Summer’s here, and you know what that means? The year’s busiest travel season has officially begun. But whether jetting off on business as usual or embarking on a fabulous beachfront getaway, airport passengers can always expect the same thing—stress, stress, and oh, right, more stress.
It usually starts the night before with those nagging questions: When should you leave for the airport? How should you get to the airport? What if there’s traffic? What if you miss your flight? When you do arrive at the airport, there will inevitably be a long line to check your luggage. And unless you have TSA PreCheck, you can forget about breezing through security. By the time you arrive at your departure gate, you’re a frazzled ball of anxiety.
Well, fellow travelers, it’s time to unwind—Be Relax is coming to the rescue! The French spa company has been helping airport passengers across Europe and in Dubai massage away travel tension since 2004. Recently, the brand has been extending its reach across the U.S. too, with locations at airports in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and San Diego. This month, 10 years after launching its original spa concept at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Be Relax officially opened its first full-service spa in New York City, located in JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“One of our goals at JetBlue is to bring concepts that are popular in the streets to airports,” says Brian Holtman, manager of concessions for JetBlue. “People are spending more time in airports, and it can be a very stressful environment. It’s important to have a place to relax… We feel that the Be Relax concept fits in well with our culture and our brand.”
Be Relax’s 1,000-square-foot space in JFK, complete with a soothing vegetation wall and calming white and wood elements, offers a variety of rejuvenating beauty and wellness services ranging from manicures and pedicures to facials and massages. Time-pressed travelers can opt for speedy 10-minute refreshers, or if there’s no hurry, leisurely 60-minute sessions are available.
The spa at Terminal 5 also features barber and salon services—not to mention a blow-dry bar (a JFK first!) for those wanting to give their locks a little extra oomph before lift-off. The latter is something Adeline Moya, chief operating officer for Be Relax’s North America division, says she fought for. “Traveling today is more stressful and more rushed than before,” Moya says. “We wanted to give people some relaxation before their flight and make flying enjoyable. We’re bringing back a touch of glamour to air travel.”
While the airport spa is by no means a new concept (New York-based XpresSpa also operates spas in airports across the U.S. and in Amsterdam), it is a trend that’s gaining momentum. As it turns out, passengers—both women and men—enjoy a bit of pre-board pampering. According to a 2013 study by the Global Gateway Alliance, an advocacy group established to address improvements in New York City airports, spas ranked as the second-most popular airport amenity behind shoeshine facilities.
That same study also reveals that New York-area airports still lag behind most of the country’s other major aviation hubs in offering creature comforts to its 110-million-plus flyers. But the addition of Be Relax spa at JFK is a step forward in lessening the gap.
“Terminal 5, to us, is the most innovative and trendy terminal in JFK,” Moya says. “It’s a good fit for us consumer-wise and brand-wise, and we feel fortunate to be working with JetBlue.”
To learn more about Be Relax, visit berelax.com.
Reporting by Vickie An