Nothing is more frustrating or stressful than being grounded at the airport for hours or, conversely, having no time at all to catch that next flight. These eight airports have taken the harried traveler into consideration and come up with different — in some cases, really different — ways to ease nerves. At these facilities around the world, prepare to travel stress free.
1. Mumbai Airport International
The shiny and new T2 at the Mumbai Airport International (also known as the GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) has — wait for it — puppies to comfort travelers. Following in the footsteps of a few U.S. airports — LAX, for instance, with its PUP program — the folks at GVK CSIA, for short, partnered with India-based Animal Angels Therapy Centre to bring three specially-trained golden labs to the airport to act as “Comforting Angels.” Pepe, Goldie, and Sunshine roam through the international terminal with their “Pet Me” jackets offering plenty of cuddles and kisses to stressed out passengers, giving them a more pawsitive (ahem) experience.
2. Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport is a monster; it’s huge and busy even during the so-called “slow” times — just thinking about catching a flight there raises our blood pressure. Now, however, the facility offers a Premium Escorted Gate-to-Gate service and a Premium Escorted Check-in to Gate service that we’ll be signing up for again. After pre-arranging the service (online or via email), you meet your escort at a designated spot. This wonderful person shows you to a nearby café where you can sit and enjoy a complimentary cappuccino while he or she takes your luggage and ID to check you in with your airline. You're next led to a VIP security check-in area, where the only person in front of you is probably your escort. After you’re all checked in and checked out, this breezy system sees you get into a luxury limo to take you down the airport apron directly to your gate. The rest is smooth sailing.
3. Heathrow Airport
Looking for a little takeout for your long-haul flight that doesn’t involve stale nuts and a sandwich? At Heathrow Airport T5 you can now purchase a well-stocked “Hamperling” from the posh purveyor of goods, Fortnum & Mason. Providing healthy sustenance, there are five menus on offer, including a smoked salmon plate, a vegetarian option, or a caviar and smoked fish plate for two. Proper cutlery included, of course.
4. Miami International Airport
Closer to home is the Miami International Airport and its nod to the local art scene. As host to Art Basel Miami every year, the city is no stranger to contemporary art. The airport has embraced the city’s cultural creativity and houses a vast collection in its public spaces. Stroll around and soak in the experience through exhibits, murals, and some immersive displays. Your timetable-riddled brain will thank you.
5. Narita International Airport
Along with giving international transit passengers free access to a traveler’s lounge (yay!) at Narita International Airport in Tokyo they’re working to give you an entire introduction to Japanese culture, even if you’re not setting foot outside of the terminal. Depending on when and where, you can be carted around in a rickshaw, have the family don kimonos for a photo shoot, take an origami class, or sit in on a traditional Kabuki performance. Oh and did we mention The lounge access is complimentary.
6. Munich Airport
Munich Airport is a joy to transit through: Not only does the place have the world’s one and only on-site brewery — Airbräu — with the largest rooftop beer garden in the world (it seats 600), plus Napcabs that you can rent by the hour (with bed, small desk, Wi-Fi, and adjustable music and lighting), but it now also has a Visitors Park with a cool playground for the kiddies. The playground is divided into five continents and kids can ride camels in Asia, surf in North America, and climb a rope jungle in South America, traveling around the world as they romp. And remember that brewery? Well lucky mom and dad can chill with a cold one in the beer garden that looks over the playground. Prost!
7. Schiphol Amsterdam Airport
If you need a little nature to revitalize your weary travel soul, Schiphol's got you covered… with shade trees. This airport’s always been a bit ahead of the game, introducing a small-size version of the Rijksmuseum in the airport, for example, and a library. Now they’ve added an indoor-outdoor space to relax called Airport Park. Trees and greenery, log-like seats, sounds of birds and bicycles, natural light, and projections of parks and flittering butterflies all add to that “take me away” atmosphere.
8. Geneva International Airport
Airports have been taking their food a bit more seriously over the past decade or so although more so in the “to go” category. Geneva International Airport has, just last month, opened a new sit-down and enjoy gastronomic restaurant headed up by up-and-coming “it” chef, Benjamin Luzuy. Le Chef serves top-notch local cuisine: four seasonal menus using four different cooking methods. From latte art in the morning to cocktail creations in the evening, the restaurant, bar, lounge, and private rooms will settle your nerves like only foie gras poêlé can.
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