Helsinki Airport Opens Free Lounge With Real Beds

helsinki airport relaxation lounge
Photo: Juho Suoperä

If you’ve ever tried to sleep on one of those hard airport terminal chairs as announcements blare over the PA system and passengers jostle into you with their luggage, you know how hard it is to get any decent rest while waiting for your flight.

Skift reports Helsinki Airport is giving travelers a reprieve by opening a relaxation lounge where travelers can sleep, rest or work in peace. The lounge has pod style chairs and even real beds, so passengers can choose the relaxation option that best suits them. The walls and ceilings are designed with acoustic technology to ensure a quiet environment, and the décor is meant to reflect the calming Finnish landscape, with ice and northern light motifs incorporated into the design.The relaxation area is open to passengers 24 hours a day, and here’s the best part -– it’s absolutely free. While we’ve seen a number of airport terminals incorporate mini hotel suites and pod sleeping areas in recent times, most charge by the hour for the privilege. Thankfully, in Helsinki that’s not the case. There’s no need to be a member of an airline loyalty program or fork over any exorbitant fees to get some shut-eye here.

Dancing at Denver International Airport

There are only so many ways to kill time at the airport. You can eat overpriced food, drink overpriced alcohol, read or dance. OK, there might be more things to do at the airport, but for the sake of introducing this video, let’s pretend that those are the only options. This young lady was bored at Denver International Airport and decided to cut a rug right there in the terminal. Not to be outdone, a random traveler walked by, booty bumped our dancer and, in one motion, stole the scene.

We could all learn a lesson from both of these rhythmic travelers: don’t get stressed at the airport. Delays will happen, flights will get canceled but you can always control your attitude. Keep your cool and have some fun when you’re traveling. Oh, and always booty bump when you have the chance.

Man commits suicide in LAX bathroom, crime still down 6%

Can there be a worse way to go … not to mention a worse place?! Some guy, who isn’t being identified by the police, seems to have killed himself in a restroom at Los Angeles International Airport – Terminal 3, specifically. The unpleasantness happened just before 8 AM yesterday, and shortly after noon, the city’s police said it looked like a suicide.

The victim (and alleged perpetrator, it looks like) was found slumped in a stall with a bag covering his head and his hands bound, according to the LA Times.

The local law enforcement folks said they couldn’t remember a homicide ever taking place inside the LAX terminal, so it looks like the streak, at least, is still alive.

Fortunately, total crime is still down at LAX. For the first half of the year, it fell 6 percent year-over-year, to 1,146 incidents (from 1,222). Arrests fell from 674 for the first half of 2009 to 664 for the first half of 2010, a negligible change. But, there was an aggravated assault that became an arrest in the first six months of this year … and none for the same period in 2009. Meanwhile, 29 million travelers passed through LAX in the first two quarters of 2010, with an average of 236,000 doing so daily.

[photo by brewbooks via Flickr]

German pilot dumped, lives in Brazilian airport for two weeks

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Breakups are tough, but we always seem to get through them. Whether it’s strip clubs or buckets of ice cream, there are plenty of coping mechanisms. The latest is to move into an airport. I don’t know how this makes you feel better, but it seems to be working for a German tourist. Heinz Muller, a former pilot, was dumped by a Brazilian girl he met on the internet and subsequently hung out in the Campinas airport — about an hour from Sao Paulo — until he was finally removed Thursday. Muller was taken to a hospital for psychological testing. Big shock, right?

By the time he was … ummmm … evicted from the airport, Muller had run out of money. Broke and unwilling to say when he planned to leave, he subsisted on food court meals bought for him by airport employees. They had no plans to boot him, since he was in the country legally, but doctors decided he needed a closer look. Muller resisted slightly, but the authorities didn’t need to use force.

Muller’s been in the country all month. He arrived in Rio de Janeiro on October 2, 2009. Only 13 days of this time, however, was spent living in the Campinas airport. He washed himself in the airport’s bathrooms and slept on chairs. This must have become pretty tedious — the airport only has one terminal.

To pass the time, Muller plucked away at his laptop, which was placed on a luggage cart. Looking for a new girlfriend reason to stay in the country, maybe?

Layover: Seattle

Despite being the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest and serving as the hub for Alaska Airlines,(and its subsidiary, Horizon Air) Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport is surprisingly easy to navigate. Airport Revenue News honored it with the Best Overall Concessions award, and it does offer some great restaurants and shopping to keep you busy on a short layover.

If your plane isn’t delayed on arrival (as is often the case due to heavy cloud cover) and you have a longer layover, you can hop a 30-minute bus from the airport to downtown and spend your time exploring the “Emerald City”. You can even store your carry-on luggage at the airport.

Short Layover (2 hours)
You’re pretty much confined to the airport with a short layover, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to spending your time face-down in a mug of beer at the airport bar…unless of course you want to be. If that’s the case, there are choices in every concourse, from beer at the Seattle Taproom to wine at Vintage Washington to margaritas at Case del Agave. You’ve got plenty of options for food too – full-service, casual, or to-go. Anthony’s Restaurant and Ivar’s Seafood Bar, downtown Seattle favorites, both have outposts at the airport and local celebrity chef Kathy Casey offers fresh-made sandwiches and salads with local ingredients at Dish D’Lish.

If shopping is more your thing, there are a few stores worth checking out. In addition to browsing the standard Borders Books and Hudson News, you can wander over to the Made in Washington store for last-minute Seattle souvenirs and Pacific Northwest food products or pop into Discovery Channel to play with educational games and toys.

Got work to do? Charge your cell phone for $3, or get online for $7.95 (for a 24-hour pass). If you’re too stressed out, you can relax with a massage, manicure or pedicure for very reasonable rates.

Longer layovers (4 or more hours)
With a little more time, you can spend your layover in downtown Seattle. The express bus, #194, departs from the airport every 15 minutes or so and takes about half an hour to reach downtown. If your layover is on the short end, it’s best to stick close to the bus stop and limit your exploration to a stroll through Pike Place Market, but if you have more time, you can see most of the major sites in the city in one afternoon. Here are some of the highlights.

Pike Place Market
Combine lunch and sight-seeing with a visit to Pike Place Market. This hundred-year old farmer’s market sells plentiful fresh produce and cheap, colorful flower arrangements, but there’s so much more to it than that. In a matter of minutes you’ll pass by countless stalls of fruit and vegetables, handmade jewelry, organic soaps, local honey, and fresh seafood. And that’s just in the main market. Wander down to the arcade and you’ll see antiques, comics, and magic supplies, and across the street you’ll find an olive-oil boutique, jerky shop, a Piroshky seller, wine shop, French bakery, truffle cafe, crumpet shop, and cheese-maker. The Market is also home to the original Starbucks and the Pike Place Fish Market, where the fishmongers famously throw fish around whenever an order is placed.

Pioneer Square
The oldest part of Seattle, Pioneer Square is an historic district with lots of art galleries, and plenty of vagrants. The square is part of the downtown “Ride Free” zone where buses are free, and it’s just a short ride from the rest of downtown. The big attractions here are the Smith Tower (which is much shorter than the Space Needle, but costs less and provides a different view), and the Underground Tour, a fascinating hour-long tour of the city-beneath-the-city. When the majority of Seattle was burned in 1889, a new city was built of stone and brick on top. The tour, which nearly always sells out in high-season, takes visitors underground and gives them a unique look at Seattle history.

Waterfront
Seattle’s waterfront is admittedly kitschy. It’s from here that sightseeing cruises depart and there are always tons of tourists milling about, coming and going from the Aquarium and Waterfront Arcade, and browsing in souvenir shops. But the views of Puget Sound really are something to see, and there are some great restaurants scattered further north towards Pier 70 (which was the pier the Real World kids lived on way back when and now houses the Waterfront Seafood Grill). A trolley runs the length of the waterfront, up to the new Olympic Sculpture Park.

Monorail, Seattle Center, and Space Needle
From downtown, you can take a bus or the waterfront trolley (or even walk about 20 minutes) to the Seattle Center, but for a more memorable ride, try the Monorail. The Monorail was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and, when it’s not being repaired after another crash or break-down, it ferries passengers on a 1-mile ride from Westlake Mall to the Center. The Seattle Center, the downtown area’s main park, is home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, several theaters, the Children’s Museum, Pacific Science Center, and the Space Needle. To see the 360-degree views of Seattle, Puget Sound and its islands, the Olympic Mountains, and Lake Union, you’ll need to pay $16 for adults. But if you have the time and money, you can enjoy a meal in the revolving restaurant, Sky City. Like most observation-deck dining establishments, it’s expensive and the food is just a touch above average, but the views are spectacular.