The World’s Best Spas: Canyon Ranch on Singapore Airlines
The Longest Flight in the World sounds like it could be an action film starring an early-aughts Brendan Fraser. It’s not. It’s something I took recently from Newark to Singapore, tucked cozily away for 18 and a half hours in a business-class pod on an Airbus A350. (Months after I disembarked, Qantas started flying from New York to Sydney for a total flying time of 19 and a quarter hours. If those 45 minutes matter deeply to you, then know you are about to read about the Second Longest Flight in the World.)
Even when you’ve mentally reconciled the amount of time your flight will take, you arrive, and sometimes it’s tomorrow or yesterday. The sun is skipping shifts, basically shooting banana peels at your circadian rhythm. It’s a time warp enough just taking a red-eye across the Atlantic. And here I am, about to travel the furthest from home I’ve ever been, for a duration longer than most folks are normally awake at a stretch. I have to just surrender to the time warp that awaits.
All the cozy socks and hydrating masks can’t undo the fact that flying means shooting through the sky in a metal tube — and that does wonky things to the body. Most folks are familiar with the effects of low air pressure causing a buildup of gas in your body, making you swell and bloat, clogging your ears, as well as increasing the effects of alcohol, making you weep at the finale of Zootopia. But that’s not all! The below-desert-level humidity dries up your nasal passages, making your sense of smell and taste significantly duller, your skin much drier, and you body way more dehydrated.
Taking into account how the Longest Flight in the World could be cause for some health concern, Singapore Airlines invoked the expertise of Canyon Ranch wellness architects to elevate the flight experience. Canyon Ranch, a land- and sea-based spa with outposts in Massachusetts, Arizona, and elsewhere, has taken to the skies, offering a menu of healthy but not sad food as well as the best stretches to do in your seat. It took a bit of swiping and tapping to find the stretches on the TV screen’s programming in my pod, but once I did, I could zone out to the soothing exercise instruction that, honestly, any marathon-flier should know. Here are some of them: Seated upright, cross one ankle over the opposite knee and lean over it. Repeat.
Lift both legs out in front of you like a Barbie doll and rotate your ankles. Adding a little toe-wiggling flair, like the feet equivalent of jazz hands. Jazz feet.
The shoulder stretches look a bit like you’re theatrically shrugging and also rotating them in forward and then backward circles (jazz shoulders), and the torso stretch is your basic mattress-commercial “My, what a restful sleep I’ve had” kind of motion, with arms stretched upward, twisting side to side. One of the air hostesses brightly smiled in my direction, thinking I had a request, and I shook my head to deflect, indicating that I was just stretching. All in all, it’s a great low- level body prep for meal or nap number six.
I managed to clock about four to five hours of actual full sleep, which, as someone who can never quite sleep on flights, I consider a victory. Not that comfortably lounging around in a half-sleep state is the worst, so it’s nice to get some edge on jet lag. There’s a specific strange body sensation on flights that’s a bit like the intersection of slight carsickness and post-nap fuzziness. The body yearns for something nourishing to put it at ease. I don’t know what it is about traveling that makes me ravenous, despite not really doing much but sitting around and waiting, but I often find myself gnawing at all the worst bloat-inducing, salty snacks out of boredom or jet lag.
The food was food — not airline food. My wonder at that cannot be overstated. The roasted beet and burrata appetizer introduced me to my first in-flight fennel, and when your taste buds are at a handicap, every herb counts. The seared halibut was just the right balance of light but juicy that left me with a generous serving of flavor rather than the feeling of being too full (the advantage of a fish entree). Topped off with a heavenly lemon angel food cake, that bit of tart sweetness was flavor layering at its 35,000-feet best.
After I dozed off once more to native airplane white noise (followed by completing another round of jazz feet and shoulders), the pilot announced the initial descent, the ambient cabin lights brightened, and the rest of the passengers began clicking laptops shut and zipping up briefcases and carry-ons, eager to finally be back on land. As for me, I was excited to run around Singapore for the first time, perhaps a little healthier than when I took off.
Now read more about spas:
Done reading? Now watch this beauty editor try a $450 wine bath: