Qantas venture to focus on passenger wellbeing

Mother and son at airport waiting for departure.

Travellers flying with Qantas can expect to have their personal wellbeing a bit higher up the priority list, with the airline signing on to work with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

The collaboration hopes to help develop Qantas’ approach to long haul travel prior to the first of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights this year. Meanwhile, have you seen the cute new names for the Dreamliners?

The Charles Perkins Centre brings together researchers from a variety of fields, including physical activity, sleep, and nutrition, with some of the projects including strategies to counteract jetlag, get passengers moving inflight, pre and post-flight preparation, and improving cabin environments with lighting and temperature.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the partnership has the potential to transform the journey for passengers, particularly on the long haul routes that the Dreamliner is scheduled to operate.

“While the Dreamliner aircraft itself is already a step change for passengers with its larger windows, increased cabin humidity and lower cabin altitude, the findings that will come from Charles Perkins Centre researchers will allow Qantas to design and develop a range of new innovations and strategies to complement the Dreamliner experience,” he said.

“By taking a holistic view of our customers, our partnership will examine everything from reducing the impact of jetlag through to health, nutrition and sleep through the entire journey experience.

“We’re all looking at how we can prepare passengers ahead of their long haul flight, and of course on board and when they arrive at their destinations; we want our customers to feel their best at the end of their flight with us.”

“The centre’s  research has already influenced what meals and beverages we’ll be serving onboard and when, cabin lighting and temperature as well as the airport lounge experience.

“Neil Perry is working with the centre on new menus for the 787 flights so we are excited that one of Australia’s best culinary minds is teaming up with the best scientific minds to design the best possible menu to look after both health and hunger.”

Qantas and the Charles Perkins Centre are looking at opportunities to involve some Qantas frequent flyers in trials that involve wearable technology in the measurement of existing biorhythms during travel, enabling future products to be developed and designed with the insight of robust data.

Professor Steve Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, said the partnership is hugely exciting as it’s the first time there has been a collaboration between an airline and a university to look at the health and wellbeing of travellers, beyond, of course, medical emergency.

“There is the potential for extraordinary health, science and engineering discoveries and innovations to come out of this research partnership, which will also provide the evidence-base needed for Qantas to implement strategies to further improve how people feel after a long haul flight,” he said.

The University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence, said the collaboration between the Australian airline and university reflected the vision of both institutions.

“The Dreamliner is a transformative project for Qantas, as the Charles Perkins Centre was for the University of Sydney when we brought together multidisciplinary teams of scholars to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health problems.

“The real-world outcomes from this new partnership have the potential to significantly alter the future experience of long haul flying.”

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