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Flying in style: What makes an airport luxurious?

heathrow airport london

To say that airports can be stressful places to be is an understatement. What with the hours of boredom waiting for your flight to arrive and the fraught moments of sheer panic as you dash to make the gate before it leaves again, it’s little wonder that many would rather find other ways to travel.

But it doesn’t have to be like this, and thankfully, it often isn’t, with more and more airports taking a refreshingly luxurious approach to departure lounge comfort.

With the type of amenities that are normally found in some of the world’s finest first class hotels, Singapore’s Changi airport is a shining example of airport decadence, providing a welcome sanctuary of calm for the tired frequent flyer.

Having repeatedly scooped the prestigious top prize at the Skytrax World Airport Awards since 1999, it is renowned for providing the utmost of comfort and convenience in a truly luxurious environment.

But just what is it, exactly, that turns the average airport experience from a necessary evil into an out and out treat?

High Class Dining

Airport bar
With classy champagne and cocktail bars, and cigar lounges aplenty, there’s something to cater to every opulent taste

For those who enjoy a spot of luxury, a last minute sandwich or a takeaway burger simply won’t cut the mustard at mealtimes, and a wide range of exclusive, high class eateries drawing influence from across the globe are what make the best airports a cut above the rest. At Tokyo International, it’s fine dining all round, with a host of top Michelin-starred eateries making delectable dinners a given. With classy champagne and cocktail bars, and cigar lounges aplenty, there’s something to cater to every opulent taste.

Luxury Accommodation

Luxury accomodation
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Overnight stays are often inevitable when travelling across the globe, and the most luxurious airports offer a far superior choice than many of their counterparts. Quality accommodation, like citizenM’s unique hotels, add a touch of class to any holiday or business trip, and are often conveniently located just a short distance from the airport. Schiphol in Amsterdam and Paris Charles De Gaulle airport hotel are prime examples.

The most impressive airports provide a private pick up service for passengers, ensuring that luxury is never far away whether you spend just one night at an airport hotel or if it’s your main base for the duration of your trip. Travel can be exhausting, but top class accommodation will ensure that you get a great night’s sleep, leaving you feeling truly relaxed and ready to face the next leg of your journey.

Sumptuous Shopping

Sumptuous Shopping
Incheon airport is reported to earn $2 billion revenue from duty shopping alone

If there’s one thing that all fliers have in common, it’s their penchant for duty free shopping – the world’s favourite way to while away the hours while waiting for flights to start boarding.

The very best airports offer an exclusive array of big name designers, with famous shopping outlets and shopping malls abound. Gucci, Cartier, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Giorgio Armani – all are the very epitome of opulent shopping – and standing in the international terminal at London’s Heathrow airport, there is even a Harrods store.

Other fashion outlets include high end jewellers, beauty and cosmetics, technology brands and more, with some of the most luxurious and renowned shopping areas in airports located in Hong Kong, Singapore, and more. Incheon airport is reported to earn $2 billion revenue from duty shopping alone – we can only hope that airlines offer an increased baggage allowance on the way out!

Exclusive Extras

Exclusive Extras
The desire for airport luxury is showing no signs of slowing down

Exclusivity is the pinnacle of what truly defines luxury, and little added extras – such as the onsite brewery and roofed-in beer garden at Munich Airport – make the travelling experience all the more memorable. Hong Kong and Singapore International airports boast huge 24 hour IMAX cinemas, while spas and massage parlours, casinos, concerts and swimming pools are all fixtures elsewhere.

There is also a personal nanny service at Etihad at Abu Dubai Airport, so that tired parents can get a well-earned rest, and a play area set up for families to entertain children so that parents can relax and unwind.

Some airports even have their own golf courses – so you’ll never get bored next time your flight is delayed!

From Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury accommodation to high end fashion brands, swimming pools and cinemas, the world’s most luxurious airports have got it all – and with the luxury market set to grow 2-3 percent by 2020, the desire for airport luxury is showing no signs of slowing down.

Top image credit Pixabay. All other images courtesy of citizenM