Jet lag has long been the bane of travellers. But what if your inflight meal could actually help you feel amazing when you get off a plane?
Later this month, it will launch its longest route – Perth to London. That’s a whopping 17 hours in the sky.
The airline certainly doesn’t want its passengers to get off that plane feeling like crap, so it’s had its thinking cap on to come up with a few solutions to the problems of staying healthy in the sky and avoiding jet lag.
The 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will operate the service has actually been designed with plastics in the airframe. That allows the cabin to stay pressurised at 1,828 metres – no matter how high the plane flies.
Jet lag symptoms kick in at 1,981 metres with most aircraft cabin’s pressurised at 2,438 metres. At this altitude, your heart and lungs have to work overtime to supply oxygen to your organs, resulting in fatigue and shortness of breath.
But Qantas isn’t stopping there. The airline has been working with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to help find a solution to the age-old issue of jet lag. Last week, the airline launched a new menu designed to increase hydration and help reduce jet lag.
The airline’s creative director of food, beverage and service Neil Perry said the new menus combined research from the Charles Perkins Centre with the inhouse experience of the Qantas and Rockpool teams. The aim was to create dishes that encourage sleep at optimal times during the flight.
“Working with clinical sleep specialists, nutritionists and metabolic scientists, we’ve designed new menu options using delicious ingredients that have added benefits of hydration, aiding sleep and reducing jet lag,” Perry said.
“The menu we are trialling on the Perth to London route will continue to offer a selection of customer favourites but it has some special ingredient additions and exclusions.”
So what kind of food are we talking about? Lighter meals like healthy poke bowls and a specially designed relaxing herbal tea are among the new additions. As are probiotic juice shots and dishes featuring ingredients that promote hydration like green leafy veggies, cucumber, strawberries and celery. Travellers will also be given a bedtime drink to help ensure they get a decent spot of slumber.
The centre’s academic director Professor Stephen Simpson said the next step in the partnership would be to undertake research trials with a group of Frequent Flyers using wearable technology and apps to collect data. They’ll look at sleeping and activity patterns, mental state, eating patterns and hydration before, during and after their long-haul flight.
“Qantas’ new menu incorporates the latest scientific knowledge on nutrition and hydration and our scientists are excited by this opportunity to discover how the wide variety of influences work together during long haul flights,” Professor Simpson said.