Chicago Among Cities Boosting Layover Luxury For Travelers

Posted by Helaine Cohen on Friday, February 1st, 2013 at 10:07am.

ORD rated top for layover People would probably not angle to get stuck at an airport, but as more and more airports add to the luxury amenities they offer travelers, suddenly, the thought is not so gut-wrenching. Chicago O’Hare is one such airport that is packed with first-class amenities like luxury shopping, superior restaurants with celebrity chef menus, exceptional designs, and more.

Traveler Marty Rapp at Chicago O’Hare’s Ice Bar notes, "It's classy, it's very classy...it makes you feel good about the layover." Rapp was imbibing in a large glass of red wine under the bar’s ice-crystal chandeliers, the bar’s namesake. Here, the decor is classy and refined, with softly reflective decor that gives sitting travelers the illusion that they’re in an igloo.

And O’Hare is not alone in stocking up on high-dollar amenities. With so many airlines filing for bankruptcy protection and others merging, they have to come up with ancillary ways to make money. And turning airports into these luxury destinations is one way they can capture the attention of passengers who are willing to spend money while sitting around. Every year, travelers become savvier and expect airports to cater to their preferences as they travel from Point A to Point B for leisure or business.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, athletic passengers can forego their morning workout and sneak one in after security. There’s a nearly mile-long walking path that passes over a mosaic art installation, and two cardio step courses that climb up 55-foot high staircases. The path concludes at a free yoga studio.

Adds Bill Hooper, an architect at global design firm Gensler, which has transformed airport terminals, including San Francisco's Terminal 2, "There's the ability to go swimming at some airports, there's the ability to actually perfect your golf swing at some airports, there is the ability to – it's not just getting a quick massage on your shoulders – it's almost really going to a spa in some cases."

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