One thing you don’t often get to do when you’re spending time in an airport: get some fresh air. We’re accustomed to having the option to shop, eat and drink, or wander aimlessly while awaiting a flight, but having the chance to spend some time outside isn’t usually on the list of things to do at the airport. However, that isn’t always the case. More and more airports around the world are offering travellers the chance to soak up some sunshine before a flight. If that sounds like something that would make your trip more enjoyable, check out our picks for the top 10 airport outdoor spaces, where you can catch some rays while waiting to catch your flight.
JetBlue T5 Rooftop at JFK, New York, New York
JetBlue opened its multi-use outdoor space in New York at JFK in 2015. The rooftop lounge is post-security and open to all customers, not just members of VIP programs. Coming in at just over 1,200 square metres, the dog-friendly outdoor lounge has a wooden deck, food carts, aluminum furniture, an area for canine travellers dubbed “Wooftop”, grassy areas for relaxing, planters, a kids’ play area and free Wi-Fi. With all that you might not even care about delays or long layovers.
Amsterdam Schiphol’s Airport Park, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Travellers at Amsterdam Schiphol can get a breath of fresh air at the airport’s indoor/outdoor park, located in the departures hall, upstairs near Lounge 1. The relaxing space features a park-themed indoor lounge with an adjoining open air terrace where travellers can do some plane-spotting while getting some fresh air and sunshine. Indoors you’ll find beanbag chairs, lounge chairs, stationary bikes that will charge your phone while you pedal and Park Café, the only café beyond passport control that has an outdoor terrace.
Larry Berg Flight Path Park at Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver
More near the airport than actually part of it, you’ll have to enjoy this outdoor space either before you get into the airport or once you leave. Either way, Flight Path Park at Vancouver International is a great spot to catch some sun while plane-spotting. The Vancouver park is located directly in line with the end of the south runway making it a particularly ideal area for watching planes soar overhead. The park also has picnic tables, paper airplane benches, walking trails and a bike tune-up station.
Terrace at Sydney International Airport, Sydney, Australia
Chances are, if you’re flying out of Sydney International, the journey ahead of you will be a long one. Take some time to relax outdoors before your flight out of Terminal 1 at The Terrace Bar, Bistro & Café, located before customs. Order a drink from the outdoor bar, which sits adjacent to the airport’s observation deck, and then enjoy it in the beer garden while you prepare for your next adventure.
Pool lounge and observation deck at Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
Waiting for a flight can be stressful, but less so if you’re lounging poolside with cocktail in hand, which is something you can easily do at Changi Airport. The rooftop pool here is spacious, clean and inviting, and there’s also a jacuzzi, poolside bar and shower facilities. The airport oasis is located at Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 and is free for guests of the hotel. Otherwise, anyone can pay the fee of $17 Singapore dollars (roughly $16), which gets you admission, a towel, a locker and a bottle of water.
Star Alliance Lounge at LAX, Los Angeles, California
The Star Alliance Lounge at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal has a lot going for it in the way of style and amenities. The lounge, for passengers flying business class or who have Star Alliance gold status, can be found on level six after security and it’s only accessible by travellers departing from Tom Bradley International. But, if you’re lucky enough to get inside, you’ll be rewarded with an expansive outdoor terrace that offers views over the airfield and the Los Angeles Hollywood Hills. Sip a complimentary cocktail in the sun, or, in the evening, enjoy the terrace’s fireplace.
Sky Deck at Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
Get outside at Hong Kong International via the Sky Deck,a large outdoor deck where anyone interested in aviation, or who just wants some fresh air at the airport, can watch planes landing and taking off. Located in Terminal 2 on level six, the Sky Deck is part of the airport’s Aviation Discovery Centre (ADC), a small but informative aviation museum with a series of exhibits that focus on aviation development in Hong Kong.
Delta’s Sky Deck at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia
The international terminal (Terminal F) at Hartsfield-Jackson is home to Delta’s Sky Club, which happens to have a large outdoor terrace complete with comfy couches and great views of the runways. There’s Wi-Fi if you need to get some work done between flights plus complimentary food and drinks. Passengers looking for a little outside time can access the space in a few ways: with a Sky Club membership, a premium ticket for an international flight that day, or by purchasing a pass for $50 USD.
Delta’s Sky Deck at JFK, New York, New York
Get yourself to Terminal 4 at JFK to experience another of Delta’s Sky Club lounges that boasts a sleekly designed outdoor space. JFK was actually the first to get a Sky Deck in 2013, followed by Hartsfield. This one is on the roof of Terminal 4’s Concourse B (after security) and comes equipped with lots of tables and areas to relax outside, as well as outlets to charge your devices. As with the Sky Club in Atlanta, you can get in with a Sky Club membership, if you’re travelling internationally in Delta’s Business Elite cabin, or you can pick up a day pass which can be purchased for $50 USD.
Virgin Atlantic’s Virgin Heathrow Clubhouse, London, UK
Members of Virgin’s Flying Club Gold program or those who have a ticket for Upper Class can enjoy the airline’s Clubhouse at London‘s Heathrow Airport, located in Terminal 3 airside through the duty-free shops. In addition to a bar, restaurant, games room, kids’ play area, library and entertainment area with TVs, there’s also a secluded roof garden for travellers looking to get some air. Grab a drink in the lounge and head up to the garden, find a seat and relax.
Featured image: istockphoto/Poike