yoga

Travel Tidbits: airport yoga & tarmac delays

suitcase

I’m doing a fill-in stint over on the Today in the Sky blog at USA TODAY this week. Here are are some of the stories I’ve been working on over there:

Airport yoga studio round-up

DFW YOGA STUDIO SIGN

New Year, new resolutions: lots of travelers have vowed to be healthier, less-stressed when out on the road this year and, next to measured walking paths and restaurant menus with tasty vegetarian and gluten-free options, yoga rooms are some of the best tools airports have to offer.

Yoga aficionados encourage travelers to relax and stretch anywhere they can, but here’s a snip-n-save list of official yoga spaces currently at U.S. airports:

San Francisco International Airport : SFO kicked off the airport yoga room trend back in January 2012 and has yoga rooms in Terminal 2 (in Boarding Area D) and Terminal 3 (Boarding Are E, near Gate 69). Both are open 24 hours. Mats provided.

Chicago O’Hare Airport: Located on the mezzanine level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda, near the urban garden. A video monitor offers yoga exercise techniques and a public restroom for changing clothes is nearby. Mats provided. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Chicago Midway Airport: Located on Concourse C, next to Mother’s Room. A video monitor offer yoga instruction tips. Mats provided. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Burlington International Airport, Vermont: Located on the second floor, near a family bathroom and across from the airport Observation Tower. Mats provided.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Yoga studio spaces open 24 hours at Gate D40 and at Gate E31. Mats provided. The Gate E31 yoga space is fairly new and is tucked beneath the Skylink escalator. In addition to exercise balls and stretch bands, DFW plans to create its own set of videos to offer yoga instructions for beginners and advanced yoga students simultaneously.

Tarmac Delay Study

Pittsburgh Airport clearing snow

The tarmac delay rule put in place in 2010 by the Department of Transportation to protect fliers from being stranded for hours on airplanes during long delays has actually made travel delays longer, a new study finds.

The study compared actual flight schedule and delay data before and after the rule went into effect and found that, while it has been very effective in reducing the frequency of long tarmac delays, the rule has raised cancellation rates overall and created longer travel times.

“Cancellations result in passengers requiring rebooking, and often lead to extensive delay in reaching their final destinations,” the study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded.

The tarmac delay rule was put into place after a series of highly publicized incidents left passengers stuck in airplanes during ground delays for lengthy periods of time and, among other provisions, imposes hefty fines on airlines that violate a three-hour tarmac delay limit.

The study proposes a modified version of the DOT’s rule that increases the tarmac limit by a half-hour, to 3 ½ hours, and applies it only to flights with planned departures before 5 p.m. The study also suggests that the tarmac time limit to be defined as “the time when the aircraft begin returning to the gate instead of being defined in terms of the time when passengers are allowed to deplane.”

“Passengers overwhelmingly support limiting tarmac time to no more than three hours,” said Kendall Creighton, a spokeswoman for FlyersRights.org, one of the groups that first urged DOT to create protective rules.

But Airlines for America, an industry trade group, would like to see these reforms.

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)

Airport amenity of the week: yoga room at Burlington Int’l Airport

Vermont’s Burlington International Airport (BTV) has joined San Francisco International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in offering passengers a space to meditate and practice yoga.

yoga

Evolution Yoga opened a yoga space on the second floor of Burlington International Airport, offering travelers a place to stretch out and relax before or between flights and enjoy a calm, quiet space.

That’s lovely to hear, but poking around the BTV website today I noticed some other welcome and calming amenities that were already available at the airport for passengers.

The airport’s mezzanine area is outfitted with couches, coffee tables and easy chairs and there are white rocking chairs set up in an area the airport calls the Skyway, so travelers can get a good view of the runway and aircraft. There’s also a green roof on the airport parking garage with plenty of alpine plants as well as benches and a picnic table. And – an added bonus: the airport has an Observation Tower and, located across from it, a family bathroom with a shower.

In addition to free Wi-Fi and power charging stations, BTV has a photography exhibit tracing the history of the airport and, on its website, offers relaxing activities such as a crossword puzzle, links to websites kids might enjoy and a link to a series of videos offering a few moments of guided relaxation at calm.com.