Take a Peek Inside the Biggest Airport in the World

We wouldn’t mind having a three-hour layover here!

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Welcome to the Biggest Airport in the World

Long flight delays aren’t so bad at this airport! While some of the world’s airports are so massive that they have their own postal code and post office, Istanbul is about to give them all a run for their money.

Welcome to the new Istanbul Airport, which experts say will eventually be the world’s largest—and for good reason. With six runways and taking up a staggering 823 million square feet of land, the city’s second major airport will soon replace Istanbul Atatürk Airport, after a few delays. It has been serving a handful of flights to other parts of Turkey, plus Cyprus and Azerbaijan, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. After its first construction phase wraps up in March, it should be able to handle 90 million passengers a year. And thanks to more additions in the works, that number will eventually reach 150 million passengers a year—and potentially up to 200 million with long-term plans, according to the airport’s website.

Travellers, prepare to behold a space like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Not only will it be the busiest airport in the world, but it will also have the biggest terminal under a single roof. The airport’s design won the World Architecture Festival’s Future Infrastructure Project Award in 2016, and passengers have already given it a 98 per cent satisfaction rating for architectural style. The lofty, skylight ceilings are reminiscent of Turkish domes and mosques. Even the air traffic control tower is a step above the rest, with its tulip-inspired design. (Speaking of gorgeous views, check out the stunning photos this pilot takes from his flight deck!)

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Inside the New Istanbul Airport

“The Istanbul airport attempts to reconcile the requirements for a top modern, functional airport with something that is rooted in local identity,” said Tomas Stokke, director of Haptic, which was part of the design team led by London firm Grimshaw. “We were inspired by the local use of colours and patterns, the quality of light and how it penetrates buildings, as well as by traditional architecture such as the Süleymaniye Mosque.”

For once, layovers could actually be fun at Istanbul Airport. The “Unifree” duty-free area will be one of the world’s biggest shopping zones, and it will boast novelties to keep every bored traveller entertained. Passengers not only can test out makeup samples in real life, but also try them on virtually with augmented reality selfie stations. Personalization will be the name of the game at Istanbul Airport, which will offer just-for-you perfumes, chocolates, and drinks. Plus, the airport promises to cut time waiting for luggage to arrive at the carousel, with 13 check-in islands for its 26-mile baggage system, so you can zip out and get your vacay going. (Here are five more ways to get through the airport fast.) No matter how nice it is, though, you should always keep in mind these 16 things you should never do at the airport.

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