airport yoga

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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Now: Yoga at Vancouver Int’l Airport

YVR YOGA

Vancouver International has joined the list of airports offering travelers a yoga space.

A yoga program – “YYoga@YVR” – will be offered on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from July 15 to August 26 and will be open to any passenger departing to a Canadian destination in Domestic Terminal C-Pier, across from Gate 46.

The program is being offered as part of YVR’s Take-Off Fridays, the airport’s summer event series of music, entertainment and family-friendly activities in the terminal.

The yoga pilot program is offered through a partnership between YVR and YYoga, a Canadian yoga and wellness company.

Passengers can use the yoga space to practice their own yoga flow, for meditation or for simple stretching.

A YYoga instructor will be on hand to welcome passengers, answer questions and suggest poses and stretches that are particularly beneficial during travel. Mats are provided.

“Yoga can offer tremendous benefits to travelers,” says Berk Kansu, Marketing Manager for YYoga. “It can help passengers feel relaxed and centered and help them move to their next destination in a refreshed, calm way.”

Yoga: now at Chicago’s Midway Int’l Airport

Midway Yoga Room

September is National Yoga Month, which makes it great timing for the Chicago Department of Aviation to open the promised yoga room at Midway International Airport.

Located on Concourse C, Midway’s new yoga room has a sustainable bamboo wood floor, floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall, exercise mats and an area to store personal articles and garments. There are frosted windows on one side of the room to let in natural light and to provide a bit of privacy. There’s also a wall-mounted video monitor showing yoga exercise techniques and nature scenes, all with an audio plays soothing sounds.

Next door to Midway’s yoga room there’s a new room set aside for mothers who’d like some privacy while nursing a baby.

Midway mothers room

But, since it is National Yoga Month, let’s get back to yoga.

Here’s a list of other airports that offer yoga rooms for travelers:


Chicago O’Hare International Airport
-opened in December 2013. You’ll find it on the Mezzanine Level of Terminal 3 Rotunda, near the airport’s urban garden.

San Francisco International Airport has two yoga rooms.
SFO YOGA ROOM

SFO’s Yoga Room in Terminal 2 (which was the world’s first yoga room in an airport) is closed until November 4, 2014 to accommodate a construction project. The airport’s second yoga room, located in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, remains open.

AT Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, there’s a yoga studio located near Gate D40 in the hallway connecting Terminals B and D.

There’s also a space set aside for yoga at Burlington International Airport in Vermont.

Burlington yoga

At all of these airport yoga studios, soothing ambiance – and mats – are provided.

Meanwhile, at Helsinki Airport in Finland, Finavia’s TravelLab initiative has been testing out a variety of yoga offerings, including a Yoga Gate, yoga lessons and the sale of yoga-related items, including mats and clothes.

The summertime project also surveyed passengers about the whether or not they’d be interested in paying for taking a yoga lesson at the airport. Would you?

Helsinki_Airport_Yoga_Kainuu_TravelLab

(All photos courtesy of the respective airports)

Best new airport amenities in 2012

 

Air travel may have gotten (even) more irritating during 2012, but on the ground, the scene at many airports has gotten mellower, healthier and a bit more connected.

It wasn’t all that long ago that free Wi-Fi and plentiful power outlets at an airport were newsworthy additions. But in a recent 2012 ACI-NA Passenger Services Survey, 88% of airports reported having electrical charging stations for passengers and 90% of the airports surveyed said they now offer travelers free Wi-Fi. That list includes Los Angeles International Airport and BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, which are among the larger U.S. airports that began offering complimentary Wi-Fi this year.

ACI-NA’s survey of U.S. and Canadian airports also found that almost half have children’s playrooms, 86% offer major local art displays, and that live music is a regular feature at 34 airports.

Massage and/or spa services, as well as hair and nail salons, are common sights now at airports as well, but during 2012 some new amenities were rolled out designed to make airport dwell time even more productive. Here are few you may have missed.

Yoga room

During 2012, San Francisco International Airport began playing music at the security checkpoints in the international terminal, installed a trio of free bicycle assembly stations and expanded the locations of the handy water hydration stations that allow a passenger to empty a water bottle before security, take it through and refill it for free on the post-security side. But the most novel amenity introduced by SFO this year was the first-of-its-kind airport Yoga Room (located post-security in Terminal 2), designed as “a space devoted to contemplation and self-reflection.” DFW airport followed suit four months later with a yoga ‘studio’ equipped with yoga mats and hand sanitizer located behind a partial privacy screen (Gate D40) near one end of the new Terminal D walking path.

Return of landlines

Remember landlines? In November, Denver International Airport installed more than two hundred landline phones throughout the terminal and the concourses offering passengers unlimited free domestic phone calls. International calls are free for the first ten minutes and, much like the “free” Wi-Fi service offered in many airports, the service is ad-supported: callers must listen to or watch a short ad before being connected.

Booze to go

Also in November, Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport, already home to amenities such as smoking lounges, an aviation museum and more than 1,600 gaming machines, became the first airport in the country to have a packaged liquor store in the baggage claim area. On the shelves at the Liquor Library: beer, wine, spirits, cigars, cigarettes, small packaged snacks, mixers, travel cups and glasses. In-store tasting events seem to be very popular.

Better food

Fast-food outlets at airports remain popular, but the number of healthy dining options for passengers continues to expand. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport introduced a Farmer’s Market Kiosk this year, selling healthy take-away food items, including fruits and vegetables, as well as packaged herbs that are being grown inside the airport at the aeroponic garden, which opened in 2011. Herbs from the garden are being used by many airport restaurants and honey from O’Hare’s on-airport apiary (the nation’s first) is being sold at the airport as well.

Dan Stratman, the former Air Force captain behind the AirportLife app is pleased that there are healthier dining options such as Shoyu, a modern Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, among the dozen or so new restaurants and markets rolled out recently in Delta’s Concourse G at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Many of those restaurants are associated with local and national name-brand chefs, a trend that Gate Guru’s Zachary Einzig was tracking during 2012. “Popular new places include Lemonade at LAX, Lorena Garcia Tapas Bar at ATL, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar at CLT airport, and the Food Network Kitchen at Fort Lauderdale International Airport,” he said.

Loyalty programs

Airport loyalty programs gained momentum this year, most notably the Thanks Again program that gives travelers points and miles for money spent at restaurants, shops and parking garages at airports. The program began in 2009 (at Anchorage Airport) but took off significantly in 2012. As of mid-December, the program has presence in 170 airports and facility-wide participation in 40 airports. Marc Ellis, Thanks Again co-founder and CEO, is pleased that the most recent airport to join the program is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which is located about 35 miles from the company’s headquarters in Tyrone, Georgia.

Shopping

During 2012, many airports welcomed new shops featuring popular local and national brands and on December, 13, just in time for the holiday season – and all that holiday eating – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport becomes the first airport retail location for shapewear phenomenon SPANX.

TSA PreCheck

Joe Brancatelli, editor of the business travel newsletter Joe Sent Me, thinks the best innovation this year is TSA’s PreCheck program. “As much as it is easy to criticize TSA and the pace at which it implements change, the spreading of PreCheck to dozens of airports is a game changer for frequent travelers,” he said. The program, which initially rolled out in October, 2011, is now at 33 airports, with Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport the most recent airport to join the program, on December 4. The TSA website offers a full list of airports with TSA PreCheck.

In May 2012, the TSA also extended to passengers age 75 and older, the modified screening procedures the agency put in place for children age 12 and under the year before. The program does not require older passengers to remove their shoes or light jackets at the checkpoints and allows them an additional pass-through (or “do-over”) through the screening machines to resolve any anomalies detected.

Looking forward to 2013, Brancatelli would like to see “more public-access lounges where travelers can go during disruptions or delays– or just to wait and work before flights.” And Raymond Kollau of Airlinetrends.com hopes to see more U.S. airports following the lead of European and Canadian airports that have introduced amenities such as libraries, book-swapping programs and wireless charging for gadgets.

I’m holding out for the opportunity to use my airport dwell time to take short classes in cooking, packing, dancing or Spanish and would like to see a vending machine installed at my home airport’s parking garage and/or light-rail station that will sell me a quart of fresh milk when I’m heading home from a long trip.

What new airport airport amenities were you pleased to see during 2012? And what amenity do you hope to see up at your airport during 2013?

 

(Best new airport amenities from 2012 first appeared in my At the Airport column on USA TODAY)