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