Cathay Pacific adds in-flight yoga.

Airport yoga rooms are great amenities, but Cathay Pacific suggests you try doing yoga on the plane.

The airline has partnered with Pure Yoga to offer an inflight “Travel Well with Yoga” program that offers a series of six yoga videos with meditation exercises and tips.

The videos are in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese and are running on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon routes in the  Lifestyle section of the inflight entertainment program.

Instructors offer yoga and meditation routines that can be done before, during or after a flight (if you’re not to self-conscious to try it) and are designed to improve circulation, enhance joint mobility  – and relax the mind.

Some moves work on the plane – even in economy, says the airline – others you can do when you unfold from your seat and get to your hotel.

Here’s a sample.

Denver Int’l Airport getting a pop-up yoga studio

Although bars and restaurants will beckon, travelers at an increasing number of airports have  plenty of places to stretch and work out.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport has an airport gym, Phoenix Sky Harbor International and many other airports offer marked walking paths, and San Francisco International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports and others have free-to-use spaces set aside, with loaner mats, for yoga.

Now Denver International Airport gets its chance.

Courtesy Yoga on the Fly

For 90-days, starting November 6, Denver International Airport will have a pop-up guided yoga studio on Concourse A where travelers can pay to use private mini-studios for yoga sessions lasting from 15 to 60 minutes.

With each rental, Yoga on the Fly will provide instructional videos, yoga mats and wireless headsets. Sessions will costs $15 for 15 minutes, $20 for 20 minutes, $30 for 30 minutes, $45 for 45 minutes and $60 for 60 minutes. Each studio with have a ‘beauty bar’ with cleansing towels, face mist, hand sanitizer and lotion where customers can freshen up after their session and there will be a retail section at reception offering travel accessories.

If this first Yoga on the Fly pop-up is successful over this holiday season, company founders hope to make it a permanent amenity at Denver International Airport and other airports.

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Get ‘Fit to Fly’ at PIT and BWI

It’s sometimes hard to stay fit when you’re on the road, but this week AIRMALL is doing its part to encourage air travelers to give it an extra try.

From June 5-9 at Baltimore Washington International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport there will be everything from free yoga sessions to fit-friendly giveaways.

Here’s the schedule for Fit2Fly

At Pittsburgh International Airport:

*Monday, June 5: Pinkberry smoothie samplings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

*Wednesday, June 7: “Come Ready Nutrition” Clean Bar sampling & giveaway at The Strip Market from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

*Thursday, June 8: Fit2Fly Day, with free yoga sessions from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Center Core near the video wall. Free fit-friendly tip cards and gear including water bottles, yoga mats and jump ropes. Blume Honey Water sampling at The Strip Market from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

*Friday, June 9: Free water bottles, jump ropes, Nutri-Grain bars and DefensePac will hand out kits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while encouraging passengers to “Walk the Airport” on the airport walking trail.

At Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

*Monday, June 5: Smoothie making demonstration with Smoothie King at 1 p.m.

*Tuesday, June 6: Exercise demonstration and informational handouts at ROAM Fitness from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*Wednesday, June 7: Pinkberry smoothie samplings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

* Thursday, June 8: Free yoga sessions from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., with free fit-friendly tip cards and goodies including water bottles, yoga mats, exercise bands, stress balls and JimmyBars.

*Friday, June 9: 1K terminal fun walk at 1 p.m.


How about a workout – in the gym – on your next flight?

Courtesy Transpose

Sitting for hours on long-haul flights is bad for both butts and brains, but the standard layout of narrow, forward-facing seats in ever more tightly packed airplane cabins doesn’t offer much option for passenger movement.

But what if you could get out of your seat mid-flight and head to the in-flight gym for a workout – maybe a spinning or yoga class– in a section of the cabin the airline could easily swap out, in plug-and-play fashion, for a kids’ play area or a meeting-friendly café on the next flight?

That’s the idea behind Transpose, a project of Airbus’s Silicon Valley outpost known as which has partnered with Reebok and Peloton to display (through May 19) a prototype ‘flying gym’ module complete with stationary bikes, yoga mats, resistance stations and other workout equipment at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Courtesy Transpose

“For most people, the future of flight will still be on large commercial aircraft,” said Transpose project executive Jason Chua, “We’re trying to allow for new types of in-flight experiences with a modular cabin architecture that allows for customized spaces that can be loaded and unloaded onto aircraft very rapidly.”

Beyond gyms, Transpose cabin modules could be plug-in spas, napping pods, gaming centers, dining areas, yoga studios or, as one traveler suggested, a karaoke lounge. And, Chua suggests, each creative design would offer new ways for both airlines to generate revenue and for brands to engage with flyers beyond putting advertisements on napkins, on tray table stickers, before in-flight movies and in the pages of in-flight magazines.

More ways to carve out the cabin

While quick-change cabin modules may be a new idea, Transpose isn’t the first to suggest using cabin space for activities that promote wellness.

Back in 2002, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) actively promoted the basic stretching and exercise opportunities offered by a metal bar attached high on a wall in unused space near the galley on some of its long-haul aircraft.

More recently, designers at Seattle-based Teague joined with Nike to envision a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with an interior luxuriously fitted out with amenities for professional and elite college athletes, such as extra-long lie-flat seats, a nutrition zone, biometric monitoring and analyzing systems, a recovery room with massage table, and more.

Courtesy Teague

And last summer, Russian plane maker Sukhoi showed off a concept mock up for a its SportJet, a private jet outfitted for sports teams outfitted with special equipment and lighting, including a variety of in-seat diagnostic devices that will test athletes before, during and after the flight, “to diagnose the physiological and psychological parameters of the athlete’s functionality.”

But while in-flight gyms, yoga studios and other high-flying cabin concepts for commercial airplanes seem intriguing, “A lot of these concepts don’t really account for the business model of air travel,” said Devin Lidell, Principal Brand Strategist at Teague, “They don’t answer the question of how can the airline make money with that, and will someone actually pay for it?”

An entire cabin on a commercial plane outfitted with elliptical machines probably isn’t reasonable – or realistic, said Lidell, “But maybe you could have some seats that are mainly for take-off and landing and then allow passengers to move about the airplane in a different way. Or explore having whole cabins built around passengers with like-minded interests. People may pay more for that.”

When it comes to in-flight wellbeing, for now passengers are limited to walking up and down the aisle (when the drink or meal carts aren’t in the way) or doing stretching exercises – sometimes to the odd glances from other passengers, at their seats.

To help, many airlines offer instructions and encouragement for in-seat exercises on the in-flight entertainment system, in the in-flight magazines or on seat-back cards. Some, like Lufthansa, have recruited sports stars to demonstrate the moves in short videos.

Another, extremely low-tech approach comes from Shanghai-based budget carrier, Spring Airlines, which has instructed its flight attendants to actively encourage passengers to perform in-flight exercises, said Raymond Kollau of AirlineTrends.com.

“Flight attendants announce over the PA that they will be demonstrating in-flight exercises – such as waving hands in the air, massaging temples, or stretching arms – and they recommend everyone do those actions as well,” said Kollau, “And many passengers actually join in.”

(A slightly different version of my story about gyms on airplanes appeared on CNBC)

BWI gets a post-security fitness center

Need a real work-out before you fly?

A post-security fitness facility, called ROAM Fitness, is scheduled to open at Baltimore/Washington International Airport on Monday, in the new connector between Concourses D and E.

The space will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will have cardio equipment, stretching space, free weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, stability balls, a TRX system, yoga mats and a pull-up bar.

Travelers who don’t have their own workout gear can rent or purchase activewear and footwear and – here’s a great idea – have their own workout outfits vacuum-sealed after a visit to keep odors from mingling.

There’s also a shower reservation system to make sure everyone can freshen up before their flight.

Access to ROAM Fitness at BWI is currently $40 for a day pass, $175 for a monthly pass and $600 for a yearly pass. Passes can be purchased online, on a smartphone or at the door. (Check the website for deals on discounted passes.)

Not a regular at BWI? The next ROAM Fitness center scheduled to open in 2017 is slated for Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

ROAM Fitness claims to be the first public-use post-security airport fitness center with both a gym and shower facilities, but it is not the only airport fitness center.

In North America, travelers can purchase a day pass for $15 to use the fitness and showering facilities (and heated indoor pool) at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is attached to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport McNamara Terminal.

For $20 ($22.40 with tax), travelers can get a day pass to use the pool and extensive fitness facilities at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport, which is accessible from O’Hare via underground walkways.

And there’s also a branch of GoodLife Fitness on the arrivals level of Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport ($14 CAD/about $11 US for a 14-day trial membership.)