Traveling can be very stressful and having to navigate through an airport can only make it worst. You have to make sure you are there for enough time to check in and to make it through the airport maze to your gate before your flight finishes boarding. Going through security can be a hassle and then having to find your gate and wait for boarding to start. Not to mention if you have a long layover, waiting for your plane to board can feel like forever. If you are one of those unlucky travellers who has to spend the night at the airport it can feel like you are living a nightmare.
Airports are meant to be a gateway to your journey and are meant to be the first impression of the adventure you are about to take. A bad experience at the airport should not determine the rest of your adventure. They should not be the reason why you avoid flying.
Even though you familiarize yourself with an airport, you still wish an airport had certain places that would make your travels easier. Most airports do have these rooms you wish they had, however most travellers are not aware of all the amenities that an airport offers. From hidden yoga rooms to unknown observation towers, here are 15 hidden rooms you didn’t know airports had.
15. Observation Tower – Burlington, Vermont
Although it used to be the Air Traffic Control Tower, this Vermont observation tower is now a place where travelers can stop and look at the airport views of the planes, tarmac and runways. Travelers are now able to watch planes take off and land all before they get on their plane themselves. In the observation tower, travelers can also listen to live communication between the Control Tower and different aircraft pilots through the speakers in the tower. The Observation Tower is located on the second level of the airport towards the check-in gates. This is a perfect place for aviation fans to spend some time before a flight.
14. Meditation Room – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Schipol Airport in Amsterdam has a meditation room. The Meditation Centre is a non-denominational and interfaith room, where you can pray, meditate or relax in silence. This room also acts as a chapel and holds Sunday services for different religions and are held on rotational basis. If you prefer to hold your own service you may do so, just get in touch with the volunteer on duty beforehand. It is acceptable to leave the service early if you have to catch your flight. The Meditation Centre can be found just after security at the F-Pier, close to Lounge three.
13. Yoga Room – Chicago, United States Of America
In Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, there is a mirrored Zen-like public space that includes an area to place personal items and garments and exercise mats. This room is always empty as it is not well known and rarely used. If you’re looking for a place to relax and stretch before a flight, this yoga room is the perfect space. The room features a monitor mounted on the wall that displays yoga exercise techniques, and another monitor that displays all the flight information to ensure you do not miss your flight. The yoga space is open daily and is located on the Mezzanine Level of terminal three.
12. Secret Bedrooms – Las Vegas, United States of America
After a crazy trip to Sin City, the only thing on a traveler’s mind is to get some sleep. Many travelers find themselves tired while waiting for their flight home. Why wait until you get home for some shut eye when McCarran Airport offers bedrooms for rent? The rooms are managed by ZEROlevel Fitness and Wellness and only cost $5 per hour or $60 for 10 hours. This fee also grants you access to all the amenities of ZEROlevel Fitness, such as their gym and showers. They also offer, by appointment, massage therapy, personal training, group fitness classes and pain relief therapy. It’s the perfect place to help you get back to reality after an unforgettable trip.
11. Observation Tower – Los Angeles, United States of America
Formerly known as a restaurant to give families the chance to have dinner and watch the airplanes take off and land, this area is now an observation tower. Travelers are still allowed to enter the observation deck on the weekends to watch the planes go by, just with no food provided. Since the restaurant has closed down, many people feel like you are unable to visit the observation deck anymore, which is why most people are not aware of this space. The space is located on the sixth floor and it provides a 360-degree view of both the north and south runways, as well as planes stationed on the tarmac.
10. Free Showers – Incheon, South Korea
If you find yourself having a long layover in South Korea, Incheon Airport offers free showers and a free shower kit. The free showers are not well known by travelers and are located on the fourth floor. The showers are open daily, however they do have a 30 minute time limit. There are also showers location in the east and west wings, but they come with a small fee of $1. These showers are highly convenient, but since they are not made well known to the public, they are not used as much as the showers that you have to pay for since they are not advertised as much. However, if you are in need of a shower, Incheon has you covered.
9. Relaxation Rooms – San Francisco, United States of America
San Francisco International Airport was the first airport to open yoga rooms. The first room was opened in 2012 and is located in Terminal 2 near Boarding Area 2. The second room is located near Gate 69 in Terminal 3. Once opened, there was a spike in interest, however over the years the rooms have seen less and less occupants, making them now forgotten. The rooms are painted in a calming blue colour, with a floating wall with low light levels. Yoga mats are available on site, however no cell phones are allowed and you cannot wear your shoes in the room.
8. Virgin’s Secret Lounge – Sydney, Australia
Hidden in a discreet location in Terminal 2 at Sydney Airport, there is a sanctuary for a selected few. The Virgin Lounge (in response to their rival Qantas) opened this lounge to secure passengers. Opened without notice, this lounge includes a la carte menus, luxury facilities and personalized levels of services, such as escorts to take you to your terminal gate. Since it is an invite only lounge, many people are not aware of what is behind those closed doors. They keep the amount of members allowed small to make it seem like a privilege to be apart of the club.
7. Sleepbox – Moscow, Russia
Hidden in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport are these small box structures that are hard to tell what they are at first glance. The boxes have the word sleepbox written on it and that is actually what they are. These boxes offer compartments in different sizes that accommodate 1-3 beds and are paid by the hour. Since these structures have a minimal design, they are hidden and most travelers passing by rarely notice them or take the time to investigate their purpose. If you are in need of a place to lay your head, do not overlook these structures and check them out.
6. Quiet Area – Minneapolis, United States of America
Like most America airports, the noise levels are very high, however unlike most American airports, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport has a “Quiet Area”, which is overlooking the atrium of the Lindbergh Terminal. Since this room is difficult to find, it is the airport’s best kept secret, however if you have a lengthy layover it is worth trying to find it. There are signs that lead to the room, even if they are a bit hard to follow. This quiet room is nothing fancy, however it provides travelers with a place to relax on chairs set around tables. It is a comfortable and peaceful place and does what it’s supposed to do.
5. The Garden Patio – San Francisco, United States of America
In an on-going research to enhance the life of their employees, SFO management decided to create an outdoor space for people to eat outside. Since the garden is not advertised on the airport’s website, it is a hidden gem not known by many. The landscape includes cactus, succulents, Australian shrubs and California natives. It is drought-tolerant, which means it does not require much care. The garden is always open and can be found at the exit of the arrivals level of Terminal 1 and then left at the animal relief area. The employees now have a spot to hang.
4. Nursing Rooms – Vancouver, Canada
There are many airports around the world that have nursing rooms, however they are not being utilized as much as they should be. Most parents do not take the time to find out if the airport they are at have the facilities. These rooms usually include a changing area that have change tables, sinks and a long counter. They have many chairs to sit at, as well as outlets for pumping. You can also find in these rooms playpens to keep your baby occupied. It is a lot easier for parents to tend to their child in these rooms then having them run around the waiting area. The nursing rooms in the Vancouver International Airport are located after security in the US departures terminal.
3. Prayer Room – Taoyuan, Taiwan
Hidden in the Taoyuan International Airport, there are three prayer rooms. One of the three rooms is solely reserved for Muslims. It is a place where people can pray in peace amongst the hustle and noise of a busy airport. The rooms include an empty floor plan perfect for worship rituals. It is a bright lighted room with very minimal decorations. Each room provides a very welcoming and calming atmosphere for people to concentrate. They are super convenient if you are aware that the room exists are where they are located. These prayer rooms are located near Gate D8.
2. Special Needs Room – Shannon, Ireland
Shannon Airport realizes that for many people, traveling through an airport can be stressful or be an unfamiliar environment. To make this journey more enjoyable, the airport has a Sensory Room. The room is located in the Departure Lounge to the left of the Zest Catering outlet. This room allows the traveler to be in a calming environment that can be more familiar and make their travels a little easier. It is primarily used for individuals with autism and special needs. Along with this room, Shannon Airport introduced an assistance program to help families or individuals travel throughout the airport with ease.
1. Dog Park – Atlanta, United States of America
Many individuals enjoy bringing their dog companion with them as they travel. Just like humans, pets also need a place to prepare themselves before or after a flight. At the Atlanta Airport, there is a fully fenced outdoor dog park. The dog park can be accessed near the ground transportation by the south terminal baggage claim. The park provides poo bags, benches that provide a quaint resting area and a place for your luggage while your dog has the chance to potty. This dog park is not only for those traveling with dogs, it can also be for those travelers with long layovers who are looking for some fresh air and a canine companion to play with.
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