Air travel can be a drag. Everyone has their own airport horror story: getting lost on the tram to nowhere, losing our bags in countries where we don’t speak the language, sitting next to that over-sharer whom’s girth suggests they should have bought two seats instead of one. With so many variable standing in the way of a relaxing trip, your airport choice can make all the difference. Why eat stale TCBY and McDonald’s when you can dine in luxury or take time to get a massage before boarding your plane? These airports offer great customer service and plenty of tasty restaurants and interesting attractions. So next time you fly, choose your layover wisely.
The Seattle-Tacoma International airport offers the best guest service I have ever experienced. No matter what the conditions: 4 a.m., pre-Holiday apocalyptic crowds travel, or late at night when the airport should be closed, SeaTac’s TSA staff have always been helpful, informative, and exceedingly friendly. Not to mention, no matter the size of the crowd, I have never waited more than 15 minutes in a security line. With wide open spaces, rocking chairs, and a gift-wrap station during the holidays, SeaTac is a place I would go willingly, even if I wasn’t traveling. Stop by the Pacific Northwest store and pick up some smoked salmon or treat yourself to a massage–the Seattle-Tacoma airport will make you want to come hours earlier than needed.
Make all the marijuana and prostitution jokes you like, but Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport means business. One of the cleanest, most aesthetically appealing airports I’ve ever seen, you could eat off the floor while gazing at a picturesque dutch mill through one of the airport’s many large window spaces.
London Heathrow, while sprawling, offers many cultural staples that are unique to London proper. If you aren’t able to shop at Harrod’s in central London, fear not, Heathrow offers Harrod’s shopping in four different terminals. Just make sure you clear security first. And with multi-faith prayer rooms including Sikh, Jewish, Anglican, Muslim, and Hindu chaplains, Heathrow airport’s infrastructure reflects the diversity of the UK’s capital city.
Seoul (Incheon International Airport)
Doing it Gangnam style. Or at least trying…the Incheon International airport has been rated number one on several lists for the last seven years in a row. Despite the immense crowds, Incheon offers small comforts to keep travelers relaxed and ready to fly. If you’re not interested in a massage try golfing at their indoor golf course, go ice skating, hit up the casino, or check out the Museum of Korean Culture.
Dubai (Dubai International Airport)
Dubai is known for its lavish amenities (see Sex and the City 2…actually don’t see it) and the airport is no different. With over 6,000 weekly flights, the Dubai International Airport is not only efficient, it also offers three swimming pools, prayer rooms, and dozens of shopping and eating opportunities.
Zurich (Zurich International Airport)
The Swiss do a lot of things well: making knives, handling money, staying out of wars, and their airports are no different. The Zurich International Airport has won dozens of awards for it’s crisp, clean nature and although it is not as large as some of the other airports mentioned, it offers a lot of Swiss charm.
Vancouver (Vancouver International Airport)
Often considered the gateway to the east, the Vancouver International Airport is a powerhouse with small town charm. Designed with the Pacific Northwest in mind, travelers wind their way through Totem Poles on their way to security while hundreds of green-vested volunteers mill through crowds offering help in their nice Canadian way.