Airports are like mini-cities, with services catering to every need of a twenty-first century traveller. That being said, many travellers seem to think that, apart from duty-free shopping, there’s nothing else in an airport. Here are 5 airport services that you might find useful on your next trip!
Clean as a whistle: showers, hair salons…
Feeling like you need to freshen up while in transit? Everyone feels it if they’ve been in transit upwards of 20 hours. Connecting flights, airplane air… some airports have self-service showers, laundromats and even hair dressers. All of which are indispensable to some travellers. Imagine a flight to Australia with two stopovers, you would be elated to freshen up before reaching your destination, wouldn’t you? Airports equipped with public shower facilities: Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul. Amsterdam, Munich, Frankfurt, Auckland, Vancouver, Zurich and San Francisco.
Running low on battery life for your laptop or cell? Don’t panic. Most airports are equipped with plugs and “charging stations” for recharging your electronic devices. As for wi-fi, not all airports are equal. While some offer free access (Singapore), others offer it at a somewhat reasonable price (unlimited access for €10 in all Paris airports). Other airports have internet terminals or pay-as-you-go plans to use the internet. In the UK, get free wi-fi access in British Airway’s lounges.
Stay healthy: infirmaries and medical assistance
Every international airport has emergency medical services. They provide care in the case of illness or minor accidents, open 24/7. If you’re injured, take yourself to the airport medical centre without hesitation, that’s what they’re there for! Every airport is equipped with an infirmary which is able to provide services from the smallest cut to big jobs like dental work! These clinics are usually open 7 days a week. Some airports (Glasgow, Gatwick and Rome, for example) even have vaccination centres.
Spiritual wellness: prayer rooms
Whatever your religion, you can find an appropriate place to practise while in transit. That being said, not all religions are represented at all airports. In Heathrow for example, you’ll find multi-faith prayer rooms in all terminals as well as an Anglican chapel. At JFK in New York, an inter-faith chapel. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, a place to sit down, contemplate and rest… just seek out the prayer rooms in any major airport.
Most airports now have massage chairs which will put you back around £2 for 10 minutes. Why not take the opportunity to relax a little bit before your flight? Airports like Heathrow have full-on spas with treatments designed for travellers with long stopovers and short ones (15 minute massages, anyone?). But it’s first and business-class lounges that travellers enjoy the real luxuries of high-class treatment, a service not available to everyone unfortunately.