Travelling can be stressful, non-more so than when in an airport, as such it is great to have a relaxing and quiet lounge to hide in from the noise and stress outside in the large communal waiting rooms. Sometimes certain airlines offer their own lounges which tend to be a bit more luxurious than the airport provided ones, yet if you do not have access to these the airport ones are nothing to be snuffed at.

Airlines usually offer access to their private lounges to first and business class passengers only, whereas the airport lounges are open to anyone at a fee or sometimes it is possible to get a free pass, maybe with a frequent flyers scheme. They may not always have the spa, beds, champagne and anything else you can dream of in an airport like the private lounges however in some airports they are not far off. The experience will vary airport to airport however with some outclassing others. When you have the opportunity to take a shower and relax you will not regret it, it is something that can transform a nightmare journey to a very, very bearable one.

As mentioned earlier you can buy a day pass into an airport lounge, maybe if you have a long transfer this would be worth considering. Prices will naturally vary a lot depending on place of purchase so be sure to research, sometimes certain credit cards or bank accounts come with privileges that include a free pass to airport lounges. Service veterans can also enjoy free access to certain lounges upon request.

The quality of the lounges will of course vary with the airport you are staying in. London Heathrow and JFK have showers in their airside lounges and in Paris Charles de Gaulle you can buy a pass for access to their shower facilities in the lounge or use public showers on the concourse. Most lounges also offer a complimentary bus service to the hotel you are staying at, yet with this being the case the smaller airports only have lounges for the departing passengers so again see what facilities are available ahead of time. Wifi is not something to worry about and is offered to all customers on site in most airports. However, if surfing the web while sipping from a cold alcoholic beverage in the peace and quiet, away from announcements and annoying children sounds more appealing, then the lounge is the place for you. One thing all lounges offer however is easy access to flight information monitors as the airport staff on hand gives you any updates of delays or changing details.

If you happen to be travelling with children yourself and need a break you will find many airports to be very family friendly, Amsterdam airport offers childcare services and quite places for parents with infants. Other airports even cater to the older children, Calgary includes such spaces as the ‘Space Port’, this hosts a range of interactive activities allowing the children to relax, play and blow off some steam before being stuck in a plane. In Chicago, they have the best children’s airport play space as chosen by Nickelodeon where children can play with toy helicopters, planes and control towers.

Perhaps when the kids are being taken care of it is time to treat yourself, from spas to sleeping, airports have it all. Munich airport offers ‘napping pods’ 24/7 which offer fresh sheets, charging ports, flight information, an alarm and a private space to relax, sleep and maybe work in peace. If you are travelling first class then you may have access to spa facilities, as in the Qantas lounge in Sydney airport, which offers travellers hand/foot therapies and massages. The Cathay Pacific lounge in Hong Kong provides private rooms with toiletries, bath robes, full-size baths and showers. The Indira Gandhi airport in India allows you to relax with a huge choice of magazines and newspapers with a hot meal and London Heathrow even has a cinema. Lots of research and technological innovation has gone into providing comfort for people at airports as they know travelling is exhausting and planes are not the easiest place to sleep.

Instead of relaxing maybe you want some activity before a long-haul flight, Denver International Airport and Incheon Airport in Seoul, have ice rinks where you can skate and have your belongings safely stored in the meantime. Munich also offers this feature as well as a Christmas market during the winter months. Other airports like London Heathrow and Changi in Singapore have their own movie theatres to help you pass the time.

If travelling for a business venture then airports often cater to this need, with conference rooms or business centres on site or partnering with hotels on-site or nearby where these amenities are offered. Toronto and Zurich airport both offer business centres where colleagues can enjoy a drink and snacks while working.