Could Wellness (Finally) Transform the Airline Industry for the Better?



During a long flight home from Paris in February, I found myself idling the time not by flipping through movie options, but via a guided meditation that Air France now offers as part of its in-flight entertainment experience. As the pleasant voice through my earbuds guided me through the calming exercise, my mind admittedly wandered to my typical flying experiences: Unreliable Wi-Fi; nonexistent legroom; that time my plane sat on the tarmac at Newark airport for three hours when we were supposed to land at JFK across the river, inspiring a group of passengers to stage a full-fledged mutiny… In an industry that has come to be instinctively associated with stress and frustration, the idea that an airline would take the initiative to help their passengers decompress felt downright radical.

But Air France is just one of a few companies looking to lead this shift. In addition to its in-flight mindfulness offerings, the airline recently renovated its flagship business lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport to make room for a sleek new "wellness zone," complete with a Clarins spa, saunas, and a general relaxation area with nappable seating. In a related move, Air Canada recently announced essential oil line Vitruvi as its new amenities partner; you'll now be able to find an exclusive selection of the label's goods (including a face mist!) in the airline's bathrooms.

Vitruvi co-founder Sara Panton agrees the white space in the market has been pretty obvious from the start. "Air travel has not been traditionally associated with wellness and usually leaves passengers feeling depleted," she says. "By curating a more health-centric amenity kit and inflight products, we hope to leave people a little more refreshed and their in-flight experience more elevated, prioritizing natural, hydrating, and gentle products while they are at 35,000 feet."