This week, the world’s first dedicated meditation flight took to the skies with Virgin boss Richard Branson seizing the opportunity to find his Zen.
The Virgin Australia flight took off from Sydney, with passengers trying their hand at a little meditation at 30,000 feet with the help of app-based mindfulness platform Smiling Mind.
Its aim? To get people to use some of their flight time to practice meditation, according to Branson.
“Meditation isn’t just for nervous flyers – it is for everyone,” Branson wrote on his blog.
“I’m new to meditation, but my son Sam practices it regularly and I am a huge believer in the benefits of looking after your mind as well as your body.”
Virgin Australia now offers Smiling Mind as part of its in-flight entertainment system.
“Integrating mindfulness into our everyday lives is just as important as eating well and exercising regularly, and I am so excited Virgin Australia is deeply embedding mindfulness into the workplace and onboard flights,” Branson said.
Meditation has been scientifically shown to reduce stress and anxiety, reduce memory loss and improve sleep among a range of other health benefits.
But its benefits are also relevant in the context of air travel, according to Smiling Mind chief executive Dr Addie Wootten.
“Mindfulness is a fantastic tool to combat travel-related stress, so Smiling Mind is delighted to be able to provide travellers with access to our guided meditations while in-flight,” she said.
“As little as a couple of minutes of meditation can improve our overall sense of calm and wellbeing during a flight. And what better time than in air to meditate.”
But Virgin isn’t the only airline focusing on the health and wellbeing of its passengers. Recently, rival carrier Qantas also unveiled a raft of measures designed to get passengers to their destinations feeling fresher.
Check out this video of Sir Richard talking about the new offering: