The World’s Best Airport Amenities
Beer Gardens, Butterflies, Golf, Museums, and Rides Take Off as Airports Compete for Passengers
Most people think of airports as places to depart from and arrive on flights at, but that view may prove to be somewhat outdated.
Airport operators around the world, recognizing that people are traveling longer distances and often spending hours waiting for connections, wish to entice travelers to use their airport for that connection.
I started writing this article sitting outdoors in a beer garden in Munich, one that happens to be located in Munich Airport, the Airbräu. I’m not aware of any other in-airport beer garden so that led me to think about about other unusual venues in airports across the world.
Exercise is big. San Francisco International Airport opened a yoga room a few years ago. Philadelphia International Airport provides exercise bikes. Soon, three airports will have golf courses: Hong Kong International already has a nine-hole course, Don Mueang International in Bangkok has an 18-hole course positioned between two runways, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will soon open an 18-hole course.
Schiphol has the world’s first in-airport art museum, an annex of the Rijksmuseum. The mini Rijksmuseum, which opened in 2002, offers two exhibits, one permanent and one rotating. Nine floral paintings from the Netherlands’ Golden Age of painting in the 17th century display still lifes which Dutch burghers commissioned at a time when actual flower bulbs were more expensive than the paintings. Admission is free and the museum is open whenever the airport is.
Schiphol is also the only airport to have its own boulevard within the terminal. Holland Boulevard runs the length the terminal between the E and F piers, where most transit passengers end up, and gives travelers a taste of the country with restaurants, food shops, and even carved wooden tulips for sale. There’s also an in-airport library operated by Dutch public libraries with Dutch fiction translated into 30 languages as well as books and videos about Dutch culture.