San Francisco International
In the winter, delays can mount at San Francisco International Airport because of rain, wind and, yes, fog. That will leave you plenty of time to enjoy airport amenities that include free Wi-Fi, an aquarium, fun and educational kids’ play areas, spa services at four XpresSpa locations, and a museum program that presents up to 20 exhibitions around the airport at any one time.
Defeat the delay: Most airport eateries are branches of well-loved local restaurants, cafés and bars; the best concentration is in the pre-security area of the International Terminal.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International
All three terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport offer free Wi-Fi, a branch of the popular Paradise Bakery and plenty of permanent and changing museum exhibitions.
Defeat the delay: Take the free 10-minute airport shuttle bus to the Metro light-rail stop. From there you can head into town or walk across the street to the Pueblo Grande Museum.
Charlotte-Douglas, North Carolina
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was the first airport in the country to provide rocking chairs in the terminal, an amenity we’re thankful that many other airports have adopted. Additional stress-reduction services at the North Carolina airport include free-Wi-Fi, piano concerts in the atrium and the Terminal Getaway Spa, where the menu includes massages, manicures, pedicures and reflexology and oxygen treatments.
Defeat the delay: The Queen’s Courtyard, in front of the CLT terminal, has a 15-foot statue of Queen Charlotte and a 40-foot reflecting pool.
The 12th-busiest U.S. airport for total passengers, Miami International Airport is finishing up a major expansion and overhaul. Spend a delay getting a massage or a spray-on tan at the Jetsetter Spa, visiting the art galleries and public art installations, recharging with Cuban coffee or visiting one of 20 new restaurants.
Defeat the delay: The on-site Miami International Airport Hotel has a sushi bar in the lobby and a fine-dining restaurant offering panoramic views of airport runways and the Miami skyline.
Once they discover the art installations, the 3,000-gallon aquarium, the entertaining water fountain and the theme-park style character statues, kids — and many adults — will find themselves wishing for long delays at Florida’s Orlando International Airport.
Defeat the delay: Grab some freeze-dried ice cream from one of the Kennedy Space Center shops and spend a delay playing video games at the King of Kong arcade.