These Airports Are Worth Showing Up Early For

Spenser Mestel - Nov 9, 2023
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Good news: You booked your ride to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Bad news: Now you have an extra hour to kill at the airport. But maybe that’s not such bad news after all. Here are five airports with amenities worth showing up early for.

Best to Roll the Dice 

Harry Reid International Airport: Las Vegas, NV

If your copilot is Lady Luck, then Harry Reid is a must-see. The international airport has over 1,400 slot machines, and if you think they never pay out, talk to the traveler who won $1.3 million on a Wheel of Fortune Triple Double Emeralds slot machine last year. Of course, chances are you won’t win, but the airport’s profits — roughly $35 million a year — help to lower airline fees (which can result in lower ticket prices for passengers), so at least you’re paying it forward.

Best to Unwind

O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 3: Chicago, IL

What you may not expect from the world’s fourth-busiest airport is a yoga room. But the 15-by-16-foot space in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 offers mats, bamboo floors, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and video monitors with suggested poses. Clothing storage is also available, and a wall-mounted screen outside displays flight information for arrivals and departures.

Best to Turn Up

Nashville International Airport: Nashville, TN

Whether you need the hair of the dog or are eager to get your holiday celebrations started, Nashville is ready for you. In 2014, the airport began allowing travelers to carry their drinks throughout the terminals. So grab a Bushwacker and get a massage, enjoy the live music, or peruse the local art exhibits. Just don’t take your drinks out of the secure area — or onto your flight.

Best to Lay Back 

Portland International Airport, Concourse C: Portland, OR

After clearing security, make a beeline for PDX’s free 17-seat “microcinema,” which opened in conjunction with one of the city’s nonprofit theaters. Currently showing short films by Pacific Northwest filmmakers, the space occasionally hosts Q&As with the filmmakers as well. Among the offerings currently playing is Peanut Lover, a short documentary about the attempted re-creation of a discontinued flavor of Chex Mix.

Best to Find a Furry Friend

San Francisco International Airport: San Francisco, CA

If nothing de-stresses you more than a four-legged companion, make sure to fly through SFO. In December 2013, the airport launched “Wag Brigade” to connect travelers with dogs from the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Since then, the roster has expanded to include Alex, a Flemish giant rabbit; Duke, a rescue from a feral cat colony; and LiLou, a hypoallergenic pig. Unlike the animals working for airport security, these adorable creatures wear vests that read: “Pet Me!”