These Asian airports are becoming destinations in their own right

Who wouldn’t love to be stranded in one of these Asian airports? Source: Shutterstock.

IF THERE’S ONE THING that travelers dislike most about flying, it’s the “in between” time where they’re forced to be idle at an airport with little to do.

Dwelling at a boring airport really takes the fun out of flying and it’s worse for nervous flyers, business travelers, or those traveling with kids in tow.

Airports are what they are – gateway to destinations. At least originally and essentially. But as international tourist arrivals continue to rise*, airport management companies are investing in all sorts to facilitate travelers.

For example, some Asian airports are speeding ahead with facial recognition technology to allow passengers to board their flights faster. In fact, over 60 airports in China have been equipped with facial recognition technology.

Airports are also adding more shops, restaurants, restful spaces, and leisure facilities. So much so that it has become a competition on a global scale, with actual awards and mentions for the creme de la creme. For travelers who have to be at the airport two hours before a flight or those who have to endure a long layover, modern airports spells “dream”.

Plush carpeting, shopping, and transit hostels aside, here are Asian airports that are so beefed up, they’ve become destinations in their own right.

Singapore: Changi Airport

Popularly known as the homeliest of the lot, Singapore’s Changi Airport was named “world’s best airport” by Skytrax for the sixth consecutive year in March 2018. And it’s easy to see why.

Changi Airport is the primary civilian airport for Singapore and one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. Source: Shutterstock.

As the leading international air hub in Asia, Changi serves more than 100 airlines and handles 7,000 scheduled passenger flights per week. That’s one in every 90 seconds.

Championing a unique and world-leading passenger experience, all four terminals have been packed with so many retail, dining, art, and entertainment options, the map is mind-boggling. It’s also probably the only airport in the world that has a butterfly garden you never knew you needed.

So you can be sure to find a plethora of things to do and eat before and after security screening.

Facilities and services:

  • Pay-per-use lounges
  • Free snooze lounges
  • Swimming pool (with Jacuzzi)
  • Butterfly garden
  • Gaming stations
  • Movie theater
  • Indoor slide
  • TV lounges for children
  • Sunflower garden
  • More than 80 restaurants, bars, and fast-food options

South Korea: Incheon Airport

One thing travelers can agree is South Korea’s Incheon Airport well deserves the number two spot that it just cinched.

The sleek, shiny and futuristic Terminal 1 of Incheon Airport. Source: Shutterstock.

As the country’s main international gateway and one that was serving tens of thousands of people during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, it’s important that the building is fully equipped. And it is.

Notably, the ultra-connected airport just unveiled its new state-of-the-art Terminal 2 on Jan 18, 2018, a necessary addition to cater to travelers. Unlike the more futuristic and sleek Terminal 1, Incheon’s beautiful Terminal 2 is decorated in granite and wood and dotted with points of emerald green.

And of course, both terminals boast more leisurely facilities than just shopping.

Facilities and services:

  • Nursing and kids’ zone
  • Medical center
  • Museum
  • Ice skating rink
  • Observatory
  • Dry cleaner’s
  • Movie theater
  • Pay-per-use lounges
  • Spa and sauna
  • A myriad of food options

Japan: Haneda Airport

In 2017, the country attracted a record 28.68 million tourists, reflecting the sixth consecutive yearly increase. As for departures, Japan saw around 45.2 million leaving its shores in the same year.

Haneda Airport’s Edo Market Place recreates buildings from the Edo era and sells food and souvenirs. Source: Shutterstock.

Japan is currently in the midst of a tourism boom and it’s a trend may continue in the build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This means its airports need to be ready.

The Tokyo International Airport, also known as the Haneda Airport, is often praised for its cleanliness and comfort. Coupled with employees that are friendly and efficient, it’s easy to see why the airport cinched a five-star rating as well as third place in the “world’s best airport” poll this year.

Haneda is continuously teching up, but also constantly keeping travelers happy with its facilities and services while striking the perfect balance between culture and modernity.

Facilities and services:

  • Spa
  • Pools
  • Prayer spaces
  • Pet hotel
  • Relaxation salon
  • Shower rooms
  • Observation deck
  • Clinic
  • Museum
  • Free lounges

So, which of the above Asian airports would you love to be stranded in?

*International tourist arrivals grew by a remarkable 7% in 2017 to reach a total of 1,322 million, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.