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Relaxing at the airport when you're delayed

12 Comments

It's high summer, so congested runways, stormy skies and scheduling snafus are once again grounding millions of air travelers at home and abroad.

There are better ways to wait out flight delays and count down to connecting flights than fuming and watching the clock. Depending on how much time you have and which airport you are using, even the busiest airports offer ways to transform endurance into enjoyment:

San Francisco International: A prime gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, SFO is one of the more pleasant airports in which to pass some time, especially the stylish international terminal. The Louis A Turpen Aviation Museum, near boarding area A, displays vintage airline uniforms, historic in-flight menus, photographs of a more gracious age of air travel and a library.

Amsterdam Schiphol: Most people know about the worthy, arty branch of the Rijksmuseum at the airport. But in keeping with Amsterdam's reputation for adult fun, there are other attractions, too. No, not a red light district, but a cafe - the Grand Cafe - tricked- out in turn-of-the-20th-century style, with soaring ceilings, chandeliers and other classy touches. Amsterdam Schiphol also has a casino. (Hey, if you weren't a gambler, you wouldn't be flying in mid-summer.)

Hong Kong International: You don't have to be a high roller to relax in a comfortable lounge. Hong Kong's splendid, modern airport showcases several Plaza Premium lounges, with hot showers, cold drinks and cushy seats, available for a reasonable admission fee. The airport also has a 360-seat cinema with eye-popping 3-D projection.

Reagan Washington National: Cultivate your mind by shopping at the Smithsonian Store, in the National Hall Center, at the most user-friendly airport in the capital (and one of the nicest in the United States).

Los Angeles International: It's scheduled for a 1-year, $9 million structural upgrade starting next month, but LAX's atom-shaped Theme Building, with its space-age Encounter restaurant and cocktail lounge, is worth waiting for. Opened in 1961, this building dramatizes the future of aviation as the Jetsons envisioned it.

London Heathrow: London's unloved largest airport is smoothing out the troubles at British Airways' new Terminal 5. Bad-boy chef Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food restaurant in T5 helps the wait fly by. Try a lemon grass martini ($16) or eggs Benedict ($12).

Vancouver International: After next month's Summer Olympics in Beijing come the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada. Vancouver's light-washed, modern airport is opening six Olympic Stores with official memorabilia. Bentley's Leather, pre-security on level 3 at international departures, is a good place to shop for briefcases and luggage.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International: Sip a cold one at the Sam Adams Brewhouse, concourse A, gate 12, or look for alternatives in "Beer Lover's Airport Guide" from cheapflights.com.

Beijing Capital International: Get some work done at the sparkling business center on the mezzanine level in Beijing's new Terminal 3, the planet's biggest passenger terminal.

Copenhagen Airport: Stranded? The Hilton Copenhagen Airport, right at the airport, has good business facilities and spacious guest rooms. Copenhagen's central rail station is a short ride from the airport's terminal 3, with daytime departures every 10 minutes.

© Aviation.com

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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"transform endurance into enjoyment" by getting some work done at Beijing airport's "sparkling business centre".

Sounds like a hoot.

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Notice how Narita isn't featured here. Asia's most boring airport, perhaps?

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"Notice how Narita isn't featured here. Asia's most boring airport, perhaps?"

Uhmm...Densha...wishful thinking again?

You've also noticed Singapore's Changi isn't featured, perhaps?

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web surfing kills time efficiently, counting computer terminals in the tiny yahoo corner in narita and its high occupancies, how can you alleviate the tensions of stranded flyers!!

think of services at extremely reasonable prices: men - hot spring spa, shiatsu women - facial, manicure, spa

these would bring good memories and recalls of such delay in japan!!!!

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Think of services for people with kids - especially babies! How we'll cope if our flights are delayed this summer I don't know!

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Damn, and I'm flying through Bankok, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap, and Luang Prabang next month.... what a drag.

But thank God I'm not flying through Chicago. That has to be the WORST airport.

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Services? No, that would lessen Narita's real mission. Narita is carefully designed to be unwelcoming so as to make foreigners want to stay AWAY from Japan.

It's far from Tokyo, and it's hot, dirty and boring so you have nothing to do but wonder how much contraband is being stuffed into your luggage by the Customs Thugs. Every time I go through Narita I'm reminded of why I don't live in Japan year-round.

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No Moscow and no Sofia airport? why not...

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When delayed, drink, drink and drink some more until you don't give a sh*t anymore whether or not your plane ever departs. Its always worked better for me than getting bent out of shape. ilcub76 the international terminal in Chicago isn't that bad but as far as delays, general rudeness (especially at immigration) etc. yes Chicago is the worst airport and I have to fly through there every year.

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enjoy a nice little lemon grass martini for $16...wow, it makes 5 dollar lunches at mcdonald's look way too bad. Frankly, of all the places i've visitid, Narita's second terminal boasts the cleanest and most comfortable terminal i have ever been in terms of lounging.

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Toncontin airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. No glass in the windows just bars, no real bar to drink in. No food except what the old ladies make at their stalls on the street below, and definitely in unsanitary conditions. (Montezuma, have revenge!) One flight per day to Houston and Miami respectively, when it can get in. Fortunately you can bring your own six pack and food from the local Pizza Hut through "security." And it's the safest place to be, otherwise the street kids below will "piranha" you and leave you for dead. Ah! I love airports.

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i remember the first time coming to Japan.

I remember walking at the OLD Osaka airport. 10 minutes walking and you can city this huge neon sign. I remember Japanese people were sooo small back then. I was walking and I can see over the heads of everybody . A sea of small people.

Departing from NYC to Narita The first time I walked out of terminal at narita with my bags. I COULDN'T FORGET the staring faces of the gropu of people waititng for their family members friends and business asssociates.

Do you remember that corner ?

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