When you're on the go, it can be hard to hit the pause button. Whether you're rushing to leave a meeting and make the evening shuttle home, or racing across an airport to make a connecting flight, business travel (or vacation travel, for that matter) is often focused on the future. You think about the flight itself (Will I get my own row? Will there be any good movies on the plane?), as well as your arrival at your next destination (Will my flight be on time? Will my luggage make it in one piece?), and your estimated travel ROI (Will the trip be worthwhile?).
But do you ever stop moving and think about how you're feeling in the moment? Chances are that if you're rushing around an airport, your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and you're feeling anxious. That doesn't sound so great. Sure, if you run fast enough, you'll make your connection--but at what cost? Is all the rushing and stress worth getting to your meeting or getting home an hour or two earlier?
While airports aren't generally considered to be the most hospitable of places, if you do a little research. you'll find that they're more luxurious and comfortable than you may remember. Below, I'll highlight updated amenities that some major U.S. airports are boasting, as well as tips for how to relax before or in between your flight.
1. Lounge around.
Many people anticipate extra time spent at the airport with dread. The food is expensive, the access to outlets to charge your electronics is spotty, and the chairs are uncomfortable. Welcome the airport lounge--a comfortable way to spend time at the airport leading up to or in between flights. With many frequent flyer programs being revamped this year, club membership and access to airport lounges is changing. While you may not want to purchase a year pass to the Delta Sky Club or United Club, if you're going to be spending some time at the airport in the near future, you might want to consider getting a day pass.
Using apps like LoungeBuddy (available for free download), travelers can view lists of worldwide airport lounges that are accessible to one-time users as well as details of the amenities each of the airport lounges boasts.
Additionally, new players are seeking to capitalize on the changing airline rewards industry. In particular, Airport Lounge Development is attempting to make traditional airport lounges a thing of the past. Offering a "pay as you go" service, ALD's airport lounges, while minimally decorated, offer many of the same conveniences one would find in the Admirals Club or Sky Club. ALD currently operates in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and Phoenix and hopes to continue expanding by attracting non-traditional/alternative airport lounge users (whatever that means).
That being said, whether traditional or nontraditional, in most cases you'll find the following amenities at an airport lounge: comfortable seating, complimentary snacks and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), complimentary Wi-Fi, access to periodicals, complimentary fax machines and phones, and assistance with travel arrangements And with prices ranging from $35 (ALD) to $50 (Sky Club, Admirals Clubs etc.) the airport lounge might be what you've been missing all these years.
2. Open up and say, "Om."
While I'm not a yogi, I am a runner. Pounding the pavement in Central Park calms my nerves and gives me the kind of clarity that many people only experience through meditation and yoga. If you are yoga-inclined, and find yourself at an airport with some extra time, you may be in luck. San Francisco, Burlington, Vt., Dallas, Albuquerque and Raleigh's airports have led the charge to help people find peace and say "namaste" while on the go. While the spaces may not be large, they can definitely fit a yoga mat or two, and provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of travelling. Now if some airports could open up indoor running tracks, I may be in luck...
3. Have a spa day.
Did you arrive at the airport a little too early for your flight? Well, you may be in luck. With spas in many major airports (including Xpress Spa at New York's JFK, OM Spa at Hong Kong International, Elemis Travel Spa at London Heathrow and Timeless Spa at Dubai International), business travelers no longer have to sacrifice pampering for work.
At the U.S. XPressSpa locations (which, besides JFK include Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia) travelers can get services ranging from foot, neck and back massages to manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, hair grooming and styling, and even a shower. Before long, you might find yourself purposely booking flights with layovers and leaving even earlier for the airport. Maybe I'll see you there.