By: Graham Ray

Airports can be rather impersonal, even depressing places, especially if you’ve just stepped off a 10-hour flight after hours of delays. Rather than serving as an unpleasant weigh station for our final destination, some U.S. airports actually feature places that can enhance our travel experience and recharge our batteries. Here are a few.

[title text=”Downward Facing Dog in Big D”]

When you think of Dallas, what’s the first thing that pops in your mind? Maybe it’s J.R. Ewing, the JFK assassination, great barbecue, or the Cowboys (and their cheerleaders). Probably not yoga, right? Well, Dallas Fort Worth Airport boasts DFW Yoga, modeled after similar studios in San Francisco and Chicago. Since Dallas is the largest hub for American Airlines, more than a million potentially stressed-out travelers pass through its gates every week. If you have a long layover or frustrating delays, bring your tense body over the yoga studio near gate D40 for some stretching – you don’t even need your own mat. Oh, and it’s free! What a perfect way to center yourself before a long voyage.

At DFW, you don’t have to practice your Siddhasana pose in a chair – head to the airport yoga studio.

At DFW, you don’t have to practice your Siddhasana pose in a chair – head to the airport yoga studio.

[title text=”Quiet Your Hurried Mind”]

Fitting in with the whole de-stressing theme, Albany International Airport’s dimly lit, technology-free Interfaith Prayer Room in Concourse C features prayer rugs and texts from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions. During a recent trip to the Catskills, we had a chance to spend some time in quiet meditation, aided by the tranquil background noise provided by water sculptures attached to glass panels at each end of the room. Set boldly against the backdrop of modern “on-the-go” society, the room is a respite for those of us looking to slow down, if only for a few minutes. Albany and its airport are situated between the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, two areas of underappreciated rustic beauty, and the Interfaith Prayer Room mirrors this landscape.

[title text=”The Nap of Luxury”]

If you find yourself exhausted during a layover in the City of Brotherly Love and you’d rather not sprawl out in an uncomfortable chair or on the floor, check out Minute Suites at Philadelphia International. The suites are also available in Atlanta and Dallas, but in Philly, the 13 private suites are almost three times larger than their Atlanta location. Each suite is equipped with a daybed sofa that features two sleeping surfaces with fresh pillows and blankets. What other creature comforts do you get? Only a state-of-the-art sound-masking system and an HD TV with access to DIRECTV, the Internet, and flight-tracking information. Yep, this is luxury travel in the 21st century – for a minimum of $38.

Minute Suites in Philadelphia offer weary travelers a daybed sofa with fresh pillows and blankets.

Minute Suites in Philadelphia offer weary travelers a daybed sofa with fresh pillows and blankets.

[title text=”Special Brew in Florida”]

The craft beer revolution is in full effect, having trickled down to the Sunshine State from more traditional brew-friendly locales. Just about every airport bigger than a cigar box has a bar or two, but Tampa International Airport (TPA) features Cigar City Airport Brewpub at Airside C terminal, which bills itself as the nation’s only airport brewery. You can sample the increasingly popular Cigar City Brewing roster of beers such as Jai Alai IPA and Florida Cracker, all while you munch on authentic Tampa-style Cuban food. Some beers poured at the brewpub are even exclusive to the airport.

[title text=”The Live Soundtrack for Your Travels”]

Austin bills itself as the live music capital of the world, and at Austin International, the Texas capital puts its money where its mouth is. The airport’s “Music in the Air” program features six live music stages and twelve live shows a day right in the terminal (for ticketed passengers only). Taking a page from the independent musicians populating New York City subway cars and stations, Music in the Air features a variety of music styles, from jazz and blues to indie, soul and gospel.

So next time you’re stuck in an airport terminal and ready to bury yourself in your electronic device, remember to look around first – you might find something cool and unique. And don’t forget to head to DubLi’s travel portal before your next trip and get Cashback when you book!

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