Kalin’s Chronicles: Doing time at the airport

oraoxygenFor those of us who reside in the United States, there’s always the dreaded winter season when it comes to flying. You never know when a snow or ice storm will leave you stranded for hours, or even days at the airport. And after jumping through hoops to get onto another flight, all you can do is sit and wait. Or is it?

Instead of stewing and stressing about the situation, I suggest spending your time in a better way – by taking advantage of the airport’s amenities. Today’s airports have more than your typical fast food and magazine shops. They’re becoming mini shopping and entertainment centers. According to the Bureau of Transportation, non-flight spending reached more than $7 billion in 2008. And one of the best new places to spend money is at the airport spa.

U.S. airports offer full spa services including massages, manicures, facials, and even oxygen therapy. A Message Inc. offers 10 to 90-minute massages at Denver International Airport. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport visit The Massage Bar which offers chair and foot massages, along with 10-minute heat therapy where a warm flaxseed wrap is placed on the neck and shoulders along with a soothing eye pillow. The Message Bar is also located at Nashville International, Pittsburg International, and Washington-Dulles International airports. (photo: Oraoxygen Detroit)

Oasis Day Spa offers the full gamut of spa services including scrubs and wraps, and is located at the JetBlue Airways terminal at JFK International Airport. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was ranked the second healthiest U.S. airport by Health Magazine in 2008. So it’s no surprise that it offers two locations of Destination Relaxation for chair massage or full spa services. You can get a manicure/pedicure, massage, or even a spray-tan at Miami International Airport’s Jetsetter Spa.

If you’re at Detroit Wayne County International Airport and you start to hyperventilate after hearing that flights are grounded for two days, you may want to visit OraOxygen Spa. Along with facials, ear candling and hot-stone massages, they also offer 15-minute oxygen treatments. OraOxygen claims to be the first airport-based oxygen wellness spa in the world. And for those traveling with pets, many airports have “animal relief areas.”

If all else fails, most airports have an interfaith chapel where you can meditate, or just pray for another flight. For a quick way to find airport food, shops, and services, check out the iPhone applications, GateGuru. I’m working on releasing the things I can’t control and making the best of the situation. Why not try that at a nearby spa the next time you find yourself doing time at the airport.

And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” — Mark Twain.

Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.