The other day I came across a photograph of a stunning Art Deco airport and, although it is no longer in use as an airport terminal, it is now home to a lovely museum, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, Houston.

Houston Airport Museum

Houston airport museum by Bill Wilkson.

Wanting to know more I started looking around the internet and from my search on Flickr, I was delighted to see just how many lovely Art Deco terminals there still are, including one just up the road from me at Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, which I must try and get to see for myself sometime.

Airport architecture

Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA by Guy Fisher

As well as these charming vintage airports, in total contrast, I also love the sleek futuristic airport interiors that would look at home in any modern science-fiction movie, such as Bangkok Airport pictured below. I can imagine feeling very important sweeping down these stairs!

Beautiful airports, Bangkok

Bangkok Airport by Glenn Foster

The connecting tunnel at Detroit Airport changes colour as you walk along to give you all the colours of the rainbow – lovely!

Detroit airport, favourite airports, beautiful airports

Detroit Airport, USA by Matt Cline

My favourite airport

I’m quite sure, however, that my favourite airport, IF I had ever been there, would be the award-winning Koh Samui Airport.

It’s been described as the most beautiful airport in the world, being both visually beautiful and environmentally friendly, in that it has been built using local material and with its open air design there is no need for air-conditioning. It really does look like the perfect place to relax while waiting for your flight.

Koh Samui Airport

Koh Samui Airport, Thailand by Guava

Bearing in mind that I have never been to any of those above, I have always thought of airports as merely a means to an end with one exception, Dubai.

I was on my way to India, quite a few years ago now, and the first leg of my journey was a flight to Dubai with Emirates. I have to say the service, food and everything about the flight was head and shoulders above any other airline I’ve flown with before or since. However, what really got me excited was the airport terminal itself. I loved it, from the set of Arab nesting dolls that I bought for less than £2 to the ostentatious gold palm trees that adorned the building itself. There were many beautiful things on sale at great prices so I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to buy and then picked them up on my stopover on the way back. Having already bought up half of India it was lucky that I had an extendable bag and a very generous luggage allowance! My poor credit card took a bit of a battering that year, which took a long time to recover from. I’m not normally much of a one for shopping but take me somewhere like India, or Dubai airport, and I instantly transform into a shopaholic!

Dubai

Dubai Airport, by Jason Jones

Above, the hustle and bustle of Dubai airport as I remember it and below a stunning, more recent image of  another part of the airport.

Wow! Don’t forget your sunglasses.

Beautiful airport, Dubai

Dubai Airport by Johannes Heuckeroth from PNF Photo.

One day I hope to make it out of the airport and actually have a chance to explore Dubai itself but perhaps I should leave my credit card at home!

Do you have a favourite airport?

When I think of what I do or don’t like about airports, I’m thinking…

…length of queues

…shopping facilities (Brussels, where are they? I’m stuck here for four hours with nothing to do!)

…ease of finding your way around (Brussels, your confusing me!)

…not having to pay for those silly little plastic bags for your toiletries (Yes Stansted, I’m looking at you, grrrrr!)

and now, having seen all these beautiful airports on Flickr, I’ll have to add

…the design of the building

…and even, how environmentally friendly it is (OK, I guess most airports fail dismally on this point).

Do you have a favourite airport, whether because of its beautiful design or for any other reason, or indeed an airport that you don’t particularly like?

This post has been brought to you in association with Emirates. As always, my thoughts are my own, honest opinions.

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