Ports of Future

15 Feb 2021 by Akanksha Maker
Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport

While travelling international still seems like an elusive choice for many, international airports have been working tirelessly to upgrade and update their products and services. From hotels, spas to full-fledged entertainment venues, airports have transformed to more than just ports of transit. Here are some of the USPs of airports around the world; and what you should look out for on your next trip to these hubs.

Lounges at Abu Dhabi International Airport

Chances are that if you’re flying into the Emirati capital, you’ve chosen to fly on Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE. Known for its characteristic luxury, Etihad Airways has extended its classic service to its lounges at the Abu Dhabi airport. A choice of five state-of-the-art lounges awaits here; with Etihad Premium Lounge at Terminal 1; and Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa, Etihad Premium Lounge, Etihad US Premium Lounge, and Etihad Arrivals Lounge at Terminal 3. Guests flying The Residence on Etihad have access to Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa — which can most definitely be compared to a sophisticated five-star hotel. A range of deluxe spa services at the in-house Six Senses Spa, a signature four-course meal and a fitness room to burn off the calories later are some of the facilities at this lounge. abudhabiairport.ae; etihad.com

Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru

The Quad at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru

The Quad at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru is the hub for all things lifestyle and entertainment. You would almost forget you are in an airport on your trip to The Quad, which is divided into four zones — Runway, Fire & Ice, Bric-A-Brac and Arena. Runway is its exclusive shopping destination which features a host of retail stores spanning clothing, accessories, footwear, and a variety of everyday products. For gastronomic indulgence, head to Fire & Ice that houses restaurants and bars serving a range of cuisines and craft beer, the latter concept being signature to Bengaluru. For street-style shopping in a flea market type setting, spend some time strolling through the stores at Bric-A-Brac. The final zone, Arena, is the hub for live entertainment. The platform features five large LED screenings for sports screenings; and musical and theatrical performances. bengaluruairport.com

Hamad International Airport

Art & Design at Hamad International Airport

The home of Qatar Airways, Hamad International Airport is known for its operational excellence and transit services. However, many aren’t aware of its eminence in terms of design. A stopover at Doha airport for the art and architecture connoisseur is nothing less than a trip to a museum. The exterior design of the Emiri Terminal resembles the curvature of sails and sailboats — elements that are native to Qatar. The airport itself features a curved external design that’s evocative of ocean waves and sand dunes.

One of the main features of the airport the canary-yellow “lamp bear”  iconically sits inside a lamp, reminding travellers of happy childhood memories of their bygone trips. This symbolic bronze piece of art is created by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. The airport has installed unconventional artworks around the space in partnership with Qatari museums including the series of oryx sculptures by Tom Claassen (pictured). dohahamadairport.com

Dubai International Airport

Culinary Indulgence at Dubai International Airport

There’s no doubt about Dubai’s expertise in terms of F&B and the emirate extends this to its airport as well. Apart from its appealing duty-free, the airport’s restaurants and bars spoil you for choice during your stopover. The array of options ranges from well-known chains like Costa Coffee, Baskin Robbins, Shake Shack, Häagen-Dazs to international bistros like Le Pain Quotidien and Paul Bakery & Restaurant. There’s no dearth of speciality cuisine restaurants here too; whether you’re in the mood for Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese or some good old steaks — Dubai airport houses it all. For authentic east Indian cuisine, head to Bombay Chowpati located in T2 – Main Terminal; for pan Asian delicacies spanning Japanese, Thai and Indonesian flavours, head to Cho Gao located at Gate A – Departures. Jack’s Bar & Grill located here as well captures the true spirit of Southern United States of America with its tantalising steak offerings. dubaiairports.ae

Airport Hotels at Frankfurt Airport

Airport Hotels at Frankfurt Airport

While there are many reasons to choose Frankfurt Airport as your stopover destination, a key one is its extensive choice of airport hotels that guarantee comfort and luxury. Basic options in Terminal 1 include My Cloud Transit Hotel and Napcabs featuring compact snooze pods for that shut eye before your flight. Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center, only a few steps away from Terminal 1, is an ideal choice for a longer layover or for some quick meetings you may have before your transit. The hotel features 1,008 rooms and suites in four categories along with 60 meeting and event rooms that can accommodate up to 1,200 people. Located just 900 metres from the airport is Steigenberger Airport Hotel that has 550 rooms and 20 suites along with three restaurants and 40 conference venues. Some of the other options around the airport include Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport, Hyatt Place Frankfurt Airport and MEININGER Hotel. frankfurt-airport.com

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport

Duty Free at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport

Passengers regularly transiting through Hyderabad airport can avail of Club HDF loyalty programme. A multi-tiered loyalty programme by Hyderabad Duty Free, Club HDF offers exclusive benefits and privileges for its loyal customers. Membership tiers are divided into Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. As a member, each purchase translates into points earned that can be redeemed as dollars for any future purchase. Some benefits include bonus points on tier upgrades and airport lounge access for international and domestic Premium Plaza Lounge.

Hyderabad Duty Free is known for its high quality brands and products that range from liquor, confectionery, perfumes to travel essentials. Perfume brands include the likes of Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli and Bvlgari.

Under liquor, HDF features a gamut of international spirits brands such as Auchentoshan, Donnafugata, Glen Deveron and Nederburg. The type of alcohol available includes blended whiskey, American whiskey, Irish whiskey, single malts, wine and champagne, and much more. hyderabaddutyfree.com

Lounges & Spas at Heathrow Airport

A stopover at London Heathrow Airport entails sheer relaxation at its array of lounges and spas. This includes the Club Aspire lounge that’s situated in Lounge D, after security. The lounge features a wide menu of complimentary food and drinks as well as business and rest rooms. Another great option is some time spent at the Plaza Premium Lounge  that can be found in Terminal 2 and Terminal 5 Departures. Thoughtfully designed, passengers, can find plenty of space to relax and unwind whilst enjoying exceptional F&B. The UK’s national carrier — British Airways — also hosts plenty of lounges at the airport, including Concorde Room (accessible by Gold and Silver Executive Club Members), First, Business and Arrivals lounges. The airport also houses Be Relax Spa (pictured) that offers a wide range of therapeutic treatments that are sure to relax you before your flight. From manicures, massages to foot relaxation therapies, the menu at Be Relax Spa is quite elaborate. heathrow.com

Singapore Changi Airport

Attractions at Singapore Changi Airport

Those who have ever stopped over at Singapore Changi Airport are well aware of the various entertainment and lifestyle options on offer here. The airport keeps on reinventing itself and adding on more feathers to its cap, making it one of the most ideal stopover destinations in the world. For a tryst with nature, spend some time at the Arrival Garden (pictured) at Terminal 1. This 460 sqm garden features a specially curated flora collection emanating a dragonfly habitat. Located at Terminal 3 is a Butterfly Garden (pictured) — a tropical butterfly haven — a first for any airport. Dance with over 1,000 tropical butterflies across 40 species while you feed the pretty insects at close range. For an immersion with Singaporean history, visit the Heritage Zone that’s inspired by Peranakan shophouses nestled around Singapore. Heritage-themed façades bringing out a sense of nostalgia invite you to a retail hub featuring high-quality international brands. changiairport.com

NEC: Signalling the future of air travel 

It’s safe to say that the entire spectrum of the quintessential airport transit has taken a 180-degree turn following the pandemic. To make the facilities seamless, there’s a multitude of technologies and operations that are utilised in order to ensure passengers’ safety and wellbeing. NEC, a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics company, is at the forefront of providing secure and efficient solutions for airports, airlines and even governments around the world; thereby enhancing air travel.

Seamless passenger experience

NEC’s new biometric technology is designed to offer passengers a fast and hassle-free journey from the curb side to the boarding gate. This includes the elimination of manual ID and boarding pass verification during the check-in and bag drop process.

Its new personalised lounge technology automatically identifies and admits VIP travellers. At border control too, NEC technology offers easy biometric immigration processing to reduce waiting time for passengers.

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