10 Ways to Get a Free Spa Treatment Before Your Next Flight

Oct 30, 2018

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While airlines seem to always be looking for ways to boost their bottom line (much to the dismay of passengers) by charging every imaginable ancillary fee, they’re simultaneously trying to discourage you from booking with a competitor.

To do that, carriers regularly offer deals such as bonus miles and discounted fares. They’re also tapping into the booming wellness industry.

The 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor recently reported that the wellness tourism market is expected to reach a value of $919.4 billion by 2122, based on an annual 7.5% growth rate. Those aren’t numbers the airlines can overlook.

“Wellness travel is part of almost all travel,” Global Wellness Institute research director Beth McGroarty told TPG. “So, it’s no surprise airlines are now offering healthier food options, meditation and sleep aids.”

Another thing airlines are doing? Providing free spa treatments in their signature lounges. Whether it’s a massage, facial or even light therapy, the world’s most luxe lounges often have complimentary pampering on the premises.

To access these so-called “free” services, however, you usually need to pay up — or at least be in an airline’s good graces. Typically, that means booking a first class seat (the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai is for, well, first class passengers), having serious status or purchasing a pricey club membership.

Have any of those? Then you’re in for a treat. Here’s a selection of our favorite free spa treatments offered in airline lounges around the world: and how to get in.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Spa

Upon checking in, travelers can schedule an appointment for a free 15-minute massage at the Timeless Spa. Options include a back massage, a leg and foot acupressure treatment, an Ayurvedic head massage, a so-called “Thai body stretch” and a focused hand and arm massage. The sprawling lounge also has showers with complimentary toiletries.

Get in: Travelers with a first-class Emirates boarding pass are the only ones getting into this lounge for free, now that Qantas has left Dubai.

Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge

The next time you’re flying fancy through Hong Kong International (HKG) with Cathay, head to the lounge’s so-called Retreat immediately upon entering, as you may have to wait a while for an opening at the spa. Travelers can indulge in a complimentary 10- to 20-minute Signature Gentlemen’s Tonic Foot Massage, the Reinvigorating Neck, Shoulder & Scalp massage and a treatment called the Signature Gentlemen’s Tonic the Traveller Eye Revitaliser sure to leave you feeling dapper.

Get in: Access to The Pier is reserved for Cathay Pacific first-class flyers, Oneworld Emerald elite travelers departing on a Oneworld airline and select Marco Polo Club members.

Qantas First Class Lounges

You’ll only find this airline’s lounge spas in the Qantas First Class Lounges in Melbourne and Sydney. Here, guests can choose from an array of 20-minute massages, facials and focused therapies using Australian-made ASPAR products. There are even two signature treatments inspired by the Australian hubs.

Get in: Access is free for Qantas and Emirates first-class flyers, as well as select Platinum and Platinum One travelers flying with select airlines, Emirates Platinum Skywards members with a Qantas or Emirates ticket, Oneworld Emerald travelers flying on a Oneworld airline and international first-class Oneworld customers.

Photo by Ze Zoran/Unsplash

Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita

Japan Airlines offers complimentary “real” massages on a table at its First Class lounges in Tokyo. The only downside? The service is just 10 minutes long.

Get in: First Class Lounge access is open to first-class Japan Airlines passengers and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, as well as Japan Airlines JMB Diamond or JGC Premier elites.

Air France La Première Lounge in Paris

Get up to 30-minutes of pampering the next time you transit through Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) at the La Première lounge’s Biologique Recherche center (read: spa). Certain travelers can even book a spa treatment well in advance.

Get in: Flying Air France’s La Première product gives you complimentary access to this chic lounge. SkyTeam Elite Plus members, and travelers flying business or first with a SkyTeam airline, can get access free of charge to other Air France lounges — some of which offer complimentary Clarins spa treatments.

Elemis Travel Spas at British Airways Lounges

British Airways partnered with the high-end beauty brand Elemis to offer a variety of complimentary treatments for pre-flight pampering at select airport lounges in London Heathrow (LHR) and the Terminal 7 lounge at New York-JFK. All promise to leave your skin glowing despite, that long flight.

Get in: If you are a first- or business-class (Club World) passenger flying long haul, you can get a complimentary 15-minute treatment, though access to the actual lounges is less restrictive. Photo by Chistin Hume/ Unsplash

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses

Arrive in your destination with a whole new look by booking a complimentary 15-minute express manicure or pedicure; mini facial; dry hairstyle; head massage or another treatment at the Clubhouse Spa, located at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and New York-JFK.

Get in: Travelers can get access (and a free spa treatment) by flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. Delta Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members with a same-day, nonstop flight to the UK operated by either Virgin Atlantic or Delta can also get in. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members, Singapore Airlines First Class Suites passengers and first- or business-class passengers on TAM can also get in for free.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Next Gen Lounge

Forget free neck massages. At the sleek Next Gen Lounge in Oslo, travelers can try complimentary light therapy. Philips created LED lighting systems that are customizable for guests, who can choose to beat jet lag, get energized before a flight, concentrate more or simply relax before departing.

Get in: SAS Plus and SAS Business get free access to this lounge — as do travelers with Diamond or Gold status in the airline’s EuroBonus loyalty program.

Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa

If you’re arriving in Abu Dhabi as a first class passenger, you can get a free spa treatment from the exclusive Etihad First Class Lounge, like a massage upon arrival. It’s a TPG-approved way to prepare for a long haul flight.

Get in: If you’re flying through Abu Dhabi International (AUH) on a first class Etihad fare, you get access to this impressive space. Other people who may have access include Etihad Guest Platinum Status travelers and passengers with top-tier status through partner programs.

Photo by Kris Atomic/ Unsplash

Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth

Travelers dropping by the new DFW Centurion Lounge can escape to a serene — and fragrant! — relaxation area, equipped with a spa that offers complimentary manicures and chair massages.

Get in: This is one of the few lounges that offers complimentary spa treatments without requiring a boarding pass for a premium seat. Access to the DFW Centurion Lounge (and all other Centurion lounges) is free for people with the American Express Centurion Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express (including the business, personal and yellow versions).

Featured photo by Raw Pixel/Unsplash 

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