One of the most interesting trends in recent years has been the increased number of travelers that have embarked on air travel. There have even been people that have indulged in the tiny house trend in order to have more funds to use towards travel. Many people have shifted in what they find most important in their lives, straying from the importance of material goods and seeing more of an appeal towards life experiences. Travelers have started to really branch out in their destination choices and it seems like every corner of the globe has taken on an increased number of tourists with each new year.
With more people willing to travel, it's not surprising that airlines have started to change their practices over the years and more people have found it accessible to fly the friendly skies. In an effort to accommodate an increased number of air travelers, the airports have had to evolve over the years. While airports have become known for the duty-free shopping and food courts, there are some airports that go above and beyond in what they offer travelers. Check out our list of the 25 unexpected things airports around the world actually offer and see how much has changed for air travelers while waiting for their flight.
25 Movie Theater
While people don't often think of airports having features that would entail hours of leisure time for a traveler, it's actually quite surprising how much time a traveler can spend waiting around at an airport. One way to really give travelers something to do in that time frame is to see a movie. This might seem like a strange concept to some but a 2013 feature by CNN stated, "Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore, which all have cinemas in their international airports already." The Singapore Changi airport actually has two theatres that are open around the clock and even show films free of charge to travelers.
24 Therapy Dogs
While traveling is supposed to be a leisurely activity, that doesn't mean that it's something that is seen as completely stress-free. On the contrary, many people attest to how stressful air travel can be and there is one airport that has tried to ease travelers of their stress in quite a unique way. Miami International Airport is home to a canine therapy option that allows travelers to get a moment with a furry friend while they're going through the stress of traveling. A trained therapy dog encourages interaction with travelers and even wears a vest that reads, "Pet Me," in order to entice people to get a moment to de-stress.
23 Ice Skating Rink
While travelers often think about the shopping features and food offerings at an airport, ice skating doesn't naturally come to mind. Yet, that is exactly what is offered at Incheon International Airport. With it being the largest airport in South Korea, it's not surprising that there would be some amazing amenities but lacing up the ice skates at the Ice Forest ice skating rink on the B1 terminal location isn't something that would immediately come to mind. The airport doesn't offer this feature free of charge but that doesn't mean that millions of people don't partake in it with each year.
22 Art Museum
People tend to travel for all types of different reasons, whether it's to get away from the stress of work with a bit of fun in the sun or infuse some culture into their lives through visiting locations with a great deal of history. Traveling to see some art museums is often a huge favorite but there is one airport that infuses that fascination right in the actual building. Amsterdam is actually known for having art museums that bring on travelers but some might be surprised to learn that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has an art museum within it, the Rijksmuseum.
Airports are often looking for ways to make things a bit easier on travelers since there is often a great deal of walking involved when navigating one's way from one terminal to the next. Yet, there is one airport that has taken it a step beyond the standard moving walkway. The Singapore Changi Airport offers a slide that is widely described as the biggest in Singapore. Yet, that doesn't mean that it's the most thrilling experience. Instead, it's seen as a way to keep entertained and it's also a boost to the airport because of its fee of getting a ride for every $10 spent at the airport.
20 Wave Pool
While it's not a new concept to have a water feature inside an airport, that doesn't mean that people are used to seeing full-on water activities when traveling. Munich airport opened a state-of-the-art indoor wave riding pool that allows travelers to enjoy an actual water sport while they're navigating the airport and waiting for their next flight. It is a massive 2,150 foot pool that boasts having one of the world's largest stationary waves. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2 and there is even an option of enrolling in specific camps or getting wetsuits and surfboards in order to really immerse oneself into the experience.
Yoga is a practice that millions of people partake in, whether it's to gain flexibility or to silence the mind. There are numerous yoga retreats all over the globe that garner travelers flocking to really immerse themselves in the practice but there is one airport that seems to be taking it a step further. San Francisco International Airport offers a yoga room that is free to use for travelers that might be passing through. The yoga room looks like a professional yoga studio one might find at any gym, complete with mirrored walls and yoga mats that travelers can use to get a reprieve from the stress of traveling.
People often think of underwater viewing as something that is full of amazement but is also quite calming. With people having fish in their homes to really create a sense of calm and going out to various bodies of water to really clear the mind, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that an airport would try and implement this feature as a draw to travelers. Vancouver International built a 30,000-gallon aquarium to offer something a bit different for travelers and it's become a huge favorite for those looking for something unique during their air travel. With over 20 different types of fish and a 500-gallon jellyfish tank, this is something definitely worth seeing when traveling through Vancouver International.
17 Swimming Pool
When it comes to traveling, it seems like there are a myriad of different people that choose a destination that will allow for a bit of fun in the sun and swimming. Yet, travelers might be surprised to learn that there are a number of airports that actually offer swimming pools as part of their layout design and travelers can partake in a bit of fun in the water prior to taking a flight. One of the most noteworthy airports that feature a swimming pool is the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel in Terminal 1 in Singapore that features a rooftop pool that even has a jacuzzi and poolside bar.
16 Tattoo Parlor
While people wouldn't immediately think that an airport would be the place to get the best tattoo, that doesn't mean that there aren't any airports that feature tattoo parlors. There are actually a few airports that allow travelers to get a tattoo while waiting for their flight. The Salong Betong venue is a tattoo parlor at Gate 12 at the Stockholm Arlanda Airport and there is even a shuttle service to a tattoo parlor from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. Urban's Tattoos & Piercing Studio all travelers to book an appointment and a shuttle picks up at the airport and brings them back before their next flight.
Many travelers often like to partake in some leisurely activities when taking a trip, which can often include golf. There are a number of different golf courses all over the world that are highly sought-after travel destinations but some people might be surprised to learn that there is an airport that actually offers golf to travelers. The Sky 72 Golf Club in Seoul Incheon is a five minute ride from the airport and it offers a free shuttle to those that would like to partake in either nine or 18 holes of golfing while they're waiting for their next flight.
14 Nature Trail
With air travel often being thought of as a bit of a stressful event for some people, it's interesting how some airports have decided to infuse a bit of nature in more than just their aesthetic. The Nature Trail at Singapore Changi is a great example of this since it features the famed Cactus Garden in Terminal 1 of the airport. It boasts a rooftop garden that features over 100 different types of cactus and there is even a Sunflower and Orchid Gardens in Terminal 2 of the airport. This allows travelers to immerse themselves in nature and it's thought of as a great way to destress while traveling.
13 Wedding Chapel
There are millions of people year-round that turn to air travel as a means to celebrate love, whether it's traveling to a destination wedding or hosting a wedding themselves. Yet, people might be surprised to learn that there are actually airports that have their very own chapels and people can get married without ever leaving the terminals. Frankfurt International offers an all-inclusive wedding package for those that want to host their wedding there and Manchester International offers the option of ceremonies being held under the wings of a British Airways Concorde. St. Louis Lambert International and Stockholm Arlanda also offer wedding packages and it's surprising how many travelers have actually chosen this for their wedding destination.
12 Beer Garden
For those traveling for pleasure, it's not surprising that there are a number of places that are considered for unwinding with a drink or two. Yet, travelers might be interested to learn that they don't even have to leave the airport to indulge a bit and it might be better than anything they'd expect. Instead of a miniature bottle of alcohol, Airbrau at Munich International gives travelers the full experience in a traditional Bavarian beer garden. It can seat up to 600 people and has become a huge draw to travelers due to its German specialties and wide range of crafted beers.
While there has always been a huge fascination with the cultivation and flavor experience of drinking wine, it seems like people have started to branch out into other specialty alcoholic beverages over the years. In an effort to reach people that hold a special place in their hearts for crafted cocktails, there are two airports that actually offer distilleries. The House Spirits Distillery at Portland International is known for its tasting room and wide variety of cocktails and London's Gatwick International features The Nicholas Culpeper to its travelers. Although visiting a distillery may not be every traveler's dream, there are still those that really enjoy something a bit unique in their airport travels.
10 Caviar Bar
Caviar is often thought of as something that caters towards the tastes of the elite because of the infamously high cost. While there are those that simply enjoy it because of the elite status it can sometimes bring, there are others that truly enjoy the taste. While going to a caviar bar may not be everyone's forte when traveling, that doesn't mean that there aren't those that would be overjoyed at the thought of indulging in a bit of caviar while traveling. John F. Kennedy International airport offers the Prunier Caviar Bar and the popularity of it has had other airports adopt this offering as well.
9 Oxygen Bar
Oxygen bars have become increasingly popular in recent years since people are starting to pay attention to air quality and the way the body reacts to certain enzymes and elements. While visiting an oxygen bar can be a novelty activity for people, that doesn't mean that it's limited to social engagements. Tokyo's Narita International Airport offers an oxygen bar that caters towards those that might be experiencing the negative effects of jet lag and travel. From oxygen infused with eucalyptus menthol to a myriad of other offerings, it's interesting how many travelers actually partake in this to ease travel headaches or reduce their overall jet lag.
8 Winter Market
When it comes to traveling, it seems like shopping can be a huge aspect of how people are able to pick up a few things to add to the memories of their trip. While there are numerous airports that offer a wide array of shopping options for travelers, there is one airport that goes above and beyond in the shopping option. Munich Airport features a Winter Market that brings on the magic of winter and the holidays, with a huge area that allows travelers to really immerse themselves in this spirit. With hundreds of Christmas trees and a wide array of holiday-themed crafts and goods, this is definitely something to check out if traveling through Munich.
7 Water Garden
While there are numerous airports that have put a great deal of thought into the layout of the space, it seems like many of them focus on the convenience for the traveler rather than the actual décor. Yet, there are some airports that have gone all out in their décor in a way that really make them stand out. The King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia features a water garden that is absolutely breathtaking to behold for travelers. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Saudi Arabia would really debut opulence in its airports since it famously has a designated VIP airport for dignitaries.
6 Grave Marker
While other airports offer amenities that often appear in five-star hotels, that doesn't mean that all of them have that same sort of opulence. Yet, there is still a bit of appeal to an airport that offers a feature that is completely unique. The Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Georgia has a colorful history that many travelers might find quite interesting. When the airport was set to expand a bit during the 1980s, there was an issue with a nearby cemetery being in the way of the expansion. Without permission with the next of kin, there were some graves that remained and have become part of the runway.
5 Beach Runway
When it comes to airport runways, many people think of the perfectly paved runways they see at big-city airports. Yet, that doesn't mean that they are all the same, all over the world. Instead, there are a few airports that don't have that standard runway and, instead, the planes use a beach as the runway. Barra Airport in Scotland famously uses a beach runway and it's not just a designated beach specifically for the airport. It's a beach that has numerous visitors each year and beachcombers need to be informed when it will be used for the airport runway.
4 Runway Over The Sea
With it being far more common for people to travel and seek out the farthest corners of the globe, it's not surprising that many airports have had to undergo an expansion over the years. The Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport in Portugal had to embark on an expansion during the 1980s and it completely changed the runway. While the former runway was quite short, the new expansion allowed for an elongated runway. However, people might be interested to learn that the runway juts over the sea and there is a platform that hovers over the ocean. With a portion of it being on land and the other portion over water, this is definitely an airport that is quite unique.
3 Hair Salon
There was once a time when air travel featured travelers being all dressed up when boarding an airplane but that no longer seems to be the case. Instead, the new norm seems to revolve around comfort and travelers can often be seen wearing leggings and sneakers when walking through an airport. Yet, there are some airports that let people look their very best when they finally make it to their destination. JetBlue features quite a sizable spa in New York's JFK airport and it offers hair services for those traveling through. While people may not want to have a service from a hairdresser they don't know, the blow-out service seems to be a favorite to freshen up a traveler's look.
While there are some travelers that know the inner workings of the VIP lounges at various airports, the majority of those partaking in air travel don't really think about it. However, those that travel for business or have a vigorous traveling lifestyle can know some of the more lavish amenities featured in VIP lounges at various airports. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York's JFK airport is a lounge that caters directly towards those traveling with Singapore Suites. Passengers are able to use this clubhouse lounge and it looks like something out of a hip downtown setting, complete with billiards.
While people often think of traveling as a leisurely activity, it's not the actual traveling part that they mean. Instead, they're referring to the actual destination since the traveling portion can sometimes be a bit stressful. In an effort to cater towards travelers in giving them a bit of calm, there are numerous airports that offer full-service spas that allow people to pop in for a relaxation and tension-removal service. From Swedish massages to specialty spa services, there are even airports that feature a hot stone massage for travelers. New York's JFK airport has a 1,000 square foot spa that even has acupuncture.
Sources: CNN, Sky 72, The Points Guy, Daily Mail, Oktoberfest Travel, PDX Eater, D’Marge, Lonely Planet, Get Lost Magazine, Arizona Central, Pet Guide, Trip Advisor, Thrillist, Destination KSA, The State, Travel & Leisure