Travel, despite its perks, can often be a stressful affair. Dealing with unexpected flight delays, waiting in long queues and combating the effects of jetlag is enough to frazzle one’s nerves. And the thought of spending several hours in a cramped space can certainly seem daunting. So, as airlines around the world launch more long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights, they are also innovating with ways to keep passengers well-rested, hydrated and refreshed by the time they reach their destination. Here’s what different airlines are doing to help take the edge off flying.
In October last year, the flagship carrier of Singapore relaunched the world’s longest commercial flight, from Singapore to Newark. Given the long hours passengers spend onboard – over 18 hours to be precise – the airline has collaborated with Canyon Ranch, a US-based wellness brand, to curate a nutrition-focused menu to keep passengers hydrated and energised. You can look forward to sampling dishes like the wild-caught prawn ceviche, organic chicken with zucchini pappardelle, and organic egg omelette, among other healthy options. This menu offering also extends to its non-stop service to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Wellness is a focal point for the airline this year, and so its international culinary panel is working on special seasonal menus, using organic ingredients as much as possible, for its suite, business and first class passengers. It has also struck a partnership with Asian wellness brand, COMO Shambhala, for select flights out of Singapore to serve its wellness cuisine onboard, starting this year. The seat configuration on the aircraft is kept to only business and premium economy, which means more space to stretch out and relax.
The Australian carrier is looking to fly some of the longest routes in the world, thanks to its ambitious ‘Project Sunrise’, which will potentially connect Australia’s east coast to destinations like London and New York (think, a flight duration of over 22 hours). Last year, it launched the 17-hour-long Perth to London route where passengers were given wearables to track their sleep patterns and harness other data, along with healthy food and beverages.
It has also introduced what it calls, anti-jetlag menus. So, prior to the flight, you can sip on some kombucha or coconut water, while onboard you can start your meal with cold-pressed juice shots, followed by light salads, poke bowls, and dishes like poached eggs with quinoa and kale. You also have infused waters and tisanes to ensure you’re well hydrated. Other elements in the cabin, such as mood lighting, ergonomic pillows, and controlled temperature, help promote restful sleep.
At the transit lounge at Perth International airport, you can avail of stretching classes, ‘light therapy’ in the shower rooms that help adjust your body clock, and an array of hydrating face products.
As part of its ‘Fly Good Feel Good’ project, Turkish Airlines has rolled out several initiatives. This includes handy tips for passengers in the form of short in-flight videos, on how to cope with long-haul travel, menus comprising fresh meals and a range of natural, specialty teas using ingredients like lavender, daisy, corn silk, rooibos, etc. Take your pick from the selection of cold and hot teas such as the relaxation, digestion-friendly or fitness teas.
Qatar is looking to be a major aviation hub, and if its latest fleet of Airbus 350-1000s is anything to go by, passenger comfort is on the top of the list. Along with the award-winning QSuite, its business class offering, the aircraft makes use of several advanced technologies. You can look forward to a pleasant cabin experience where the interiors are fitted out with LED mood lighting that mimics sunrise and sunset, to help adjust to the effects of jetlag better. The aircraft also has an advanced air system, which filters air in the cabin every two to three minutes, to reduce fatigue.
At Hamad International Airport, in Doha, you can find a vitality wellbeing and fitness centre, housing an indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy tub and gym. The spa offers anti-jetlag massages and facials for when you simply need to relax and feel rejuvenated.
The Hong Kong-based carrier has joined the list of airlines that are looking out for passenger wellness onboard. Last year, it partnered with Pure Yoga, an international yoga studio to create an in-flight well-being programme.
Called ‘Travel Well with Yoga’, the videos offer insightful tips, yoga, and meditation routines that can be followed before, during, or after your flight. This is running on Cathay Dragon flights as well. It also includes tips on what foods one should consume and what to avoid, while onboard.
If you’re flying business or first, you have the option of selecting light, healthy meals from the in-flight menu.
The airline has introduced the ‘Mind’ app which offers several meditation programmes that promote mindfulness and enable you to relax in the aircraft cabin environment. Children can partake. It is also available in-flight on long-haul sectors.
At Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport, the brand new Air France business lounge houses a dedicated wellness area, which comprises a detox bar, a relaxation area with loungers and mini suites, for when you want to be cocooned in privacy, a Clarins spa offering detoxifying and relaxing treatments, and private saunas.