With incidents on the rise all over the world, today air travelers are expected to comply with a lot more rules and regulations. Nowadays passengers are spending so much more time waiting to get through the long and winding security check lines that it has become burdensome and a hassle. Sadly this has become the new normal for passengers, but airports around the world are adjusting to this and are actually offering unique attractions to bring comfort and a peace of mind to their visitors. Not that it will ever make the lines any shorter, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you are fortunate enough to have the extra time and knowledge to find these hidden gems in airports.
From sleeping rooms, showers and spas, to pop culture and high-end art exhibits, airports are offering up lots of ways for travelers to spend time and just relax. Why not get some yoga or praying done in between flights? How about getting that cavity filled or your teeth cleaned while you are waiting for your flight? Well here are a few airports around the world that give you the opportunity to do some unique things before you catch your next flight.
20 The Secret Bedrooms In The Las Vegas Airport
Most everyone loves to go to Las Vegas for a vacation but as you walked through McCarran Airport you probably didn't even notice the private bedrooms that are available to weary travelers in need of some immediate shut-eye. For a bargain price of five bucks an hour, or even more discounted if you purchase blocks of hours, you can sleep and have access to a gym and showers. The company that runs it is called ZeroLevel Fitness & Wellness and it’s their only airport location. Most of the people that use it are airline and airport employees but that’s not surprising because wouldn’t you just want to head out to the strip for some fun instead of catching some Zs at an airport?
19 The Dentist's Office At JFK
A dental office has been in business at the JFK Airport since the 1950’s. In 1985 the current dentist, Dr. Trager took over and for the past thirty years has seen his business grow. Located in Cargo Area A, Building 14, there is even a walk-in medical center. He offers a full-service dental clinic and handles all types of procedures from simple cavities to implants. Even though 95% of his patients work at the airport, he still gets patients from accidents that occur at the airport. Like the time when some kids came in bleeding because they knocked their teeth out when they tried to jump on the baggage carousel.
18 The Hidden Gardens At The Honolulu Airport
I know you’re thinking, how can gardens be hidden? Well, I guess you can say they are a hidden gem in The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (formerly Honolulu International Airport). Even though the gardens are public, many passengers accidentally pass them by and the ones that do discover the gardens describe them as “hidden”. The Cultural Gardens as they are known, are Japanese, Hawaiian and Chinese themed and located near the Y concourse by the main international terminal lobby. Just make your way to the Asian Airline Lounges and it will take you right through it. What better way to relax before or after a flight by watching fish, listening to the sounds from the waterfalls or crossing a zig-zag bridge.
17 The Yoga Room At Chicago O’Hare
What better way can there be to reflect, relax and recharge before or after a flight than spending time in a tranquil, zen-like yoga room? There is one located at O’Hare International Airport in Terminal 3 Rotunda, on the Mezzanine level near the Urban Garden. It is just the perfect place to go to escape the airport’s hustle and bustle. The Yoga room is 16’ x 15’ and has a floor to ceiling mirror on one wall, and a frosted glass window on the other to provide natural light and privacy at the same time. There are plants that line the windows on the outside to create an extremely calming environment.
16 The Hidden Shower Room In The Taiwan Taoyuan Airport
In the Plaza Premium Lounge of Zone A at the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, there is a shower sign atop a small doorway entrance that leads to a refreshing shower service. Yes, the showers are free but you have to purchase a towel at the Salon Spa that is located around the corner. That’s not the only catch! There is no time limit for your shower, except you only get 15 minutes of hot water - wow that’s just cold, pun intended. The shower has an adjustable rainfall and handheld showerhead and if you are by yourself that’s ok because there is plenty of room in the shower area to store your backpack or carry-on.
15 The Chapel At The Amsterdam Airport
This is the perfect example of holy sites being found in unexpected places. Airports are not the best place to pray or reflect due to its often stressed, fatigued and hurried transient population. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the exception to this rule by offering a lovely and peaceful non-denominational “Meditation Centre” which has a reading room that contains spiritual materials, a meeting room for staff members to meet visitors, and a quiet room for a group or individual prayer. A Roman Catholic ministry established it in 1975 and throughout the decades has become a place where people of all faiths and no faiths have been welcomed.
14 The Pet Relief Areas In The Atlanta Airport
An estimated 104 million passengers went through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2017 making it the busiest passenger airport in the world for another year. In 2015 the federal government ruled that airports would need to provide animal relief areas for service animals by August 2016 that were wheelchair-accessible, if they had more than 10,000 passengers annually boarding planes. So now every one of its seven concourses at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has a “relief area” for not only service animals but for your pet pooches and cats. If you don’t want to use the indoor facilities, you can go outside the domestic terminal near the ground transportation where there is a fenced-in dog park.
13 The Green Roof At The Burlington, Vermont Airport
In 2011 a 13,000 square foot public garden was installed on the roof of the parking garage at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont. After the six flights of stairs you will have to climb, if you don’t take the elevator, you will go through some heavy, unmarked doors that open onto the $500,000 taxpayer-financed garden. Thousands of beautiful plants line the pathways of colorful garden patchworks designed to reduce runoff from rainwater and according to the airport’s website, provide a “perfect place to relax”. Sadly, the “green roof” has deteriorated over the past seven years due to lack of any type of maintenance by the city, for example, no weeding or watering.
12 The Observation Tower Atop The LAX Theme Building
Sitting in the center of the LAX terminals is a flying saucer-shaped building known as the Theme building. This now iconic L.A. building was designed in 1959 then built in 1961. It cost a whopping $12.3 million dollars to seismically retrofit it in 2010. From 1997 until 2013 the Theme Building housed the Encounter restaurant which had a futuristic interior that was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering but closed to make way for the Bob Hope USO Center. Sitting atop the Theme Building is the observation deck where visitors can take an elevator up to that level on the weekends for no charge.
11 The Visitor Terrace At Munich’s Airport
If you ever have some time to spend in Munich’s airport, why not head up to its 9,000 square-foot outdoor visitor’s terrace. Located in Terminal 2 on the 7th level, you have to go through a glass tunnel from level 5 to get to it. Travelers will experience exceptional views of the airport’s eastern apron and its two runways. The terrace offers its visitors telescopes so they can get the best close-ups of the airport. It also houses the Cloud 7 restaurant which sells sandwiches, snacks and soups. The outside terrace is open every day but it has no roof, only a net for safety, so bring your jacket or umbrella if you decide to go.
10 The In-Terminal Hotel At The Vancouver International Airport
Located directly above the US departures terminal and only a two-minute walk from the luggage carousels, the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel offers travelers soundproof rooms that can be booked for increments as little as four to eight hours. Day rates include a health club and indoor pool access and the spa offers more than 120 services and specializes in jet lag recovery. The Globe@YVR is the hotel’s award-winning and signature restaurant where you can enjoy a deluxe buffet breakfast and the Jetside Bar offers cocktails and live music every night. The unique hotel setting has floor to ceiling views of the runways and the gorgeous North Shore mountains.
9 The Walking Tunnel At Dubai International Airport
Talk about big brother at its finest, by the end of summer 2018 Dubai International airport will have a creative, artsy and colorful video customs and security tunnel that will scan travelers faces, adding the information to a database to determine if you are free to go or not. The walkway tunnel will be replacing the security clearance counter located in Terminal 3. A distractive immersive video of a shimmering aquarium, galloping white horses or desert scenes will disguise 80 face scanning cameras as travelers head to their gate. Just another constant reminder of how our anonymity is a thing of the past.
8 The Secret Tunnels Of The Denver International Airport
There are many mystery and conspiracy theories about what is going on under the feet of passengers at the Denver International Airport. Things like a secret military base or a government project about aliens. Well it is confirmed there is an underground city, and like all cities, there is a freeway system. It is where travelers luggage moves from plane to plane to baggage claim. There are two, 7,000-foot tunnels and more than a million square feet of space with directional signs and speed limits to follow. Denver PD even enforces the speed limits by giving out tickets to violators.
7 The Experience Zone At The Incheon International Airport
Travelers that go through the Incheon International Airport that serves Seoul, South Korea can go near Gate 31 to the third floor of the passenger terminal and visit the Traditional Korean Cultural Experience Zone. More fun than the name implies, the Zone offers free craft workshops for its visitors. With craft demonstrations like making kites, macrame, paper art and fans to live performances of traditional dances there is something for everyone. Best of all you don’t have to register for anything. You just find yourself an empty seat and create your Korean work of art to take home with you for a forever memory.
6 The Atrium Rockers At Douglas International Airport
At Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, the term ‘pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable’ is taken very seriously. In 1997, a photo exhibit was placed in the atrium called “PorchSitting”. It essentially was a bunch of rocking chairs that were placed in the tree-lined atrium exhibit to add comfort and style, giving the person the feeling of the traditional “southern porch”. The rockers were a huge success and were so popular with travelers that they became a permanent fixture. Each white rocker is handcrafted by Portico Furniture with glue-free interlocking joinery construction. The rocker’s comfy double scooped seat makes it hard to want to get up and catch a flight.
5 The Observation Tower At The Burlington, Vermont Airport
If the “green roof” outdoor gardens at the Burlington International Airport doesn’t interest you, perhaps the old Air Traffic Control Tower, which is now an observation tower is more up your alley. Travelers passing through can stop into the observation tower for one of the best views in the house to take some spectacular sights. They can watch the planes sore by as they take off and land and even listen to the communications from the tower in real-time. The observation tower is located on the east side of the airport on the second floor. Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains are the backdrop for people to relax and sit back and watch all the planes go by.
4 The Interfaith Chapel At Dulles International Airport
Offering up a peaceful, quiet oasis away from all the rush and demands of traveling, Washington Dulles International Airport has an Interfaith Chapel located directly across from Gate A32 in Concourse A. Everyone is welcome to visit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From employees who are taking their breaks, to passengers from all over the world, The Chapel allows you a place to reflect or pray in quiet solitude. Staffed by licensed and ordained clergy and trained volunteers, the chapel offers everything to everyone, including Muslim, Jewish and Christian prayer services, Catholic mass and Protestant worship. There is also pastoral guidance available in case of conflict or emergencies.
3 The Fountain At Detroit Metropolitan Airport
Ok, so technically it's not really a hidden room but many passengers that go by it very quickly miss its hidden meaning. It is a beautiful fountain that spurts water from 45 jets in different directions to represent the travel routes of the planes globally. In the McNamara Terminal, its located in Concourse A and the has a choreographed pattern changing the trajectory of water with lines marked in black granite for longitude and latitude. Its main purpose was to offer some tranquility in a place where it usually alludes you. Opened up right after 9/11 in 2002, it gives jittery travelers some peace and solace.
2 The Underground Connector Tunnel at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Atlanta has the honors of making our list twice with it pet-friendly relief spots and now with its underground connector tunnels. The simple layout of six rectangular concourses makes it a very convenient airport for plane changes. The underground tunnels are where you go to catch the speedy inter-terminal trains. Along the way, while you’re riding the train you will pass some exhibits of art and photography. The recently renovated tunnel connecting concourses A and B has exposed wiring and pipes that give the tunnel a minimalist industrial look. There is also a multimedia exhibit Linking concourses B and C and it is all about the history of Georgia’s capital.
1 The Quiet Area At Minneapolis Airport
This old airport complex has a definite noise pollution problem, not to mention it is about as architecturally exciting as a parking garage. Fortunately, Minneapolis Airport has found a way to let travelers escape the racket from all the noise pollution by providing them with an upper-level seating area known as the quiet area. Located in the Lindbergh Terminal overlooking the atrium, it’s hard to find but well worth it when you do. It’s nothing like its European or Asian counterparts because of its bland space and it lacks the ambiance, but it does exactly what its meant to do. It’s a peaceful, detached and comfortable space for passengers to take a nap or just clear their head.
References: bravotv.com, travelandleisure.com, nyjfkairport.com, frommers.com, healthportalsite.com, flychicago.com, spiritualtravels.info, sevendaysvt.com, dailybreeze.com, fairmont.com, traveller.com.au, askthepilot.com