Could fitness centres be the next 'big thing' in airport lounges?

By Chris C., July 20 2016
Could fitness centres be the next 'big thing' in airport lounges?

TALKING POINT | Keeping fit on the road can be tough, especially for international business travellers jetting as far as London or New York where you’ll spend upwards of 24 hours in your seat just eating, drinking and sleeping.

It doesn’t get much better when you arrive with a packed schedule of meetings, business lunches, dinners and drinks with clients or suppliers, before making the long trek home and doing it all again – likely with a few hours of ‘dead time’ in the lounge between flights.

But fortunately, some airlines and airports are helping travellers make the most of that transit by introducing an array of health-centred amenities: and we’d love to see even more follow suit.

Fly via Abu Dhabi in Etihad first class or as a Platinum-grade frequent flyer and you can visit the superb new Etihad First Class Lounge, complete with its own gym offering treadmills and cross trainers to get the blood pumping – of course with showers on-hand after your workout…

… or zip through Doha’s Hamad International Airport with Qatar Airways and for an all-inclusive price of QAR150 (A$54.75) you can do laps in the 25m swimming pool, get your workout done in the fitness centre and hit the showers and hot tub afterwards until your flight begins boarding.

Read: Your guide to transiting Doha's Hamad International Airport

For something out of left field, Finnair offers sauna facilities to guests in its international Premium Lounge and non-Schengen business class lounge at Helsinki Airport, which help to increase circulation...

... while SkyTeam goes so far as having dedicated yoga rooms in some of its alliance-branded lounges, including in Hong Kong:

Should more airports offer fitness-friendly facilities for travellers – and would you use them – or would you rather stick to the spas and Champagne bars? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Also read: Six tips for staying fit on the road

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 271

I'd be happy to have more of these facilities, especially in lounges - but I can't see myself ever paying $55 AUD to use Qatar's pool - as amazing as it might be. 

It is difficult to keep fit whilst travelling. Hotel gyms tend to be underwhelming so if the lounges can offer a better alternative I'm all in for this idea/ option.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 552

Excuses excuses

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 552

Judging by the size of your average business traveller I'd say not, they'll be much happier stuffing their faces in the lounge with as much free booze and food as humanly possible!


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 737

Can't see the majority of Lounge clients insisting on gyms in Lounges.  If that was the case we might all be drinking carrot juice and trying to relax on replacement rubber ball chairs. I prefer it without gyms.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 150

I think a gym/fitness centre might work better at big transit hubs (e.g SIN, HKG, ME3 hubs, etc). It's a good way to stretch out your body and get ready for the next leg of the flight. SIN already has a pool which is apparently quite popular.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 481

I would really like to see this! 

Even if you got in a 30min work out it's a huge positive. 

The reason most of us hit the buffet and bar is there is nothing else to do...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 241

Gyms at airport lounges sounds good. But you'd need to have sufficient shower facilities to support it - given the existing demand for showers (from non gym customers) is already high.

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 67

I think you'll find airlines have avoided fitness due to health reasons. You don't want pax having heart attacks on your planes and having to divert.

23 Apr 2015

Total posts 6

Changi Terminal 2 has a gym in the ambassador transit lounge. Its $40ish including rental wear. It looks down onto the terminal, so interesting people watching though the machines are poor. I did it once just for fun, but wouldn't pay for it again.

That said I'd love one one in a lounge I didnt have to pay for, in a transit airport like Singapore or Hong Kong etc. But my concern using a lounge gym would be the clothes. I usually have gym wear in my carry-on, but its typically clean when I pack it. What to do when it gets stinky? Any lounge gym will need rental gym wear...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2212

Personally, I prefer doing laps in the SIN T1 pool. It's invigorating yet also relaxing.

The boardies get wrung as hard as possible and then get stored in plastic until I reach my destination and can dry them in a room or at home.

23 Apr 2015

Total posts 6

swim shorts dont get as stinky as my gym clothes do ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2212


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer GOLD

15 Sep 2015

Total posts 13

Yes! I often think a treadmill down the back of an A380 would be great, weight considerations aside!  When transiting I usually walk as far and fast as possible just to stretch my legs out!


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1461

Sauna in Helsinki is priceless – very good quality and not crowded at all. Pity that one need as least 4 hr layover to enjoy it and such layover not always happens or practical (like on arrival before short in-Europe leg for example).

And yes, I love to see as least mini-gym in every lounge, IMHO it is great idea.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jul 2016

Total posts 1

Experience has shown that most often than not you are running between flights with little or no time to get to the lounge.  This is particularly the case in Abu Dhabi.  

03 May 2012

Total posts 11

... just imagining what an economy class gym or pool would look like!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 135

Of course some of the LCCs are ahead of the game here, replacing walking machines with long walks to the terminal, and reduced seating at the gate. The NRT T3 Olympic race-track is great practice for the 800m sprint, especially with your samsonite 3-piece...


25 Sep 2017

Total posts 1

I'm sitting in a Qantas lounge in Auckland with a man huffing and puffing, in full sweat doing a full exercise routine amongst the chairs - wearing shorts and a singlet top. Obviously he doesn't need any special facilities. Firstly it's inconsiderate to the other guests and secondly obviously dress rules appear to have been waived for this man.

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