Let’s face it. While nursing a glass of bubbly at the business lounge might be the best way to beguile a couple of hours till boarding time, longer layovers call for more engaging activities. Thankfully, airports have moved beyond their original remit, from being essentially public transport hubs to being destinations in themselves for travellers. Here is a look at the more unusual attractions that the winners of Skytrax’s 2015 World Airport Awards have put on offer.
Changi Airport (Singapore)
Travelling with youngsters, or wishing to channel your inner child? The world’s best airport for the third year running offers, at its Terminal Three, a pair of corkscrew slides – one of which is four storeys high, with speeds reaching 6m per second. There are also swimming pools, movie theatres, themed gardens and a console gaming entertainment deck – but we’re sure you’ve heard of those already.
Incheon International Airport (South Korea)
For some respite during the hot Korean summer, head over to the skating rink called the Ice Forest, which is open year-round, regardless of season. The operators regularly put on jazz and b-boy performances at the stage located front and centre, so skaters won’t be bored with the repetitive view of people falling – which isn’t as dreadful as it sounds, because the floor is actually artificial ice made of special plastic that “keeps you dry with less impact” should you trip over, the facility claims.
Munich Airport (Germany)
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a busy air terminal, then sign up for one of a series of guided tours here. The flagship excursion is the 90-minute A380 experience that unveils the complicated logistics required for handling the world’s largest plane. Those strapped for time can instead opt for a 50-minute tour of the two terminals, including a coach ride to the freight buildings, fire stations and maintenance facilities.
Zurich Airport (Switzerland)
For those who are bored of the gym, the main Swiss air hub offers a refreshing change of scenery. At its service centre, you can rent bicycles, inline skates and Nordic walking poles, including protective gear, to spice up your fitness routine. The grounds nearby are wooded and relatively flat; together with the fresh Alpine air, it is the ideal place for burning calories piled on from devouring all those delicious onboard meals.
Tokyo International Airport (Japan)
No thanks to Byzantine quarantine laws, bringing your pet on holiday can be extremely stressful. But, if you have made it that far, you can relax with complete peace of mind at Haneda – by availing yourself of the pet hotel. Not just a parking spot for your pooch, the hotel has minders who will also groom, feed and take your dog out for walkies. Apart from cats and dogs, the lodge welcomes other small animals as well, with rabbit runs occasionally organised.