6 COOL NEW OFFERINGS AT US AIRPORTS

The airport. Admit it. Just reading those words made you tense up a little, didn't it?

By Dana Rae Laverty

AAA World Article

From rocking chairs to therapy dogs, here are six nifty features you can find in airports across the U.S.

SWEET DREAMS

Only the truly lucky have mastered the unicorn that is the airport nap. The chairs are too small and uncomfortable, it’s too noisy, the elbow of the person to the left of you is jabbing your ribcage, etc. That’s where Minute Suites comes in. Starting at $42 for one hour, you can reserve a private room with a daybed, high-definition TV (stocked with DirecTV and Netflix) that doubles as a computer, and a desk. You’ll find Minute Suites at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Dallas-Fort Worth airports. (You can even buy a 30-minute shower at one of the Dallas-Fort Worth locations.) You can also reserve the room for the day or for the night if you’re so inclined.

ROCK ’N’ ROLL

Anyone who’s spent a minute—or several—sitting in a rocking chair knows its sweet swinging allure. Why do you think so many new parents invest in gliders? Their calming nature is the perfect antidote to traveling stress—and thankfully, you can find rocking chairs in several airports across the U.S. The tradition began as part of a photography exhibit at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. You can still find them there, facing the windows, filled with tranquil travelers just sitting a spell.

OUTDOOR PURSUITS

Maybe you’re more of a get-up-and-go kind of person. If hiking and biking are your jam, you’ll love the outdoor trail—complete with bike rentals—at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The 12.5-mile trail winds around the airport, through a park with a playground, and even by the historic Benson-Hammond House. Pedaling on a bike, watching planes arrive and take off surrounded by gorgeous natural scene and fresh air—I can’t think of a better way to spend a layover.

DOGGO THERAPY

OK, I lied. There may be a better way, and it involves petting gentle pups. Several airports—T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., and Denver International Airport are just two—employ specially trained therapy dogs to sooth stressed-out souls. A friendly pupper wagging its tail might just be the perfect antidote to waking up at 4:30 a.m. and snaking your way through a security checkpoint with throngs of strangers at an ungodly hour. You can find out when the dogs are on duty by following the Denver airport (@DENAirport) on Twitter and the PVD Pups on Facebook (@MakeYourDogADynamicDog).

BREATHING ROOM

Practice your down dog—and tree pose and shavasana—at your very own private yoga studio the next time you’re waiting for a flight. Many airports have yoga rooms, but Yoga on the Fly in Denver International Airport offers travelers guided yoga lessons delivered via an iPad and wireless headphones in your own private room. You can also choose from guided meditation and breathing exercises. Each practice is short and sweet—lessons range from an eight-minute alternate nostril breathing exercise to a 20-minute Vinyasa yoga flow.

SEA-TAC TUNES

Seattle is synonymous with musicians like Jimi Hendrix and bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, so it’s no surprise that its airport offers up live music performances seven days a week from local talent. It’s not surprising to find up to four concerts taking place on any given day. Heck, even the airport’s overhead music is local. Check out the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s website for concert schedules, and get ready to groove out.