10 Best International Airports for Long Layovers

There’s a typhoon or a blizzard or a tornado causing havoc at the airport at which you will be arriving, and flights are delayed until further notice. Crap. Now you’re stuck in the airport for endless hours with nothing to do. Hopefully you have a book in hand, or the means of making your own music video, like this guy. But if you’re landing in any of these places, you won’t need to entertain yourself by lip-syncing Celine Dion on your iPhone. While you wait, you can actually kill all that with a stroll in the garden, some artwork at a museum, or a movie… without even leaving the airport!

1. London Heathrow, UK

Photo Courtesy of From The Deck Chair

Photo Courtesy of From The Deck Chair

Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is overwhelming. It offers complimentary personal shopping consultants to help plan your next travel wardrobe or help you pick a gift. Want to continue shopping? There’s a little Harrods, and for those of you that enjoy history and art there’s a gallery of up-and-coming British artists. There are 105 restaurant,s and debuting this month, is the Queen’s Terminal, which will house 52 shops and 17 restaurants. The Sofitel London Heathrow is connected to T5 via a walkway if you need to stay the night.

2. Dubai International Airport

Photo Courtesy of Britannica

Photo Courtesy of Britannica

Dubai as always displaying beauty and elegance, accommodating 18 million passengers at a time, and anticipating about 90 million by 2018. The airport hosts a duty-free shop of 58,000-square-feet, open-air gardens, and a gym that is open 24/7 complete with a pool and showers. Oh, and let’s not forget the shopping stands where you can purchase gold bars. Yeah, bars of gold.

3. Vancouver International Airport

Photo Courtesy of Ambius

Photo Courtesy of Ambius

This bright airport features decoration that represents Canada’s culture and wilderness. The best part is the Vancouver Aquarium featuring a 30,000-gallon tank teeming with more than 5,000 sea creatures. We recommend you park or get dropped off at the Jetside Bar of the Fairmont Hotel to try some Okanagan Valley wine or the honey-infused lager before embarking on your next odyssey. This airport is an odyssey in itself.

4. San Francisco International Airport

Photo Courtesy of C-s Group

Photo Courtesy of C-s Group

This airport is highly recommended for those 21 and over. Aside from the amazing airport museum and aquarium, travelers can enjoy craft beer at Terminal 3’s Anchor Brewing Company or Napa wines at Vino Volo.

5. Incheon International Airport, Seoul

Photo Courtesy of Airports. Find the best

Photo Courtesy of Airports. Find the best

Hands down, this is the airport that keeps passengers the most busy. It has two movie theatres playing Hollywood and Korean movie hits, an ice-skating rink, an 18-hole putting course, and seven gardens for those that are in need of some peace and quiet. The airport is also connected to Seoul’s subway system, so if you know your flight will be delayed for more than a few hours, you can head easily downtown to kill some time.

6. Hong Kong International Airport

Photo Courtesy of 100 Lonely Places

Photo Courtesy of 100 Lonely Places

This amazing two-terminal airport features the world’s first airport IMAX movie theatre, as well as an outdoor nine-hole golf course. If that’s not enough, passengers can enjoy the iSports simulator for car-racing and basketball. For an extra $50, access to Traveler’s Lounges is granted, for are your bar and showering needs.

7. Changi International Airport, Singapore

Photo Courtesy of Ashui.com

Photo Courtesy of Ashui.com

This on might be the most fun. It features a butterfly garden, free movie theatres, a 40-foot slide and a Balinese-themed rooftop pool. In terminal 2, you can find an entertainment area (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 videogame systems). The airport also offers a free two-hour city tour conducted in English.

8. Zurich Airport

Photo Courtesy of Three Wise Bees

Photo Courtesy of Three Wise Bees

This is a rather interesting airport. With a freshly renovated double rooftop terrace and a kids area, there’s quite a bit of space. There are also 16 locker-style cell phone charging stations, rooms for sleeping and showering and a Skymetro rail between Terminals A and E.

9. Munich International Airport

Photo Courtesy of Stuck at the Airport

Photo Courtesy of Stuck at the Airport

Beer lovers, rejoice! The airport houses tavern Airbräu. They’ve got a beer garden shaded by chestnut trees and an onsite brewery. After a while of some heavy drinking, you can head to the sleeping pods equipped with iPhone and USB ports and sleep it off for $20 an hour.

10. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Photo Courtesy of Time-AZ

Photo Courtesy of Time-AZ

The airport features a museum and the world’s first airport library. It is also the only airport in the world that can say it has been standing in the same location for the past 100 years.

By Roberto Garcia

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