Catering long-haul

How to…cater super long-haul

June 20, 2018

Qantas is taking onboard wellness to a new level, working with research academics to
develop programmes to support its longest flight ever. Laura Gelder discovers more

Decide your goal
Qantas aims to take a holistic approach to inflight health and wellbeing with the goal of reducing jetlag on its new 787 Dreamliner Perth-London flights – one of the longest ever commercial routes.

Consult the experts
Creative director of food, beverage and service, Neil Perry, has created a range of menus using research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre. The new dishes are designed to encourage sleep at optimal times during the flight and are just the first part of a programme of wellness measures being trialled. The researchers involved come from a range of disciplines: clinical sleep specialists, nutritionists and metabolic scientists and their research will be fed into cabin lighting, temperatures, onboard exercise ideas and Qantas lounge offerings – all with passenger wellbeing in mind.

Remember taste is king
“We’ve used ingredients that have added benefits of hydration, aiding sleep and reducing jetlag,” said Perry. Highlights include: probiotic Bc30-infused Botanica cold-pressed juice shots; a bespoke herbal tea by Dilmah with lemon verbena, chamomile and lemongrass; and recipes using hydrating ingredients such as green leafy vegetables, cucumber and celery.

Get the timing right
The Qantas team has tailored specific ingredients (such as chilli) to particular times of the day – maintaining choice but giving options which relax passenger and ensure they are sleepy when the lights go out, and helping to rejuvenate them ready for arrival. For example, a hot chocolate bedtime drink is offered full of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan to help prompt the body’s sleep cycle.

Test it with tech
Academic director of the Charles Perkins Centre, Professor Stephen Simpson, is running clinical trials on Qantas frequent flyers, giving them wearable technology and apps which document their sleep patterns, mood and physical state, and their food and beverage consumption. “The 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,” said Simpson.

FACT FILE
• The new menus will debut on the Qantas 787 Dreamliner services from Perth to London on 24 March.
• The beverage selection includes organic kombucha by Remedy: a live cultured, sparkling drink full of natural probiotics that assist with digestion.
• Qantas’ future Project Sunrise challenge for Airbus and Boeing to develop an aircraft capable of flying east coast Australia to London/New York means even more research is required.