Take Off Weight Before Taking Off Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport has a lot of extras for travelers — and one of them is a 24-hour gym. Its weights, saunas and treadmills are used by passengers and airport staff alike.
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Take Off Weight Before Taking Off

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Take Off Weight Before Taking Off

Take Off Weight Before Taking Off

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On Wednesdays we look at the workplace, and for many Americans the workplace is an airplane - or in the event of a delay or flight cancellation, the airport, per force. More and more airports are catering to travelers stuck there for long periods of time. Seven airports across the country have gyms.

Reporter Harriet Baskas visited one of them to find out what's available.

HARRIET BASKAS: If you're going to get stuck in an airport, you could do worse than end up at McCarran International in Las Vegas. Onsite amenities include free wireless Internet access and celebrity voices on the moving walkway.

Mr. DICK CLARK (TV and Radio Host): Hi, this is Dick Clark. Don't do any rocking and rolling here. Stand to the right so people can pass on the left. Thank you.

(Soundbite of slot machine)

BASKAS: What most people end up doing in airports is sitting or eating. In the Las Vegas airport, though, travelers can play slot machines, go to oxygen bars or visit a gym. Down below the baggage claim level, there's a 24-hour fitness club with showers, saunas, lockers, cardio equipment and weight machines.

Unidentified Woman: What can I do for you?

Mr. AARON EAVERSON(ph): My flight doesn't leave for four hours. How can I work out?

Unidentified Woman: It's a $10 guest workout fee, and you can utilize the gym for as long as you're in the airport. We provide shower, towels and locks.

BASKAS: Aaron Eaverson flew in from Wisconsin just for the day to attend the World of Concrete trade show. He had time to spare, but no workout clothes. So he toured the airport shops in search of shorts that would fit him. But Melko Rivera(ph) from Mexico City had his gym clothes in his carry-on. He was looking forward to his three-hour layover.

Mr. MELKO RIVERA: Not enough time to do some gambling or something else in Vegas, but it's a great time to get a little workout. I wish every airport had a gym, you know?

BASKAS: Leah Cando(ph) from California spent a few days partying with her friends in Las Vegas. Then she had to spend five more hours at the airport due to a mechanical delay. Instead of raising a few glasses of beer in an airport bar, she headed for the gym.

Ms. LEAH CANDO: Why not get my heart rate up, have a nice hot shower, inhale some steam and then go out and be a warrior, you know, for a little longer? At least this makes it less awful, right?

(Soundbite of laughter)

BASKAS: It's not just passengers who pass time at the airport's 24-hour gym. Many pilots and flight attendants are regulars. So is 30-year-old skycap Brian Dasher.

Mr. BRIAN DASHER (Skycap): I'm doing shrugs for your shoulders.

BASKAS: Dasher's shift begins at 4:30 a.m. After lifting passenger's bags for eight hours, he heads to the gym to lift weights.

Mr. DASHER: I like to eat, so I need extra exercise. I don't have to deal with traffic. I walk across the street and work out. Feels good.

Ms. ANN MCDOWELL(ph) (Club Manager): Nice little squat, make sure your abs are always tight, arms are pulled in and lift.

BASKAS: Club manager Ann McDowell doubles as a personal trainer. Today, she's showing Northwest Airline employee Gigi Goodman(ph) a new exercise for her upper arms.

(Soundbite of exhaling)

Ms. GIGI GOODMAN (Employee, Northwest Airlines): Oh, okay.

BASKAS: McDowell says although Las Vegas is a 24/7 city, the airport's 24-Hour Fitness club closes for a few hours on weekend nights. But she shared a tip for squeezing in a workout at any airport anytime: just be sure to walk, not stand, on those moving sidewalks.

For NPR News, I'm Harriet Baskas.

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