I’ve had an opportunity to travel around the world and experience a lot of airports. As an older traveler, comfort-related amenities, good signage and short distances between things make my journeys easier and more comfortable. Here’s a look and the world’s best airports for senior travelers:
Changi, Singapore: If there ever can be an airport where you’ll be happy to miss a connecting flight, this is it. Changi Airport in Singapore offers a rooftop swimming pool, hot whirlpool, spa with free foot massages and sky-high sliding board. And if you tire of the sunshine, there’s also a movie theater. The sparkling airport interior is also a pleasure to experience, with shops, restaurants, gardens and hiking trails surrounded by greenery and friendly critters. And if you’re really lucky enough to have to wait several hours for your next flight, Changi offers free tours of downtown Singapore, just 20 minutes away.
Amsterdam Schipol: Travelers at this ultra-modern airport can enjoy a massage or play slot machines and poker at the casino. At Amsterdam Schipol, Many of the waiting area seats are not the usual rows of rock-hard wood or metal benches, but individual cushioned couches with slant backs for music-listening or snoozing. Schiphol is about 30 minutes from downtown Amsterdam. When heading for the airport in May daylight, you’ll see large fields of brilliantly-colored tulips along the way. The facility also offers excellent dining and shopping options, with delicious locally-made candies and baked goods.
Hong Kong: One of the world’s busiest hubs, Hong Kong International Airport is tops for luxury and convenience. For seniors who want to relive younger days, they’ll find a Disneyland just 15 minutes away. There are frequent changing exhibits throughout the airport. Many allow interactions with history, costume, music, theater and other enjoyable activities to pass the waiting time. There are almost limitless choices of restaurants, as well as shops that display the latest in Chinese silks and other quality goods.
Vancouver International: This Western Canada airport, just a few miles from the city’s downtown, portrays its Pacific Northwest Coast Native art traditions. One of the best features of Vancouver Airport is its welcome atmosphere to passengers. Volunteers, known as Green Coat Ambassadors, roam this beautiful seniors-friendly airport to help travelers. In your hometown airport, could you imagine grumpy employees turning into polite volunteers who offer to help you find your flight?
Tampa International: This mid-Florida airport boasts a “layout designed for a minimum of walking,” making it one of the most senior-friendly in the world. Tampa International also recruits helpers, called Volunteer Ambassadors, who aid passengers, including harried senior wanderers, to find their way around. There’s also a USO Center for veterans of all ages for rest and exchanging war stories.
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