By Mark Chesnut
Whether it’s delayed and overcrowded flights, a high-pressure business meeting or just an overlong trip, there are countless reasons why travelers get stressed out while traveling. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to relieve that stress, thanks to the array of independent spas and kiosks, airport-adjacent hotels and luxurious airline-operated lounges that offer services designed to soothe and rejuvenate. Here are a few ways to work those knots out.
Airline lounge spas: Especially for international flights, lounges with spa facilities are a hot trend. This year, Virgin Atlantic Airways debuted its new JFK Clubhouse at New York’s Kennedy airport, which features a spa complete with skincare specialists, hairstylists and a variety of massage treatments. The carrier offers similar services at its London Clubhouse, while the day spa operated by Qantas in its Sydney airport First Lounge is ideal for relaxing before a long trans-Pacific flight. Passengers flying Royal First class on Thai Airways have access to the Royal Orchid Spa at the Bangkok airport, which features three spa suites with a Jacuzzi and tropical-style rainfall.
Concourse treatments: Smaller, independently operated facilities offer reasonably priced treatments just steps from the gate. Among the largest brands is XpresSpa, which maintains dozens of locations in the United States and abroad, including airports that serve Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and New York City. The company’s free Membership/Rewards Club provides members with a $5 credit for every $100 spent, as well as other discounts. New locations to open in 2013 include Chicago Midway airport’s Concourse B, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport’s Concourse E, Philadelphia International Airport’s Terminal F and Washington Dulles airport’s Concourse B. (FYI, their most popular treatment is a foot massage.)
More options: Look just beyond the terminal and you might find even more places to refresh between flights. At Los Angeles International Airport, Leelavadee Thai Wellness Center offers free airport transfers for day visitors. And at the Vancouver airport, even if you’re not staying overnight, you can check in for the day at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s Absolute Spa, which has five private treatment rooms, a group manicure and pedicure area and one couple’s suite.
Mark Chesnut is a freelance travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He thinks that massages should be included with the price of every airline ticket.