8 Unusual Airports

When the unexpected happens


Airports these days offer so much more than just shopping and food. But some of them are downright weird. From giant slides to miniature terminals, and priceless works of art, here’s our rundown on eight of the world’s most unusual airport terminals.

1. Zurich Airport

Until recently, the only way to find out what goes on behind the scenes at an airport was to get a job there. But at Zurich Airport, you can skip all of that with a guided tour that gives you a look into its airside operations. You’ll need to book the two-hour tour six weeks in advance and the minimum age is primary school (grade 3). They’ll even organise a drinks reception if you want to celebrate a special occasion.

2. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Most travellers are used to browsing duty free to kill time at the airport… but admiring a van Gogh? You can do that at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which has a small museum managed by the Rijksmuseum. It’s free to visit, and exhibitions change all the time. Previous shows have covered Rembrandt, Henry Moore and van Gogh, as well as Asian works such as a collection of Japanese prints.

3. Eindhoven Airport

Anyone who has ever driven around an airport car park trying to find a space within walking distance of the terminal will understand the frustration it causes. This is what makes Eindhoven, the Netherlands’ second-largest airport, so different. They allocate prime parking spots right outside the entrance for their social media fans. Like the airport on Facebook and you could win the right to park in the blue spaces, complete with fast-track security clearance and free meals.

4. Gibraltar Airport

There is no shortage of novelties inside airport terminals, but Gibraltar Airport is memorable for a different reason: it’s probably the only airport in the world where your flight might be delayed by passing traffic. Land is so scarce that the main highway runs across the airport, complete with railroad-style barriers to stop cars every time a plane takes off or lands.

5. Heathrow Airport and others

Gone are the days of airport food being limited to pre-packaged sandwiches and weak coffee. Gordon Ramsey’s airport venture, Plane Food, offers delights like short-rib burgers to passengers at London’s Heathrow. Other airport restaurants run by Michelin-rated chefs include Top Air by Claudio Urru at Stuttgart Airport, Altitude by Gilles Dupont, Thomas Byrne, Fabien Legon at Geneva Airport, and La Moraga by Dani Garcia at Malaga Airport.

Image of chefs cooking in a professional kitchen/restaurant kitchen.

6. Boston Logan International Airport

We all know how hard it can be to keep little ones entertained at the airport. So Boston Logan has a novel solution: an airport of their own. The Kidport, found in all three terminals, comes complete with climbing frames shaped like aeroplanes, a runway, and even a mini control tower. A great way for them to burn off some energy before boarding.

7. Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Most travellers are relieved to get off the plane. But if, for some reason, you haven’t got your fill, then Jumbo Stay, next to Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, is for you. The first of its kind, this hotel is built inside a converted 747, complete with a café, conference rooms, and sleeping facilities for eight. The luxury suite (in the cockpit, of course) comes complete with panoramic views and the plane’s controls. For a layover to remember, Jumbo Stay may be hard to beat.

8. Changi International Airport

With a butterfly garden, a giant indoor slide, and free movie theatre, there’s plenty to do for the whole family at Changi International. And if you do find yourself with time to spare, where else in the world can you take a rooftop swim while waiting for your flight?

Image of woman in a pool.