I’m not a great flyer and friends and relatives don’t like flying with me. I’m one of those people who clutch my loved one’s arms, clenching my fingers into their skin, and staring at them without blinking while I imagine falling from the sky with my whole life to think about on my way down. I also feel that sitting in a big chunk of metal in the sky is a very unnatural phenomenon for a human.
Not a fan of flying
There are certain points in the flight I like. These are apparently the most dangerous, according to my husband and various experts. I absolutely love take-off and landing. But once the plane has leveled out and I’m sitting in the sky above the clouds chomping on chips, sipping champagne and trying to distract myself with a chick flick, there’s still way too many hours to think.
Even with headphones on and 80s tunes blaring in my ears, I just can’t help thinking about how a plane might:
- Lose a wing
- Catch on fire
- Lose a few bolts holding something important on – like my seat
- Fly into a bird or a storm
- Fly into another random plane
- Crash due to ‘human error’
- Have its doors fall out
- Have its roof peel off
- Too much turbulent turbulence
OK. The writer in me does let my imagination run wild but….
I think planes should flap like birds.
But, I love airports!
I’m unusual because unlike many travellers I actually love airports. There are many reasons for the loving airports but my main reasons are:
- Pre-flight: I’m not on the flight yet
- Post-flight: I’ve arrived alive and it’s time to celebrate my miraculous arrival
I also love the smell of airport fumes and the thrill of travelling itself. Travel is truly an intrinsic luxury in life we should all enjoy and often.
But some people don’t like airports
But other people aren’t as happy as me to be hanging around an airport. While mums like me relish their time sniffing soap, spraying themselves with perfume, flipping through magazines and sipping a wine at the gate – other travellers are more pessimistic and dislike the endless security lines, in-between overlays, and the stupidly high prices for simple necessities like M & M’s and water.
Tip people: BYO M&M’s and water. Much cheaper
Interesting experiences I’ve had at airports
As for airports themselves, I’ve had some interesting experiences during my travel days. Ten years ago (before kids) I counted that I had taken over 600 flights in my lifetime. Since then I reckon that number might be over 650 or so now.
Now that’s a lot of flights for a person who hates to fly but, in my mind, there’s just way too many amazing destinations and airports around – not to take that flight. My historical journeys have proven that scaring the pants off myself and frequently have been more than worth the ride in terms of the amazing final destinations I’ve discovered.
Here are a few airport and flying experiences I’ve had over the years
- Vancouver: Trying to fly to Calgary because they filled the plane up with enough fuel to fly to Mexico. We all elected to fly anyway so they flew us back and forth over the Rockies all day to burn the fuel off. Yeah. We all knew those mountains pretty well after that.
- Italy: Pilots were late. They arrived red-faced like they’d both been drinking all afternoon. They were very jovial. The flight was what I call ‘a bumpy kind of happy.’ Amazing we survived.
- Brisbane: The plane should never have left the ground. They flew us straight into an electrical storm. The power went out at the airport. Scariest flight of my life. Lucky to be here.
- Wellington: Pilot aborted landing at the last minute. Enjoyed that one. It was like being in a Wii Game. Hubby not so sure.
- Korea: No seat due to duplicated seating issue but was flying with an international Cello association. All the Cellos had seats and I didn’t. They put me in the jump seat! Then I was taken to first class where I sat next to the Conductor and his Cello. He gave me all the Cello’s food and wine and then invited me to the Concert! Awesome flight and what a silver lining on a bad experience. Real cutlery and plates in first-class. Nice.
- Tokyo: Male flight attendant woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me if I’d like to join his ‘mile high club.’ Yeah, believe it. And since you are wondering – yes, I politely declined…hmmm…
Remember the days when smoking was allowed on planes? WOW.
Anyway! I’ve been thinking that if you are going to get stuck at an airport inbetween flights, make sure it’s a world-class destination in itself. And make sure you top up your credit card or grab a travel card before leaving home (e.g like a Travel Money Oz travel card)– because airports aren’t the cheapest places to get stuck in.
Here’s my list of the world’s top 4 amazing airports to get stuck in
1. Heathrow Airport, London
Festivals are usually reserved for streets and cultural centres, not airports, right? Well, like the rest of the airports in this list, Heathrow exists outside the airport square. Heathrow boasts Whiskey festivals and children’s performance groups, Families can reserve milk and food for their newborns, and business travellers are offered personal shoppers! Heathrow even plays to your inner yuppie, boasting art galleries, fine dining at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant, and even an 11,000 square-foot Harrods department store!
2. Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport is an enchanting world for adults wanting to channel their inner child.Stressed-out travellers can enjoy sliding down a 40-foot slide in their business attire, hold a fluttery critter in the butterfly farm, or resting their weary heads by taking a nap in a rainforest! Relaxing!
3. Incheon International Airport, Seoul
For a digitally-enhanced fast-paced adrenaline fuelled experience consider Incheon for your stop-over destination. Take your restless kids through an 18-hole mini golf course, an ice skating rink, or spend some time in one of their two movie theatres. If traveling alone go camping! Yes. This airport boasts seven charming gardens. Finally there’s a long list of business amenities including free showers, free WI-FI and more.
4. The Munich Airport, Munich
Our final destination today is Munich Airport and it’s famous brewery. Müncheners actually visit their local airport themselves to indulge in a glass of Munich’s finest beer! Considering Munich is also a prolific business hub, Napcabs are also available. These include a fully a couchette, TV, Wi-Fi, and a desk.
Have I missed any off the list? Tell us about the best airport that you’ve ever been to in the comments below!