We tend to think of airports as placed to be endured rather than enjoyed but there are a growing number of airport authorities out to challenge that perception with unique and interactive attractions.
Los Angeles International Airport has gone to the dogs, literally, as it has pioneered a program to bring volunteers and their pets into the airport terminal to help ease travellers connection through LAX. The Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) dogs are registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. and flyers are welcome you to visit, hug, kiss and take pictures with the PUPs when traveling through LAX. There is a photo album of all the dogs on the organization’s website and Serjio is my favorite:
It should be noted Edmonton International Airport has conducted a trial project along the same lines in conjunction with the Pet Society of Northern Alberta over this past Christmas holidays.
Hidden from the active shopping and dining areas of the Singapore’s Changi Airport is the Sunflower garden, a quiet oasis open day and night and filled with the airport nursery’s variety of sunflowers. Given the city state’s location one degree from the equator the tropical climate allows year round enjoyment of this space which is especially scenic at night with special lighting.
Sunflower Garden Changi Airport by Rudy Herman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Asia’s largest 4-D projection screen is at the Hong Kong International Airport at the UA IMAX Theatre @Airport and passengers with time on their hands can not only enjoy the latest blockbuster but feel a part of the movie thanks to 3-D glasses and extreme real-life special effects—wind, water, and murky fog like clouds. The last effect may be experienced beyond the theatre as Hong Kong’s climate is often murky and fog like thanks to industrial pollution from massive factory complexes just over the border in Shenzhen, China.
Airport UA IMAX (Hong Kong). by Mk2010 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Passengers with long enough layover at Hong Kong International Airport can also avail themselves of a fairly unique attraction nearby as Hong Kong Disneyland is also located on Lantau Island.
San Francisco International Airport, or SFO using its three letter aviation code, is a major west coast hub to Europe and Asia hosting 51 million passengers per year but few explore the facility’s hidden gems such as the SFO Museum which is located pre-security on the Departures Level of the International Terminal Main Hall. The museum offers accessible art which is my term for modern pop art and culture exhibitions, local art and photography and aviation related retrospectives that can usually offer enough to interest a broad spectrum of travellers. SFO Museum is open daily except Saturdays and public holidays and admission is free so arrive a little early for your next flight from their airport and catch one of the engaging exhibitions.
What could be more natural for an airport than to offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the inner working of the facility? Given modern security considerations not as natural as many aviation enthusiasts would hope however one global gateway going against the grain and offering tours to the public is Toronto’s Pearson International Airport whose 2016 “Airside Tours” can be confirmed in advance over the summer season.
Tic Toc by Faramarz Hashemi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License.
If you’ve encountered a unique airport attraction or facility your enjoyed please comment and let me know!