Coronavirus prep for the uber wealthy

Coronavirus prompts wealthy to fly private, invest in salt rooms, designer masks

The 1 percent is sparing no expense when it comes to protecting against the coronavirus.

Whether it’s flying private, seeking refuge in salt rooms or shelling out hundreds of dollars for air masks, a number of businesses and luxury designers have seen a boost from the wealthy looking to minimize their risk of catching the disease.

The private aviation industry has seen an uptick in travelers looking to fly private to avoid coming in contact with the coronavirus. (iStock). 


Medical masks have become a mainstream accessory marketed as protection against air pollution, wildfires and now the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Swedish company Airinum, worn by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Bella Hadid, is no ordinary medical mask. The “urban air mask,” as the Swedish company calls it, includes five layers of filtration and costs between $69 and $99. The company says the masks are designed to “combat harmful particles in the air.” And the masks, available in colors like black, grey and millennial pink, are already sold out online.


Even luxury designers have put out masks with their brand logos. Fendi released its FF Logo Pollution mask that’s now sold out at Saks; the mask was selling for $270. And Grammy-winning musician Billie Eilish collaborated with retailer Urban Outfitters to create a now sold-out mask seen around Instagram.

The $270 Fendi Pollution Mask at Saks is now sold out. (Saks). 

Flying private

A number of private aviation companies have seen a boost in business in the last few weeks with the ongoing fear of traveling during the virus outbreak. New York-based charter company JetSet Group has seen a 25 percent spike in business in the last few weeks, the company’s founder Steve Orfali told Fortune.

The cost of flying private for four passengers onboard a Cessna Citation Mustang jet is around $4,000 for a two-hour-and-30-minute flight and around $5,500 for a three-hour flight onboard a Cessna Citation CJ3 that carries up to six passengers, according to data from Air Charter Service.

Flying overseas can cost much more. A round-trip flight from New York to London on a 12-seat Gulfstream IV is around $140,000.

Some aviation companies are using the coronavirus epidemic as a marketing tactic. Boca Raton, Florida-bassed charter jet company Southern Jet send out an email with the tag line: "Avoid coronavirus by flying private .. Request quote today!" the New York Times reported. The company's sales director told the Times it got some requests for clients that can cost around $20,000 for a midsize jet traveling from Florida to New York, though some responded saying the marketing was in poor taste.

Salt rooms

New York-based Breathe Salt Rooms, a spa-like service where customers sit back, relax and breathe in salt micro-particles said to naturally cleanse and detoxify sinuses, lungs and air passages, has lured in at least 10 new clients in the past week.

“It’s been busy especially in the last week with everyone talking about the coronavirus,” Kristina, a manager at the midtown Manhattan location who declined to give her last name, told FOX Business.

Breathing in a room for a half-hour (the minimum time per session) costs $35. Salt therapy is said to help ward off allergies and alleviate asthma, eczema, psoriasis, colds and even the flu. Receptionists note that the treatment will have customers blowing their nose in the coming days -- a sign that sinuses are clear from inhaling the salt. Some guests are even practicing yoga in the salt room.



Occupancy rates at hotels have been dropping dramatically -- down to 2.1 percent year-over-year, 63.2 percent for the week ending Feb. 22, according to data from hotel research firm STR as reported by TheRealDeal. The 5-star hotel in Wuhan, China, however, the city where the coronavirus outbreak occurred, has reportedly remained open for emergency workers and stranded guests.

Marco Polo Wuhan, a luxury hotel located on the banks of the Yangtze River, is one of the few hotels that has stayed in business. Guests are getting meals delivered through room service and have access to the hotel's 24-hour gym and function rooms, Business Insider reported.