I have rarely been excited about languishing in an airport for hours. Strange, right? Whether it’s a layover between flights or a delay due to weather, the airport is only a friendly place for about an hour or two. After that, it is easy to slip into an anxious state, not totally because Starbuck’s has over-caffeinated me. There are only so many niche magazines that I can "adventurously" buy at Hudson News before I’m bored to tears and a limited number of iPhone games that hold my attention for all that long.
That is why, whenever I can, I plan longer layovers to place me right in the middle of a lush airport lounge outfitted with TVs, an open bar, and snacks. Some airports do it better than others — snacks are defined by some as stale crackers and string cheese while others know that a snack should be items like freshly baked croissants, charcuterie plates, and warm waffles with maple syrup. Some airlines feel that free Wi-Fi and a desk constitutes a business center, where others realize that real deals get made in business suites that feature a 40-inch LCD screen for presentations and a terrace with a viewing area just outside.
Airline lounges can even be hit or miss when it comes to entertainment. Yes, watching planes take off and land (without me) can be a beautiful, stop-and-smell-the-roses type moment, but I don’t need it to last for my entire three-hour layover. Lounges with multiple TVs, personal audio entertainment systems, and private rooms with day beds are better equipped to entertain all travelers. Perhaps the most telling part of a lounge done well is whether or not there is a spa. Can you get a neck and shoulder massage while you wait? Any way to take a shower and clean up before the last leg of a long trip? This may sound like an airport fantasy, but I am here to tell you — all of these amenities (and more) actually exist in one of these eight airports.