The New Mecca of Relaxation: Your Neighborhood Airport Terminal

All eyes turned up to the TV monitor at the Delta terminal this afternoon as the announcer started talking about travel stress.  It’s tough being a road warrior today. From the travel to the airport, through TSA screening and hoping that you board early enough to get you baggage in the overhead, flying is a long way from the elegant easy going bygone days before we had to worry about terrorists blowing up our planes.

It’s been 14 years since flying was fun. Can we reclaim a little bit of it back?airport

The story on the monitor began with soft relaxing music as the commentator walked leisurely down the hall, past rushed and harried passengers.  His excitement showed as he shared his discoveries about how we can manage our travel stress.

Three stops…massage, sleep, and mind alteration were all part of the formula and after watching his story,  I decided that the 2 ½ hours until my next flight provided the opportunity to personally check out whether I could find my little slice of relaxation heaven at LaGuardia.

Over to Terminal B I headed to check out the Xpress Spa. A lineup of chair massage seats awaited me as I stepped into the shop and checked out the menu. A 15-minute massage would set me back $35 that seemed reasonable. I regularly receive massages so I’m a bit of a massage snob but my therapist did a good job focusing on my neck and shoulders and I was able to escape the terminal madness feeling refreshed after my “treatment”.

Onto action item 2, which was a bit tougher to accomplish. At some airports Minute Suites provide a private sanctuary for some rest and relaxation for a small fee allowing the user to catch some zzzs while doing some work or even watching their provided private TV. No place like that at LaGuardia but according to the website Sleepinginairports.com, LaGuardia has the worst conditions of almost any American airport with the best accommodation being an empty row of seats sans armrests. I found one of these and tried it out. You can take that one off the list as an idea for fostering comfort and ease.

The third relaxation option was to imbibe a bit at one of the airport pubs. Finding one of those was no problem and as I stepped up to the bar in Terminal D, I ordered myself a cabernet and decided I would enjoy my adult beverage and practice the fine art of relaxing. No surfing the Internet, no checking messages or even reading a paper. I would just stop and watch the folks, catch the energy of the airport and watch planes taking off or touching down. Fifteen minutes later and not surprisingly, I felt pretty good all around.

I judged my airport adventure in relaxation to have been pretty successful. Sure there were other options I could have considered such as buying a day pass to the Delta Sky Club, Skypping with my granddaughter or even seeing if I could purchase a first class ticket on the last leg of my journey.  When my flight was called, I took my time checking in with the agent knowing that my seat was reserved and that I’d only need space under the seat in front of me for my backpack.  I gave a big smile to the flight attendant as I boarded the plane and told them that I had hoped they were having a relaxing day.  They nodded and laughed.  I could tell they had not, but at least I had found a little oasis in my crazy travel day.

While finding some organized ways to relax at the airport, the most important message I gained was that I could decide how stressed I would be this day.  Giving myself a gift of massage or sitting at the bar people watching were both great strategies to just be in the moment and enjoy whatever life was delivering. It’s a message that goes beyond the airport terminal.

 

 

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