These Are the Best Free Perks You’ll Ever Find at Airports in the U.S.

The words “free” and “travel” are hardly synonymous with one another, especially when we’re talking about air travel. When it comes to time spent at the airport, you’re lucky if you make it out without dropping some serious dough. But what you might not be aware of are all the free perks you can find at the airport.

From movie theaters to shoeshines, these are the best perks that won’t cost you a penny.

1. De-stress at a yoga studio

Beautiful group of women practicing the side plank yoga pose

Get your zen on before a flight. | Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

“Travel” and “free” may not go together, but “travel” and “stress” certainly do. Thankfully, a handful of airports are committing to easing travel-induced stress, and they’re catching on to the health and fitness craze while they’re at it.

San Francisco International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, Burlington International Airport, Miami International Airport, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport all have yoga studios, most with mats that are also free of charge.

2. Swing by a shoeshine stand for a complimentary shine

Man getting shoe shine

It’s for business travelers in need of a shine. | YakobchukOlena/iStock/Getty Images

In a world where people go through security in their pajamas, it might seem as though shoeshine stands are a thing of the past. But not so fast. Turns out, shining shoes isn’t a dying art after all, at least not for the airports with a high demand for it.

Furthermore, not only is the old-school service alive and well, the oft-forgotten act of good faith is, too. At Los Angeles International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, and Denver International Airport, shoeshines are free. Of course, tips are encouraged, expected, and appreciated.

3. Catch a flick for free

a picture of a movie theater

They’re showing free short films and documentaries. | Thinkstock

If you’re anything like us, you’ve definitely wondered why airports don’t have movie theaters. Wouldn’t it be the perfect way to get through a long layover? Indeed. And now that we know in-airport movie theaters exist, we’re chomping at the bit to get to one — at least during our next layover.

While the theaters at Portland International Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport don’t show feature-length films, they do offer screenings of short films and award-winning documentaries, all free of charge.

4. Explore in-airport museums and exhibits

Mitchell Gallery of Flight airport museum

Spend your downtime perusing the gallery. | Mitchell Gallery of Flight via Facebook

What better way to pass time at the airport than with an art fix? Some airports offer passengers just that, giving them the opportunity to breathe in some local culture.

Located inside Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, the Mitchell Gallery of Flight offers a glimpse into the history of aviation. And at San Francisco International Airport, there are over 20 galleries, along with a permanent aviation museum. Miami International Airport and St. Louis Lambert International Airport also have dedicated arts programs and rotating exhibits.

5. Enjoy a live music performance

Live Music in Austin Airport

Enjoy a free show while you wait. | Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

There’s no shortage of live music in Seattle or Austin, so it makes perfect sense that even the airports in these cities feature a rotating roster of live performers. People traveling through the Sea-Tac Airport can catch live music performances seven days a week, while ticketed passengers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport can enjoy live music by local musicians Monday through Friday.

6. Take an airport tour

Holiday travelers at Salt Lake City Airport

You’ll get to see a side of the airport you’ve never seen. | George Frey/Getty Images

If you’re in the mood to stretch your legs but prefer not to wander about aimlessly, an airport tour is the way to go. You’ll need almost two hours to kill, but the in-depth look into the venue could be rather interesting.

At the Salt Lake City International Airport, tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. According to the website, “The tour includes an overview of the airfield as well as stops at an airport hangar and Airport Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF) training center.”

7. Score a free travel item at Google Fi vending machines

Google vending machine

Google is giving out free swag. | El Mundo del Vending Machine via YouTube

If a free experience isn’t really your thing, look no further than Google Fi vending machines. Located at Baltimore, LaGuardia, and Chicago’s international airports, among others, these vending machines could score you some swag. Passengers just need to answer some trivia questions or sign up for Project Fi to earn themselves a free water bottle, eye mask, or the like.

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