Getting Exercise- A walking guide to world airports

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I don’t like spending much time in airports. Every minute in an airport feels like a minute wasted! I mentioned last week, however, that I use spare time in airports to help I1111 Air France A380 - 01build fitness whilst flying by using the experience to build toward my 7 to 10 thousand daily step goal. I even sacrifice riding in the airport shuttle trains to achieve this. As a train nut, this is a sacrifice! Walking also enables me to  people watch and plane spot. Let’s face it, using the time to get exercise is probably better than being a  couch potato in the lounge.

One kilometre is approximately 1,250 steps and one mile is about 2,000 steps. Walking fr0m one end of an airport to another may gain me quite a few thousand steps.  I would love an app that tells me the distances from one part of an airport to another!

    • AMS: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: is one of my favourite airports in the world to walk around. for a start, the design of one terminal with three departure halls means it is easy to move between the 165 gates. Then the distances are pretty significant. From D31 to G9 is just under two kilometres (1.2 miles). Plus it has some of the most interesting sights. No dingy corridors at AMS. Art abounds and there is even a branch of the Rijksmuseum a library, a casino and a shopping mall.
    • ATL: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), from start of the domestic terminal to the international terminal gates is about 3.2 km (2 miles), 4000 steps! There is also some great art in the passageways!
    • BKK: Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, airside, it is 1.5 kilometres (almost a mile) from East to West and the two concourses are 1.1 kilometres (2/3 mile) long. I can easily get 3 to 4 thousand steps here. The melting point of East and West here means you will see people from all over the world. Spot the monks in Orange robes.
    • CDG: there are few fans of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the world’s eight busiest. I  actually like the place and still marvel at the Terminal 1 connector tubes that evoke a “retro-futuristic” look. (see video below). Never walk between terminals…it is a nightmare! Use the CDGVAL shuttle train instead. Walking through the terminals gives lots of possibilities for increasing step totals! e.g. in Terminal 2. Signage at this airport is appalling and it is confusing so be careful not to lose yourself before connecting to a flight!

  • DEN:  One of the benefits of walking around the enormousDenver International Airport are the opportunities to spot the various tails of Frontier’s planes. I love their animal planes! The size of the airport is great for exercising to0! For example, the 77 gate Concourse B where United Airlines lives is a kilometre long (about 3300 feet). I usually stop at the Jamba Juice and City Wok Asia Grill (and sometimes Caribou coffee). Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 7.49.16 PM
  • DFW:  In 2007, a late running flight meant my 90-minute connection my arrival at a gate in Terminal A and my departure gate in Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was shredded to 14 minutes. The American Airlines team personally met me and transported me via a mini-bus around the tarmac sparing me the two kilometre (1.2 mile) transit.  #ForeverGrateful. Otherwise, walking instead of taking the Skylink shuttle train has allowed me to amass thousands of steps on my many visits to DFW! If I have been good, Fuddruckers is my treat here.
  • FRA: Frankfurt is one airport that I do not like walking in or through. Apart from the marvellous First Class Lounge, this airport is a confusing badly signposted mess.  I have walked for what it felt like miles just to find the aforementioned lounge only to feel I was passing the same things again and again. There are some great views of aircraft on the apron as you wander.
  • HKG: Hong Kong International’s terminal 1 from Security screening to Gate W70 is 1.4 kilometres (7/8 mile). Walking to the end and then back to the amazing Cathay Pacific Wing lounge  buys me 3,750 steps which I usually need after sampling their buffet! IMG_3851
  • IAH: Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport has a 800 metre (1/2 mile) stretch from the south pier of Terminal E to the west pier of Terminal C. Do NOT stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. There is a Jamba Juice and a fresh alternative called The Market in terminal E.
  • ICN:  Incheon International (Seoul) is a delight to walk through and around. The single four-level passenger terminal for Korean airlines and its connected satellite Concourse for all other airlines is huge so you will do a lot of walking. Signposting is mostly clear. Often you will see people in traditional Korean costumes playing or dancing throughout the airport. The must do is to explore one of the seven gardens located in the airport. Check out The Pine Tree Garden in the Millennium Hall, on the first level with real Pine Trees and ponds in an airport!
  • LAS: Las VegasMcCarran International Airport’s last A gate to the last C Gate  is about 1.2km (3/4 of a mile)
  • LAX: Los Angeles International Airport,  I usually eschew the shuttle buses here especially when arriving
    or departing from Tom Bradley International Terminal and walk between the terminals. It is oddly, quite a stress release! In the Tom Bradley, a walk between Gates 101 and 123 is about 800 metres (1/2 mile). You do pass a See’s Candy which may cancel out the benefits of the exercise!  (I love their Peanut Brittle) download
  • LHR London Heathrow especially inn the older terminals (1,2,3) guarantees lots of walking around a labyrinth of grey crowded corridors punctuated by yellow signs. The newer terminals (4 & 5) are much nicer to walk around in.
  • MEL: Melbourne’s longest walk is almost a mile (1.5km) between Terminal 1 Gate 30 and  the last gate in Terminal 4. You will have to clear security which is really straightforward and speedy outside the weekday peak times! This return journey will give you 6,000 steps! In the International Terminal (2), you have 750 metres (under 1/2 mile) between security/immigration and the furthest gate. Do that there and back and you have 3000 steps!
  • ORD: O’Hare International Airport, Chicago clocks in at 1.6 kilometre (one mile) for a stroll from Concourse C in Terminal 1, through the underground pedestrian tunnel, past all of Concourse B’s gates in and back out to the end of the L Concourse in Terminal 3 without exiting from the secure area
  • MSP: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Terminal 1 has a 1.7 kilometre  (1.08 mile) distance between the two furthest apart gates
  • PHL: Terminal A West gate A26  to ; Terminal E: gate E12 is about 1.7 kilometres (1.1 miles)
  • PHX: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, gives you just under 1.7km (1.08 mile) in Terminal 4 between Gates A30 and Gate D8; 3500 steps!
  • SEA: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, from the end of  Concourse A, then across the central terminal and on to the far end of Concourse D is 0.7 miles
  • SIN: Singapore has the best airport in the world. it is definitely one of the nicest airports in the world to walk around in. A loop of the departure areas is about 3km (2 miles) and will take you past fish ponds, sculptures, shops, gardens and the world’s tallest slide in an airport! 1012 Singapore airport slide - 002
  • SFO: San Francisco International Airport walking from the end of  Terminal 2 to the end of the International Terminal, Boarding Area G is 1.1 kilometres (0.75 miles).
  • SYD: From the immigration point in Sydney’s International Terminal to Gate 58 is 580 metres (1/3 mile). Walking there and then back to one of the amazing lounges (Qantas, Emirates and Air New Zealand all have excellent lounges here) will give you between 1200 and 1300 steps. It is a very crowded space with much retail!

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  1. Actually, 1 mile is exactly 2000 steps since it was 1000 (mille) double paces of a Roman Legionnaire! Damn Fitbit appeals to my OCD and I too find that I walk around airports whenever I travel just to get more steps in.

  2. Meet you walking some time! I think some people need more than 2000 steps to make a mile!

  3. I do the same but I notice that this way, I ruin the wheels on my carry on within a year. What brand/type of carry on do you use? Do the wheels literally fall off yours too or have you found something that works with your walking habits?

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