July 25, 2024

Spa in the sky

Breathe in, breathe out. Sheena Adesilu looks at how a sense of holistic wellness onboard can transform flying into an opportunity for rejuvenation

Can we challenge the notion of flying being a demanding thing? Can we make you feel recharged once you’ve landed?”

This was a question asked by Matteo Atti, Chief Marketing Officer at VistaJet, at the private jet company’s recent launch event for its 360 wellness programme.

Passenger wellness trends seem to be moving towards a comprehensive, luxury travel experience. So how can airlines help their passengers to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional health during their journey?

360-degree approach

“We wanted to investigate longevity and wellness at every stage of the journey,” Atti added.

As such, VistaJet’s new wellness programme features a pre-flight consultation with a nutritionist on diet and flying routines, jet-lag-reducing technologies inflight, and access to wellbeing apps.

Post-flight, passengers can access wellness guides on jet lag management and effective hydrating. The physical stress of flying on the body is addressed in VistaJet’s proposition.

“When you’re flying for 17 hours on our flight, your body is under stress. To combat that, our cabin pressure is reduced to 4,500 feet, even if we’re at 45,000,” said Atti.

“We’ve also got EPA filters and seats with a multitude of positions. There are even hypoallergenic materials, from the sheets down to the cashmere silk masks.” Non-alcoholic drinks and noise-cancelling headphones complete the VistaJet experience, which overall aims to keep cortisol levels low and relaxation levels high.

That sounds pretty zen to us!

Wellness in focus

Wellness trends inflight reflect a shift of focus to wellness in our day-to-day lives on the ground – perhaps one of the more positive and long-lasting societal side effects of Covid-19.

Simon Yaffe, Director of Client Services at Buzz, notes: “People are increasingly prioritising their health and wellness due to collective awareness around a healthy work/life balance, preventative health strategies and the need to improve health from a holistic aspect.”

“Maintaining and even enhancing personal wellbeing during travel is a key focus for passengers and this can extend to areas such as fitness and movement, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness.”

Melanie Berry, Director of Customer Experience at Iberia, echoes this, explaining that travellers are looking for product sustainability, ingredient transparency, customisation, technology-focused skincare and inclusivity. “Technology is playing a significant role in the beauty industry,” she explains. “Innovations include augmented reality try-on tools, virtual skincare consultations and personalised beauty recommendations powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

“Products free from harmful chemicals such as parabens, sulphates and phthalates are on the agenda, too.”

Skin deep

Feeling rejuvenated at every stage of the journey is no small feat, and therefore the role of inflight cosmetics should not be underestimated.

When choosing inflight skincare products, it is important to consider the effects of air travel, such as dehydration and exhaustion.

Also, aside from their benefits for skin health, they also offer a chance for airlines to reinforce their brand identity.

“Airlines can assist their guests by delivering a premium inflight experience that promotes relaxation and wellness inflight,” says Buzz’s Simon Yaffe.

“Luxury wellness can extend to the provision of amenities that facilitate sleep, relaxation and a feeling of indulgence. Comfortable, cosy, sleep-inducing loungewear, high-quality eye masks, indulgent spa-like skincare rituals and luxurious bedding help to create an atmosphere conducive to sleep and wellness.”

For example, Air New Zealand has partnered with Māori skincare brand Aotea for its Business Premier and Premium Economy amenity kits.

“We’re proud to showcase skincare inspired by traditional Māori herbal practices,” says Kylie McGillivray-Brown, General Manager for Customer Experience at Air New Zealand.

“These amenity kits feature Kawakawa Balm and The Harakeke Seed Oil & Mānuka Water Hand & Body Cream.
“The first night away from home is the hardest for getting a good night’s sleep, so everything we offer onboard is to help create a sense of calm – from the lighting and breathable fabrics used on our seats to our soft products.”

Cosmetic crush

Brand partnerships across onboard cosmetics can also provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. For example, VistaJet has partnered with luxury beauty brand Guerlain for its ‘inflight skincare ritual’.

The products comprise Guerlain’s Rich Cleansing Foam; Essence-in-Lotion; Micro-Lift Concentrate; The Cream; Molecular Concentration Eye Cream and Super Lips Lip Hero. These anti-aging products, which are 95-100% natural, are all made from orchid extract.

Similarly, Etihad Airways has recently partnered with aromatherapy and wellness brand ESPA. Passengers in First Class and The Residence receive a Hydrating Spa Face Mist, Nourishing Lip Treatment, Restful Pulse Point Oil, Rest and Recovery Night Balm and Rejuvenating Hand and Body Lotion.

Facilitated in partnership with Buzz, the luxury skincare products have been designed for both amenity kits and premium cabin washrooms.

Finnair has created a ‘holistic scent journey’ from ground to air with Finnish cosmetics brand SEES. This includes washroom products in the lounges at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and a unique lip balm in long-haul Business containing ‘forest microbes’. All SEES products are made from organic and biodegradable materials and manufactured in Finland.

Wellbeing for the planet

Eco-conscious passengers may be wondering if sustainability and luxury can work together, too. For Iberia, sustainable amenity kits for Business Class and Premium Economy are paramount.

“Our sustainable amenity kits from Teresa Helbig include new natural and vegan cosmetic products, made entirely in Spain by Uvas Frescas. They use surplus grapes from wines selected by the Wine Club (Araex) and those served onboard Iberia flights,” explains Berry.

“The packaging, which was produced by Kaelis, is made from sugar cane with an ‘I’m Green’ certification. They were crafted by recycling 7.5 million 550ml plastic bottles, saving 1.2 million litres of water and reducing energy emissions by 70%.”

And any leftover products left behind by passengers are taken for recycling and are reused.

Melanie adds: “The future of inflight luxury wellness is going to be characterised by innovation, personalisation, sustainability and a more premium experience. We have seen an increased interest in the Premium Economy cabin in leisure travel, whereas before it was limited to corporate travellers.”