Delayed? Don’t Despair

Where to eat, shop, and entertain yourself at a few of the world’s busiest airports.

Layovers, postponed flights, and other kinds of holdups are an unavoidable part of life as a high-flying road warrior. These days, however, if you need to find ways to kill time at an airport, there are all sorts of new choices that can make your delay a pleasant experience. Here’s our nonstop guide to eating, shopping, and entertaining yourself at a few of the world’s busiest airports.

Airport Hunger Strikes Duty Calls The Nth Hour Approaches
Heathrow Airport, London When usual food-court fare won’t do, try Caviar House, located in all four terminals. There, you’ll find seven varieties of caviar, as well as oysters, lobster, and Bollinger champagne. For the second year, Business Traveler International has named Heathrow the best place for duty-free shopping. Heathrow even has personal shoppers to help you navigate its several hundred shops. Move from the real airport to a simulation. At Heathrow Airport Visitor Centre, you’ll find interactive exhibits and mock terminals that explain everything about the airport — from its past to its future.
JFK International Airport, New York City Nathan’s hot dogs can be found on Coney Island — and in JFK’s terminal 8, along with Pickles, Deli & Soups, another quintessential NYC experience. In a city with pushcarts on almost every corner, JKF wasn’t going to be left out. Ports of Call has pushcarts throughout terminal 4. Despite its name, anyone can get a checkup at Dentists for Airport Employees, a facility that serves passengers and employees alike. Call for an appointment (718-656-4747), or stop by room 2311 in terminal 4.
O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Butch O’Hare’s name graces both the airport and Butch’s Grill in the Rotunda, a 1950s-style diner in terminal 3, named for a decorated World War II pilot. Need a pizza fix? Head for Pizzeria Uno in terminal 5. The city that’s ruled by Michael Jordan now has a theme shop that’s devoted to him at its airport: Michael Jordan Golf, at gate B7. Tired of using O’Hare’s 7,700 acres for exercise? Hop on its underground walkways to reach O’Hare Hilton’s health club. For $9, you can use the club’s sauna, steam room, lap pool, and gym equipment.
San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco For a real sea change, stop by the Crab Pot Restaurant, in boarding area F, near gate 72, and get some fresh crab cakes or crab salad, or try some of its Fisherman’s Wharf-style seafood pastas. At Pacific Catch and Carry, in boarding areas D, E, and F, you’ll find fresh and frozen crab, Pacific Northwest smoked salmon, and other seafood items, as well as sourdough bread, spices, and kitchen accessories. Do you use intellectual stimulation to handle stress? Then stop by the airport museum. If your stress responds to a more tactile approach, head for boarding area C and the Hairport, a full-service salon.