The World’s Most Interesting Airports for a Delayed Flight

In the US alone, around 25% of flights are delayed or canceled, with delayed flights defined as departing 15 minutes or more after a scheduled departure time. If this has occurred to you, don’t worry; a delay can sometimes be a blessing rather than a curse. From great food to impressive art, this post covers some of the world’s most interesting airports for a delayed flight.

Current airports offer everything you need to relax, enjoy, and entertain yourself. Do some research before traveling so you know where to head. Many of them, after all, have a host of fashion, art, and architectural temptations that can transform waiting time into a boon. Read on to discover a few airports that are so entertaining they are worth visiting early. The next time your flight takes off from these venues, don’t miss out on their best offerings. 

Enjoying a Good Meal

One of the best ways to make the most of a free half hour or full hour’s wait is by enjoying a meal, and nowadays, that doesn’t just mean a quick back of chips or a sandwich, but rather, a full-blown gourmet meal. Just a few airports that stand out are Singapore Changi, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, and Tokyo Haneda Airport. Take the latter, which boasts over 77 restaurants—making it a vital gastronomic hub where you can travel the world with your taste buds! There, you will find restaurants like Tsurutontan (which specializes in authentic Sanuki udon noodles), Ningyocho Imahan (considered a stalwart for sukiyaki), and Cuud (which has just two items on the menu—curry udon and tomato curry udon—and which happens to be one of the airport’s most successful establishments). 

Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport

If Michelin dining is your thing, prioritize airports with restaurants by stellar chefs! These include Saison at Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey), Porta Gaig at El Prat Airport in Barcelona, and I Love Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. And Heathrow Airport in London isn’t anything to be scoffed at either; it has a restaurant by no less than Gordon Ramsay (the chicken wings and burgers are said to be off the charts). 

Catching Some Art

If you have over an hour’s delay to fill up, viewing beautiful art is undoubtedly an excellent way to relax your mind, please your senses, and do something you may not get the chance to in your everyday life—spend some time viewing stunning artworks. Many airports have collections rivaling those at some of the world’s best galleries and merit a leisurely walk-through to put you in the right frame of mind before your flight. 

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Take the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, whose Terminal 2 is home to a 3.2 km multi-story art wall featuring over 5,000 artworks and artifacts from across the country. Six themes represent India’s cultural, social, and historical heritage. Also, the Changi International Airport in Singapore is a visit-worthy site. It has a host of stunning works, including Terminal 1’s Kinetic Rain—arguably one of the most written-about pieces of art in the world. It comprises 1,216 bronze raindrops that can form a plethora of shapes. Other works to watch out for at this airport include the aluminum sculpture Travelling Family, and The Green Wall, featuring carefully curated plants that represent Singapore’s lush tropical greenery. 

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai

Amazing Architecture

A delay is also great for taking Instagram-worthy snaps of gorgeous architecture. Many airports have been designed by world-class architects, specifically to turn them into showcases of modern talent. When you rush to a flight, you may not notice few avante-garde features that vie for your attention. A delayed flight is the perfect opportunity to simply walk through the airport and watch out for new trends in exterior and interior architecture, including biophilic, high-tech, and sustainable design. 

There are architecturally impactful airports worldwide, but one you can’t leave out of your must-see list is Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Azerbaijan. This venue contains giant wooden cocoons designed by the Turkish studio Autobahn. Each cocoon is home to stores, cafés, and entertainment areas such as children’s play zones. Their wooden shingles bear an appealing diamond pattern echoing on the airport’s flooring.  

Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Azerbaijan
Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Azerbaijan

Or what about Denver International Airport, comprising tents inspired by Colorado’s snow-capped Rocky Mountains? These tents take on a golden hue during sunrise and sunset, inviting peace, calm, and natural beauty. Another dazzler is the Marrakech Menara Airport in Morocco, which has a beautiful facade. Light filters indoors via arabesques made up of 24 rhombuses. The structure is clad in white aluminum panels embellished with Islamic ornamental designs. The airport is an excellent exponent of the ease with which traditional and modern elements can work together perfectly.

The next time your flight is delayed, you no longer have to wonder how you’ll fill up so much time. Today, they are all about making the most of the present moment, delighting your senses of sight and taste with a wealth of offerings. Art, architecture, and gastronomy are three good reasons why you can turn it into a celebration the next time you have a delay!