The average person isn’t going out their way to hang out in the airport. You won’t catch folks knocking back beers in baggage claim or getting the party started in the TSA line. In general, these spaces were built some time ago with a focus on functionality. And though small changes have been made to accommodate the increase in passengers and provide some degree refuge for the weary, many airports are still simply awful — which makes finding an innovative, fun, or downright fascinating airport truly a pleasant surprise.
We’ve gathered 10 airports from around the globe that are sure to complicate your hatred these ten-ominous structures. After all, how can you loathe a place with a four-story slide or a freaking rainforest inside? Better to save your animosity for public restrooms and the D.M.V. and consider re-routing your next flight through at least one the airports on this list. A few are even worth scheduling a long layover just to explore.
Changi Airport — Changi, Singapore
For the past seven years, the London-based research firm Skytrax has named Changi Airport the world’s best airport, and it has snagged this title 10 times in the 20-year history the World Airport Awards. Impressive, right? There’s more — Changi has been given roughly 600 total awards excellence, and 30 them were “best airport” honors in 2018 alone. There may not be another airport that is this freaking cool (or lauded), and it only takes one layover to turn a weary traveler into a believer.
There are four terminals and between them, passengers can access a butterfly garden with as many as 40 species represented, a bunch other gardens like the sunflower and the cactus ones, a heritage zone that looks like a showcase Peranakan shophouses, an entertainment area with arcade games and Xbox Kinects, a four-story-high slide (the largest in an airport), and a rotop swimming pool. In April 2019, a multi-use structure called the Jewel Changi Airport launched and it expanded the opportunities for adventure with a hedge maze, a rain vortex, a canopy bridge, sky nets for walking and bouncing, and a mirror maze.
No lie, this is the kind airport where you want to be waylaid for hours.