Even though Brussels is one of the smaller cities in Europe, the Brussels Airport (Zaventem) is the 23rd biggest in Europe. With over 22 million passengers and serving as a hub for three airlines, the Brussels Airport is of huge importance. The airport is also known as a shopping paradise and one of the biggest employers in Belgium. You’ll definitely get in contact with the airport at least once in your lifetime.
There are many large airports in Europe. Not very surprisingly, Brussels has one as well. The city which hosts most parts of the European Union is of large international importance. From the airport, guests got the chance to travel the world due to that. With three runways, one large terminal and hundreds of destinations all over the world, the Brussels Airport is one of the most important ones in Europe.
The airlines operating the most flights from and to Brussels are Brussels Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium and Jetairfly. While the latter ones are touristic carriers, Brussels Airlines is not only the flag carrier of Belgium, but also a network carrier with several city destinations in Europe as well as in the world.
Most important carriers at Brussels Airport:
Due to its size and the practical layout with just one terminal hosting all departures and arrivals, the Brussels Airport is great for shopping. There are shopping areas in Pier A, Pier B and the Airport Terminal (landside). In all of those, passengers can find different shopping options stretching clothing to jewelry.
At the Brussels Airport, there are also many important brands like Victoria’s Secret or Huge Boss having shops. But it’s not only shopping that makes Brussels Airport great for passengers, it’s also the choice of culinary delights that makes flying to, from or via Brussels really enjoyable. You can find dozens of restaurants in all parts of the airport, making it possible to sip a drink or have a nice meal before departure pretty much anywhere at Brussels Airport.
The Brussels Airport does not have a dedicated sleeping area inside the terminal. Passengers with a layover or an early departure may decide to sleep on one of the benches in the transit or the departure area, but will definitely lack comfort doing so. For a more enjoyable night, you may opt for one of the many hotels located all around the airport.
The closest and maybe best one is the Sheraton Brussels Airport, but there are several other choices as well. For example, there are Novotel, ibis, Crowne Plaza and NH properties located in a radius of five kilometers around the airport. That makes it possible to find the perfect hotel for every budget.
Due to the large number of passengers, there are many lounges at Brussels Airport. The LOFT by Brussels Airlines that has just opened a few months ago is known to be the best lounge at the airport. It may only be accessed by entitled Star Alliance passengers (Business or First Class, frequent flyer). That’s also the requirement for access to the other Star Alliance Lounges (Brussels Airlines Lounge Pier B, Brussels Airlines Lounge T-Zone and the SAS Lounge).
The oneworld alliance has two lounges at Brussels Airport, the British Airways Lounge in Pier A and the Iberia Lounge in Pier B. Moreover, there are the Diamond Lounges (in Pier A & B) that are independent and may be accessed by paying a fee or holding a Priority Pass membership. Last but not least, there is the Jet Airways Lounge, only open to passengers flying to India with Jet Airways.
Lounges at Brussels Airport:
Located in one of the growing metropolises in Europe, the Brussels Airport has to have a good infrastructure. That’s pretty much the case as the airport is perfectly connected to Brussels via road and rail. The highway connection makes it possible to get to the city center by bus (line 12 on weekdays and line 21 on weekend) without losing much time compared to the rail. Also taxis frequently use the highway to get passengers from the airport to the city center for approximately 45 Euro (~50 US-Dollar) oneway.
However, the most important mean of transportation are trains. These are connecting the city center with the airport frequently and are the fastest mean of transport. The station right under the airport does also offer international connections, for example a direct one to Paris. In the next years, new railway services to other parts of Brussels than the city center are planned to open, making connections from the airport to the city center even more easy.