Remember this the next time you fly through LaGuardia, the #2 airport in the #1 city in the country: You are in what looks like a bus station.
If you were in Singapore, at the world's best airport, you could be at the rooftop pool.
Overseas airports, often the beneficiaries of most generous public spending, have long outstripped their U.S. counterparts in terms of public spaces and visitor amenities — especially outside of the pay-for-play airport lounges catering to the one percent of business flyers (i.e. biz class, first class, and alliance members). Roof garden? We don't do roof gardens unless you're rich or flying with a company that's shouldering the bill.
changi (4 images)
Singapore's international airport is a prime example of spreading the wins around. Changi was just named the best in the world by the app Air Help — you might not have heard of Air Help (we hadn't), but the title is a recurring one for the airport, which is a major hub for travel between Southeast Asia, Australia, and the wider world. You can plane-spot from the sunflower garden or get a beer at the bar in the rooftop cactus garden. Two of the three terminals have free, 24-hour movie theaters. Pop-up showcases — like a current event featuring "Nordic Adventures" and somewhat improbably starring Sanrio characters — are intended to keep kids occupied. They're now working on Jewel, a combination shopping and entertainment space — that description fails to convey how huge this project is, with a five-story garden and gigantic suspended nets kids can jump around on.
Ugh. Your turn, JFK/ORD/LAX. Whatcha got, except for fancy facilities for celebrities?