I headed that way and found what looked at first to be just a big indoor playground for kids, with the shell of an airplane up front. But as I walked around inside the park, it turned out to be something quite different.
At 15 different stations, kids were learning about different kinds of jobs and careers, dressing up in uniforms and getting ‘on-the-job’ training from staff.
In the hospital, children were getting ready to perform surgery. In the fire station, they were suited up and ready to put out the next (scheduled) fire. And at the police station, a new team of recruits was getting trained in how to wear their uniforms – and handle guns.
Over in the aviation stations, kids could learn what it meant to be a flight attendant or a pilot. In the nursery, they could hold and care for real (heavy) “babies.” The Space Station, Astro Station One and the TV studio weren’t open the day I visited, but the modeling school was and a fashion show was underway.
For those that completed their training there was one more ‘real life’ stop. At the bank, newly minted professionals could pick up their pay.
I had two days to spend in Hong Kong this week and spent one of them touring Hong Kong International Airport. There’s an entire shopping mall in Terminal 2, with a Disney store and pretty much every shop you’d see in an upscale mall in any city. Terminal 1 has many of the same sort of shops, but it also has a branch of Muji, the Japanese-based minimalist, no-brand brand of goods, now with branches in cities around the world, including JFK Airport.
There’s a lovely Muji to Go shop in Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport as well. The shelves were filled with all manner simple and elegant travel gear, toys, gadgets and personal accessories. But I found myself wanting to stare at – and then buy – just about everything in this incredible display of food and snacks.
The 12 hour flight started off with a fun event that included a chance for many guests (not me, though) to get their pictures taken with one of the engines on the plane.
This group of specially chosen crew members was as excited as the invited guests to be on the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific’s newest Boeing 777-300ER plane going from the Boeing factory to Hong Kong on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
I’ve got two days to spend in Hong Kong before heading home. Geeky, I know, but I spent one of those days touring the public side of Hong Kong International Airport and visiting Cathay City, the Cathay Pacific headquarters located near the airport.
My tour guide at Cathay City was Agnes Yeung, who was kind enough to take me through the small, on-site Cathay Pacific History Museum, which can be visited by school groups and other invited guests but is, unfortunately, not open to the general public.
The Cathay Pacific Museum at Cathy City includes a display documenting the changes in the airline’s flight attendant uniforms
The Cathay Pacific museum entrance is set up to look like the former Hong Kong airport, known as Kai Tak, which was located right in the city and was replace with a new airport in 1998.
I didn’t get a chance to visit the Headland Hotel, a 501 room property right near the airport reserved exclusively for airline crew members and other Cathay Pacific personnel. Yeung said the hotel is usually booked at “more than 100% capacity,” and I thought for a moment there was a breakdown in translation. But she explained that because crew members are arriving from and leaving for flights at all hours of the day and night, and because many crew members are only there to rest for a short time, the hotel can indeed be operated at more than 100% capacity.
Next up: some of the amenities at Hong Kong International Airport, including a visit to the “Dream Come True” center, where kids test out what it’s like to work as a pilot, a flight attendant, a surgeon, a police officer and several other jobs; the real story of that much-talked about IMAX movie theater at the airport; and a look at some of the other activities available at Hong Kong International Airport.
Spas, saunas, swimming pools, giant slides and sunflowers. That could be a list of swanky amenities to look for at upscale resorts or hotels. But it’s actually a sampling of some of the Posh Airport Amenities I featured in a slide show for Bing Travel.
Here’s a sample.
Travelers at Vancouver International Airport can take care of dry cleaning, shoe-repair and medical/dental services during a layover in the terminal. But those heading home from a fishing trip with a 100 pound halibut in tow can seek out the services of the Fish Valet and the special “visiting fish” freezer at the on-site Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.
There’s a putting green in the terminal at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport, but the USGA-approved, nine-hole Sky City Nine Eagles Golf Course adjacent to Hong Kong International Airport’s Terminal 2 out-poshes that. Nine Eagles has a Thai restaurant, club house, putting greens, and plenty of night golfing opportunities. Soon Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport will have a golf course next door too.
When it comes to posh airport bars, GateGuru data analyst Zachary Einzig gives high marks to the Encounter Restaurant, perched on top of the recently-restored Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Inside, the Encounter’s space-age décor is something the Jetsons would appreciate. Outside, the views of the airfield are out of this world.
There are more… check back to find out which airports offer libraries, saunas, exotic gardens, bike rentals, museums, breweries, make-your-own sundae machines, and weekly tributes to Frank Sinatra.
Have a favorite posh airport amenity? Please add your comment below.