Stretched out on the floor of the Entebbe airport in Uganda, we’re waiting word on how soon our cancelled flight will be rescheduled. With snowstorms pounding most of Europe and stranding travelers around the world, we’re not overly optimistic about our prospects of getting out of Uganda anytime soon. Not that that’s a bad thing. Getting stuck in Uganda has plenty of upsides. Getting stuck in its airport, however, does not and as soon as we’ve rescheduled our flight, we’re quick to get out. Fortunately, there are some airports that soothe the spirits of a weary traveler and encourage plenty of luxurious loitering. If you’ve got to get stuck in an airport, try one of these.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
The Dutch have got this whole awesome airport thing down. They have everything here. It’s enough to make me consider missing my flight. Between the museum, shopping center, and library, you can easily kill a few hours here. Check out the free Rijks museum or stop by the the world’s first permanent airport library just next door to the museum. With a collection of 1,200 books (translated into 29 languages), the library also offers e-books and music that can be downloaded for free. If you don’t mind going through customs and security, you can exit the transfer area of the airport to check out the enormous shopping center or the Panoramaterras, a large rooftop viewing area perfect for scoping out planes.
With plenty of shopping areas, an aviation museum, and a plethora of restaurants, passengers can easily entertain themselves for hours at SFO as well as get a decent meal. With plenty of organic and vegetarian food options, it’s the perfect place to get your hippie groove on and really, would you expect any less from California’s hippie hotspot? If you’re looking for some great juices and vegetarian cuisine, check out The Plant café in Terminal 2. They also serve Blue Bottle coffee so you can ditch the Starbucks and pretend to be a true San Franciscan. Well, for a few hours at least. There’s also an airport travel clinic so if you’re missing that yellow fever vaccination, here’s your chance to get it before take-off.
Singapore Changi Airport
I’m not going to lie. I would head to Singapore just to visit the airport. It’s that nice. If you have a long layover here, count yourself lucky and think of all those poor saps stuck in the Geneva airport (you don’t want to go there, trust me). In addition to free WiFi, internet cafes, prayer rooms, and plenty of good restaurant options, Changi airport also offers reclining chairs and napping areas, a swimming pool, massage and spa facilities, video games, music lounges, live bands, gardens, pay-in lounges, and free movies. If you’re short on cash, consider camping out here for a night or two instead of staying at a hotel. I’m serious.
With beach volleyball tournaments, customs office tours, and plenty of shopping, the Munich airport is another solid option for stranded travelers. There’s plenty to do, access to wi-fi, and they even have showers and laundry services. When you get tired of all that, just head upstairs and crash on the cots. Why more airports don’t offer cots or better sleeping arrangements is beyond me, but as someone who has spent multiple nights in the Munich airport, I’m sure glad they’ve got this one figured out in Munich.
Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot going on in the Vancouver airport. At least not compared to Amsterdam or Munich, but there is free wifi and 24-hour food services. Also for a pretty reasonable fee, you can access their pay-in lounges or check out the pool and gym facilities at the Fairmont Hotel.