One of the worst aspects of travelling for work can be the long hours you have to kill at the airport – from checking in three hours early for an international flight, to stopovers, delays and cancellations, you could spend half your trip just hanging around airport terminals.
But, these days, business travel doesn’t have to be all work and no play, as many airports around the world have risen to the challenge of making your time in the airport more enjoyable.
GET BACK TO NATURE
Singapore’s Changi Airport is constantly topping the list of “airport bests” and it’s no different when it comes to the range of entertainment offered to bored travellers. But, one major standout is their range of gardens – in Terminal 3 they have a 2-floor, fully landscaped garden, with a waterfall, full of tropical butterflies, and in Terminal 1 you will find a rooftop cactus garden with a cocktail bar.
This airport also boasts a sunflower garden, an orchard garden, a water lily garden, and swimming pool with Jacuzzi. So you can spend your airport hours wandering through the gardens or soaking the flight away in the pool.
Art exhibitions and museums are becoming quite common in airports these days, but there are a few that stand out more than others! The Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam Schiphol airport has a free museum and gallery that gives you a glimpse into Dutch art and culture with a permanent exhibition of some of the Dutch Masters, and an ever-changing temporary exhibition. And at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 in London, you can discover up and coming British painters and sculptors in the Expo Fine Art Gallery.
Again, Changi Airport in Singapore gets a strong mention here with its Entertainment Deck in Terminal 2, where travellers can spend their time in music video booths, in the Xbox Kinect gaming room, at the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, or in the 4D cinema. And if you really want to feel like a kid again, then take a ride on the TheSlide@T3 – Singapore’s tallest slide and the world’s tallest slide in an airport.
Hong Kong International Airport also boasts a ton of entertainment options, including virtual sports stimulators, an IMAX cinema and a 9-hole golf course. And if you’re in Nashville, the International Airport regularly puts on live concerts for travellers – the 4 stages host over 100 free events per year, so you’re bound to catch one!
GO ON A TOUR
If you’re an aviation buff, you will love the behind-the-scenes tours offered at Munich International Airport, including an A380 tour and a tour of the airport fire department. You can also go to ‘Visitor Park’ to see the historic aircraft on display, including a Douglas DC-3, a Junkers Ju 52/3m and a Super Constellation. And, if you’re at the airport in Stockholm, you can go on a tour of their 83 meter control tower, the check-in areas, baggage handling areas and the customs areas.
If you want to get out of the airport instead, Singapore’s Changi Airport offers free 2-hour city tours to travellers who have at least 5 hours to spare between connecting flights.
HEAD TO THE PUB
A good pub meal and a beer is the perfect way to recuperate between flights, and Munich International Airport has the perfect spot for weary travellers – the Bavarian pub and beer garden, AirBrau, serves tasty Bavarian classics, like roast pork and dumplings, and beer from its own brewery – the world’s only brewery in an airport. Plus it hosts a regular program of live entertainment, including comedy acts and traditional Bavarian bands.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to airport entertainment these days, so before you head off on your next business trip, check out what entertainment lies ahead for you – you may be pleasantly surprised, or you may need to pack an extra book.