In praise of the airport shower

by Сашка

The two words together may not instill confidence, but trust me on this one

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The juxtaposition of the words “airport” and “shower” do not automatically instill confidence, nor confer the promise of satisfaction. Yet, like caviar and potato chips, certain seemingly incongruous combinations deliver all the more magic because of how unexpected they may appear at first glance.

The airport shower is a bastion of joy in a world of air travel stripped barren of it, and as a frequent practitioner indulging in its mysterious ways, I’ve found it to be an invaluable crutch for hobbling through those dreary airport doldrums. It’s a steamy, sudsy Excalibur warding off the evils that lurk beyond the locked door of your personal chamber.

Now repeat that once more: personal chamber. Privacy. Unless you have a Gulfstream waiting on the tarmac, the mere notion of personal space at the airport doesn’t exist while maneuvering the logistics of international travel. If nothing else, an airport shower offers this unadulterated joy, a literal door to close to the world beyond, a few precious minutes where no one is able to intrude.

The only argument against the airport shower is put forward by those who have never partaken, the belief that it must be at best utilitarian and at worst unsanitary, perhaps reminiscent of a high school locker room with no amenities or creature comforts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Almost every airport lounge shower I’ve taken has been in a welcoming, comfortable environment, with abundant towels and toiletries at hand, and space enough to open your suitcase and find a change of clothes.

Airport lounges are less exclusive. Not everyone is happy about it.

While they are an admitted privilege, they’re also more common than you may think and can be found in almost every major international airport lounge. The easiest way to gain entry is having lounge access, which is a perk enjoyed with airline status or credit card benefits. Many lounges offer the ability to purchase single-day access as well, ensuring that the pleasures of a hot shower and the life reset button it provides are available even when you haven’t planned ahead.

Queuing for an airport shower is far more civilized than bellying up to the bar and fighting off a crowd three deep in a desperate attempt to get your hands on a beer or cocktail. The most common system these days is electronic, enabling you to secure a place by filling out a digital form or using a kiosk, and then receiving an email or text when it’s your turn. It’s your chance in the spotlight. And if, like myself, you’re a steadfast not-a-morning person even under the best of circumstances, it’s your time to (rise and) shine.

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Let the shower wash away whatever physical pain and mental anguish you endured on that 12-hour red-eye before embarking on that next six-hour connection. Fortify yourself for the perils that await outside those doors. You may not be invincible, but by donning the armor of a new outfit and a fresh perspective, you’ll have the strength to forge ahead as the bold travel warrior you are. You’ll be buoyed with a renewed vigor and sturdy spirit you need to shake off that impending flight delay or crying child or intrusion into your elbow room.

The airport shower is no mere opportunity to clean up. It’s a salve to the soul — an all-in-one solution to an arduous travel day. If you know, you know.

Jake Emen is a freelance travel, food and drinks journalist. Follow him on Twitter:@ManTalkFood.

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