10 amazing airport amenities that will make you long for a layover
Around 3.14 million people flew over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, because, of course, they all wanted pumpkin pie. (Get it, 3.14? Pie? Fine, whatever.) That's a lot of people, and, inevitably, a lot of flight cancellations, delays, and unplanned layovers.
And as it'll no doubt be worse this year (the latest AAA estimates suggest around 3.55 million folks will be traveling by plane), we decided to find out which airports have such insanely awesome amenities -- like microbreweries, saunas, and strip clubs -- that they'd actually be kinda worth getting stuck in. If not this week, then some other time. These are the top 10.
An IMAX Theater
Hong Kong International Airport, China
The first-ever airport IMAX theater also happens to be Hong Kong’s largest; the screen is over 45ft high and 73ft wide, and the theater itself can fit 350 moviegoers. Or, if you don't want to stand with Katniss, play a quick nine at Hong Kong airport’s USGA-approved SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course.
18 holes of golf
Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
Or play 18 at this course and driving range just outside Seoul's Incheon Airport; it's only a five-minute, free shuttle ride away. Although speaking of the airport, it's been voted one of the world’s best for years and boasts two movie theaters, a cultural center (where you can learn to make Korean crafts and watch music/dance performances), a traditional Korean bath house with hot tubs and massages, and the famous Ice Forest, a synthetic, year-round ice skating rink.
A rooftop pool
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
Why pay for a hotel when you can stay at the Singapore airport. Seriously, the terminals are littered with Xboxes/PlayStations, nap areas, and movie theaters, as well as multiple lounges in which, for a small fee, you can use the gym, take a shower, or indulge in various spa services.
If it's not too cold (we have no idea what the Turkey Day temps in Singapore are), the airport offers open-air nature trails, gardens, and even a butterfly house with over 1,000 butterflies (!!). But the best part is a Balinese-themed rooftop pool and a Jacuzzi -- all yours for only $10.
A strip club
While unfortunately not in the actual airport, The Landing Strip Lounge is only a 10-minute, free shuttle ride from the terminals. Established in 1978, it bills itself as “Top Flight topless entertainment” and boasts an easy-to-remember personalized phone number: 1-800-2-Runway.
Munich International Airport, Germany
We’ve written about some breweries in bizarre places, but an airport in the world’s beer capital is pretty much a no-brainer. Check out Airbräu, an on-site brewery and Bavarian restaurant with live music and an outdoor beer garden in the summer. Airbräu brews 110,000 gallons of suds annually in eight different styles, including the FliegerQuell ale, Jetstream Pilsner, and the Aviator double bock. And they're all only $3 a pop, or whatever that is in Euros. You can even kill some of that layover taking a brewery tour.
Munich’s airport also features a Christmas market complete with an ice skating rink in the winter, and a surfable wave/beach volleyball court in the summer.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Sure, you can try to impress other travelers with your limited knowledge of Rembrandt in the airport’s mini museum (an annex of Amsterdam's famous Rijksmuseum), or... you can throw down €200 and try to win back the cost of your flight at the Holland Casino in Departure Hall 2. Your call.
Hiking and biking
Zurich Airport, Switzerland
If pacing in front of the gate agent doesn't help relieve your stress, take a hike. No really, it'll be great. All around Zurich Airport you'll find lush, wildlife-rich nature conservations complete with trails for hiking and biking. In fact, you can even rent mountain bikes, in-line skates, and Nordic walking poles.
Helsinki Airport, Finland
If you're flying out of Helsinki, get in a quick shvitz -- and a sneak peek of your plane mates naked -- at the Finnair premium lounge’s unisex sauna.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas
Austin's official motto is the "Live Music Capital of the World", and it starts at the airport; stages at six venues hold two dozen live concerts with local talent -- from jazz and soul, to country, rock, and blues -- each week.
Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan
Dimly lit with soothing tunes, Starry Café is an unusual airport respite. The restaurant/mini-planetarium projects 40,000 stars/formations onto the ceiling, as well as other natural light displays like the Northern Lights (pictured).