Makati City Bakuna

Stranded at airports

Some of you might think that it may be premature for me to write about things that may happen to travelers when global tourism starts grinding again. Bear with me. I am actually itching for international borders to reopen so that leisure travel can resume.  

Writing about these things is my way of convincing myself that, in spite of this seemingly unending series of travel restrictions, the day will soon come when we can get on with our lives again!

So, let me talk about something that most, if not all, travelers have experienced. 

When stranded at an airport, what do you usually do? Delayed departures, misconnecting and canceled flights cause this unwanted situation, but it is no reason to run amok. Just keep calm and immediately ask the airline’s gate agent for information. They usually offer an alternative flight or route, or complimentary accommodations at an airport hotel, or complimentary meals.  

DESTINATION WITHIN THE JOURNEY. A tourist destination in itself, Changi Airport’s Jewel takes pride in its 140-feet waterfall, the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, as well as its other charming spots such as (inset) Canopy Park. 
Please remember to be nice. If you are already cranky, at least be polite. There is no reason to start a shouting match with the airline reps. It is not their fault, and they are just as troubled as you are. Most of the time, the cause of the delay or cancellation is something that ensures the safety of your flight. 

If the wait is manageable and you don’t have to leave the terminal, find ways to keep yourself busy. A male friend told me he looks at passing pedestrian traffic en route to the boarding gates and tallies the number of shapely ladies against that of plus-sized women. He tells me the latter’s numbers always reign supreme! 

A female friend told me she makes a mental story out of every person—a couple and a family that passes by her and entertains herself with such self-scripted, self-produced, self-directed telenovela. I’m sure you also have your own interesting way of enduring the delay.   

If you’re not as creative as my two friends and would rather take a leisurely stroll inside the terminal, let me share with you a list of some airports I’ve been to where I wished I had more time to spend in them. I’m not saying that you should look forward to a flight delay so you could enjoy these airports, but they certainly made my wait a breeze! Hopefully, when leisure travel goes full swing, all the interesting features that made me enjoy waiting at these airport terminals will also reopen.

Changi Airport in Singapore tops my list. Aside from its humongous size, its modern design and facilities certainly make you want to stay longer. For starters, it has the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, perfect for photo ops. The beautiful blooms in the patches of orchid gardens all over the terminal are more than enough to mesmerize any jaded traveler.  

Disciples of the yeast-fermented malt enjoy the presence of an onsite brewery, Airbräu, at the Munich Airport terminal. 
I also like the other garden that has the kaleidoscope of butterflies (easily a thousand of them) dancing around. Being there made me feel “celestial”. Changi even has a swimming pool on the rooftop, a couple of 24-hour cinemas, and a huge X-Box gaming area which, definitely, is a pleasure haven for children. What other country in the world has an airport that could very well be classified as a tourist destination in itself?

I’m sure international travelers are happy that Hong Kong moved its airport 23 years ago from the very tight Kai Tak airport right in the center of the city to the massive Chek Lap Kok airport on reclaimed land 18 miles from the city. The terminal now has much more space and, because Hong Kong is known for its cuisine, travelers now have a wide array of choices for Chinese specialties.  

The last time my flight got delayed in Hong Kong, I wanted the waiting time to last longer as I enjoyed the many culinary options at hand. Of course, duty free shopping was another reason why I wanted to stay longer. I have a weakness for colognes, so you can imagine me, lost in time, dazzled by the many fragrant brands on display.

If you enjoy beer and are on a European trip, I’m sure you won’t mind being stranded at Munich Airport. It has an onsite brewery which dispenses your favorite brew at standard prices, with live music to boot, bringing your drinking pleasure to a higher level! And, if you want to practice your 9-hole swing, the airport has a mini-golf course. For those who prefer some privacy, the terminal rents out cabins by the hour, each containing a bed, a writing desk, and a state-of-the-art music system.  

This huge supermarket, Migros, inside the Zurich Airport terminal is your best source of Swiss delights to bring home to family and friends.
But, if your flight delay happens at Zurich Airport, don’t fret. The terminal offers a wide selection of dining venues. If you also enjoy shopping like I do, you won’t mind the long wait at Zurich because the airport has a huge supermarket. Of course, Swiss chocolates and Swiss cheese topped my shopping list. And, if you also have a sweet tooth, you’ll be glad to find inside the terminal, the famous Sprüngli Café which sells those heavenly macarons, which are small, airy, sweet temptations filled with light cream made of natural ingredients. Yum!

As far as US airports are concerned, I enjoyed waiting at Portland Airport mainly because of the huge Nike outlet in the terminal, where items are priced the same as those at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton (in the outskirts of Portland). There is also a wide display of handmade goods to bring home to friends and relatives, a sampling of java coffee, and a tasting room for local whiskies.

So, when leisure travel springs back to life, and you find yourself having to wait at any of these airports, have fun instead of letting your negative emotions tie you up in a knot. Because a PERFECT MOMENT seldom comes, just take the MOMENT and make it PERFECT.


Have you heard about this new restaurant called Karma? There’s no menu. You get what you deserve.

For feedback, I’m at [email protected]

Topics: Zurich Airport , Portland Airport , Changi Airport , Chek Lap Kok airport , Travel
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