Sometimes, when you plan an amazing trip abroad, the quality of the airport can be the icing on the cake to a perfect holiday…or can be the thing that drags the whole trip down.
Airports can be small, remote, busy, whatever. But there’s one thing that makes an airport terrible for me and that’s bumping up the prices of everything inside it. I recently took this photo of water bottles inside Frankfurt Airport -
3 euros for a small bottle of water??!! We can’t take water in from the outside, so if we want water we HAVE to pay these prices!
Another airport that I remember being particularly bad for this was Helsinki airport, which I used when I went back to Japan a few years ago. I was so hungry after the flight having only RyanAir style expensive food available to buy, so I went to get a sandwich at the airport. It was something like 7 or 8 euros for just a sandwich! That’s just crazy!
I was also disappointed in New York’s JFK airport. The prices weren’t as jacked up as they are in other places but in terminal 1, where I was, it was shaped like an L and the whole area was just repetitions of the same 3 or 4 shops. What’s more, all the food places sold exactly the same things at the same prices. There was no variation and I didn’t want to eat sandwiches or Pringles.
So what makes a good airport? Let me tell you about my favourite in the world – Singapore airport.
Imagine an airport that has -
Lots of shops with lots of variety.
The ability to just pop out the airport and go to the amazing food court in the basement.
A butterfly farm.
A cinema showing all the latest movies – just walk in and chill out for a bit!
A massive slide.
Did I mention the butterfly farm?
It’s amazing. I’ve been through there 4 times now and I would happily pay extra to go there when I fly to Asia. I’ve even slept there overnight, and that was even great, since they have shower units you can use for a small fee. I’ve never used the cinema, but I love the butterfly garden. They have pineapple everywhere because apparently it’s the catnip of the butterfly world. The city is just a short taxi ride away from the airport and so if you have a connecting flight your suitcases are sorted and you can just drive into town and go eat some delicious local food. Omg.
Frankfurt airport gets a mention in the list of good airports, though. It just tries so hard to be good. Outside the check-in area there are loads of shops and restaurants (all of which are open on Sundays), and the security staff are pretty friendly as far as security staff go. Their motto is “security with a smile” which, admittedly, isn’t always the case, but they have always been super nice to me when I’ve been through there. The downside to Frankfurt airport for me is that although it’s only a short train ride to get there, getting from the train station to the departures is a mighty faff. It’s just so far. And it’s even further walking from your plane to the baggage collection area, then to try and find the train station and then the right platform to get back to town. That last part is very poorly signposted.
What’s your favourite and least favourite airports? Have you spotted outrageously overpriced food and drink in airports?