Departure Points Plus: When the Airport Becomes the Destination by Virginia Haynes Montgomery

Departure Points Plus:
When the Airport Becomes the Destination

With all the bells and whistles at airports today, you might say that they have become a combo of an airport and mall. So many choices can bring about confusion and getting lost at an airport is not exactly a great feeling. Look at it this way — all these opportunities are changing travel for the better. Whether you are stuck in an airport for a couple of hours or you have a short time between connecting flights, you’re actually in luck.

Here are a few tips to help you move about and explore without gathering “excess baggage” by nibbling those tasty treats in airport restaurants:

  • Almost everyone at an international airport speaks some English and most are happy to steer you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask directions.
  • Sometimes people will offer to help and expect a tip if they do.
  • Monitors of departing and arriving flights are helpful but best if you are in the right terminal. Try and stay in the same building as your departure flight for convenience – sake.
  • The duty-free shops can be great with certain items. On the other hand, many items are not cost effective so be cautious of what you purchase.
  • Most airports are being designed by savvy airport architects who do all that they can to make it easier for travelers to maneuver.
  • Before you depart, do some research on any airport you will visit and see what they offer besides departures and landings. Many will surprise you.

To demonstrate how airports have become lifestyle hubs, Z’Scoop has chosen three of the worldwide majors to give you an idea of what’s available. You can find some of the same attractions and services in similar airports all over the world.

Dubai International Airport

Located in the Arab Emirates, Dubai keeps winning the Best Airport in the Middle East award given by Business Traveler Magazine. And well deserved it is! Dubai is where a lot of flights from Asia or Africa arrive with transfers to the US or vice versa. Chances are if you do any international travel, you will wind up here at some point.

The Dubai Airport is known for ultra luxe designer shopping, but if you don’t choose to, take a Power Nap in a Snoozecube instead. If time permits, visit the Health Club and take a dip in the pool, have a sauna, a Jacuzzi or steam bath. Once you’ve restored your body, uplift your spirit in the Zen Garden.

Among other handy services, if you need to stash away some luggage, leave it in the Storage Center while browsing. Got restless youngsters? The Children’s Play Area offers activities designed for kids to get rid of excess energy before getting on a long flight. If you have work to do, use the full-service Business Center.

There’s a whole range of other services. But if you would just like to sit and people watch, the coffee shops supply superb views as well as the very best coffee on the planet.

Franz Josef Strauss Munich Airport Germany

Known as the Best Airport in Europe and happens to be the locale if the only supermarket in Bavaria that is open 24/7, so many locals shop here.

But grocery shopping is just the beginning. You can have a spa treatment, take the kids to a gigantic playroom, and visit one of the libraries where you can rent e-books free. Take a tour in the working brewery. Not to be missed if you have the time is the Visitors Park with its great views where you’ll find three historic aircraft plus a shop that sells aircraft models. Audi has a large training facility on the grounds. You’ll find several information centers. The airport also offers live entertainment with both well known and up and coming artists. Many of these concerts are free if you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Offers just one large terminal so you know you are always in the right building. But it’s the third busiest airport in Europe and has 165 boarding gates so it’s not a piece of cake to explore.   The Transfer Desk is always willing to help you find your gate. The famed Rijksmuseum operates an annex here with an overview of classical and contemporary art. E-books are offered free at the large library. Many couples get married at one of the unusual spaces at Schiphol. There is a pet area, large food court, child play area and supermarket. There is even a flower shop, which sells tulip bulbs all ready for you to bring a bit of Holland home with you. Designer clothes shops are plentiful too, as well as jewelry and accessories.

So before you leave for your next trip, consider shopping or sightseeing at the airport. It might be the best decision of your journey!





 All books are available at Click on titles for more information.

A Week at the Airport
by Alaine Du Botton
Airport Book: The World’s Most Influential Guidebook on International Airports
by Robert Twiggs
Exploring the World: Geography for Travel Professionals
by Nora Starr

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