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Airport Upgrades Make Travelers’ Lives Easier

Usually airports are noisy, crowded and difficult to navigate.  People are frazzled trying to make connections or grab a sandwich before boarding.  Personal space and convenience are something you’ll get when you check-in at your destination, sometimes on the other side of the world.  The cold, hard truth is that airports are not the place you think of when you imagine comfy and convenient.  However, trends are moving in a new direction and airports are adding innovations and upgrades that save you time, get you where you’re going quicker and make you feel like you can relax and enjoy your journey.

Here are some thinks to look for as you book your next flight:

Lactation Stations

This amazing nursing pod is being installed in airports to provide some much needed support (and privacy) to nursing moms.  The pod will hold your luggage, stroller, and other essential items while you take care of feeding your baby or pump.  They are designed to be clean and secure with soft lighting and antimicrobial surfaces.  As a new mom, it’s great to see airports responding to the needs of their customers and they will definitely make traveling with a bit baby easier.

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Sleeping Pods & Micro Hotels

These tiny rooms or pods are cropping up at airports worldwide.  They range in terms of cost, convenience and comfort, but they all seek to serve the sleepy passenger who needs to spend the night in the airport or catch a good nap before heading onto their final destination.  If you’re connecting through London Heathrow or Amsterdam Schiphol, you can book a cabin via Yotel.  They offer a modern and luxurious experience at a pretty reasonable cost. You can book by the hour and the rooms include single or double beds, flat-screen TVs, free WIFI and a full bathroom.  If you happen to be flying through Munich, check out their napcabs.  I always appreciate a place to nap and recharge my batteries, especially during a long international flight!

YOTEL_Airports_Standardcabin

Yoga & Meditation Rooms

If you’re like me, you like to keep busy and stay active.  I find myself pacing during long layovers and now thanks to some very progressive planners at some airports, like San Francisco (SFO), I can head to the yoga room and kill some time before I catch my next flight.  You can practice your downward dog, grab an airport smoothie and be fresh and relaxed when you take your seat.  Other than San Francisco, you can find yoga or meditation rooms at Burlington VT, Dallas Fort Worth, and Raleigh-Durham.  There might be others out there, so do your research before you start your next journey.  You may find your perfect airport yoga routine is just what you needed to emerge fresh and ready to roll.

SFO-yoga-room

Smartphone Charging Lockers

This is one of those innovations where I thought to myself how terribly chaotic and inconvenient it is to charge a smartphone at the airport and then out of nowhere I start to see charging lockers.  Brilliant!!  Why I don’t think of these things and start my own cottage industry, I’ll never know!  The concept here is simple, you place your smartphone or device in the locker, where it is presumably secure.  You go have a bite to eat, relax, do yoga or whatever.  When you returned your phone is fully charged and ready to go.  While these locker systems are not everywhere, they are becoming the new norm.  As an alternative, check out my travel gear guide for other smart charging ideas that can be done in your purse.

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Smartphone Boarding Passes

One of the best upgrades to come along in awhile is the airport scanners that allow you to use a smartphone boarding pass.  While they are not installed everywhere, they are very convenient and once you try them you’ll dread going back to paper.  Unless you’re the type who forgets to charge or loses their phone every 5 minutes, the ability to carry your boarding pass in your phone is a real winner.  You’ll know if your airport supports the pass when you check in online.  You’ll get the option to deliver the boarding pass to your smartphone and then you’re all set.  Here’s a helpful hint:  To avoid any network or loading issues inside the airport, snap an image of the pass while it’s on your screen.  Then if you can’t load it, you’ll have a backup to use.

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What are some unexpected conveniences you’ve encountered during your travels?

Read more:

Traveling With Kids Made Simple

6 Things I Always Take on a Plane

Tips for Traveling With Your Smartphone

6 Things to Consider When Buying Luggage

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Good call on the snap an image of the boarding pass first. It would be a pain if for some reason your pass didn’t load or process correctly.

  2. I’ve been to a few airports that have playground equipment. It’s very helpful to have a place where kids can burn some energy before being strapped into a seat for several hours.

  3. Singapore’s Changi Airport has a swimming pool. Not sure how I’d manage a wet swimsuit afterward, but it’s a great way to destress on a long layover. Then again, so is their butterfly garden.

    Courtesy of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Schiphol Airport has an actual art museum. That’s a great way to pass time without spending money on duty free articles!

  4. I spent one night at the Yotel in London Heathrow Airport in October. It was fantastic, easy, friendly staff, safe and very clean.

  5. I’m a fan of the airline lounges like the Admiral’s Club or Red Carpet Lounge. Many clubs will allow you in (for a fee, of course) no matter which airline you are flying, others (like the Admiral’s Club) only allow American Airlines passengers admittance. And in others (like the Red Carpet), it depends how full they are. Nevertheless, it gets me out of the din of the concourse and is well worth the money.

  6. Samantha, would you consider putting dividers in each pod of the jewelry case. Things get tangled.
    I also would like a flat tote that can be checked to bring home souvenirs. I want it to match my luggage. I would take it empty and fill it on my trip. Thanks

  7. Not in the airport but on the plane: a USB port to charge phone next to the movie screen! Tyrolean Airlines dba Austrian Airlines

  8. Thank You so much for the advice on Yotel! Stayed at one at Heathrow. Amazing! It cured my severe jet lag with a 4 hour nap. What a great idea. Better invention than sliced bread!

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