By LISA KLEIN
Airports can seem like a necessary evil for travelers, but many provide excellent amenities and options to kill time before a flight.
Avis, the rental car company with locations worldwide, recently analyzed the busiest airports in Europe to determine which offered the most luxurious pre-trip experiences. Munich Airport in Germany nabbed the number one spot.
“Your holiday often begins at the airport with excitement and anticipation beginning to build,” said Jeanette Harper, senior director of international travel and partnerships for Avis Budget Group.
“A smooth, efficient and welcoming airport experience will leave a positive impression and enhance the overall travel experience, setting the tone for your trip,” she said.
“There can be stressful moments due to long lines, security checks and flight delays or cancellations, but airport amenities can reduce stress by helping you unwind and pass the time.”
Flights of fancy
Avis’ study scored European airports based on the number of luxury fashion and accessories shops and the average consumer ratings of the restaurants, bars and airport lounges.
Munich Airport led the list with a total score of 55.
From the NIghtflight cocktail bar to excellent dining at Mountain Hub Gourmet restaurant, Munich also had the second-highest ranked lounges and third-most number of luxury stores.
Heathrow Airport in London, the busiest airport in Europe, came in second overall and led the pack in number of luxury shops with a total of 44. Restaurants such as Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar and Carluccio’s helped it get the third-highest ranking in restaurants and bars.
Athens International Airport in Greece, Frankfurt am Main Airport in Germany and Zurich Airport in Switzerland rounded out the top five airports overall.
Another London spot, Gatwick Airport, had the highest-rated restaurants and bars, with an average of 3.97, coming in at number 10 overall.
The highest-rated lounges can be found in Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain, which ranked seventh overall.
“The most interesting findings from the study have been the prevalence of U.K. and German airports among the top 10 most luxurious, with Munich Airport, Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt am Main Airport and Gatwick Airport ranking first, second, fourth and ninth, respectively,” Ms. Harper said.
The results of the Avis study may help travelers choose the best airports to fly from or to spend a layover.
“Adding an element of luxury to your airport experience, whether that be sipping a cocktail at an exclusive bar or relaxing in a VIP lounge, will get you in the mood for indulgence and leisure, which is what holidays are all about,” Ms. Harper said.
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