At some point while travelling, you will encounter the dreaded, extended-layover. Tired and jet-lagged from your first flight, you might be feeling a little exhausted. Most likely, you just want to get to your destination. Despite the hassle, being stuck at an international gateway doesn’t have to be miserable. Here at Points Reckoning, we sometimes look forward to them. With a Priority Pass lounge membership, included with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum, or Citi Prestige card, a layover might actually be part of your vacation.
So, if you want to start your holiday early, try picking a flight that lays-over in one of the world’s best. To avoid a completely chaotic experience, avoid our worst.
The 3 Best Airports for Layovers
Singapore Changi International, Singapore (SIN)
Singapore’s Changi International takes our top spot, hands down! There are more than enough activities within the complex to keep yourself entertained for hours. Staff members are extremely friendly, the airport is run smoothly, and the attractions offered are mind-blowing.
There is a sauna, spa, free movie theater, koi pond, swimming pool, as well as plenty of duty free shops. There is also free WiFi, kid’s play areas, beauty parlors, showers and lounges. If you are really lost for things to do, or just want to get out of the terminal, the airport even provides a FREE transit city tour.
The Changi Airport has won awards for being the best in the world several years in a row, and we can see why. This is truly a world-class facility, a destination in itself.
Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)
Trying hard to bump #1 from it’s spot is Seoul’s Incheon International Airport. It is modern, organized, and has great customer service. Moreover, plenty of service facilities will keep you entertained during your stay.
The airport has a casino, several gardens, free massage chairs, free WiFi, plenty of duty free shops, a transit hotel, a free Korean cultural experience museum and shows…even a golf course. Much like Singapore’s Changi International, Incheon offers a free city tour for passengers with a layover of 8 hours or more.
After a stay at Incheon International, you are bound to feel relaxed and ready for your onward flight.
Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
Munich Airport is busy! It is actually one of the busiest in Europe. Surpisingly, with the number of services available and amazing German efficiency, you will hardly notice. The airport offers free WiFi, plenty of restaurants and shops, showers, lounges, a casino and a barbershop. Most noteworthy, MUC houses the world’s first airport brewery. In addition, city tours for those staying for at least 8 hours are available.
And…the 3 Worst
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International, Saudi Arabia (JED)
Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz Airport has been called many things, and none of them are complimentary. Travelers have described JED restrooms as “filthy”, immigration as “disastrous” and baggage as a “war zone”. Restaurants are few and far between. Shopping is close to non-existent. Possibly worst of all, there is no alcohol. Unless you have lounge access, a layover in Jeddah will be very slow and very boring. There are limited restrooms, lots of queues and A LOT of people. However, there is reasonably good, free WiFi. If you are unfortunate enough to transit through JED, make sure you pack you tablet, phone or laptop, or a really good book.
Los Angeles International Airport, USA (LAX)
Busy, chaotic, confusing, and out-dated; these are just a few of the words to describe LAX. As a result, consider yourself lucky if the airline is savvy enough to pad your layover time. Transfers are a slow and painful process. Walking between gates/terminals is an adventure in itself, and not in a good way. On top of this, services are quite limited. LAX is an airport of haves and have not’s. If you’re fortunate enough to be connecting through the Tom Bradley Intentional Terminal, and have access to a lounge, it’s quite comfy. However, if you’re like most people and bide your time in the terminal, head to the travel shop and grab some aspirin, because you’ll probably be leaving with a headache.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, France (CDG)
The biggest downside to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport is not the lack of facilities, but rather getting between the terminals. It seems like this airport is one big maze with confusing, or non-existant signage. With Paris being one of the most visited cities in the world, you would certainly expect better. There are also no 24-hour restaurants or shops, and very limited facilities in most terminals. To top it off, the free WiFi works about as well as you would expect for the price.
What’s your favorite airport to spend a layover in? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.