While airports appear to have cottoned on to the wellness shift of recent years—providing drop-in fitness studios and communal yoga rooms on-site—airlines themselves have been a little slower on the uptake. But the tide seems to be changing.
U.S. carriers United, Delta, and JetBlue all provide videos from popular meditation company Headspace. The channel walks passengers through some basic meditations over audio to help them unwind and perhaps even get some elusive shut-eye at 30,000 ft.
Elsewhere in the world, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air Transat, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Swiss International Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and VistaJet have Headspace offerings too.
Mindfulness meditation, which focuses on awareness of the present moment, could be particularly useful when you’re prone to heightened anxiety on flights. By observing stressful thoughts and recognizing that they are not an accurate reflection of reality, your emotions begin to settle. The common mindfulness technique of focusing on your breath—the feeling as it expands your chest and belly, then whooshes back out your nose again—can also help bring you back to a more calm and centered place.
Cathay Pacific, an airline based out of Hong Kong, has taken its in-flight wellness offerings one step further by partnering with powerhouse yoga chain, Pure Yoga. Its ‘Travel Well With Yoga’ series features Pure Yoga co-founders and experienced teachers Patrick Creelman and Almen Wong, who guide passengers through some simple chair-based stretches to keep blood circulating on long-haul journeys, as well as instructions for post-flight poses to work out any stiffness after you’ve disembarked.
The Global Wellness Institute reports that “wellness tourism revenues grew from $494.1 billion in 2013 to $563.2 billion in 2015—or 14%. A growth rate more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures (6.9%).” With more of us than ever seeking wellness experiences abroad, it behooves airlines to continue expanding their in-flight health amenities.