But for the price of a coach ticket, we can visit amazing spaces crafted by top designers, and enjoy their work while eating a slightly stale Cinnabon.
Airports, especially those in big cities, expose an architect's work to millions of people every year and are highly sought-after assignments. New projects are awarded through competitions that can span years; once granted, they may take decades to be fully completed.
The latest airport award to be given will be happening in London. The British capital is facing an aviation crisis and mayor Boris Johnson has called on Zaha Hadid, winner of the 2004 Pritzker Prize, to help solve it.
London's Heathrow Airport is an icon of air travel, but one that is ill equipped to handle the 300 million people who are expected to pass through its gates by 2030. Expanding the existing airport would require significant parts of the city to be razed, so Johnson has recruited some of the finest architects in England to propose entirely new facilities to be built on the banks of the Thames.