Can airports be pretty? Airports around the world

Some people think airports are a necessary evil and are geared only towards functionality and easing travel weary travelers. Beauty is forgotten along the way and most airports are ugly examples of architecture.

Here are some of the airports I’ve been too around the world. I love traveling so I associate airports with the good times to come and the anticipation of new discovery. Airports are fun and I think can definite have esthetics.

What do you think?

1. Washington DC – USA : Washington Dulles international airport

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Dulles International Airport – Flag Hall

I particularly like this hall in Dulles International airport which is decorated with flags from many countries. It is a great way of either welcoming you to the States or getting you in an international mindset prior to travel whether for business of leisure. It’s very multicultural and celebrates diversity in my opinion.

I think it also has a certain old time feel in the architecture.

2. Seoul Korea – Incheon International Airport

Seoul Korea May 2007

This airport is completely modern with clean and simple lines. Nothing recalls the history of the country hear. Everything is sleek and functional. Metal and glass give this airport and cool feel.

3. Kittila Airport Lapland – Kittilän lentoasema

Here is the view from the outside of the airport. This airport is located inside the Arctic Circle. It might be one of the main airports in Northern Finland but it’s the smallest airport I’ve ever been to!

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This airport is a mix of modern and kitsch. It has a cheesy touristy section for picture and selfie taking. It’s so small there’s not much to do and the duty free section is a tiny counter.

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Kittlia Airport – March 2011
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Who wants to take a corny pic ? Do you feel like a local?

So you might as well avail yourself of the corny displays and create funny memories.

4. Tokyo Airport Japan – Narita International Airport 成田国際空港

This is the cleanest airport I’ve ever been to!  It’s so spic and span it shines. I’m pretty sure you could eat off the floor haha! Anyways it’s very modern and all the staff are very polite and kind but that’s just the Japanese for you.

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There is a monorail that lets get from one end of the airport to the other. Here’s a view of the airport form the tracks.Pnarita

But Narita airport immediately showcases the history and art that you will be able  to discover in Japan with a small exhibit of a few pieces and replicas. Here is the place for touristy pictures.

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You also have a preview of a Tokyo tech neighborhood if you want to get your geek shopping going even before you leave the airport.

All in all, I really enjoyed using the Narita airport and would recommend the experience to any traveler.

5. Montenegro Airport – Podgorica Airport (Montenegrin: Аеродром Подгорица / Aerodrom Podgorica)

Here is a view of the airport from the outside. It is quite small but modern looking.

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My only complaint is that it has almost no shopping possibilities but that is expected if you come to a small airport. So I recommend bringing a book to pass the time if you get here ahead of time. There is a Burger King if you feel like eating. I thought it was too bad they didn’t emphasize on the local culture a little more.

6. Las Vegas Airport USA – McCarran International Airport

This is the best airport for gamblers of course, because lo and behold you can gamble at the slot machines while waiting for your flight !

Las Vegas McCarran Airport - November 2014
Las Vegas McCarran Airport – November 2014
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Slot Machines !

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The Las Vegas airport is only 5 miles from city center and has a monorail to take you into the city. Everything is well organised and welcoming. You can easily shop for last minute necessities, souvenirs and what have you.

This poster definitely caught my eye :

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You’re reminded you’re in the USA where you can basically advertise for anything even hospitals ! And lets avoid any lawsuits while we’re at it.

I love this airport but as Vegas is my home town I might be a little biased. 🙂

7. Hanoi Airpot Vietnam – Noi Bai International Airport

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Hanoi International Airport – 2007

I find this airport to be beautiful. It’s very sleek and clean with open air feeling that soothes when you’ve been cooped up on a ten plus hour flight.

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8. Bucharest International Airport Romania –  Henri Coandă International Airport

This airport is very pleasant and while not huge has a good array of traveler friendly shopping, and food courts.

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But I thought this pic was funny and it stuck with me when I thought of this airport. Anyone feel like eating garlic or wearing crosses?

9. Moscow International Airport Russia –  Domodedovo International Airport

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Moscow International Airport – Duty free Summer 2007
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Russian arts and crafts – wooden dolls

This airport isn’t beautiful per se but it definitely has a lot to entertain you during your layover. It has shopping, Russian art and regular shops, restaurants and bars. While there I stopped at a caviar bar to try the local delicacy. However I have to say that one thing did mar the experience and this was the lack of customer service or just the overall lack of warmth and welcome from the airport staff. I found most of the employees to be cold and not smiling at all.

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The airport itself is not as organised as other airports I’ve been to. Maybe this has improved since I’ve been, let me know if you’ve been recently.

10. Chicago International Airport USA – O’Hare International Airport

This is my favorite airport as of now. I find it is both beautiful and functional. It is nicely organised and has a lot of distractions to offer from restaurants, to massage chairs, to shops etc…

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Chicago O’hare – T Rex Sue welcomes you to the windy city

The Chicago O’hare airport invites you to visit its museum campus a 57 acre lake front park surrounding three of the most known Chicago museums one of which has a dinosaur permanent exhibit displaying the famous skeleton of Sue a T – Rex.

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Sky’s the limit by Michael Hayden – 2008

The airport is decorated by the artist Michael Hayden with his “Sky’s the limit” art work. The psychedelic and neon bright decor takes you to another plane of existence literally as you transition from one time zone to the next. This unique artwork deserves the detour so if you can manage to check it out you won’t be disappointed.

What are your favorite or memorable 10 airports around the world?

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2 thoughts on “Can airports be pretty? Airports around the world

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