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NCM Travel Insiders: Spas in Airports

Polly Shugart
Written By: Polly Shugart
Posted on November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. Leaves changing colors, cooler temperatures, warm clothing, and let us not forget, the irresistible comfort food. However, there is one thing about Thanksgiving that can get under the nerves of even the most seasoned traveler—the stress that comes from flying on the busiest travel week of the year. Going through security, canceled and delayed flights, weather delays, and the seemingly endless amounts of waiting. Waiting to check your bag, waiting in line for food, waiting at the gate for the connecting flight, waiting to use the bathroom, waiting to get on the plane, waiting to get off the plane, waiting for your checked bag. No matter how many frequent flyer miles you have under your belt, holiday travel can take a toll on you.

After years of helping travelers book flights, I have heard of every airport survival technique out there. Believe it or not, many airports have started providing numerous alternatives to waiting at the gate for its passengers. They have opened local breweries, restaurants, and boutique style shops. If you are looking to relax during your layover, I have a perfect escape for you —The spa! Yes, you can now get a neck and shoulder massage to relax those muscles that you just pulled lugging your one-ounce-under-weight-limit suitcase to the airport.

The Basics:

There are two major players offering massage services in most major U.S. airports, American-based XpresSpa and French-based BeRelax. Both of these companies are expanding rapidly throughout airports worldwide and offer a wide range of services including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling. Xpress Spa has even added ‘Pampering on Demand’ treatments allowing you to schedule the service of your choice via mobile app at more than 50 locations.

Best Airport Spas:

If a spa treatment sounds like the perfect addition to your travel plans, it is important to research which spa option is best for you. Not all spas are created equal, and if you are lucky enough to be flying through one of these airports, I have a few recommendations for you!

  • The Dragontree at Portland International (PDX), Concourse C

If you are flying through the city of roses, head over to Concourse C to experience the Dragontree spa. Touted as “an oasis of peace amid the stress and anxiety of air travel”, Dragontree specializes in aromatherapy and holistic wellness. If your feet have been aching, book the Pad Abhyanga, a 30-minute Ayurvedic foot massage that will give you a much-needed boost. As an added bonus, you can also schedule these services online to ensure you make the best use of your layover.

  • SkySPA at Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW), Terminal D

Many people wouldn’t think that relaxation can be found at one of America’s busiest airports, but SkySPA in Dallas proves it’s possible. Travelers should head over to the in-airport Grand Hyatt DFW for a high-end spa experience during lengthy layovers (or a particularly rough flight). This AAA 4-Diamond hotel offers non-guests a $35-day pass for access to all of the fitness center amenities, including a steam room and rooftop saltwater pool. Their spa is available by appointment and run by certified, on-call staff consisting of two estheticians and five massage therapists.

  • OraOxygen at Calgary International (YYC), Mezzanine Level

OraOxygen has two locations, one in the pre-security departures area of the domestic terminal, and a second at the in-terminal Marriott on the Mezzanine level. These spas were specifically created to treat the side effects of breathing pressurized, recycled cabin air while sitting in a cramped economy seat. Claiming their well-trained and friendly staff will provide you the best treatment you have ever experienced at any airport, this is a must-stop if your travels lead you through Western Canada. Many passengers’ favorite treatment is a 60-minute full-body massage with a 15-minute oxygen session. Afterward, you won’t even mind getting that economy seat! 

  • Absolute Spa at Vancouver International (YVR), Domestic Level 1 & US Departures Gate 85

While flying can wreak havoc on your skin, the Absolute Spa, which has two locations in Vancouver Airport (YVR), can ensure you board your flight with a glow worthy of a first class upgrade. This location features five private treatment rooms, a group manicure and pedicure area, and a couple’s suite. All spa guests have full access to the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s health club, as well as provide travelers with a mechanized lap pool, saunas, state of the art fitness equipment, relaxation lounge, and a complimentary Youngblood mineral makeup consultation.

Make Travel More Relaxing

Next time you find yourself at the gate, waiting, staring at the agent, I hope you take my advice and go to the spa. You will come out with a few less knots in your neck, a few less pains in your feet, and hopefully a lot less stressed than you were before. Take advantage of the time you have on the ground and save your book for the plane. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it way more in the air than waiting at the gate.


Want More Out of Your Corporate Travel Experience?

Far too often, the responsibility for making travel accommodations falls to personal assistants and online booking websites. Unfortunately for the business traveler, this system leaves a lot of room for error. That’s why many of NCM’s clients trust our Travel Solutions team to plan, organize, and customize their travel experience to best match their needs. Our travel agents not only knows how your business operates, but can customize every detail of your trip to match your personal preferences.

For some additional reading from Travel Solutions team, please check out some of our other articles:

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