July 1, 2004 -- Most airports, alas, are pretty dull places. You eat, you shop, you fly. Maybe you're uplifted by that soaring steel-and-glass architecture that most new airport terminals seem to have adopted.
Some airports, though, go out of their way to amuse you. If you're stuck in one of these ten locations, the airport amenities will let hours fly by with ease. Hey, why can't all airports throw in a little fun?
- Win back your airfare at the slot machines in Las Vegas' McCarran Airport . The world's gambling capital has stuffed its airport with quarter and dollar slots. Watch out, though - the airport slots are said to be the 'tightest' (stingiest) in the city.
- Do a few laps in the swimming pool or unwind in the rooftop Jacuzzi at Singapore's Changi Airport. For about $8, you can get a tan, lounge in the sun and splash around while you wait for your next flight.
- Many airports throw a few plants into the terminal to liven things up. But Honolulu's airport wraps around an outdoor Asian garden, a great place to stroll and catch some fresh air if you're just stopping by on the way to another Pacific destination.
- Most transits through Keflavik Airport in Iceland are pretty short, but if you can, extend yours a few hours and grab a cab or take a tour to the Blue Lagoon. A top-notch spa and pool of weird, steaming blue water, it's an experience you'll never forget.
- Immerse yourself in timeless art at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Many airports have seemingly random collections of modern or local art. Only in Amsterdam does 'local art' mean ten Dutch Old Master paintings.
- Practice your puts at the Palm Beach International Airport's nine-hole putting green. For $3, you can get a ball and putter from Sam Snead's Tavern next door and try to bag some birdies as you watch the planes take off.
- Play around at Chicago O'Hare, where the Chicago Childrens Museum's "Kids on the Fly" exhibit lets under-12s simulate every part of the airline experience, including loading baggage, piloting a plane and even running air traffic control - which will mesmerize even the most PlayStation-addled kid.
- Fly without leaving the ground in the motion simulator at Munich Airport in Germany, where you can pretend to ride on a roller coaster or take part in some barn-burning daredevil routines. Hey, if you're stuck waiting for a plane, this might even take some of the edge off the anticipation.
- Surf the Internet for free (if you have a Wi-Fi laptop) in several US airports. The most popular terminals with free Wi-Fi are the food court in Pittsburgh International Airport , JetBlue's Terminal 6 at New York's JFK Airport , and the terminal at Long Beach Airport near Los Angeles. The airports in Richmond, VA , Gainesville, FL, Lexington, KY and Colorado Springs, CO all also have free access.
- Get some fresh air at airport oxygen bars like the one in Detroit's Metro Airport. Oxygen bars pump scented, super-oxygenated air into your nostrils, to help you overcome that stale and crabby feeling you get after spending too much time on a plane or in a terminal.