Travel in style this summer [Photo: Getty]
We might not all be Olympic champions flying in first class but, if you’re headed to the airport this summer, make sure you’re taking advantage of the services available to you.
Many of us are on airport autopilot - checking in, getting fed and heading to the gate with barely a glance at Duty Free (only if we have time!). There’s a huge range of services that will get your holiday started in style and it might surprise you that many of them are actually free.
VIP shopping is no longer for the uber-rich or famous. Heathrow was the first international airport to introduce personal shopping, allowing passengers to book a free style consultation with an accredited stylist, and now most major airports offer a personal shopping service. Appointments are individually tailored and if you book online before you arrive, you can detail exactly what you’re looking for.
If you are looking for all the fashion without the fuss, there’s also an exclusive personal shopping lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2, where passengers can sip on champagne whilst they browse a number of luxurious brands in the privacy of their own exclusive lounge.
Not a fan of airplane food? Many of us are dubious at the twice-cooked courses on offer in-flight but many airport restaurants now offer in-flight picnics - beautifully packed meals that you can take on board.
Whether it’s Wagamama or Gordon Ramsey, they come packed in a cool bag with all your essentials included. We definitely recommend picking up one from Fortnum & Mason. The mini Hamperling picnics start at £15 and give you a little touch of first class, without the price tag.
The Personal Shopping Lounge [Photo: Heathrow]
Send It Home…
It’s easy to go a bit overboard when you’re buying bargains and you may hold back knowing that you’ll have to carry your purchases with you throughout your trip. Fortunately, if you’re travelling within the EU, some airports can arrange to have big purchases delivered back home for you.
This service is great for celebrating birthdays with a shopping spree or even planning a big Christmas shop in advance. You can take advantage of tax free prices, without having to take it all you on your travels. Just stock up and then get it all sent home, waiting for you on your return.
…. Or Collect On Your Return
Alternatively, if you’re only buying a few things, most airports offer a shop and collect service which allows you to buy in store when you fly before picking up purchases from a convenient collection point on your return.
Store staff will make the arrangements and your purchases will be waiting for you in Arrivals when you come back. Perfect if you’re travelling light but can’t resist the price on that litre bottle of Vodka.
[Photo: World Duty Free]
Get Pampered Pre-Flight
It’s a little known fact that World Duty Free offers free beauty services. Whether it’s a relaxing Jo Malone hand and arm massage, or a luxury facial at La Prairie, it’s a really good way to try out products for free.
You can also opt for mini makeovers and styling at brands like NARS or GHD, so you’ll step on board looking fabulous. These services are available free, without booking and without having to be redeemed against a purchase - just ask at the counter.
Shop In Advance
If you’re short on time or would rather spend your time making the most of your lounge access, you should see if your airport offers a reserve and collect service - any airport with a World Duty Free branch will do it. Reserve and Collect is a free service available to all passengers, all you need to do is shop online, reserve the items you’ve got your eye on and they’ll be ready for you to collect before you fly.
Singapore Airport [Photo: Getty]
Research Before You Fly
Some airports have incredible features that you will wish you’d known about. Singapore Airport has a rooftop pool which is less than £10 for anyone to enter. Vancouver airport has a 30,000 gallon aquarium and another tank solely dedicated to jellyfish.
If you get to the airport with enough time, San Francisco International has a 24-hour complimentary yoga room to use. Have a quick look into the airports you’re flying from as you may find a few reasons to go early.
Get VIP Lounge Access
Lounge access is no longer just for those in Business or First class. Paid-for lounge access is increasingly available and offer the perfect environment for you to unwind before you fly. The Escape Lounge at Manchester & Stansted, offers complimentary food and drink (including alcoholic drinks), Wi-Fi, charging points, TVs, newspapers and magazines.
It’s a lovely idea if you’re celebrating a special occasion or wanting to surprise someone. Prices start from £21 in advance or £25 for walk-ins.
Do you normally leave time to explore the airport or do you have an flying routine that you stick to? Tweet us your thoughts and experiences @YahooStyleUK.