What comes to mind when you think of airports? Perhaps delays and high prices? If you happen to be "stuck" inside an airport waiting for your flight, you often have no choice but to spend money on food, newspapers and sometimes even Internet access. However, some U.S. airports are fighting this stereotype and surprise passengers with some services completely free of charge.
John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK) has a reputation as one of the most crowded airports in the country. No wonder! It is the busiest international air passenger gateway in the U.S. In 2010, Delta Airline decided to reward its passengers and installed 135 iPads near restaurants in Terminals 2 and 3. Now customers can easily order food or entertain themselves while waiting for their flights. You can check your email, watch a movie or even make a Skype call. Anything that helps you kill some time before your flight.
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the airport? See for yourself at San Diego International Airport (SAN)! The Airport Authority offers free tours of the airport and airfield, and you even have a chance to go all the way from the terminals to the tarmac. Tours are two hours long, every other week on Thursday at 10 a.m. and Friday at 1 p.m. Plan in advance because you need to submit an online request and choose the date you would like to go on a tour.
For travelers who are longing for a quiet, peaceful place in the middle of a chaotic airport, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) invites passengers to visit its wonderful yoga room. A dimly lit studio designed in calming blue color is located near the security checkpoint area in Terminal 2. This is the perfect place to stretch your limbs or simply find your inner peace through meditation. Namaste!
If you are flying through Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) there are plenty of things to do if you have some free time. Go to the airport's Excursion Planner page and select an activity that interests you most depending on the terminal you are in. Visit a garden, aircraft exhibit or have an art exhibit tour!
Also, while going through the tunnel between Concourses B and C in Terminal 1 at O'Hare, you will be amazed by the neon installation "Sky's the Limit." Created by Canadian artist Michael Hayden, this illuminated walkway became the best-known work of the artist.
Denver International Airport (DEN) is the first airport in the world to offer free domestic and global phone calls to its visitors. Passengers are welcome to use any of 200 landline phones located in Jeppesen Terminal absolutely free of charge! These phones rely on Internet connection and allow free service within the country. The first 10 minutes of all international calls are free as well. To talk longer, you will need to pay $0.25 per minute plus an additional 15%. Hours of operation: 24/7.
Washington D. C.
While traveling through Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Washington, D.C., visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum located only 1.5 miles away from the airport. A shuttle bus from IAD will take you directly to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, where aircrafts are displayed on three levels. You can walk amongst the planes and helicopters and small artifacts in display cases. In the Boeing Aviation Hangar, you can see the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world, as well as the Chipmunk acrobatic plane and the prototype of the famous Boeing 707.
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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.