When I think of a long wait at an airport, I’m inclined to imagine doing nothing but reading, shopping, or eating the hours away before a scheduled flight. After all, it seems that’s all one can do in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of passengers equally biding away their time. Some airports, however, have found a way to curb their flyers’ boredom with unique amenities ranging from cool relaxational spaces to the downright odd yet adorable therapy animals.
Below, check out some of the world’s most unusually wonderful airport amenities:
Emotional Support Animals
1. Therapy dogs
Therapy dogs are brought in to calm down nervous or stressed flyers. The program was first established in the U.S. after the 9/11 terror attacks, and has since spread all over various airports in the country. These adorable puppers are made to wear vests or bibs with a "Pet Me" sign so they can be differentiated from service dogs. So far there are 58 airports in the U.S. with Therapy Dog programs including those in San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, Denver, Pheonix, and Orlando.
2. Therapy pig - San Francisco International Airport, U.S.A.
Lilou, San Francisco International Airport's Juliana pig, has her own Instagram account (lilou_sfpig). She joined the airport's team of non-canine trained therapy dogs last December 2016 to help greet and soothe the stress levels of passengers. Her pop-up visits don't have a set schedule, but she usually roves around once a month. Plus, she occasionally dons the most adorable outfits, which usually include a pilot's hat and a tutu. According to USA Today, Lilou is the first pig to be certified in the Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
3. Therapy horses - Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, U.S.A.
As if therapy dogs and pigs weren’t enough, you can also get a load of therapy horses! Miniature ones, of course. These mini equines at the Kentucky International Airport visit the airport twice a month to relieve flyers of their stress. Rather than roaming around past the gates, the horses are usually placed by the ticketing booths to greet passengers.
4. Slides - Changi International Airport, Singapore
The multi-story, 40-feet slides of the Changi Airport in Singapore provide passengers with a unique and fun way to make it to their boarding gates. Running late to your flight? Just zoom past into one of these giant tubes with one each located in Terminals 3 and 4.
5. Golf course - Incheon International Airport, South Korea
If you’ve got enough time to spare before your flight, why not spend your remaining hours playing golf? As part of Incheon Airport’s facilities, guests can take a five-minute shuttle to the Sky72 Golf Club and take lessons for the sport if they’ve never tried it before.
6. Ice skating rink - Munich International Airport, Germany
Every holiday season, the Munich International Airport transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with live music, a winter market, and a free ice skating rink, all located between Terminals 1 and 2. Similar amenities may also be found at the Denver International Airport, and the John F. Kennedy Airport.
7. Beer garden - Munich International Airport, Germany
Get a taste of Munich Airport’s home brew at their Bavarian-inspired beer garden, which notably costs less than the drinks inside the aiport’s bar. Dubbed the Airbräu, it’s the only aiport brewery in the world and is recognized as Europe’s largest roofed beer garden. They also serve a delectable menu of Bavarian dishes if you’re not much of a drinker.
8. Hot springs - New Chitose Airport, Japan
If you’re in need of cooling down after long weeks of gallivanting throughout Japan, you can thankfully dip into their relaxing hot springs before your flight. The New Chitose Airport Onsen is located on the fourth floor of the airport’s domestic terminal, which is situated near the snowy city of Sapporo, making it an especially perfect amenity during the holiday season. According to the airport’s official website, bathing in their hot springs “improves blood circulation and is effective to incision, burn and chronic skin disease as well as children weakness and chronic gynopathy.”
9. Indoor Swimming pool – Hamad International Airport, Qatar
Make sure to pack a bathing suit in your carry-on if you’ve got a long layover in Doha ahead of you. Located in the Hamad International Airport’s transit hotel is the The Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre, a top of the line spa equipped with a temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool, anti-jet lag massages, and rejuvenating facials and body treatments, and a hydrotherapy tub. Passengers may reserve beforehand by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Yoga Room - San Francisco International Airport, U.S.A.
If you find yourself at the San Francisco International Airport, another way to unwind and relieve yourself of flyer’s anxiety is by making use of their free yoga room. With its walls painted a dusty blue, the room emanates a calming feeling, soothing passengers in need of a tranquil environment amid pesky flight delays.