July, 2013

Modern air travel gets a bad rap, and frankly, most of it’s deserved. Exorbitant luggage fees, long lines, and invasive security screenings are among the top complaints of

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travelers–and that’s before you even get on the plane. Despite these much-maligned issues, airports are working hard to improve the passenger experience. The following seven amenities found around the world are only a smattering of the big steps airport authorities are taking to reverse their reputations and put air travel back on the map.

1. Take a nature walk at Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN). Once voted the “best airport in the world for sleeping,” Changi offers a holistic experience for travelers, from world-class fitness and spa services to sprawling indoor nature trails in each terminal. Explore Terminal 1’s award-winning cactus garden, meander quietly through Terminal 2’s fern garden and koi pond, or delight and de-stress in the butterfly garden found in Terminal 3.

2. Rock, roll, jump and jive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Dubbed “the live music capital of the world,” Austin has a reputation to uphold. Local musicians take the stage several times a week at various venues throughout the airport, offering ticketed passengers the opportunity to blow off some steam to live jazz, rock, country and more.

3. Get your fur fix at Miami International Airport (MIA). Casey, a certified therapy dog, and her owner, airport volunteer Liz Miller, routinely patrol MIA’s sprawling terminal to comfort passengers who might be fearful, stressed, or just in need of a hug. The 69-pound golden retriever has her own ID badge and business cards, and her fluffy coat and smiling face is an irresistible bright spot in a day of rigorous traveling.

4. Sample local flavor at Munich Airport, Germany (MUC). Airbräu, the world’s only airport brewery, fittingly makes its home in Munich. Enjoy traditional Bavarian fare in the Airbräu pub, or get some fresh air in their outdoor beer garden. A packed live entertainment calendar makes Airbräu so much more than just an airport bar–it’s a destination all its own.

5. Dine in out-of-this-world style at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Encounter, a towering space-themed restaurant at LAX, is more than just retro architecture and lava lamps. Their impressive menu is decidedly Californian, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients and modern flavors. encounter 5

6. Pregame like a pro at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas (LAS). In a city synonymous with partying, it makes sense that its airport would help visitors jump right in to (or prolong) the festivities. Liquor Library, the country’s first non-duty free airport liquor store, answers the call with a huge selection of wine, beer, liquor, mixers, barware, and more–all at prices you’d expect to pay outside the airport.

7. Catch forty winks at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam (AMS). Yotel, Schiphol’s micro-hotel, offers layover passengers an affordable, private room to rest and refresh themselves between flights. Each of Yotel’s rooms feature comforts like a pull-out bed, wi-fi, TV, private bathrooms, and even wall sockets–so your electronics can recharge, too. 

 

Guest blogger Nelson Carvalheiro is a travel writer and manager of a boutique hotel. In this entry, he shares his insider tips on how you can score fabulous hotel deals–anywhere!

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