Is it just me who thinks that many international airports are sadly lacking when it comes to providing entertainment, for the customers they hold captive for hours?
Brisbane International Airport is no exception, but it does have all the basics covered, plus a couple of nice surprises. Here are some ideas on how to fill in time, while waiting for your flight to depart.
First, some orientation. Level 4 is where passengers check in and drop their bags. Downstairs on Level 3, passengers go through Security Screening and Passport Control and then have access to boarding gates.
Pedal Power. Even couch potatoes might be tempted by these Watt Bikes. Note: You'll need your USB cable, and a plug (the airport only provides an electrical socket).
EXERCISE: Sitting in an economy seat feels a bit like being wedged inside a can of sardines, especially when the person in front reclines their seat, so it makes sense to stretch your legs before a flight. On Level 4, you can sit on a Watt Bike, and pedal to charge up your mobile. How cool is that? Imagine if pedals were used to power computers and televisions in homes. Goodbye obesity epidemic.
The long, air-conditioned corridors on Level 3, make walking very comfortable.
You can exercise on Level 3 too. I often walk from one end of the airport to the other, stopping along the way to check out anything of interest.
One of the interesting characters you'll see on Level 3 at Brisbane International Airport. Looks like the work of Stephen Killick, but I could find no plaque confirming this. To view, look right immediately after entering the corridor leading to Gates 69-79.
Duty Free Shopping. I once spent up big on chocolate before leaving Brisbane (gifts for family at my destination), only to find upon my return home, that I would have paid considerably less for the same brands, at my local supermarket.
SHOPPING: Both levels have shops selling reading materials, Australian products, gifts, and all things wearable. There are some good buys in duty-free , but don't assume products are always cheaper. In a recent comparison, Choice Magazine found savings on cigarettes, and on some alcohol, but suggested shoppers check prices elsewhere, before buying confectionery, electronics, and cosmetics.
What do you feel like eating? Some cuisines like Mexican, are only available on Level 4, so you may want to eat before heading downstairs.
On Level 3, Boost Juice, Subway, Burger Urge, and Tuk Chop (Asian, mainly Vietnamese) are grouped together in the food court, while Hudson Coffee, The Coffee Club, Windmill & Co (Bar and Bistro), and the Brisbane River Grill, are spread around the central hub. There are also vending machines providing snacks and drinks.
From Level 3, hop on this escalator to access the Plaza Premium Lounge.
AIRPORT LOUNGES (Level 3): Anyone who pays a fee can enjoy the facilities of the Plaza Premium Lounge. They also have a Wellness Spa offering massage services. Bookings can be made online (Note: Prices listed in American dollars may be considerably higher, after conversion to Australian dollars). If you prefer a cheaper alternative, there are coin-operated massage chairs ($2 for 4 minutes), located in the corridor leading to Gates 69-79.
REFILL WATER BOTTLES: In the past, I used to bin my water bottle before going through Security, then buy a new bottle. Nowadays, I take an empty bottle through, refill it, and spend the money I've saved elsewhere.
I love opening my mailbox to find postcards from family and friends overseas.
SEND POSTCARDS: If you have been visiting Australia, buy postcards and stamps from the News Travels shop, and write messages to family and friends back home. Post your items in the Australia Post Box located just outside the terminal doors on Level 4.
START A TRAVEL JOURNAL: If you are visiting a country for the first time, consider buying a small notebook to record your impressions and experiences. So much is forgotten otherwise. Re-reading my journals years later has allowed me to relive some wonderful experiences.
The Prayer Room has 9 chairs and enough space for one person to lie safely on the floor, without being hit when the door opens. It is located next to Flight Centre, down the corridor, on the way to the toilets.
PRAYER/MEDITATION (Level 4): The Prayer Room is available to people of all faiths. It's small and brightly lit, so doesn't have quite the same atmosphere as other places of worship. Religious texts are provided. Quiet reflection on one of the comfy lounges near an empty boarding gate works better for me.
WHAT WOULD MAKE BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BETTER? A games room, where I can play table tennis, pool, or board games, with fellow travellers. I'd be interested in knowing what others would like. Feel free to leave a comment.