The Biggest Airport Wellness Trends of 2019

It’s still the fresh start to a new year, and we’re already dreaming about our next travel adventure.

To get you prepped for a healthy and happy travel year ahead, we’ve tracked down this year’s most significant travel and airport wellness trends.

We’ll share with you exactly where to get that much-needed space to relax or workout, where to pamper yourself, where to find the healthiest foods at airports around the world, and what’s new in airport wellness in 2019.

Travel often feels stressful, but it doesn’t have to be

Both travelers and airports recognize just how exhausting and stressful traveling can be.

The hectic non-stop vibe at airports increases the amount of adrenaline in our body. Like the famous line in Forrest Gump, an airport experience is “like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.”

From airport pat-downs gone too far, unexpected delays or missing your flight altogether, plenty of our airport experiences can leave us anxious and frazzled.

Though airport travel can often wreak havoc on the body and the mind, we see new ideas and improvements to the overall experience. This year it’s all about turning “dwell” time to SWELL time with healthier, happier travel experiences.

Wellness is everywhere, and the airport is no exception

The wellness economy seems to be everywhere, the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness Trends for 2019 mentions wellness across all sectors from real estate to healthcare to retail. People are looking for experiences that promote wellbeing and healthy habits. So it comes as no surprise that wellness is something travelers seek and need at airports.

Wellness offerings are going beyond a token back massage or “healthy snack.” Airport wellness initiatives go far beyond the food and spa industries. Global wellness trends are affecting everything from architecture and design to how businesses operate. 

Airport wellness in 2019 is about creating a positive mind-body experience.  This is the kind of approach that genuinely contributes to reduced stress and fatigue. With an uptick in the numbers of people traveling by air, airports and airline providers must reinvent themselves to address health and wellness throughout the traveler’s journey.

New technology is allowing deeper dives into travel wellness by offering more engaging and immersive tools and spaces to unwind. But those who do it best understand that technology needs to work hand-in-hand with genuine human connections and experiences.

These are the top airport wellness trends of 2019

PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

1. Healthy airport food is taking center stage

Localizing the food experience

Airports are becoming extensions of a visitor’s destination, enabling travelers to experience their destination with local food at the terminal. Local food experiences have been on the rise, and now they are a vital food offering at airports.

For example, San Francisco Airport is adding 3,200+ square feet of food space with a focus on Bay Area products.  Vane had the opportunity to be a Blue Ribbon Evaluation Panel Member responsible for helping vet and choose the best restaurants for the new 28 gate Terminal 1 – slated to be SFO’s most amenity and environment-rich terminal yet. It will open in phases between 2019 and 2022.

Full vegan restaurants

Plant-based eating has been steadily climbing in popularity, and it shows no signs of slowing down. While many continue to give up meat due to animal cruelty, others are now making the switch for environmental and health reasons.

In 2018, two new entirely vegan restaurants opened in the US and Japan that are worth mentioning. The first, Floret, is a full-service vegetarian and vegan restaurant opened at Sea-Tac International Airport. It offers both sit-down and grab-and-go options.

Healthy_TOKYO_1
PHOTO: HealthyTOKYO

The second, HealthyTOKYO, opened in December 2018 at Haneda Airport in Japan. The airport’s first plant-based cafe and shop is located in Terminal 2. 

Beaming, Organic Superfood Cafe opened in the New Terminal 1 at LAX. The cafe offers plant-based food, unique cleansing programs, gluten- and dairy-free baked goods; cold-pressed juices and premium superfood smoothies.

Brisbane Airport’s Corretto Cafe & Bar followed in the footsteps of many places looking to pivot more toward healthy food offerings. They launched a new menu with many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and even superfood options.

Healthy vending machines

One of the most exciting new trends in healthy airport food is the appearance of healthy vending machines.

Sally, a healthy food prep machine at Buffalo Airport that opened in 2018, will make you a salad just the way you want it at the touch of a button.

Farmer’s Fridge is another version of this concept at Chicago O’Hare Airport. It’s stocked with wholesome foods like chef-curated salads, sandwiches, bowls, breakfast items, snacks and more, all handcrafted in a professional kitchen and delivered fresh.

Airports selling unsold food at a discount

A more conscientious food ethos is emerging at airports, too. What if you could get healthy airport food cheaper and help reduce food waste for a more sustainable future at the same time?

To help fight food waste, last year Munich Airport launched a pilot project to test a new app called Too Good To Go. The app allows users to order and pick up surplus food made by the airport’s food establishments at a discount, any time between 8 am and 9:30 pm.

We love this concept because it appeals to both our budget-conscious and environmentally-conscious values.

Food delivery services

Searching for healthy airport food can be a challenge.  A variety of airport food delivery apps have emerged, and they are here to stay. 

Last year, Priority Pass announced it would invest in mobile airport food ordering platform Grab. Vane had a chance to meet the Grab team last year at The Passenger Terminal Expo 2018. In 2018, Grab partnered with LevelUp “to increase pre-order dining options at USA airports and added Air Canada, its second major North American airline, to its platform. American Airlines joined the Grab platform in 2016.”

Another airport food delivery app we noted is AtYourGate.  PJ Mastracchio, Founder and CEO of AtYourGate told us: “What sets AtYourGate apart is our team: we hire a very talented and motivated team of brand ambassadors that follow a proven approach to hospitality and passenger service, and we delivered over 20,000 orders in 2018 with great distinction, confirmed by a Net Promoter Score of 87. That’s world-class customer loyalty.”  

Since their launch in February of 2018, AtYourGate is now in 5 airports: San Diego, Newark, LaGuardia, JFK Terminal 7, and Minneapolis. 

Dubai International Airport became the first airport to partner with Deliveroo, one of the global leaders in food delivery. The unique concept – named DeliverooDXB – was trialed at the airport. The app allowed passengers to get food delivered straight to their boarding gates within minutes of ordering.

Jaclyn Boschetti, Head Of Public Relations at Airport Sherpa, told us that in 2018,  they “started delivering to the USO Lounge at BWI and started a partnership with Upside at BWI as well.” The airport food ordering app currently works with 30 restaurants at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport.

In 2019, we expect healthy airport food to continue to take center stage at airports around the world. The most exciting trend here is the sheer variety of healthy food innovations popping up, from restaurants to vending machines to delivery services.

More mobile ordering will be available in 2019. It means that no matter how much time you have, how hungry you are, what your budget is or what kind of food you’re looking for, you can now eat healthier (no excuses!) when you’re at the airport.

meditation_rooms_airports
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

2. Meditation rooms are becoming the norm

Airports are creating comfortably furnished quiet rooms where travelers can sit in absolute silence and escape the frenzy of busy terminals.

A brand new meditation center opened in 2018 at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The bright space designed by architect Gerard van der Veer features a glass wall with religious and spiritual symbols from around the world. Read our full Schiphol airport wellness guide.

Philadelphia Airport opened a 315-square-foot Quiet Room that contains two open areas separated by frosted glass for semi-privacy. Each area features built-in wooden benches and a circular rug inset within the floor.

In 2018, Sea-Tac Airport reopened their prayer and meditation room and was planning to open a new quiet space in 2020.

In 2019, expect to see more non-denominational quiet spaces and meditation rooms opening up, upgraded or reopening. Taking a moment to gather your thoughts, get a few minutes of quiet time, or do a meditation practice can be the key to a calmer travel experience.

airport_spa_trends_2019
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

3. Airport spas are offering more than basic back rubs

Though airport spas can sometimes be hard to find, they continue to build out more sophisticated service offerings in airports around the world.  There are a variety of reasons to head over to an airport spa, from experiencing a deep level of relaxation to getting that last-minute manicure.

 

LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, Location: Queens, New York, LaGuardia Gateway Partners
LaGuardia Airport, Terminal B PHOTO: LaGuardia Gateway Partners

Vane had a chance to meet with Solomon Crayton, Former EVP of XpresSpa and Co-founder of SpaHere. We learned about their innovative design of individual “privacy cocoons,” self-contained spaces for the ultimate escape.

SpaHere opened two locations in 2018. The first, in September, launched in Terminal C at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The second location recently opened at the newly renovated La Guardia Airport, Terminal B.

The rise of XpresSpa continues as we predicted a few years back. They are now integrating a variety of partnerships to provide travelers with a holistic wellness experience at airports. For example, the wellness app Calm has just invested $3 million in XpresSpa. Notable industry mega-deals reflect a growing recognition that airport wellness is here to stay.

XpresSpa has some new unique treatments on offer too like XpresCryo (cryotherapy) facials and NormaTec Recovery Compression Therapy available at select locations. XpresSpa launched 6 new spas in 2018 and 2019 is conducting a new pilot treatment  “Breathe Salt Chamber” in JFK Terminal 4.

endota Light and Hydration studio Sydney Airport T1
PHOTO: Sydney Airport

The favorite Australian spa brand endota introduced a new Light and Hydration studio concept to travelers at Sydney International Airport last November. 

In 2018, Be Relax launched a new brand identity “From Paris to the World”  with a refocus on the Parisian origins of the brand and a redesigned architectural concept. The renewed spa design has a “cloud theme” that includes a warm atmosphere, with deep and wrapping blue colors, and refined materials. Also, Be Relax has added shower services and juice to some of its locations.

Hélène Ote, Brand Manager at Be Relax, shared with us that in 2018 they opened new spas in Doha, Dallas, and Oman and more new locations are coming in 2019. Further, a new site opening in 2019 includes Baltimore Washington International Airport, between concourse A and B; two new locations in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport, a further two in San Francisco and Philadelphia Airport and a new location at Dallas Airport.

 

bp premium
PHOTO: QB Premium

Hong Kong International Airport launched QB Premium. A Japan-based chain known for its fast quick-cut barbershop and hair services. The speedy service is especially well-suited for airports.

No1 Lounges Ltd told us that in 2019, look out for the spa to undergo a full menu transformation with a new partnership with the favorite British brand Temple Spa. The menu will incorporate both facials and massages using their Mediterranean-inspired products that focus on health and wellbeing.

Anna Humphrey, Founder of Aerospa, confirmed they will open a new location in March 2019, and it will be the most prominent location to date at London Gatwick Airport. Last year they opened three locations at Glasgow, Birmingham, and Manchester.

Airport spa offerings have upgraded with a variety of innovative services. For instance, treatments that are quick to address specific travel problems such as dehydrated skin. Further, digital nail experiences, increased privacy, showers, cryo and LED facial hydration treatments demonstrate an expanding wellness menu. Airport spas are positioning beauty as an active and positive contributor to the health and wellbeing of travelers.

In 2019, watch for airport spas providing more comprehensive multisensory wellness experiences with special lighting and sound. The idea behind this immersive experience is to offer a multisensory escape that’s key to tapping into deep and lasting stress relief. Watch for a variety of quicker specialized treatments to address beauty touch-ups and travel stress when you’re short on time.

PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

4. Airport therapy dogs are bringing stress relief and positivity

Airport therapy dogs have been surging in popularity over the past few years. In fact, in 2018 we saw an increase in airport therapy dog programs in the US, Canada, and globally.

Seven new programs launched in the US in 2018. Jacksonville International Airport launched its JaxPaws program. Ontario International Airport started with a pilot program, officially launching in November 2018. Long Beach Airport has a new dog Bella, be sure to say hello. Miami International Airport had one dog for years and now a whole new team named Miami Hound Machine.

Clinton National Airport launched its BowWow Buddies in June 2018. The airport started with seven teams and has expanded to 25. Louis Armstrong International Airport now has nearly ten volunteers, and canines will be on duty for two hour shifts weekdays. After a successful pilot period, the Connecticut Airport Authority began a permanent therapy dog program at Bradley International Airport named the “Bradley Buddies.”

airport therapy dogs usa 2018
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

Our 2018 US Airport Therapy Dogs Infographic lists 58 airports with a program.  However, not all programs are ongoing. Some airports have daily dogs roaming, while others are just seasonal programs and some airports only have one dog.

Globally, the UK’s first airport therapy dog, Harley, an Alaskan Malamute, has been working in the terminal at Aberdeen Airport. Last November in Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport launched a program nicknamed the Snuggle Squad with 30 therapy dogs to help passengers take some of the stress out of air travel. 

Airport_Therapy_Dog_Sydney_Airport
PHOTO: Assistance Dogs Australia

Australia’s first airport therapy dogs launched at Sydney Airport in partnership with American Airlines to help travelers with a fear of flying. Twice a week at American Airlines’ ticket counters at Sydney Airport, travelers are now able to enjoy the company of Assistance Dogs Australia (ADA) between 7 and 9 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

Gold Coast Airport in Australia added a new staff member last year, Gary, the retriever, to make travel pawsitive

Our Instagram account Airport Therapy Dogs is dedicated to sharing the latest news and updates about airport therapy dogs around the world. Last year we noticed greater interest and need for travelers to connect with dogs at airports.  

Many airport therapy dog programs start as a pilot project. Soon they become an integral part of creating a better travel day.  For instance, David S. Haring, Executive Director of Lincoln Airport, told Vane: “Therapy dog teams represent a phenomenal positive catalyst for travelers.” 

We expect to see more airport therapy dog programs globally.  Airport therapy dogs are bringing the same kind of rewarding stress relief and positivity to travelers as they have been doing elsewhere for many years. We’re glad to see such initiatives becoming a more significant part of the airport travel experience.

airport_napping_pod_trends
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

5. Napping pods are opening worldwide

This year, sleep has been sneaking into the airport wellness conversation via napping pods. They offer an affordable option to those who don’t need the bells and whistles of a hotel, just a few hours of genuine good-quality rest.

Christopher Glass, Chief Operating Officer of Minute Suites, shared the news with Vane of the opening of their Charlotte Douglas Airport and Atlanta Airport locations in 2018. They have 9 new locations projected for 2019. Suites can be booked for a one-hour minimum followed by 15-minute increments; an eight-hour day rate or flat overnight rate is also available.

Abu Dhabi International Airport launched a new sleeping facility by Aerotel of Plaza Premium Group in 2018. They now have two properties at the airport in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

The Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City put in sleeping pods for the second time where travelers can rest for a few hours or even overnight.

This past December, Perth was the first airport in Australia to trial sleeping pods. The pods have arrived amidst a trend in wellness-focused offerings at the airport.

Coming this February 2019, Washington Dulles International Airport will debut a 16-room micro-hotel called Sleepbox Lounge, in Concourse A. The rooms are 8 feet tall and 30 to 45 square feet in size, have workspaces, are soundproof and have beds with memory foam mattresses.

 

airpod_SmartNapping_pod_interior
PHOTO: Airpod

Janez Skobe, Media and PR Director of APOD Technologies OU told us that their new “AirPod Smart Napping Pod offers privacy and comfort in public places where there is a need for nap solutions.” The company plans to enter the market via some of the world’s busiest airports in 2019.

With busier schedules, flight options during off-peak hours, and more need for quick trips to far-flung places, we predict the airport pod trend will only continue to grow. Travelers will help shape the future of these amenities according to the essential features for getting proper rest, total silence, or being able to finish work on the go. 

They’re also much more affordable than hotels and airport lounges, making napping pods an accessible way for those on a budget to travel healthier. Nap rooms and sleep technology represent a shift toward a more balanced travel mindset for optimum productivity, rest and travel wellness.

mind health trend travel
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

6. Mind health backed by science is changing the game

Mind health at airports is beginning to take center stage when it comes to relieving the stresses of airport travel, as it should. A growing awareness around mind health has helped to bring it into the public eye.

Vancouver International Airport has collaborated with the Canadian Mental Health Association to create Fly Calm. The program features an interactive website with tips, videos, and an on-the-go downloadable coloring book to help travelers de-stress before a flight.

The newly opened Centre for Air Travel Research is the world’s first and only facility to study the air travel experience from start to finish; from check-in to the terminal, to security, boarding, flying and deplaning. It’s located next to Ottawa International Airport in Canada. The research and development facility will benefit travelers, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers from around the world.

The new Timeshifter app is based on the latest research in sleep and circadian neuroscience developed with a leading expert in the field of circadian rhythms, Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Steven Lockley, Ph.D. It’s designed to beat jet lag once and for all. Jet lag is a hot topic in science right now.

Researchers at the Charles Perkins Centre have collaborated with Qantas to improve air travel health and wellbeing. The Charles Perkins Centre has worked with Qantas across a variety of areas including nutrition, physical activity, and sleep.

Wellness inflight meals are one of the key pillars in Singapore Airlines’ science-based strategy to enhance cabin ambiance for rest and general wellbeing. The ANA Travel Wellness Initiative is working with a research team led by Professor Ichiro Kawachi, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The ANA–Chan team have been looking at the physical underpinnings of jet lag. They’ve also been looking at people’s beliefs about jet lag.

Innovative science-backed developments are some of our favorite trends in the airport wellness space. It’s an indication that airports are taking travel wellness seriously, and looking for tangible ways to make an impact beyond throwing around marketing slogans.

It marks a pivot in the role of airports in our lives. Not only are they massive international travel hubs, but they are becoming dedicated investors and active players in shaping a healthier existence.

persoanl space airports
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

7. Personal spaces are popping up

If you’ve traveled even a little bit, you know the experience of sharing a public space with someone (or many someones). We are often forced to navigate crowded areas which can be awkward, loud and stressful. Even lounges can often be busy during peak travel times. Sometimes we need a little personal space to recharge.

 

perosnal space wellness trends airports
PHOTO: Jabbrrbox

Jabbrrbox, launched in LaGuardia Airport in New York in 2018, offers a high degree of isolation from the busy airport terminal with something that feels like a lounge for one. Vane visited and tested out the new boxes in 2018. It’s a great spot to get a moment’s silence, but it can also be useful for meetings and getting work done.

Earlier this year Jabbrrbox launched in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Airports. Jeremy Jennings Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Jabbrrbox shared with us they “plan on being in 25 airports in 2019.”

 

My_Space_Aeropuerto Internacional de Carrasco
PHOTO: MOS

Vane spoke with Ismael Carlos Micón, CEO of MOS to learn about the recent launch of My Own Space (MOS) pilot program at Carrasco International Airport this past December. MOS is a new private pod you can work or take a nap in for $10 an hour. The interior has a modular chair that converts into a bed if you choose to nap. In addition, some features include a 43-inch flat screen tv, adjustable lighting, soundproof, personalized air conditioning, and wi-fi. MOS is wheelchair accessible and self -cleaning too. You can experience MOS via credit card payment to gain access.

As congestion at airport terminals is on the rise and lounges are busier than ever, we will see more demand for personal spaces where people can genuinely recharge. The main draw of these new initiatives is the convenience, ease, and privacy for the designated time you need.

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PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

8. Inflight wellness is gaining traction

Airlines like airports are filled with stress and frustration. To enhance wellbeing inflight, we saw airlines in 2018 partner with wellness brands, create inflight meditation content, offer healthier food items, and create programs with science-backed solutions.

Healthier food inflight

Wellness is driving the shift in travelers’ preferences towards options perceived as fresher and healthier in-flight.  Gluten-free and vegetarian meals increased in popularity in airlines in 2018. Several carriers have already removed peanuts and are offering tastier gluten-free and vegetarian options.

American Airlines is expanding its inflight food options with the addition of a light and healthy Mediterranean menu. The carrier announced an agreement with the restaurant chain Zoë’s Kitchen. Zoë’s Kitchen worked with American Airlines to modify favorite menu items like the Chicken Wrap for in-flight eating.

Etihad Airways launched a menu of health-focused food on board. Also, Singapore Airlines partnered with Canyon Ranch to ease stress during long-haul flights through both cuisine and guided stretching.

On-demand fitness content brings wellness inflight

Airlines have recognized meditation as a great tool to combat travel-related stress and have partnered with mindfulness/meditation companies. We noticed a variety of meditation videos becoming increasingly popular inflight in 2018.

For example, last year a new inflight wellbeing program called “Travel Well with Yoga” launched on all routes of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight wellness videos offer a selection of wellness content meant to enhance the wellbeing of passengers before, during and post-flight. It includes a series of stretches and breathing exercises.

Since June 2018, Qantas added guided meditations to its in-flight entertainment program. The 12-minute sessions are narrated by yoga, meditation, and holistic coach Vicki Gus, who leads listeners through a calm, inner journey of mindfulness to enhance their in-flight experience.

Last year, Virgin Australia announced a new partnership with Smiling Mind, one of the leaders in wellbeing and mindfulness meditation.  The airline will provide Smiling Mind guided meditations via their inflight entertainment system. The new wellness service is expected to launch in early 2019.

vr inflight wellness entertainment
PHOTO: SkyLights VR

Vane met with Tech startup SkyLights last year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Boston. Skylights mission is to bring virtual reality to the in-flight entertainment space. We tried their VR inflight technology and it was quite the positive experience feeling a more immersive sense of calm in VR  to help beat in-flight stress. They offer a variety of wellness content featuring yoga, and fear of flying tips by experts. They have partnered with a range of airlines, last year with Alaska Airlines.

A partnership between American Airlines and wellness app Calm brought in-flight meditation sessions to travelers in October 2018, and rival app Headspace, which initially established a partnership with Virgin Atlantic back in 2011, is now available on 11 different airlines.

In 2019, airlines will continue to create vegetarian, low-carb and gluten-free in-flight meals following healthy eating trends, despite the challenge to keep an inventory of a big range of foods to appeal to so many passenger preferences. We will also see more leading airlines integrating mindfulness, meditation, and in-the-air fitness offerings into their entertainment menus.

PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

9. Fitness is finding its way into your travel day

A packed day of travel doesn’t necessitate skipping our workout. Fitness isn’t just physical; it’s also about mental health. It’s the only time of day I am alone and can connect with my mind and body. So having access to fitness during travel is a plus.

Also, for those who must keep fit for things like marathon training while being a frequent flyer, fitness spaces and gyms at airports can be a saving grace. Several airports have incredible gyms that offer day passes.  We would like to see more fitness spaces opening as a great way to achieve health and wellness while traveling.

In 2018 we saw a variety of ways that fitness made it into travel days.

roam_fitness_sfo_airport
PHOTO: Roam Fitness

ROAM’s founder Ty Manegold recently spoke with Vane about the new joint location in collaboration with XpresSpa at San Francisco Airport’s Terminal 2. The new joint location is expected to open in October 2019.  While they build out the new facility at SFO, they are also in talks with JFK Airport for a location in Terminal 5.

A new assisted stretching studio opened at Sydney Airport to provide travelers with an opportunity to reach for better health. Fast Company noted that “stretching studios are the next big boutique fitness trend for 2019” and we’re glad to see it land at airports.

Stretch Studio in partnership with Sydney Airport is just one of the studios taking part in this trend. All sessions are one-on-one to ensure you’re getting the exact stretches your body needs before or after a flight. Stretch Studio Director Yaron Remen is excited to join Sydney Airport in the brand’s first airport venture.

Equinox launched Sweatlag, a workout scientifically designed to beat jet lag, in a partnership with Delta Air Lines last summer. The Sweatlag workouts were offered at LA Equinox locations at Westwood, Marina Del Rey, and West Hollywood. They also created a series of short workout videos by Equinox fitness trainers on their website.

Kris Barrow, Wellness Manager at Denver International Airport, shared that the airport offered free yoga and fitness at their outdoor pop-up park, including a health-focused series called Wellness Wednesday. This series included things like yoga, dance classes, fitness, and aerobics classes. 

In 2018, both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports offered self-guided sessions with Yoga Nidra animations with the relaxing sound of Tibetan bowls to follow along to at your own pace.

PHOTO: Christchurch International Airport

Christchurch Airport opened a new yoga space developed in collaboration with a local yoga studio. It features infographic-style panels to inspire your workout routine. The new yoga space is free and located in the international lounge. 

2019 will likely see new airport pop-up gyms and new programs offered. Often these initiatives are hosted by some of the cities’ top gyms and physical training experts. Fitness is finding its way into our travel day, and we expect to see more high-caliber partnerships between fitness companies and airports. The launch of new boutique fitness locations in 2019. 

trendds1a
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

10. Airport lounges expand wellness offerings

Wellness is taking the airport lounge experience to new heights. Lounges around the world are adding more rest amenities, from day beds to on-site hair services to meditation rooms and programs led by wellness experts.

A new American Express Centurion Lounge is opening at Los Angeles Airport in 2019. This modern lounge will include a spa and a new “tranquility area.” The tranquility area will feature both brightly and dimly lit quiet spaces to help travelers adjust to new time zones as they travel internationally.

The new United Airlines Polaris Lounge at San Francisco Airport launched five private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.

The largest wellbeing area in an Air France lounge has devoted more than 550 square meters entirely to wellbeing. There are two private saunas, large shower suites and a Clarins spa with two treatment rooms. There is also a dedicated relaxation area with loungers for quick naps; overhead, unique light fixtures that twinkle to resemble the night sky.

Qantas partnered with Bodhi Wellness Spa to provided guided stretching and meditation in their new Perth lounge launched in 2018. The new lounge was designed with the aim of improving wellbeing by encouraging hydration and reducing the effects of jetlag with the likes of ‘light therapy’ showers, hydration menus, and yoga classes.

Expect to see the lounge experience become more sophisticated when it comes to wellness in 2019 and beyond.

airport water refilling stations
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

11. Water and the environment are becoming fundamental concerns

Plastic-free policies

Zero waste airports are all about taking strides to make travel sustainable. The dangers of plastic for the environment, for instance, has influenced some airports to make a change.

Tampa International Airport has eliminated plastic straws from its staff cafeteria, and will only serve the turtle-chokers on demand at its full-service restaurants.

Airport operators at the Penang International Airport “will stop giving out plastic straws and single-use plastic items following a collaboration with the Penang Island City Council to curb unnecessary plastic waste. All 19 operators in the airport will embark on the pilot project and advocate environmental protection to travelers.”

Delta Air Lines is removing a variety of single-use plastic items from its aircraft, and it’s Delta Sky Clubs, following the removal of plastic wrap from international main cabin cutlery this past April.

HiFly_No_Plastic
PHOTO: Hi Fly

Hi Fly, a Portuguese airline, took to the skies just after Christmas, the world’s first plastic-free flight. The airline plans to make it’s entire fleet “plastic free” by the end of 2019.

Going plastic-free will be one of the main trends of 2019, and we will see more airports working even harder to reduce plastic usage.

Water refilling stations

We know staying hydrated is essential when traveling; however, sometimes we don’t want to buy replacement beverages post-security. Not only are water refilling stations sustainable but they save you money too!

In 2018, Spain’s airports felt compelled to reduce the price of bottled water following an outcry by passengers who believed water should be a fundamental human right. It was even investigated in 2015 by the Spanish Ombudsman after multiple complaints. Now, airports in Spain will only be able to sell water bottles under 500ml for €1 or less, according to El Pais newspaper.

SFO Hot_Cold Hydration Station
PHOTO: SFO Airport

We have noticed more hydration stations installed in airports globally.  Recently, SFO Airports new hydration stations dispense both hot and cold water. Water bottle filling stations are also coming soon to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and many more airports. 

Dublin Airport recently upgraded its water fountains and retrofitted them with new taps to make it easier to refill water bottles.

With many consumers going plastic-free the need for more hydration water refill stations is a reality. We predict more airport water refill stations installed and upgraded in 2019, and they’ll be more visible than ever before with re-branding and increased signage efforts.

holistic experience airport
PHOTO: Vane Airport Media

12. One Stop Wellness

Last year we predicted the expansion of airport wellness. “Airport wellness is expanding its offering beyond just one focus—like spas, gyms, or yoga. ROAM is expanding its offering with healthy food, Be Relax offering fresh juice and showers, and XpresSpa offering innovative treatments.”

This year you will be able to experience a manicure and a workout in the same space or a quick nap, back adjustment and pedicure all under one roof. The latest airport wellness concept stores are built with an integrated wellness approach.

In 2019, XpresSpa and ROAM fitness are opening a joint location at San Francisco Airport.

xpresSpa roam fitness sfo airport
PHOTO: XpresSpa

ROAM’s founder, Ty Manegold, told us that “the facility will include all of the traditional features of ROAM while being able to seamlessly add on massage, lounger, and nail salon services with our joint-located partner, XpresSpa.” Both an airport spa and gym can provide travelers with an opportunity to pick and choose a more extensive selection of wellness services or integrate for a full wellness experience too.

Tavelers Oasis
PHOTO: Minute Suite

Be Relax, Minute Suites, and Chiroport will offer the brand new “Traveler’s Oasis” concept. The concept will offer travelers a variety of relaxation and self-care options together providing a holistic experience. Two locations are set to open in 2019 at Concourses T and B in Atlanta Airport. “It’s meant to be a wellness center… like a true wellness oasis in the airport,” says Daniel Solomon, Co-founder, and Director of Minute Suites.

These brands are working together, cross-pollinating their unique wellness strengths to provide passengers with a much more holistic experience. A variety of wellness services under one roof in the very design could make you feel better just by being there!

Stressed travelers at airports can now access full relaxation all in one place. These new initiatives are allowing us to work, eat, relax, meditate, workout and get treatments done all in one. An excellent solution when the time is of the essence at airports!

Wellness during travel is essential 

Many aspects of airport wellness show more and more airports and brands propelling themselves with mainstream wellness trends and also creating their own.  However, most airports have a long way to go in terms of upping their wellness offerings.

The world of airport wellness will eventually evolve from industry firsts into a ubiquitous culture. Airport wellness acts as both a solution and driver to make travel days less stressful and much healthier.

The future of airport wellness is shifting towards a holistic experience, and it will achieve that by integrating a variety of travel wellness solutions. One stop wellness locations will continue to push the boundaries and define a new era of experience. 

Trends such as recovery, veganism, holistic experiences, stretching studios, fitness alfresco, animal-fuelled wellness and healthy eating can be found now at airports around the world.

Incorporating wellness into travel is essential to maintaining one’s emotional and physical health. Now, it’s just a question of knowing where to look to find the best in airport wellness that fits your needs on that day. 

Vane is your go-to source for the latest health and wellness news at airports globally.

In case you missed it, here are our Airport Fitness and Wellness Trends That You Need to Know About in 2018 and our Airport Fitness and Wellness Trends for 2017.

© 2019 Vane Airport Media Inc. This report in whole or part may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, or otherwise used, except as expressly permitted in writing by Vane Airport Media. Reference to any part of this report must be credited to “Vane Airport Media Inc, Airport Wellness Trends 2019.”

Cristina Alcivar

Founder and Editor of Vane Airport Magazine. Passionate about everything well-being, love travel, the ocean and the sun.

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