The quest to stay hydrated whilst onboard a long haul flight has been a challenge for airlines since the beginning of the commercial aviation market. All airlines offer water and other refreshments to their passengers, and amenity kits contain lotions and potions designed to keep the passenger’s skin as moisturised as possible in the dry air conditions during flight. The benefits of staying well hydrated are common knowledge, and during travel allows passengers to arrive at their destination refreshed, and ready to face the business meetings, lunches, shopping trips or tourist activities that they have planned. However, it is a challenge, as humidity levels whilst onboard can be as low as 10%-20% and so keeping hydrated is not as easy as one might think. On a long haul flight it would be nearly impossible for the cabin crew to ensure that every passenger had access to enough water to keep fully hydrated. Any liquid consumed onboard will have a rehydration benefit, including water, Coca Cola, Sprite, Tea etc. However, the most desirable way to be considered an oral rehydration product is to follow the strict World Health Organisation guidelines.
As more research is done into the importance of hydration on the human body, a number of products have been developed to help introduce the vitamins, minerals and water lost whilst travelling. Alongside hydration, these products contain a variety of ingredients designed to ensure that passengers, and airline staff, are able to stay sharp and focused. These products may be the answer in tackling the dehydration problems faced by passengers, and crew whilst on board, and may make travelling long haul much more comfortable and productive.
One airline that has seen the need for these products is Emirates, who have been offering a rotation of different hydration solubles to their First Class passengers for a little while. They have offered Uppy!, FlyFit and Phizz so far, and are keen to keep including them as an added extra for their passengers.
Uppy! is an effervescent tablet or powder that can be added into water to create a blend of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes perfectly designed to aid passenger’s experience whilst onboard, and adheres to the WHO rehydration product guidelines. Uppy! was created by Olle Markoo, and launched in September 2015 after he spent a lot of time flying to meetings. He realised the importance of arriving refreshed and sharp, so took it upon himself to develop a product that helped both himself and the millions of other passengers around the world. The flavours of Uppy! include citrus and ginger, helping them be refreshing and desirable to drink. To start the development Olle, together with his team, spoke to passengers, pilots, nutritionists and flight specialists, including doctors, to ensure that their product was designed with those that would be using it at the forefront of their minds. One such pilot was Per de la Motte, a long haul pilot with more than 35 years’ experience. He often uses Uppy! whilst working, and encourages his cabin crew as well. According to Per, “It is a no brainer to take Uppy! Why would you not enjoy the support Uppy give you? Avoiding getting dehydrated is important to stay sharp, obvious for me as a pilot but a treat for anyone.” Uppy! is the only rehydration product that has won an Onboard Hospitality Award for Wellness in 2018, and it continues to be well-received by passengers. They have now introduced a version that contains caffeine for an extra boost of energy called ‘the genius energiser’, perfect for after arrival at the destination, and are currently launching a version that contains melatonin to help with the effects of jet lag after a night flight.
FlyFit’s founder, Boudewijin van Eeghen says, “The key to the product’s effectiveness and outstanding success lies with the power of our Q4 ingredients. Our broad range of FlyFit shots contain a unique balance of vitamins and minerals. This formula does contain a range of B, C and E – vitamins as well as specific minerals (micronutrients) which all work together and contribute to reduce tiredness and fatigue” Phizz is a scientifically formulated and research-led product that is also a strong competitor in this market. Formulated by a PhD neuroscientist and a leading research Swiss laboratory, the formulation is a 2in1 effervescent tablet with an extensive multivitamin combination and elite hydration formula. One of the key differences is they are keen to keep products that promote dehydration out of their product, such as sorbitol and caffeine.
Phizz is in fact already used by medical departments in charge of top sports teams around the world including Liverpool Football Club, Saracens Rugby Club and the South Africa National Cricket team to aid players for training, match day and travel. Whilst the developers of Phizz realise that although you cannot cure jet lag, or completely rule out health problems whilst travelling, by creating an ‘all-in-one’ product that encourages the body to stay hydrated it can help passengers feel more comfortable whilst onboard, and minimise the impact on passenger’s health. Indeed Emirates selected Phizz as the first hydration tablet to be offered to their First Class passengers.
However, Emirates are not the only airline to realise their passengers need for more rehydration whilst travelling. For years amenity kits have contained moisturising skin products, however, now for the first time American Airlines have included Flyfit rehydration product within their amenity kit offering. Flyfit is a product in either tablet or powder form that is dissolved in water, allowing passengers to get antioxidants, vitamins and minerals whilst rehydrating onboard. Often passengers don’t want to use an unknown moisturiser on their sensitive skin, and so by including rehydration products in their amenity kit, this could lead the way for airlines to have a new way of thinking on hydration during flight, and how to give their passengers products that they really want.
Kevee is a product that has been used in areas of the world to ensure that children stay hydrated during extreme drought. Again, a sachet that is added to water, it is a combination of essential vitamins to ensure a high absorption rate, and encourage hydration.It has a World Health Organisation recognised formula and contains salt and sugar to combat the ill effects of dehydration on the human body. Interestingly, their third party research shows that 58% of passengers would consider buying rehydration products whilst onboard, and so offers another possible income stream for airlines operating a number of long haul flights.
The new kid on the block in terms of onboard rehydration product is JetFuel, which has been developed purely with the aviation market in mind. They are doing things a little differently and contain 36 active ingredients designed to combat the 6 main health problems faced during travel – Immune, Digestion, Circulation, Energy, Cognitive Function and Rest. Presented in powdered form, rather than a tablet, to enable more ingredients to be included, they come in 3 sachets – Health, Performance and Rest, to be consumed at different times in a passenger’s journey. Founder, Papillon Luck developed JetFuel for the corporate frequent flyers she spent a decade working alongside. ‘Leaders look to professional athletes to emulate their optimal performance when travelling, so it was important JetFuel was Informed Sport accredited to prevent the risk of doping for travelling athletes.’ Although JetFuel is not yet offered onboard, this newcomer to the market has already created a stir in the media. They have partnered with a number of recognisable brands including launching on Net a Porter and Mr Porter and is already being stocked in world-renowned London luxury department store Harrods.
The number of products on the market already shows that the possible scope for them currently seems endless. Passengers are more aware than ever of their health whilst travelling the world. Whilst the thirst for worldwide travel seems to continue to grow, airlines are going to have to answer the calls from their passengers to solve the problem of dehydration. By offering rehydration products to passengers within amenity kits, or as a buyable extra, airlines could save themselves on weight and space of heavy bottles, not to mention the saving of plastic waste. It could be that the days of offering generic moisturising lotions might be over, and the amenity budget might be better spent offering scientifically researched hydration products that really do help combat the problem of dehydration. It is exciting that these products are starting to make inroads into the amenity market, and airlines are beginning to take notice. Hopefully, more will follow the lead of Emirates and American Airlines. After all, passenger comfort is what it is all about, and these products are researched and developed with airline passengers specifically in mind. That can only be a good thing, right?