From Pajamas to Body Lotions, the Wellness Craze Arrives in First-Class

Guests these days with a first-class ticket on an Emirates Airlines flight are met with a small  pouch waiting on their seats. Inside, there’s a Bulgari wellness package with a handheld mirror and a pair of pajamas designed to hydrate the skin.

Emirates recently partnered with the Italian luxury brand for wellness-focused amenity kits—some of which include the brand’s famed US$300 perfume,
Le Gemme Reali Rubinia.

The luxury wellness wave has hit travel, from security check-ins to meals. There are private business class lounges in airports, spas, and onboard showers. But one small, untapped area seeing a boom are the wellness-focused amenities on business and first-class flights around the world.

“All of our safety measures and wellness offerings are part of the overall proactive pandemic management strategies,” says Essa
Sulaiman Ahmad,
the divisional vice president for North America at Emirates. “It shows the seriousness with which we are taking the health and safety of our local and global communities in an effort to instill public confidence and promote the restoration of international travel.”

United Airlines offers skincare by female-founded brand Sunday Riley, including an ergonomic eye mask, when traveling in its Polaris business class cabins.

United Airlines

A Global Trend

Emirates is not alone. Several airlines have turned to wellness-focused amenities, including Taiwan’s EVA Air, which offers luxury amenity kits for long-haul flights to and from Taiwan in their business class cabins. EVA is offering Bianco di Carrara skincare—body lotion, hand cream, and lip balm—along with
Jason Wu

United Airlines offers skincare by female-founded brand Sunday Riley, including an ergonomic eye mask, when traveling in its Polaris business class cabins. Qatar Airways is stocking up on lotions, facial mists, and shower gels from luxury French brand Diptyque. 

“The lavish and exquisite toiletries are designed to enhance the customer experience,” says
Genevieve Rosario,
Qatar’s head of product development.

American Airlines has partnered with brand Shinola to create pouches for their first-class products, which include scents from DS & Durga perfume brand. The amenity kits include scents that have lotions and products inspired by American locales, like “summers on the New England coast with aromas of wild rose and the salty sea,” according to the airline.

“American often seeks brands that are rooted in creativity, especially those that celebrate travel before, during, and after the actual journey,” says
Clarissa Sebastian,
American Airlines’ managing director of onboard products. “It’s the ability to inspire connection with people or places that matter and experiences that enrich us.”

JetBlue recently began offering wellness amenity kits with Wanderfuel, a wellness company which specializes in organic travel products. The four kits are inspired by holistic health practices and themed around the time of day—such as the Sleep package for overnight flights and Awake for morning flights—and include products like face balms and body butter.

Emirates boasts a next-level experience, however, with its first class “shower spa”—two showers at the front of the plane when traveling with their A380 Airbus. “Emirates spares no expense when it comes to wellness onboard,” Sulaiman Ahmad says.

Emirates’ Business Class cabin.

Emirates Airlines

Spa Experience

The trend appears at airports, too. The SHA Wellness Clinic has an outpost in Madrid airport, offering spa treatments, healthy foods, and drinks for travelers who want above-average options than your usual fare at airports.

Air France’s business lounge in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris features a wellness area, with a rest area with lounge chairs, a detox bar, and saunas, with facial treatments from Clarins Spa. Just last month, the airline opened a new airport spa with luxury French beauty brand Sisley. The spa, called La Première Sisley Beauty Institute, offers skin rehydration treatments for men and women.

Virgin Airlines has partnered with meditation company Smiling Mind to calm travelers with videos that teach deep-breathing exercises.

Singapore Airlines recently partnered with health spa brand Canyon Ranch’s health innovation chief
Richard Carmona
to help travelers beat jet lag and leave their planes feeling fresh and healthy. A wellness program with Cathay Pacific offers a video series called Travel Well With Yoga, which offers inflight exercises.

The airline also recently unveiled wellness amenity kits by Penhaligon, a British perfume company, for business class. The kits include facial mist, hand lotion, and a roll-on oil scent.

“Now, more than ever, our customers are focused on maximizing wellness in every aspect of their lives,” says
Yeoh Phee Teik,
the senior vice president of customer experience for Singapore Airlines. “It’s all about finding practical, effective ways to extend the principles and practice of well-being to air travel.”

The airline has also partnered with Golden Door Spa, an Asian-inspired spa and wellness resort in rural California, to bring their products onboard and keep travelers well and nourished on a 19-hour flight. That includes exercises, healthy dining, and an audiovisual choice of wellness and sleep content.

“A healthier travel experience is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity,” says
Kathy Van Ness,
general manager of Golden Door. “Enabling guests to arrive at their destination nurtured and refreshed is, no doubt, setting the bar for wellness and the future of travel.”