The Best Open Air Airports – Look Ma, No Walls!

“It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an Airport’ appear.” – Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams clearly did not have these airports in mind when he wrote that famous quip. It is no surprise that airports can elicit severe, often irrational reactions. Delays, expensive food and lost bags all contribute to these hard feelings. The following airports though are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make your time en route a little more pleasant.

Koh Samui Airport (USM) – Located on the popular Thai vacation island of Koh Samui, this little airport is completely open air, from check-in to the waiting areas. The airport itself is well designed and has some of the most comfortable seating found in any airport. The wicker chairs, warm breezes and jungle noises all make it seem as if you are still at your beach resort.

United jet and Kona airport

Kona International Airport (KOA) – Kona is the perfect introduction for Hawaiian tourists. Kona International is the only remaining major airport in the Hawaiian Islands where a mobile ramp is used to plane and deplane passengers. The airport itself is actually made up of a series of open air huts that can be a bit confusing at times. Even though it is small, it can take a while to process through security, so make sure to allot extra time. Kona is one of the few airports where you can work on your tan while you wait for your flight.

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) –  Even though Punta Cana is the busiest airport in the Dominican Republic, the lack of walls and a thatched roof are what really define this amazing airport.  As with many open air facilities, PUJ brings the outdoors in and extends your vacation until you literally board the plane to return home.

Baltra Airport (GPS) – The gateway to the Galapagos Islands, GPS is located on Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour. Baltra has an eclectic history beginning in World War II as a U.S. Air Force base. It was during this time that most of the endemic fauna of the island were exterminated by bored servicemen. Baltra is currently an Ecuadorian naval base and is not within the boundaries of Galapagos National Park.

After arriving and processing through a very strange immigration check, you enter into a large open air building that feels more like a farmers market than an airport. Just outside the airport is a row of merchant stalls, one of the few opportunities to buy Galapagos souvenirs.


By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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