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Sensory Rooms And Meditation Areas In Airports Will Soon Become The Norm
Airports are set to create more sensory rooms, quiet spaces and meditation areas in efforts to offer all travelers a space of calm.
American Express recently opened a new space in one of its Centurion Lounges at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental airport, where fliers can reset before boarding their flights. The space is designed to encourage a wholly peaceful, less anxiety-inducing airport experience for travelers.
The space is complete with relaxing, comfy lounge chairs, an array of calming teas and neck-warmers for the inevitably built-up tension that airports seem to bring on.
After two years in a pandemic, the prioritization of wellness and relaxation in airports is more timely than ever. With tough airport experiences, delays and an agonizingly long list of new COVID-induced travel anxieties, the initiatives are sure to be welcomed by the masses. In fact, many are impressed by the sensory rooms opened in Miami International airport and Pittsburgh International airport in 2019.
Airports typically offer this arena of meditative and peaceful flying experience exclusively through membership or fliers with top-tier credit cards or airline elite status. Recently, there has been a call for a huge shift in the industry, encouraging airlines to make sensory rooms available to all passengers.
The rooms will also serve to promote peaceful flying experiences for fliers who are neurodivergent. Increasing the number of sensory and meditation areas in airports will massively help to eliminate the overwhelming experience.
As well as a sensory room and a simulator room (a space where the entire boarding process can be rehearsed for travelers who often find this anxiety-inducing), Kansas City International airport intends to offer a multipurpose peaceful room in the airport.
“We wanted to be sure [the space] was not exclusive to some and only focused on others,” Justin Meyer, Kansas City International airport’s deputy director of aviation, marketing, and air service development said.
“We didn’t want a prayer room, and we didn’t want a chapel, so we’re going forward with what we call a quiet room. Whether you want to go in there and roll out a prayer rug or roll out a yoga mat, both of those are totally fine.” he added.
Travelers can expect to see many other changes with wellness as priority rather than an afterthought in US airports. For instance, Pittsburgh’s new terminal is said to have set aside 90,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space, where travelers will be welcome to relax among plants, in actual fresh air.
Creating inclusive, wellness-centered airports will massively change the airport experience for many, presenting the aviation industry a chance to recover from the negative impacts of COVID.