Helsinki Airport has been trialling yoga and Pilates at its departure gates.

The airport’s operator, Finavia, has implemented its TravelLab initiative to test potential new services including airport yoga, floor stickers guiding children to play areas, a coffee-vending bicycle, service menu info screens on airport buses, a Finnish-themed photo wall and a midsummer festival.

These prototypes were evaluated based on experience, reliability, urgency and cost efficiency.

They were also measured in terms of the passenger group (fast and efficient flyers, enjoyment seekers, safety seekers and habitual travellers) they reached best, the time of day passengers were most responsive and the available time they had to engage with these services.

The most popular prototype, by far, was the midsummer festival, which saw the non-Schengen gate area decorated with traditional midsummer birch trees and a maypole. Passengers were invited to take part in flower garland workshops, Finnish super food tastings and a traditional Midsummer dance.

It was most popular with Chinese, Japanese and European passengers and all passenger groups apart from the fast and efficient flyers.

“Yoga Gate” was another hit among the passengers, who could take part in instructed yoga and Pilates classes or exercise independently, using instructions provided in the space.

Classes were organised during the peak hours in the morning and afternoon. Passengers ranked it high based on the experience. The service was found to be unique and useful, although the mats were also used purely for sleeping.

The yoga prototype was most popular among passengers from Korea, China, Japan and Finland. Perhaps surprisingly, the passenger group best reached were the habitual travellers, who normally like to minimise the time they spend at airports.

Yoga Gate will continue in August, as the second run of TravelLab starts and new prototypes will be introduced.

Business Traveller subscribers can read a yoga feature from our June 2013 issue here.