Travel—particularly through airports–changed drastically after 9/11. Tighter security translated to no shoes and more waited time. Passengers are held in limbo for seemingly-longer hours. Most airports give you three options for your wait: eat, read or nap. But some airports now compete to tempt us with anything from extreme shopping to luxury spas, museums, theaters, tropical gardens or bicycle paths. Gamble, golf, soak or swim. See what you can do…
Wait for flights in the lap of luxury or play 9-holes at SkyCity Nine Eagles Course, open day and night, but closed for typhoon warnings. (Cost: $60) Bring golf shoes–or rent a pair. Hire a caddy, if you wish. Prefer virtual gaming? The i-Sports center boasts uber play options: soccer, basketball, golf, boxing, skiing, car racing, skiing, or shooting. (Cost: $1-6 per game) Not a gamer? Shop at nearby AsiaWorldExpo (70,000 sq. ft.) or see 3D at the first airport IMAX.
Walk along Holland Boulevard, home to a library where you can read from 1,200 titles translated into 29 languages, watch films on available iPads, or download for your next flight. Play poker at the casino or indulge with massages. Meander through to view a permanent collection of Dutch Masters, as well as exciting changing exhibits on loan from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free.
R&R is an understatement. Before you spruce up at the beauty salon, soak in the hot tub or swim in the outdoor rooftop swimming pool. (Cost: $12) Try the four-story spiral slide, gaze at an 18-foot waterfall, or watch the massive Koi fish swim. Have more time to kill? Explore seven different gardens: cacti, fern, sunflower, light, fragrance, orchid and tropical butterfly.
Naturally, this Swiss airport provides dependable banks, post office, wireless, medical and dental centers, pharmacies, prayer rooms and playrooms. But you can also procure private porter service provided for a fee. A porter will pick up bags from anywhere in the airport (5:15 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and ensure delivery to a final destination. Bookings may be called in, 24 hours in advance. Once your hands are free, rent bicycles and inline skates to explore beyond the airport’s boundaries.
Marvel at the special yellow Christoph 1, one of the first helicopters to ever provide rapid air rescue services and save lives, plus three historic airplanes: the Douglas DC-3, the Junkers JU 52, and the Super Constellation. (Cost: €1). Find history to be yawn inducing? Watch beach volleyball tournaments, play a game of mini-golf, or for an unusual pastime treat, take a tour to examine items previously seized from travelers by customs officials.
Relax at the spa, gamble at the casino, or cultivate your sense of wonder with traditional Korean culture. Confucian artifacts, Buddhist treasures, Chosun Dynasty costumes, and other relics span 5,000 years. Korean Alphabet Heritage includes early prints such as Yong-bi-eo-chun-ga, “Song of the Dragons Flying to Heaven.” Listen to special Korean instruments and watch traditional performances. Rejuvenate your senses while you wander the seven various gardens: pine tree, flowering tree, rock, flower, cacti, “Four Gracious Plants,” or water.