The 8 Best Complimentary Spa Treatments In Airport Lounges

There aren’t many things more relaxing than a nice spa treatment before a longhaul flight. While many airports have paid massage facilities, rarely are they actually relaxing given the terminal background noise.

So I figured I’d compile a list of what I consider to be the best complimentary spa treatments available in airport lounges. The list is just based on lounges I’ve been to, and as always, your mileage may vary. I’ll also add that I’m only including one lounge per airline. In many cases airlines have more than one lounge with spa treatments, though I’ll just include the lounge where I had the best experience.

With that in mind, what do I consider to be among the world’s best complimentary airport lounge spa treatments?

1. Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok

While the ranking of the other lounges is all over the place, I think there’s no denying that Thai Airways offers the single best airport lounge spa experience. As a first class passenger you receive an hour-long full body massage in a private treatment room, and afterwards you can soak in a bathtub if you’d like.

Given that Thai’s onboard product is rather mediocre, it’s nice to get a great massage and hop onto a redeye ready to sleep. It’s also worth noting that Thai offers this for all first class passengers, including if you just fly from Bangkok to Hong Kong.

Thai-Airways-Massage

2. Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney

Qantas has an impressive spa setup in both their Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges. Spa treatments are 20 minutes long, and are the only other lounge treatments I know of where you take off your shirt and lay down for a “real” massage. The room that the treatments take place in is gorgeous as well.

Qantas-Massage

3. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York

Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses offer a variety of complimentary spa treatments, from massages to pedicures.

That being said, I think what truly sets the lounge apart are the complimentary haircuts. It’s pretty awesome to get your hair cut while sipping on a glass of champagne and overlooking the tarmac.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse

4. Air France First Class Lounge Paris

This is arguably the world’s most exclusive first class lounge, given that there’s no way to redeem miles at the saver level for Air France first class. Passengers can choose from a variety of 30 minute treatments. I went for a facial, which was great, and actually lasted about 45 minutes.

Air-France-Facial

5. Etihad First & Business Lounge Abu Dhabi

Etihad’s new first class lounge isn’t yet open, so in the meantime Etihad has a shared flagship first & business class lounge in Abu Dhabi. Both first and business class passengers receive a complimentary 15 minute massage in their Six Senses Spa.

Etihad-Massage-2

Etihad-Massage-1

But the other awesome thing about the lounge is that they have a Shave by Etihad facility, whereby first class passengers can receive a complimentary clipper cut, shave, style, etc. There are (reasonable) costs for these services for business class passengers.

Etihad-Massage-3

It’s worth noting that they also offer this in their arrivals facility, which both first and business class passengers can access.

6. Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai

Emirates offers a shared first & business class spa facility, which is run by Timeless Spa.

First class passengers can choose from a variety of treatments, from a back massage to a dry cut. Business class passengers have to pay for treatments, unfortunately.

Emirates-Massage-2

Emirates-Massage-1

7. Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita

Japan Airlines offers first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members what I’d call teaser treatments, since they only last 10 minutes.

JAL-Massage-1

That being said, they have a legitimate massage table you lay down on, and the pressure with the treatments is fantastic.

JAL-Massage

Also keep in mind that since this lounge is in Japan, tipping isn’t only not expected, but is actually frowned upon. Don’t mind that! 😉

8. American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas

I think this one is notable because you can access the lounge with with a credit card. You can choose between a 15 minute massage or express manicure, both of which are great.

When you sign up for a treatment they do tell you that “the service is complimentary and tipping is at your discretion.” So of all the above lounges I think this is the one that it’s most necessary to tip at.

Amex-Centurion

Then again, I tend to tip in airline lounges anyway.

Bottom line

While a complimentary lounge spa treatment in and of itself isn’t a reason to choose an airline, it really adds disproportionately to the experience, in my opinion. Travel can be taxing on the body, so feeling at ease and fresh before hopping on a long flight makes it all the better.

What are your favorite airline lounge spa treatments?

Comments

  1. Can you get the complimentary massage in Bangkok if you are flying TO from Sydney? Or is this only if you are departing from Bangkok?

  2. If two family members are in business and one in first class, can they all access first class lounge? Do you know what are the policies for different airlines?

  3. I noticed that you left out the wonderful Concorde Elemis Spa for British Airways… I know you don’t really like the Concorde Room, but I think the Elemis Spa offerings are at least better than 2-3 of those listed in this post.

  4. Lucky – Thanks for bringing up tipping. It’s a subject that will never be settled! Can you share what you would tip, if anything, for each of the ten services above? I’m guessing nothing in Japan as it’s not part of the culture; and probably the most in the US lounges. But it would be great to understand how you approach this.

  5. What is required for admission? Is it international first class only? Domestic? For Centurion- do you need a 1st class ticket in addition to card?

  6. I really enjoyed getting my hair cut at the Virgin Lounge at London Heathrow. I only had US dollars so I gave $5 tip for the haircut. Sthe woman that cut my hair stated a tip was not necessary but I was happy to give.

    The Virgin Lounge at London Heathrow is wonderful. They have like 12 different bite size items (duck hand roll, fish and chips, chicken wings, cauliflower, etc.). My wife and I shared all of them and they were great. Kind of to bad the lounge is so much better than the food on the plane.

    We flew the 787 in Upper Class from London to Boston. Great crew aboard but the seat and quality of food were subpar.

  7. Ben, for the JAL Narita Lounge, is it possible to “book” in advance or only when getting there? In 2 weeks we have a HAN-NRT-ORD with the NRD-ORD in F and I want my wife to get the 10 minutes!

  8. We just transited through AUH in first on Etihad and tried the six senses spa. My wife had a great time with her treatment but I had a truly awful back massage with the guy constantly digging his elbow into my back. I should have spoken up and regret not doing so in the moment, thinking each time that it happened that it was a short message and not wanting to interrupt. Big mistake, my back was sore for a day afterwards (just to clarify, I’ve had great experiences there in the past, so I am assuming this was the exception and not the rule).

  9. Slightly off topic, but do I get access to QF First Lounge in Sydney if I’m arriving on a Qantas First Class flight and connecting to Qantas international business class same day?
    e.g. DXB-SYD in QF F and then SYD-AKL in QF J?

  10. While the TG spa is in a class of its own, I thoroughly enjoy DFW Centurion lounge’s back massage every time. Martin’s touch is heavenly, and Maria is very good as well.

  11. i know we don’t really talk about LY but they have spa services for their premium passengers in the King David Lounge in TLV i think there’s a complimentary 20 minute massage

  12. Air France have you take the shirt off if you choose other massage other than facial
    TG also have a separate sauna and steam room

  13. Does JAL offer this for connecting First passengers? We’re flying into NRT in JAL F but connecting to CX Biz

  14. @ gardener — As far as I know, as long as you have access to the lounge you can get a treatment, though I may be mistaken.

  15. @ Miles Down Under — As I explained, I mentioned just one lounge per airline, even if there are multiple lounges offering treatments. I prefer the Sydney Lounge overall and was there more recently, which is why I mentioned it. That’s not to say the spa is necessarily better, though.

  16. @ Kathy — Just the card and any boarding pass, either departing or arriving. Class of service or airline doesn’t matter.

  17. @ Julian — I hate the fact that an appointment usually has to be made in advance, that they try to pitch you on their products, and that you have to fill out a survey. For me, personally, there’s a reason I left it out.

  18. With the recent spat of devaluations (with AA coming fast-n-furious I’m sure), especially so with F and Biz…it’d be nice to see a Business class round-up of the above.

    Thai still may be #1, since they give 30min .v. 1hr for F, but would be interesting to learn about others.

    Thanks Ben.

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