If you’re a frequent flyer, it can be easy to get into bad habits – especially if you’re going long haul.
The unlimited champagne and spirits, rich food and of course the time difference can wreak havoc with your health, both mental and physical.
You can still have a very pleasant time in premium travel, but here are some tips on how to enjoy your time onboard without doing too much damage.
Luxuriate chatted to Linda Celestino, Vice President Guest Service & Delivery for Etihad, to get her advice for sophisticates who enjoy the finer things in life, but also want to feel their best.
If you are a frequent flyer, what are the healthiest menu options?
I think most people find it challenging to eat healthily when they travel, however a little planning goes a long way.
In April 2018, we launched our new healthy ‘Weqaya’ meal options, in First and Business on long-haul and ultra long-haul flights departing from Abu Dhabi.
‘Weqaya’ is an Abu Dhabi Department of Health initiative and means ‘prevention’ in Arabic. It emphasises a simple, healthy eating lifestyle, with dishes created with less fat, less sugar, less sodium, and are rich in fibre.
My personal favourites: an egg white frittata and wilted spinach for breakfast, a light lunch of poached prawns, mango salad and fennel panna cotta, or a deliciously healthy dinner of perfectly grilled seabass served with steamed broccolini and a red pepper emulsion.
In First our personal In-Flight Chefs from international culinary backgrounds can guide you through the healthiest options, serve you hand-crafted mocktails and cocktails and create bespoke off-menu dishes tailored to your personal tastes and dietary requirements.
What are your top tips for beating jetlag?
I wish I could I have a magic cure for jetlag – but I don’t! I do, however, have a few tried and true tips.
My best advice is quite simple: eat well, sleep well, stay hydrated (with water) and make sure to get in the time zone of your destination as soon as you can.
If my flight leaves late at night or very early in the morning, I allow myself to sleep for the first few hours, but then set a soft alarm on my phone, or ask a crew member to wake me up at a certain time, so that my body can start adjusting to the time difference.
I’m also an avid user of organic essential oils – lemongrass and geranium work wonders in fine tuning your sleep pattern, and of course, a few drops of lavender oil on the pillowcase ensures that I immediately start to feel more relaxed as soon as I lay my head on my pillow.
What are your top tips for staying healthy during business travel?
I eat lightly when I am travelling (lean proteins, low carb and low sugar when possible) and always find time for some in-hotel yoga and meditation. Etihad’s ‘Calm’ app is great for blocking out all the noise and focusing on your wellness.
Whatever your preferred mode of exercise, your hotel concierge will always be able to make some recommendations for the best local fitness studio in your area.
If there’s not one close enough to where you are, you can always use an app to work out from the comfort of your hotel room.
Don’t underestimate the health benefits of a brisk walk in the fresh air – familiarise yourself with your new locale, and get your body moving at the same time.
What are the best ways to maximise your business class experience?
I tend to be always working, so I cannot live without WiFi connectivity. I love that I can stay connected with my team, keep in contact with family and friends, and instead of rushing to respond to emails and messages as soon as I land, I can instead focus on where I am going next.
In the Business cabin, we have our unique Dine on Demand service, which means our guests can choose when and what they will eat at any time during the flight. Flexibility and choice is key when travelling for business, as differing personal and work schedules will often determine how you choose to spend your flight.
Any other thoughts on travelling stylishly? Packing tips?
For business trips, you definitely have that pressure to look polished and presentable at all times, and you don’t always have a lot of time between meetings, so I’ve learned that ‘practical stylish’ works best.
I like to pack wrinkle free clothing in a neutral colour palette (I stick with black, navy and beige) that I can mix and match, so I don’t spend time worrying about my outfits and just get on with the day.
Always keep a few classics in your bag – tailored black trousers, a crisp white shirt, and a blazer.
If you’re going on holiday, the same rule applies regarding mixing and matching separates – but you can go for brighter, lighter colours to match the fun, holiday mood. I pack based on the weather, and the activities planned for the trip.
And don’t forget to layer, layer, layer. I have a tendency to under pack, mainly because I know I will definitely find some shopping along the way.
When it comes to packing, good organisation is the way to do it. I find that rolling every piece of clothing neatly and placing them in a packing cube works best.
I make sure I have different compartments for different items – so there will be a laundry bag, a clean clothes bag, a shoe bag, toiletries and make-up bag, and a gadgets bag that holds all my device plugs, chargers, etc.
I also try to pack entire outfits in one packing cube, so I don’t have to search through my luggage to find items that match.
I like to put all my liquids in individual sealed plastic bags – you never want to be that person whose trip is ruined right from the get-go because of accidental spillage!
At the end of the day, life is an adventure, and to travel is to enjoy one of the greatest pleasures of life – so the most important thing you can bring with you on every journey is an open mind and a grateful heart.
And a credit card. Always bring a credit card.!