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Wellness in the Air

Aviation takes a salubrious path with cleaner air and a new focus on whole-body health...

Aviation takes a salubrious path with cleaner air and a new focus on whole-body health.

Americans logged 452 million trips for business in the last year, according to the U.S. Travel Association. With passengers spending this much time in the sky, health is a priority for some elite commercial airlines, as they turn their attention beyond comfort and toward a holistic flight experience.

Aside from travel exhaustion and time zone confusions, one of the most pressing health concerns when flying is deep vein thrombosis from staying in one position for a prolonged period. While moving around is the most important preventive approach, business- and first-class seats that convert to flat beds may prevent stasis. Beyond that, travelers want to function optimally while flying and after landing, so airlines are finally attending to body, mind, and spirit.

Air France

With the release of the La Premiére private two-room suites on all of its new jets, Air France has partnered with French skincare house Biologique Recherche. Known for its pure, raw ingredients, the company developed an exclusive beauty regimen for the airline, designed specifically for air travel. “Flying is confusing for the skin,” says the brand’s scientific director, Philippe Allouche, MD. The lack of moisture and lower oxygen levels in an aircraft’s cabin reduce protective sebum production, slow cell turnover and repair, and increase exposure to free radicals that age the skin. The products trap free radicals and boost lipid production to keep the dermis and epidermis healthy. The first-class lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2E) has a wellness space with massages and face care treatments available for passengers waiting for a flight. Try a complimentary 30-minute body massage or Contour des Yeux treatment to brighten eyes and release puffiness. The in-flight amenity kit includes soothing emulsions for fighting signs of fatigue. As La Premiére Suite passengers disembark, they are bestowed with a gift box that includes a selection of Biologique Recherche products to use at home or at the next destination. airfrance.us

British Airways

Today’s British Airways fleet, including the brand-new 787 Dreamliners, is tailored for total holistic bliss. These planes, inspired by luxury carmakers and Savile Row tailors, boast improved lighting to mimic natural light patterns, transitioning subtly between day and night (which means passengers sleep better and feel less jetlagged). The airline has also reduced noise in the cabin, which can decrease the feeling of fatigue and improve the overall in-flight experience. On all long-haul flights, the airline’s business-class seats recline into six-foot beds and include memory foam headrests and quilted blankets. ba.com

Cathay Pacific Airways

With a renovated first-class lounge in Hong Kong premiering mid-2015 and fully flat beds in business class, Cathay’s health-minded design ethos is front of mind. Planes are also fitted with HEPA (high-efficiency particle arrestor) filtration systems for cleaner air, plus on-board health tips including advice on humidity, potential solar radiation, and a series of exercises to keep the blood flowing. cathaypacific.com

Etihad Airways

The United Arab Emirates’ national airline has focused its efforts on traveler well-being pre- and post-flight with a Six Senses spa installed in the first-class lounge of the Abu Dhabi hub. There, passengers can book complimentary 15-minute facials, foot massages, and back rubs to help ease the stress of travel on both the skin and the muscles. Six tranquil treatment rooms—with massage chairs rather than tables—outfit the spa, where well-trained staff can really work out some of those knots from a 16-hour direct flight between Los Angeles and the UAE. On board, passengers are treated to skincare products from either Korres (in business) or Le Labo (in first), and on long-haul flights, spacious, massaging, lay-flat seats promote healthy circulation and help maintain that pre-flight bliss. etihad.com

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