As major airports around the world scramble to brand themselves as luxury entities rather than mere transportation centres, some have adopted a star-ranking system, like hotels. It was inevitable.
Munich Airport, calling itself “Bavaria’s gateway to the world,” boasts that it has become “Europe’s first five-star airport.” The five-star distinction was awarded in mid-March to the German airport and four other international airports by the London air-travel research firm Skytrax, based on surveys completed by more than 13 million fliers in 2014.
Modern airports positioning themselves in a firmament usually occupied by stylish hotels is an indication of how far the concept of airport-as-brand has come in the last 25 years. What used to be utilitarian — a place to grab a magazine, a candy bar or beer and get on or off a plane — has become far more elaborate, with amenities at many airports, including art galleries, interior gardens, theatres, mall-like concourses filled with shops and restaurants and, at least in some foreign airports, exotic experiences.