The best airports in the world for wellness

Authored by Mary
Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 01:06

New research from Netflights has revealed that Frankfurt International Airport is the ‘Best For Wellness’ in the world, thanks to impressive facilities for wellness and feeling healthy, including relaxation areas, calming yoga rooms and massage services. 

Crowded and confusing buildings, recycled air, convenience food, a swirl of germs, long periods of inactivity, stress, travelling through time zones – it is unlikely that airports would be considered cathedrals to physical or mental wellbeing. This, despite the fact they’re the gateway to rejuvenating holidays.

However, times are changing. New research from flight and travel comparison site Netflights has ranked 25 of the world’s busiest airports to see which is best for wellness – that is, making active efforts for passengers passing through to be healthy and feel good.

To determine the ranking, Netflights looked at which airports had spa or gym facilities, dedicated meditation or quiet spaces, yoga studios or classes, relaxation zones, outdoor or green space, prayer rooms, access to massage, and running tracks. They scored each airport on the quality of each facility to give the airport an overall ‘wellness score’ out of 23, and ranked all 25 accordingly.

The top 10 best airports in the world for wellness are:

1.Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Frankfurt

2. Schiphol Airport (AMS), Amsterdam

3. Dubai International Airport (DXB), Dubai

4. Changi Airport (SIN), Singapore

5. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), Hong Kong

6. Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Vancouver

=6. John F. Kennedy International Airport. (JFK), New York

8. Haneda Airport (HND), Tokyo

9. San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco

=9. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Toronto

The full 25 can be viewed here.

Taking the top spot with a score of 21 was Frankfurt International Airport. Along with dedicated silent chairs, a quiet room and peaceful leisure zones, there’s an open-air rooftop terrace where you can get some fresh air and sunshine before a flight. There are also individual yoga and prayer rooms, and spa facilities with a range of treatments; it all combined to push the airport to the top of Netflights’ ranking.  

Spas that include facilities such as haircuts, anti-jetlag facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing are available at 17 of the airports studied, while 13 gave access to massage services.

Dedicated meditation and quiet spaces for relaxation were rarer, with just nine airports providing them, including Dubai International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. There were dedicated prayer rooms in 23 out of the 25, but some better-equipped airports, such as Dubai and Hong Kong, also had religion-specific rooms. 

For travellers stopping over, or who just feel like a healthy stretch before boarding, a total of nine airports have yoga facilities and/or classes, including Vancouver International and San Francisco International. 

Despite Los Angeles’ reputation as a health capital, LAX placed bottom of Netflights’ overall ranking. The airport didn’t have any of the qualifying wellness factors, giving it a rock-bottom score of 0. London Gatwick Airport also only scored a total of 1, as most of its qualifying facilities can only be accessed by first-class or business-class passengers.

Andrew Shelton, Netflights’ Managing Director, commented: “Wellness, whether in mind or body, is really of the moment, so we hope travellers find our ranking guide useful in helping them understand how they can maintain their regime even while they’re at the airport.

“In recent years especially, airports have become much more than just places you go to catch a flight or return from somewhere. Along with incredible shopping and a wide choice of places to eat and drink, it’s natural that more of them should now also reflect the general impetus towards people maintaining a healthy lifestyle wherever they are, with an increasingly broad range of gyms, studios or places of worship and reflection.” 

The full breakdown of Netflights’ 25 best international airports for wellness can be found here.

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