Relieving as it may be to know you won’t miss your flight, you’ve still got time – and lots of it – to kill at the airport. Sure, you could grab a coffee and head to the nearest power station to juice up your PED and get some work done. But there is another option for travellers at a growing number of airports around the world – entertainment.
Today a terminal is no longer simply a place of departure and arrival. Instead it has become a medium of cultural expression, a stage for the musician, and a canvas for the artist, but most importantly a diversion for the fatigued traveller. Anymore one can enjoy galleries, architecture, fashion, sports, and concerts while waiting for a flight.
In Canada, the Vancouver International Airport offers travellers “a unique journey of land, sea and sky” with the art displayed throughout the terminals. The paintings, woodcarvings, murals, and artifacts enrich the airport, giving viewers a glimpse of British Columbia’s natural beauty while promoting Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art.
Supported by the YVR Art Foundation, the displays are not only visually stimulating for travellers, but help “foster the development of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art, to broaden its markets and promote its display in public buildings”, according to the airport.
Though one of a kind, YVR isn’t the only airport supporting original art. At Atlanta Hartsfield, planes aren’t alone on the “runway”. The airport has been displaying artist and environmentalist Nancy Judd’s Recycle Runway show in hopes of raising the public’s environmental awareness.
Judd creates “sustainable fashion designs made from trash”. She has gained a lot of publicity and followers along with support from companies like Target, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines. The fashions vary from gowns, cocktail dresses, even accessories. Recycle Runway will finish out its run in Atlanta this May and hopefully continue down the catwalk to liven up other airports.
If you’re traveling in Europe, perhaps you’ll get lucky at Amsterdam Schiphol airport’s Holland Casino. Located behind passport control, the Casino is open 12 hours a day and invites anyone 18 years of age and older to try their hand at Black Jack, slot machines, American Roulette, and more. Schipol is also home to The Floating Dutchman, an “amphibious bus” that takes passengers from the streets of Amsterdam to a tour of the city’s canals.
While the Dutch enjoy the thrill of a casino, flyers departing from Hong Kong International Airport can sneak in a relaxing game of golf before their long flight. Close to Terminal 2, the SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course is a nine-hole, USGA standard course that sits on an island in the center of a serene, man-made lake. No room for your clubs on the flight? No worries, equipment rental is provided along with lessons at the Nine Eagles Golf Academy.
In the United States, JetBlue Airways’ flagship terminal 5 at New York JFK has taken airport entertainment to a new level. With a variety of fabulous restaurants, free Wi-Fi, even a kid’s zone, T5 seems to have it all. Did I mention the live concerts?
The “Live from T5” concert series was established in May 2009 in partnership with Superfly Marketing Group. “It has since grown into a concert series that transforms the travel experience by producing live entertainment for customers traveling through our state-of-the-art Terminal 5 at JFK,” says a JetBlue spokeswoman.
Live from T5 features artists from around the world, and all performances take place post-security in the terminal marketplace. “Past artists that have graced our stage include: Ellie Goulding, Chris Isaak, Jason Derulo, Robyn, James Blunt, Taylor Swift, Raphael Saadiq, Sarah McLachlan, rock band Daughtry, Broadway’s Catch Me If You Can, Julie Feeney, and Straight No Chaser,” says the spokeswoman
Goulding was the last to surprise passengers and crewmembers of T5 with a live concert this past January. Her fans were also encouraged to tweet questions to JetBlue’s Twitter handle, which Goulding answered via a YouTube video posted on JetBlue’s blog, BlueTales.
So the next time you’re sitting, standing, or wandering aimlessly about your terminal, keep your eyes and ears open! And let the airport entertain you.
What’s your favourite airport entertainment?