Felicity Long
Felicity Long

Insight There are a lot of reasons to factor in airport quality when designing a Europe itinerary for your clients.

Obviously, there’s not a lot of choice when choosing the final destination airport, but in cases where there is more than one option, affordable, easy-to-use airport transportation, like the Heathrow Express to London or the Zurich Airport rail link to Zurich city center, is key.

Arriving transatlantic passengers who don’t mind paying for the privilege might also appreciate a place to shower with L’Occitane products, sip a cappuccino and even nap in a designated quiet zone before heading out to face the day, such as at the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge at the Frankfurt Airport.

But for layovers, other factors come into play.

Traveling with infants? The Babycare Lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport offers individual, quiet cabins where parents can feed and even bathe their babies before putting them — and themselves — down for a nap. There are also two playgrounds where kids can play and let off steam during layovers and even a mini-movie theater to keep little ones entertained.FelicityLong

Tight connections? Munich Airport is among the leaders in helping arriving passengers make that next flight. In fact, they guarantee that if you have 30 minutes between flights, you and your bags will make it, even if they have to drive you from one gate to another. Stuck at Munich Airport for a longer connection? The entertainment options include everything from a beer garden to a wave pool.

But one of the least pleasant aspects of long layovers at airports has to be the food, where passengers represent a captive audience trolling the terminals for something appetizing.

While airports industry-wide are making strides in this area, Copenhagen Airport is leading the pack in appealing culinary offerings, according to the Airport Food and Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards, held last week. The airport won the No. 1 spot for best airport gastronomy not just in Europe, but in the world.

The airport, which also won Best Digital or Social Media Initiative of the Year, proactively uses Facebook — in the last two years, the airport racked up some 55,000 Facebook fans — to tout its food and beverage services.

“F&B is an important strategic aspect of Copenhagen Airport's social media strategy and fully integrated in how we communicate with our passengers," said Karen Bender, e-commerce & marketing director at Copenhagen Airport.

“Also this year, our passengers can expect something special when they visit us during the Copenhagen Cooking festival," Bender said, referring to an annual event in late August through September when three Michelin chefs will be on hand to create tasting menus at a pop-restaurant airport called CPH Nordic Dining. Located just inside security in Terminal 1, the restaurant will only be accessible to passengers.

The FAB awards are presented each year to the industry's best food and beverage brands and concepts by the Moodie Report, a U.K.-based multimedia business-to-business publisher and information provider.

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