What’s your favorite activity for wasting time in an airport? We asked that question of 4,300 of you in our Air Travel Survey and got answers like this:
People watch (16%)
Browse the Internet (13%)
Browse airport stores (10%)
Go for a walk around the airport (10%)
Visit an airline club lounge (10%)
Sounds pretty boring, considering the fun that can be found in airports if you look hard enough. Overseas airports are a lot easier to love, it’s true: Singapore’s Changi Airport has a four-story-tall slide and a butterfly garden; Amsterdam’s Schiphol has an outpost of the Rijksmuseum; Munich has world-class designer shopping; Helsinki offers yoga classes to help travelers relax….. But U.S. airports have been improving, and you’d be surprised how many of them have spas, museums, playgrounds, even golf. Celeb chefs are opening more airport outposts of their popular local restaurants, from Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare to Justin Cucci’s Root Down at Denver International to Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack and Suzanne Goin’s Larder at Tavern at LAX. And new airport club lounges are popping up all over, from The Club—where you can grab a shower, a work station, food, drink, and Wi-Fi for $35/day—to Airspace Lounges ($20/day) and Centurion Lounges ($50/day for American Express card holders).
How to suss out such finds the next time you’ve got a few hours to kill in an airport?
- Research the airport online. Before leaving home, check out the Web site of the airport you’re connecting in; you’ll find a list of its shops, services, and restaurants. To find out if it has a spa, check out ExpresSpa and Terminal Getaway Spa locations.
- Use the GateGuru app. It tells you what’s at the gates and in the terminals nearby that you might never have known about otherwise.
- Try the LoungeBuddy app. It tells you which airport club lounges are close, whether you can access them, and how much that access will cost.
- Resort to Twitter. Tweet the airport’s twitter handle (e.g., @dfwairport) and hashtagged airport code (e.g., #DFW) and ask for recommendations.
- Check out the Best Ways to Spend Your Connection in 10 U.S. Airports.