THE UPSIDES OF BUSINESS AND LEISURE travel include opportunities to visit new places, meet new people, enjoy fresh adventures and get things accomplished.
The downsides: All that travel can leave even the hardiest traveler road-weary, backsliding on diet and fitness routines, severely jetlagged or sick.
The good news is travelers determined to stay well while on the road no longer need to wait until they arrive at their hotel to access healthy amenities. Recognizing many passengers seek health and wellness experiences at each step of their journey, airports and airlines partner with businesses that focus on wellness to offer everything from spas and gyms to healthier food options, sleep tips and yoga instruction.
Some of these offerings are designed to cash in on expenditures today’s travelers make in the fast-growing wellness tourism market, which the Global Wellness Institute predicts will exceed $919 billion in 2022. Others, such as airport walking paths and in-flight yoga instruction videos, are designed to help passengers stay calm and healthy during what is often the most stressful part of their journey.
IT’S GETTING EASIER to pass up cocktail bars and fast-food venues in airport terminals. Vegan, vegetarian and plant-based restaurants, such as Floret at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and HealthyTOKYO at Haneda Airport, draw fans. Elsewhere, airports such as Salt Lake City International and London Heathrow publish online guides to help passengers find dining concessions that match special dietary needs.
Many airports around the country have marked paths with mileage counters to encourage travelers to skip the moving walkways and instead walk through the terminals. For example, marked paths at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas range from half a mile to 1.5 miles in length, while the Fitness Trail inside Phoenix Sky Harbor International rewards walkers with views ranging from Camelback Mountain to one of the country’s tallest FAA control towers.
Roam Fitness, the compact post-security airport gym with cardio equipment, free weights, loaner workout gear and shower rooms at Baltimore/Washington International, is on track to open a second location at San Francisco International Airport this summer. Elsewhere, travelers can purchase day passes to use fitness facilities at airport hotels such as the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport, the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the Grand Hyatt DFW.
For those who like to multitask, WeWatt bike desks allow passengers to pedal and charge gadgets at airports in Brussels (BRU), Amsterdam (AMS), Singapore (SIN), Geneva (GVA), Indianapolis (IND) and other cities, while Varidesk’s new complimentary, co-working space at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport offers standing desks and plenty of power hubs.
There are yoga rooms (often with loaner mats) at airports in San Francisco (SFO), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Burlington (BTV) and at both O’Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) in Chicago. Some airlines include yoga spaces inside their airport lounges. The latest, The Sanctuary in Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Lounge at The Pier at Hong Kong International, features one space dedicated to yoga and another designed for meditation.
Airport spa chains such as XpresSpa, Terminal Getaway Spa and BeRelax, along with independents such as EnRoute Spa at Indianapolis International and departure spa at Newark Liberty, offer travelers everything from relaxing hand, foot and back massages to rejuvenating oxygen treatments. And a fast-growing pack of airports sends teams of therapy dogs (and the occasional cat, pig or miniature horse) and their handlers through the terminals to engage passengers and help them de-stress.
For stress-busting alone time — and naps — Minutes Suites, Sleepbox and the Yotel chain are expanding the number of airports in which they rent cozy, short-stay rooms.
MANY AIRLINES DO their part as well, with offerings such as healthier in-flight meals, better lighting, in-flight yoga instruction, aromatherapy and partnerships with groups well-known for providing wellness programs on the ground.
A helpful tool for passengers flying on U.S. and Canadian airlines is the annual Diet Detective report issued by Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center. The 2018–2019 edition used 11 criteria, including calorie counts, to rank the meals of 11 airlines, giving top marks to Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
Sitting on an airplane for a long time can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and boring, so Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific and many other airlines offer videos in the in-flight entertainment line-up with guided yoga and meditation exercises that can be done in an economy- or premium-class seat. KLM recently partnered with the Chillhouse wellness center in New York to offer a series of in-flight “Self-Care” tips that include taking a little turmeric before or during the fight to help fight inflammation.
Scent can help relax travelers, and airlines ranging from All Nippon Airways and Alaska Airlines to United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic adopted or created signature scents used at checkin counters, in lounges, hold areas, lavatories and in the cabin.
Recognizing long- and ultra-long-haul flights exceeding 18 hours are no longer uncommon, airlines get creative with some wellness-focused perks. Australia’s Qantas Airways is working with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center on strategies to help passengers handle long-haul flights such as the carrier’s 17-hour Perth (PER)–London (LHR) route. To combat jet lag and promote healthy flying, the team is tinkering with everything from cabin lighting and temperature to the design of the in-flight menu and the timing of the delivery of meals.
When it began flying the world’s longest commercial flight between Singapore (SIN) and Newark (EWR) — a journey of 18 hours and 45 minutes — Singapore Airlines introduced a partnership with luxury wellness brand Canyon Ranch that focuses on healthy cuisines and general well-being. In addition to offering meals that take into consideration longer flight durations and less body movement, the program includes special cabin lighting, strategies to improve rest and relaxation, and guided stretching exercises via the seatback systems.
In the not-too-distant future, passengers on long-haul flights may have the option of leaving their seats for hours at a time and descending into the airplane’s cargo deck for a nap or some other activity. In April 2018 aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace (now Safran) floated the idea of putting interchangeable modules with sleeping berths into the lower decks of an Airbus A330.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
I was part of a group of travelers attending the Hamad International Airport Expansion presentation in Doha. Most arrived the day before, but due to a family commitment, I arrived the following day. A driver picked me up at the airport and drove me to the sleek and modern Mondrian Doha, designed by Marcel Wanders of the Netherlands. The 270-room property was the first sbe hotel in the Middle East. My luggage was scanned and put aside for a hand check and the guard removed the little sleep sound device I use to cover city noise when I sleep and travel. “No speakers allowed,” the guard said, but once I explained what the item was he allowed me to take it. From there, check-in was swift, and I received a packet of information about dinner and the week’s agenda.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
As ACI EUROPE and leading European aviation associations recently detailed a plan to make sustainable aviation a reality, Munich Airport continues its work toward climate neutrality. In 2019, MUC was one of the first airports in Germany to sign a Net Zero Carbon resolution alongside more than 200 other European airports in 2019. The pledge aims to deliver net zero airport CO2 emissions by 2050.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, introduces new meeting offerings starting this month. Louisville’s only waterfront hotel recently underwent a property-wide $80 million renovation on all guestrooms, meeting spaces and new food and beverage concepts.