Health and well-being in the skies

In the airline industry differentiating oneself from competition is a vital, but rare, survival technique. Airlines all over the world are constantly looking for the next opportunity to announce how amazing and innovative they are, hoping to influence the decision process of any traveller.

It seems they have done exactly that; however, it might not be with what you think.

More and more airlines are investing time and money into health and well-being onboard, leading up to a journey, and afterwards.

Inflight entertainment can now include in-seat yoga classes, images of lounges with swimming pools to freshen any traveller, and even dedicated puppy channels to boost the traveller’s mood (yes, that is not a typo; we actually said ‘puppy’).

While some of these ideas are new, many have been around for years, and only now are getting the exposure they deserve.

Qantas partnership with Sydney University

Qantas is about to launch its new Perth-London flight in Mar-2018, which will officially be the longest in the world. To combat the negative connotations associated with such a long voyage, the carrier has announced a collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to develop a new approach to long haul travel ahead of its first Boeing 787-9 services. What this actually means, we have no idea, but who knows – they may actually come up with something ground-breaking.

The centre brings together researchers across a variety of fields, from nutrition to physical activity, sleep and complex systems modelling. Research projects include strategies to counteract jetlag, onboard exercise and movement, menu design and service timing, pre- and post-flight preparation, transit lounge wellness concepts and cabin environment, including lighting and temperature.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce believes the partnership has the potential to transform the journey for passengers, particularly on the long haul routes that the 787-9 is scheduled to operate. We are still waiting for more detail around what this research will offer, however we expect it won’t be till at least Mar-2018, when the Perth-London service is launched, for us to see anything.

British Airways’ ‘Flying with Confidence’ programme

British Airways offers customers instructor-led courses before they travel to assist anxious flyers in getting over their fears. According to British Airways, they have helped over 50,000 people in the last 30 years, and have a 98% success rate.

The Flying with Confidence courses are held in different venues around the world and are run by British Airways pilots and cabin crew, supported by a clinical psychologist. The course promises to debunk the myths and mysteries of flying to ensure that customers feel well prepared for their flight.

Most courses also include a short flight at the end of the day to make sure that all the hints, tips and coping mechanisms learned during the day are being put into practice.

There is a variety of courses available including:

  • One day Flying with Confidence course
  • Private course (one to one, or company courses)
  • Premium course (maximum of four people)
  • Children’s course

Emirates’ Medical Information Form

Emirates has an online support system for guests who are unsure whether they can travel, or perhaps require assistance to travel. By their guests completing the Medical Information Form (MEDIF), Emirates will assess whether it’s safe for them to travel, or whether the airline can offer any assistance with the journey.

Part 1 of the MEDIF is filled in by the passenger, and part 2 is forwarded to the passenger’s doctor for review and confirmation.

The final submission is then submitted to Emirates for checking and final clearance. (The passenger needs to make sure that the final submission of part 1 and part 2 to the airline is completed at least 48 hours before the flight so that there is enough time to process the request.)