These airports are now opening their doors to non-fliers

airport 19

(Erik Odiin, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content

Long queues, crowded departure lounges, tight security – airports aren’t always the most welcoming of places.

But with an abundance of shops, restaurants and even cinemas, they boast exactly the kind of attractions people flock to in their leisure time. So now some airports are opening their doors for people to come in and just… hang out.

Six airports in the US have already either opened up to “terminal tourists” or are planning to. And Singapore’s Changi Airport has even built a dedicated visitor attraction – the Jewel, which is open to anyone.

The 10-storey complex features a giant waterfall, an indoor forest, and 280 shops and food outlets. Designed to be a destination in its own right, visitors can also enjoy a cinema, supermarket and hotel.

Linking three terminals, the Jewel is outside the airport’s security zone and the authorities expect up to 50 million people to pass through each year, two-thirds of them Singapore residents.

Attractions at Singapore Changi Airport include a bridge that passes through a huge indoor forest.
Image: Jewel Changi Airport


In the US, Pittsburgh and Tampa airports already welcome day visitors. Numbers are limited and people need to apply in advance for security clearance. But once inside, they are free to wander anywhere, from the departure gates to rooftop viewing galleries.

The concept was inspired by a decision in 2008 from the US Transportation Security Administration to allow guests at airport-connected hotels unrestricted access to restaurants and shops in terminals at Pittsburgh, Detroit and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Earlier this year,Seattle-Tacoma airport ran a pilot scheme to allow visitors earlier this year and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport – the busiest in the US – is contemplating a similar move. Managers at Detroit and Austin airports are also evaluating the idea.

Image: Statista


New heights

Checking in for a flight can be a lengthy process, and as people spend more time at airports operators are keen to make the experience more enjoyable for passengers. Many now provide attractions like art exhibitions, spas, playgrounds and gourmet dining.

Amsterdam Schiphol includes an outpost of the city’s world-famous Rijksmuseumgallery, and Vancouver International has its own aquarium, home to thousands of marine plants and animals. Hong Kong International, meanwhile, has two shopping malls, with more than 350 shops and restaurants.

And those who just like to watch planes take off are getting a warm welcome too, with Zurich, Brussels and Dusseldorf among European airports that have recently improved facilities for planespotters.

Even without the addition of visitors, the world’s airports are set to become even more busy than they are today. The number of international air arrivals is predicted to rise 50% over the next decade.

Innovations to make moving around terminals easier could ease the pressure. The World Economic Forum’s Known Traveller Digital Identity initiative proposes paperless journeys in which travellers are identified quickly using technology like mobile phones and biometric data.

Trials of the programme will run throughout 2019, with the first digitally documented end-to-end journey expected to take place in 2020.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

A very good morning in European markets

Recovery effort will fizzle out quickly if there is no long-term perspective

4 views on how to ensure social justice in a digital world

For the future of Europe youth remains a priority

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

The world wide web is 30 years old. What better time to fight for its future?

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

What does the world really think about the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

UNIDO promotes post-harvest excellence for mangoes in the Mekong River Delta of Viet Nam

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

“16+1” Cooperation injects new vigor into China-Europe cooperation

UN chief calls for ‘united front’ against anti-Semitism after US synagogue mass-shooting

The hazards of “heroism” in the time of COVID-19

Violence against women a ‘mark of shame’ on our societies, says UN chief on World Day

Long-term EU budget: The Union’s ambitions must be matched with sufficient reliable funding

State aid: Commission approves €20 million voucher scheme to support access to broadband services by students in Greece

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

These 4 skills can make the world better after COVID-19

Mexico City is banning single-use plastics

Why COVID-19 could mean a new dawn for Nigeria’s manufacturing sector

European Semester Spring Package: Recommendations for a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic

There are 3 barriers blocking good menstrual hygiene for all women. Here’s how we overcome them

“A Junior Enterprise is run only by students.. there are no professors or managers that can help you solve your problems”

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

How to close the digital gap for the elderly

Overseas investment falling, developing countries largely unscathed: UN trade agency

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

Science is everybody’s party: 6 ways to support diversity and inclusion in STEM

From Kenya to China, here’s why countries should start working together on AI

How farms are getting closer to consumers in the pandemic

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

Who should pay for workers to be reskilled?

The consequences of Brexit seen by a European young entrepreneur

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Meeting the basic needs of our healthcare workers

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

Why European manufacturing SMEs in the South face fatal dangers

US announcement on breaking ties with the World Health Organisation: Statement by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell

Africans can fight COVID-19 with stakeholder capitalism

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

These 4 companies are turning food waste into cosmetics, clothing and more

This Belgian restaurant is following COVID rules using camper vans

This Dutch floating village could help tackle city-density and sea-level challenges

Deadly earthquake kills dozens in Turkey, UN stands in solidarity and offers support

The costs of corruption: values, economic development under assault, trillions lost, says Guterres

The importance of pre-departure training for a better understanding of global health issues

End Syria fighting to avoid ‘even greater humanitarian catastrophe’

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

Family businesses are the lifeblood of the Middle East. How do we ensure they survive?

European Elections: “Web giants” are urging users to vote

Scotland in United Kingdom: It’s either the end or the beginning of the end

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

This start-up is making a palm oil alternative from used coffee grounds

World food security increasingly at risk due to ‘unprecedented’ climate change impact, new UN report warns

Tackling pollution and climate change in Europe will improve health and well-being, especially for the most vulnerable

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s