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Qantas customers help shape future of inflight health and wellness

18 October 2017

A group of long-haul Qantas customers, including Frequent Flyers, will take part in an in-flight trial as part of a world first collaboration on health and wellness in the air between the airline and the University of Sydney.

Qantas' first Boeing 787 Dreamliner collected in Seattle.

Qantas' first Boeing 787 Dreamliner collected in Seattle. Source Qantas.

The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre brings together researchers across a variety of fields from metabolic health and physical activity to nutrition and sleep. 

The new study marks the second stage of the Qantas and Charles Perkins Centre partnership and, as the pool of research relating specifically to effects of travel on health, wellbeing and the human body clock is limited, a program of entirely new research will focus on four travel related themes:

  • Immune function
  • State of mind
  • Cardio and metabolic state
  • Sleep and physical activity.

Customers will be given wearable technology to measure the impact of air travel on mental state and anxiety, immune function, sleep patterns and recovery from jet lag.

Qantas frequent flyers Jesinta Franklin and Ed Jenkins, with Neil Perry.

Qantas Frequent Flyers Jesinta Franklin and Ed Jenkins, with chef and Qantas Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service Neil Perry (centre).

Qantas and the Charles Perkins Centre have already worked together to influence cabin lighting scenarios, cabin temperature, menu and recipe development, meal service format and timing for the Dreamliner aircraft as well as lounge design of the new Perth International transit lounge.

The Charles Perkins Centre is already working with Qantas and its Director of Food, Beverage and Service Neil Perry on the new B787-9 inflight-menu and consulting on the introduction of bespoke offerings such as a probiotic shot in a cold pressed juice and other food and beverage options to help the body during long haul flights.

Qantas chief customer officer Olivia Wirth said the airline’s “Project Sunrise” challenge for Airbus and Boeing to develop an aircraft capable of flying from the east coast of Australia to London and New York has added an additional level of research requirements around long haul flying.

“We have already implemented some terrific initiatives in the cabin design of our new 787-9 Dreamliner in consultation with the world class researchers at Charles Perkins Centre and we believe they will make a significant difference to the way our customers feel at the end of their long haul flight.

“Qantas has always had a strong focus on providing the best product and service but our partnership with the Charles Perkins Centre takes it to a new level by approaching in-flight health and wellbeing from a holistic perspective. The commissioned research may discover a new way to ease jetlag as well as methods to boost sleep patterns, digestion and immunity.

It’s an exciting new frontier and we are eager to see what ground-breaking research and revelations may come out of this scientific focus on air travel and well-being.”

Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, during a presentation on the University's partnership with Qantas. Source Qantas.

The partnership with Qantas has enabled the University to appoint a full time resource within the Charles Perkins Centre to work specifically on new research around air travel, with particular focus on the four key areas.

Professor Steve Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, said the second phase of the partnership poses the most exciting potential around real world outcomes that will shape the future of flight for passengers.

“We are hugely excited to have the opportunity to conduct cutting edge research of fundamental interest to our academics, which can then be translated directly into the service provided by Qantas to improve the experience of long haul flying for both passengers and crew. Drawing researchers from many different disciplines together, the Charles Perkins Centre is discovering solutions to real-world challenges, while also generating breakthrough science.

“The data we will collect in the next phase of the partnership will be used to shape and refine the next generation of services provided by Qantas, for the benefit of passengers and crew alike.”

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