One of the highlights of going abroad for me is the thought of spending some time in airports. My favourite ones are the international ones (Changi, Geneva, Heathrow, Gatwick, Schipol, Hamburg, Manchester, Birmingham, JFK, Dublin, Charles-de-Gaulle, San Francisco etc) with a great array of high-end shops and luxury displays where couture meets value. It may sound silly, I only recently (whilst travelling to Singapore for honeymoon) discovered that the duty-free tax levy applies to all products sold in an airport, not just those in the zone clearly marked “Duty Free”.
By far, my most favourite airport is the Geneva airport – the most generous airport of all, with its great display and sampling opportunities of the most exquisite Swiss chocolates. Each and every time I’ve travelled from Geneva airport, I’ve had the opportunity to indulge and try delicious treats and so I am very grateful for the experience that this airport provides.
Whenever I step into a fancy airport, I feel like I step into another dimension: luxury becomes accessible and I feel so care-free and willing to explore and to nurture myself. My entire self feels elevated, as if stepping into a higher sphere of being.
With their majestic displays of the finest world of shopping, drinking and fine dining, airports also relax me. That’s why whenever I travel abroad, I choose carefully my travelling route, by considering the quality of the airport I fly from. For example, I when I am in Heathrow Terminal 2, I love to check out the Harrods shop-in-shop and when I am in Terminal 5, I love to experience the Fortnum and Masons tea and biscuits. I also love the Duty Free zone, with its enchanting world of luxury creams and perfumes. Probably that’s why airports make me want to pamper and look after myself – the -high-end brands I am not able to afford (like Dior, Chanel, La Prarie, La Mer), are right there at my fingertips, ready to be enjoyed. And I make the most of it.
Aww, and how can I forget the Geneva airport with its Swiss Chalet and florist stocking my favourite white hydrangeas and berry flowers. How many airports have a florist pit stop at arrivals? Boasting a varied assortment of flowers, from the ones mentioned above to little orchids, chilli plants, beautiful bouquets and even giant cacti and dried flowers, this florist is one of a kind and it makes me so happy every time I pass it by. I like to think that people who arrive at Geneva airport do buy flowers from this florist to greet their loved ones, otherwise this shop wouldn’t be in business.
Whenever I have a big trip coming up, leaving from an international airport, I like to get there with plenty of time to spare, in order to enjoy its shops and amenities. Even when I am short for time and should head towards my departure gate, I always take a moment to refresh, rewind and pamper myself. And I’ve managed to convince my husband to do the same.
I always aspire to be able to enhance my airport experience after the retail (window shopping), by relaxing in one of the exclusive departure lounges that only members can access. After all, what’s more relaxing than enjoying a cup of coffee and a pastry if flying in the morning, or a G&T and a snack if flying in the afternoon or at night? The good thing is that I’ve discovered how to gain complimentary access to a select number of airport lounges, not once but twice. American Express have Platinum Corporate Credit Card, whereby if you apply for it and get accepted to own one, you automatically get sent two airport lounge passes that you can use at selected airports across the globe. As soon as I found out about this
Also, airports make me feel productive. I still remember how when I was a student frequently flying in between my homeland (Romania) to the country where I choose to study (UK), I used to take my coursework or revision notes with me in my hand luggage, so I can easily access them while waiting for my flight. And I used to get so much done.
Big international airports are aspirational for me. They allow me to experience the imaginary world of the rich and the famous, whilst also feeling like the best version of myself.