As travel delays become more and more common, airports are amping up their amenities to entertain travelers on their long layovers. Need to catch up on your workout routine between flights? San Francisco's free yoga studio or Zurich's bike and inline-skates rental program allow that with ease. For those looking to spend their time imbibing, Nashville's airport allows you to do that anywhere with its drinks-on-the-go program, while Munich's airport features a beer garden and brewery tour. Although it's hard to believe that loitering at an airport could actually be fun, Hopper found 10 airport amenities that may just change your mind.
Have a couple of hours to relax? Unwind in Terminal 1 at Changi Airport's Balinese-themed rooftop pool and Jacuzzi. Travelers staying at the Ambassador Transit Hotel can access the pool and Jacuzzi for free. Otherwise, entry fees cost about $13, but that includes a complimentary non-alcoholic drink in addition to access to the pool and shower facilities. The pool area operates from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, so you could stay all day. Don't forget sunscreen!
Thanks to getting an airport-wide beer-and-liquor license, Nashville International Airport made drinking and flying much easier for travelers last year. The airport introduced drinks on the go, allowing passengers to carry their beverages away from the bar and throughout the secure side of the terminal. Travelers can carry their drinks to participate in other amenities at the airport, including massage and manicure services, live music, local art exhibits, or free Wi-Fi at the gate.
Vancouver's airport was designed to bring the city's outdoor-enthusiast spirit inside to passengers. One example of this is the Vancouver Aquarium's major exhibit in the airport's domestic terminal. The exhibit includes a 30,000-gallon tank featuring 5,000 ocean creatures (wolf eels, starfish, sea urchins and 10 species of rockfish), as well as another tank dedicated to jellyfish. The aquarium area features plenty of seating for single travelers or families for admiring the animals as well as the greenery and nearby creek that also runs through the terminal.
Who said traveling meant you had to give up your workout routine? Zurich Airport in Switzerland wrapped up an extensive renovation in 2011 and continues ongoing reconstruction of Terminal 2. Part of the airport's new amenities include sports equipment rentals such as bicycles, inline skates and adjustable Nordic walking poles. Equipment comes in a variety of sizes for men, women and children, includes helmets, and can be rented for anywhere between four and eight hours from the airport's service center. There is a small fee for equipment but the green areas surrounding the airport are free to explore on foot!
To accommodate the more than 40 million passengers traveling through San Francisco each year, San Francisco International Airport has created ways for travelers to relax. Yogis, for instance, will travel easier knowing that a 150-square-foot yoga room is now available in the airport's Terminal 2. In addition to the 24-hour complimentary yoga room, passengers can also take advantage of the airport's reflection room dedicated to meditation. Massage, facial, manicure and pedicure services are also available at XpresSpa.
Art lovers will enjoy their layover at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. The airport's Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is the world's only museum to be annexed to an airport. Visitors get free entry into the museum to see paintings by Dutch artists such as Jan Steen and Ferdinand Bol. Rotating exhibits at the museum usually feature eight to 10 masterpiece paintings, depending on the exhibition theme. The museum is located in the Schiphol terminal and is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Passengers hoping to taste delicious German beer won't need to leave the airport. Munich International Airport's Airbräu serves up samples of some of the country's best brews. The traditional tavern also features a beer garden (open October to May) shaded by chestnut trees, as well as an on-site brewery and occasional live music and cabaret shows. Travelers can tour the brewery for a small fee and ask the brewmaster questions about the beer-brewing process. Airbräu is open daily from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, wants its visitors to get a taste of Korean culture. As such, it operates the Traditional Korean Cultural Experience Zone, offering visitors a chance to experience craftwork, clothing and music from Seoul. Travelers can make traditional crafts such as Hanji, traditional Korean paper, or Dancheong, multicolored paintwork on wooden buildings. Visitors can also try on traditional Korean clothes and accessories and pose for a photo before watching musical performances.
Golf pros and beginners alike have the opportunity to practice their golf game at Hong Kong International Airport. SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course is an outdoor, nine-hole regulation golf course just outside the airport's Terminal 2. The course offers equipment rental, and the staff will even store luggage for travelers with enough time to play some rounds. Nine Eagles' signature hole, Island Green, is inspired by the famous 17th hole at the Tournament Players Club in Sawgrass, Florida. There are fees to play but it's free to spectate (a great way to waste time on a layover!)
Chicago O'Hare International Airport is one of the biggest and busiest airports in the world, which is why it can be easy to miss some of the airport's amenities — until you get to Terminal 1. There, natural-history buffs will be impressed by the 72-foot-long Brachiosaurus skeleton on loan from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur skeleton — one of the largest in the world — stands four stories high! Find it in Terminal 1's Concourse B.