Australian flag carrier Qantas’ plans for a ‘wellbeing zone’ onboard its aircraft, which will give passengers a physical place to meditate, stretch and relax on long-haul flights, could be a gamechanger for full-service carriers looking to differentiate themselves from Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs) operating similar long-haul routes, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Global Consumer Survey revealed that 57% of respondents said that a product or service that impacts their health and wellbeing either ‘always’ or ‘often’ influences their purchase, highlighting strong demand for health and wellness offerings.
Craig Bradley, Associate Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Centralizing the onboard experience around health and wellness could provide a competitive edge for Full-Service Carriers (FSCs) over LCCs operating long-haul routes such as JetBlue, Jetstar and Air Asia. In recent years, the economy class product on FSCs has had little differentiation from the LCC in-flight experience due to the unbundling of fares such as luggage and in-flight meals. While operating a wellness zone onboard with other related services will inevitably result in increased fares, it is in line with current consumer sentiment, with a substantial amount of travelers willing to pay more for products that provide health benefits.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a significant part in enhancing individuals’ awareness of their overall health and mental wellbeing. In a GlobalData Q4 2021 Global Consumer Survey, 54% of respondents said they were either ‘extremely’ or ‘quite’ concerned about their physical fitness and health. A further 48% were also ‘extremely’ or ‘quite’ concerned about their mental health. As a result, Qantas has looked at evolving its in-flight program to fit this sentiment.
The wellness zone proposed by Qantas appears to be an expansion of efforts from other airlines that have looked to capitalize on the health and wellness trend.
Bradley concludes: “In previous years we have witnessed airlines partner with various companies in the health and wellness space to enhance inflight experiences. Service enhancements have included mood lighting, wellness cuisines, meditation techniques and stretching exercises. Qantas’ wellness zone aims to further this, allowing the airline to become a health and wellness leader in long-haul travel.”