Airports around the world are trying to reduce the stress of getting home or away for the holidays by adding some festive cheer, and it’s much more than just festive decorations and piped in holiday music. How about free gift wrapping, an ice rink and therapy dogs for petting. Here’s some of the things to see and do while you wait for your flight:
Munich Airport – There’s a large, traditional Winter Market between the two terminals, with more than 40 stalls offering hand-made toys, foods and other gift items. Popular films are being shown free in an open air cinema, and new this year is a spectacular ice slide. The curved track, 150 feet and 15 feet wide, set up in the Airbräu Beer Garden, the airport’s year-round brewpub. Munich airport website.
Vancouver International Airport – Save your gift wrapping for after you check-in and have them wrapped for free in a number of locations throughout the airport.
Singapore Changi Airport – An interactive, multi-sensory show the kids will love includes real snow, roving stiltwalkers, puppets, magic shows, jumping castles, storytelling and meet and greets with Mickey Mouse and his friends. There also are displays of snowy Swiss chalets (T3 transit area), traditional Japanese cottages (T2 transit area), Broadway-styled New York City (T1 transit area) and 15-foot tall Disney character topiaries (T2 public area).
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – Roaming carolers accompany Santa and his helpers distributing gifts, and a walking Christmas tree welcomes passengers to the airport. Acoustical trio Roept u maar! (Just ask us!) also is roaming the terminals and will play any requests from their huge repertoire.
Melbourne Airport – Santa roams the airport, handing out trinkets, and his elves juggle, perform magic tricks and model balloons into all sorts of creatures. A live band rocks out the Duty Free shop.
Hong Kong International Airport – The star is a spectacular 20-foot tall Swarovski Christmas tree in Terminal 1. Spanning two levels, both arrival and departure halls, the tree is made up of more than a million glittering Swarovski crystals from Austria. Surprise flash mobs of a cappella-performing local arts students roam pre-boarding areas, plus there are roaming magicians from Las Vegas, Taiwan and Hong Kong. For airport arrivals, Candy Crush art pieces sweeten the baggage reclaim hall.
Frankfurt Airport – Shops, bars and restaurants are distributing small holiday treats and interactive, instant-win Christmas lotteries redeemed through the airport’s social media channels.
Los Angeles International Airport – The popular PUP program (Pets Unstressing Passengers therapy dogs) is working overtime this holiday season, with pets dressed appropriately in colourful Christmas gear.
Humberside Airport – Santa in the Sky is a unique holiday experience is just outside the airport grounds in Northern England. The entire family can search for Santa above the clouds via a 60-minute flight. Kids receive gifts and meet Santa in-flight. For £119.95 per person, it’s something the kids are unlikely to forget.