home Lounge takes the cake, with its replication of a private home’s lounge and kitchen area. Curl up with a good book from the nearby book exchange and enjoy a snack from the luxury homestyle kitchen.
I bet there’s a ton of jokesters who stand here and go “Are you Finnished yet?”
8. Haneda Airport, Japan
Get even closer to the stars by popping into the Starry Cafe in the Tokyo airport. The first airport planetarium allows you to enjoy a meal under a dome of 40,000,000 stars.
Imagine what would happen if they got a Rainforest Cafe!
9. Vancouver Airport, Canada
Catching a transfer in the Vancouver Airport can be a visual delight. You can find sculptures and exhibitions throughout the airport featuring unique and interesting Pacific art.
Yeah, but do they have sex boxes?
10. Schipol Airport, Netherlands
Curling up with a good book is made easy at Schipol’s Airport Library. The collection offers translated Dutch fiction in over 30 languages, and plenty of cosy spots to spend a layover.
Airport libraries are cool, but the best thing about Amsterdam Schipol is the GROCERY STORE IN THE AIRPORT!
11. Athens Airport, Greece
You can soak up Greek history without ever leaving the airport (though you should probably see the Acropolis since you’re so close anyway). The airport has a “mini-museum” featuring archaeological findings dating back to the Byzantium era, so ditch the old in-flight magazine and check out the unique collection.
Another airport museum? Yawn.
12. Hong Kong Airport, China
IMAX is great is you have a super long layover, but for shorter transfers, just check out Cathay Pacific’s excellent lounges.
13. Saint-Exupéry Airport, France
The tiny Lyon airport may not seem like it has much to offer at first sight, but find the airport’s two story slide for hours of fun while you wait to board.
They’re all about security, but apparently safety is less of a concern.
14. Wellington Airport, New Zealand
A Middle Earth adventure starts as soon as you step off the plane at Wellington Airport. Two giant sculptures featuring Gollum and Gandalf make the airport a geeky Instagrammer’s dream.
Nervous flyer? Don’t worry. Just look at the giant Gollum sculpture and you’ll calm right down. Why are you screaming like that?
15. Mineta San Jose International, California
Watch out for Big Brother at the San Jose Airport. In a nod to its location in Silicon Valley, you can find technology-themed art instillations throughout the airport.
I would have left this off the list.
16. Zurich Airport, Switzerland
A layover at Zurich is like winning the lottery. The airport has everything, from day room rentals to spend your layover in private, to outdoor observation decks, to ‘behind the scenes’ tours of the airport and sightseeing flights.
They make it sound like one of Stefan’s clubs on SNL. Honestly, these amenities sound like pretty much every other major international airport to me. Stretching a little, BuzzFeed? It’s okay. I’m clearly stretching for content here, too.