Passing the time during long airport layovers is becoming easier, as airlines and airports boost their facilities. As a helping hand for international travellers, Flight Centre has compiled a list of possible activities that may appeal to those who aren’t prepared to simply wait patiently in the transit lounge for their departing flight.
Luxury spas are now standard features at the world’s major international airports. Examples include Virgin’s Cowshed spas in the UK and the Timeless spas at Dubai International Airport.
Tie the knot
Several airports allow travellers to get hitched within the terminal, or in other dedicated facilities. Amsterdam’s major airport, Schiphol, has become one of the most popular airport wedding destinations and has a number of options for couples to choose from, including hangar-based ceremonies.
Lounge in style
Guide book specialist Frommer’s, in conjunction with USA Today, recently judged Cathay Pacific’s The Wing at Hong Kong Airport as the world’s leading lounge. The lounge has long been a favourite for travellers, with its hotel-style private cabanas proving particularly popular.
Shop for a bargain
If you need a last-minute gift, Heathrow is the place to be. According to Skytrax, the famous London airport has the world’s best shopping. In all, Heathrow's terminals have more than 80 stores, including Harrods, Tiffany & Co, Prada and Gucci.
If you’re looking for a second hand bargain and are passing through town at the right time of year, you might be able to attend a lost and found auction at Miami International Airport (MIA) According to the airport, hundreds of items went under the hammer at the most recent auction in March, including phones, suitcases, DVD players and jewellery that went MIA at MIA.
Catch a movie
Hong Kong International Aiport has a 4D Extreme Screen, which is reportedly the largest in Asia. The cinema is located on Level 6 of Terminal 2, near two other favourites – the I-Sport simulator and the Playstation Gateway.
Travellers passing through Birmingham Airport in the UK can enhance the holiday smile by taking advantage of a 20-minute teeth whitening service offered by the Smile Company.
If you feel like a drink, The Center Bar at Switzerland's Zurich Airport has just been named the world’s best airport bar at the inaugural Airport Food and Beverage Awards. Those seeking a caffeine hit can try Frankfurt Airport’s Perfect Day, a coffee and sandwich specialist that was honoured in the non-alcoholic section at the same awards.
Take the plunge, or play a round
The Ambassador Hotel at Singapore’s Changi Aiport has a rooftop pool and is located within the airport’s Transit Mall, which means that hotel guests can swim, sleep or use the 24-hour gym without clearing immigration.
Golfers can play a round at the Sky City Nine Eagles Golf Course, near Terminal 2 at Hong Kong International Airport. Equipment rental, baggage storage and a pro-shop are available at the course.
Something for the kids
Air France has developed a business lounge specifically for children who are travelling alone - “unaccompanied minors” in airline-speak. The lounge at Paris-Orly airport has a range of dedicated facilities for kids including DVDs, toys and books. Supervision is provided.
Try your luck
Where else but Las Vegas? If you’re wondering what to do with your spare change before you take off for home, McCarran International Airport has more than 1200 slot machines in its terminals.