Burlington Airport

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’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?


(All photos courtesy of the respective airports)

First U.S. airport “lactation station” for moms



Mamava’s Lactation Station on site at Burlington International Airport in Vermont – Courtesy Mamava

A Vermont airport that was once the site of a “nurse-in” protesting the in-flight treatment of a breastfeeding mom is the first U.S. airport to install a dedicated breastfeeding and pumping station.

The pod-shaped, post-security “Lactation Station” was installed at Burlington International Airport this week.

The freestanding kiosk features easy-to-clean surfaces, a fold-down table, a power outlet and space that can comfortably accommodate seating, a breast pump, luggage and a stroller.

The breastfeeding station was designed by Burlington-based Mamava, a company headed by a working mom who used to take a breast pump with her when she traveled.

“I’d end up using the pump in a public bathroom, but I know women who have had to use breast pumps in cars, storage closets and some very unusual places when they travel,” said Mamava co-founder Sascha Mayer.

Mayer started working on the design for the “Lactation Station” at the request of Gene Richards, Burlington International’s aviation director, who wants the experience for everyone traveling through the airport to be “as relaxing as possible.”

To that end, the airport opened a pre-security lounge for nursing mothers in May.

“We took out a bank of pay phones that had earned maybe $17 the entire previous year,” said Richards. “Even if it’s only used occasionally, the lounge makes the airport more comfortable for moms.”

Mayer expects the new self-contained, post-security Lactation Station — located near a restroom in a space formerly occupied by an ATM and a flat-penny machine — to be popular among nursing moms because there’s usually no place to comfortably use a breast pump on a plane or on a short layover.

“This allows a nursing mother to go through security and use the station to pump shortly before her flight,” said Mayer. “It’s all about solving a problem.”

While there are plans to bring Mamava Lactation Stations to other airports, for now it’s a one-of-a-kind unit being tested at Burlington International. But moms and family travel experts are already rooting for the kiosk’s success.

“It’s not always easy for nursing mothers to find a private and clean place to discreetly breastfeed or use a breast pump. So it would be great to see this catch on at other airports as well as other transportation hubs such as train and bus stations,” said Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, managing editor of MiniTime.com.

Dawn Brahos, a mom from Lowell, Ind., agrees. In April, Brahos went national with her experience of feeling “humiliated” when a flight attendant loudly — and incorrectly — forbid her from plugging in a breast pump on an airplane.

“Maybe more women will pump or breastfeed, or do so a bit longer, if changes like these make it easier for women to make this choice,” she said.

Mamava’s Lactation Station at Burlington International Airport may be the first such unit in the U.S., but Singapore’s Changi Airport already offers stand-alone rooms for nursing mothers. I saw this one while touring the recently upgraded Terminal 1.

Terminal 1 - Transit - Nursing Rooms for Mothers

Nursing Room for moms at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 1

(My story about the lactation station at Burlington International Airport first appeared on NBC News Travel in a slightly different version.)