Imagine your last airport experience. It probably involved eating a ready-made sandwich, trying to doze off in an uncomfortable chair, or sitting on the ground near a wall just to power your laptop or tablet. Time in the airport certainly isn’t the most enjoyable part of your vacation, but that’s not entirely the airport’s fault. These are just a few of the many luxurious airport amenities most travellers aren’t using to their full advantage.
For many travellers, the airport is a place where they let healthy eating habits slide and snack on quick food court eats or their favourite fast food chains. But dining at the airport doesn’t have to be about greasy french fries and dry, flavourless carry-out sandwiches. Airport Restaurant Month, lead by the industry’s top provider in travel dining (HMSHost), is changing the way travellers dine while in transit. This October, they’re bringing award-winning, seasonal menus to more than 100 restaurants in 50 airports across North America. And while this event only takes place during October, HMSHost expects their push for fresh, seasonal ingredients in airport restaurants will carry over into the months and years to come. Not all gourmet meals need to be had at your final destination.
Even if you are able to catch a few Z’s in the airport, it’s probably at the expense of a sore neck or back. Many airports in Canada, the United States and around the world now offer affordable in-airport hotels that can be rented for shorter amounts of time than typical hotels, as well as sleeping pods, which can be rented by the hour. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and DFW Airport are just a couple of the many offering these services right now.
Researching the airports in which you’ll be spending your layovers ahead of time can help you take full advantage of the amenities there. Unbeknownst to many travellers, a large number of airports offer yoga rooms, gyms and areas to stretch without feeling like everyone in the airport is watching.
Every airport has its quirks, and they’re especially noticeable when traveling abroad. However, these quirks are what make layovers fly by, and if you’re aware of them before you go, you’ll know where to look. For instance, Kuala Lumpur International Airport offers a meditation area with a peaceful, rainforest-like setting, while Seoul’s Incheon International Airport features a driving range for weary (golf-loving) travellers. The world’s quirkiest airports are often the ones that make layovers fly by the fastest.
Next time you take to the skies, research your layover airport ahead of time, and start your vacation with gourmet eats, a comfortable sleep and maybe even a couple swings of the golf club.