From New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to California’s San Francisco International Airport, and many in between, U.S. airports have been making changes big and small in order to improve the experience for travelers. When it comes to some of these improvements, you might not believe these places and things exist in airports.
San Francisco’s first claim to airport recreation fame is housing the first accredited airport art museum in the world. The SFO museum is home to 65 permanent works of art and it hosts more than 20 temporary exhibits. If you were to visit now, you’d find stained glass, Korean ceramics and a series of culturally varied doors.
Other major perks for travelers include free Wi-Fi throughout the entire airport, a 150-square-foot yoga room and an aquarium featuring sea life from three separate aquatic communities.
What’s more incredible than seeing your favorite band play live? How about seeing them live while waiting for a flight? Some of the best-known artists in the world have performed at JFK as a part of the “Live from T5” concert series since it began in 2009. Big names that have played at the JetBlue terminal include Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Phillip Phillips.
JFK, particularly terminal 5, is also famous for fantastic food. Food & Wine magazine praised the terminal for its variety of fine restaurants—from French food to Sushi, it’s all just steps away from the gate.
Best known for high-end shopping, Miami International has plenty to keep travelers occupied. Stores like Coach, Brookstone and Emporio Armani line the terminals and have led the airport to a top ten spot on CheapFlight’s best airports for shopping list. The Miami mall-like airport was the only American one to make it on the list.
Airport amenities aren’t only about catering to humans; luxuries have extended to their furry four-legged companions as well. All airports are required to have a place for dogs to relieve themselves before a flight but Atlanta has taken it to the next level, providing three areas—one of which is a park. The 1,000-square-foot, fully fenced in dog park is lovely, complete with two giant dog-themed pieces of art and benches. Added bonus: they provide biodegradable waste bags.
Three spas, a hair salon and a 1.4-mile indoor walking path should certainly be enough to keep you occupied at this airport, but if you’re looking for a little bit of downtime there’s a kiosk you’ll want to visit. Minneapolis was the first airport to install a Digiboo, a service where travelers can choose from more than 800 movies to buy ($14.99) or rent ($3.99) and then download onto their electronic device.
At first glance it may not seem like Burlington International has a whole lot going on but they were first in the country to include one particular important amenity. About a year ago, they installed a privacy pod for pumping or nursing moms. The pod is a clean, safe spot with plenty of room for luggage and strollers and it’s a huge win for traveling moms who prefer privacy.
The airport also has local food staples Skinny Pancake and The Chubby Muffin, which provide quality meals at reasonable prices.
50 shops, 3 massage centers and restaurants for any craving you might have (including bison burgers) are certainly enough to keep most travelers occupied, but Denver International has a few understated features worth mentioning. The underground shuttle doubles as an art exhibit, as the tunnel walls are lined with light and motion art pieces and the 365-foot-long glass walkway between Jepsen Terminal and Concourse A features a see-through floor overlooking the active airfield.