Airports are not fun for most people. The thought of sleeping across three sticky, rib jabbing, butt smelling, fake leather chairs in a sweaty terminal on a 5 hour layover comes to mind. I for one love a good airport. It’s like a member’s only club that just a few thousand people are invited to on any given day. Don’t worry about the fact that all you have to do to be invited is buy a ticket…. and… not be a terrorist. Where else can you get a strip search, stuffed french toast, and ring worm all in one place??
I thought it a good idea to compile a short list of all my favorite pre-flight chill spots. Being primarily a Delta passenger, I tend to hit a lot of the same hub airports no matter where the final destination. Some have even become like a favorite corner convenience store to me. So here is my list of top 5 airport pre-flight chill spots.
Salt Lake City International (SLC)
SLC is a fun little airport with lots of overpriced flashy kiosks and coffee/muffin type stands to keep occupied while you work yourself up for the middle seat. Just outside Terminal 2 after Delta ticketing is the Market Street Grill. Now I hear that this is actually a chain restaurant but since I don’t spend much time in Salt Lake City, it’s a mom and pop to me. The menu is mostly seafood with some decent breakfast options. They also have a to go window if you are in a hurry with some premade sandwiches for sale. I recommend the albacore tuna sandwich but I have also tried the cod which was excellent. Get your breath nice and fishy so the business guy won’t want to tell you about his internet security startup for the entire flight. Runner up goes to Manchu Wok which is also a chain but its Chinese food and Chinese food is always a winner.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS)
On the way to or from your pot brownie fueled lapdance holiday, make sure to hit up some of the best sweets and candy options in the airport world. Schiphol (pronounced Skip-ole, and sometimes with a soft ch depending on the accent) is a 12 year olds chocolate dream come true. By far the best shop is called Café Chocolat. They quite literally have chocolate mountains on the counter for sale by the pound, or kilogram or whatever the hippie Europeans use.
If I ever had to be in a terrible earthquake I would want to be standing next to the counter at Café Chocolat in the hopes that I was buried under a cocoa landslide and had to eat my way out. They also offer alcoholic beverages for the drunks among us as well as hot chocolate and the usual coffee options. Runner up at Schiphol is actually where I spend most of my time, the KLM Skyteam lounge. It is a typical airport VIP lounge but is almost always packed to the rafters with smelly business blackberry fliers.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta (ATL)
The list wouldn’t be a list without ATL. Fast food is the focus in these sardine can terminals with too many to count fried food, ice cream, and “healthy” wrap/pita stands. The main intersection of every concourse acts like a food court. Here you can find all the staples of major fast food chains. My recommendation here for food/chill spot is the Atlanta Bread Company.
I can’t exactly remember which terminal it’s in but just check out any of the terminal maps to find it. ABC has lots of tasty, filling sandwiches that will be sure to make you poop exactly half way through your flight. The soup is top notch also. It is almost like a Panera Bread style except it’s unique to Georgia and the south east so it’s different! ABC is also a great place to hit on chicks but keep in mind since it’s an airport, the likelihood of ever seeing them again is about zero percent. Like Panera Bread, lots of women like to eat there. For some psychological reason which we won’t explore today, women tend to think that sandwiches and soups are more healthy than fried food even though they are 900 calories. Runner up goes to Panda Express. Again….. Chinese food. Unrelated tip: The doors on the skytrain will kill you in a horribly gruesome way if you don’t get through them fast enough. If you hear “The doors are closing”, it’s already too late and you will be dead.
Kloten Zurich Airport Switzerland (ZRH)
I’m not going to recommend any food options at ZRH because eating in Switzerland costs as much as a quick trip to the casino. This airport Is purely a hang out spot. It has a great view of the mountains and foothills in the distance with some pretty cool architecture in the terminal. My favorite spot here is the Aspire lounge on the second floor. It acts as the Skyteam lounge here at Zurich. Almost never crowded and always stocked with little sandwiches, you can never go wrong with free little sandwiches. If you don’t qualify to get in to the lounge, I’m sorry, this is my list, go make your own. Tip: Don’t ever buy anything in this airport. It will cost you 7 billion dollars.
Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport (DTW)
I could not in good conscience compile my list without my home airport where I have spent a significant percentage of my life. It is ironic that I have never been inside the Delta lounge in my own airport because in order to enter the lounge in the US you have to have a Skyclub membership…uggg. So no lounge here. Right in A terminal next to gate 36 sits the brand new Plum Market featuring Zingermans sandwiches!
If you have spent any time in the Ann Arbor Michigan area, you should be aware of Zingermans. It is a bake house/ sandwich/ soup mecca worth a visit. A Zingermans chicken salad sandwich is like 10 parties all going on in your mouth at the same time. Once you have your sandwich, there is no great place to chill however. Just go to your gate and enjoy the ample seating while enjoying you sandwich orgasm. For an actual place to park and eat at the same time while waiting for your flight, check out National Coney Island at gate A46. Coney Dogs (chili hot dogs), gyros, and WIFI will more than prime your poopy fuel pump for the upcoming flight.