Ultra-long haul is becoming more and more common, with new flight routes springing up every year. Some of the longest flight routes currently in existence are Perth to London and now (as of October 2018), New York to Singapore takes the gong for the longest non-stop flight running. This new route from Singapore Airlines takes a whopping 17 hours and 52 minutes – the world’s longest commercial flight.
With this increase in non-stop long haul travel airlines are having to adapt their offering in order to keep travellers comfortable. You might think they have opted for investment in high-tech gadgetry (and you wouldn’t be wrong) but in this latest round of in-flight innovations airlines seem to be taking a refreshingly natural approach to passenger comfort.
There is a growing focus on in-flight wellness. Qantas have a whole page on their website dedicated to providing advice on the topic, featuring tips on staying hydrated and in-flight exercises. However, some airlines are upping their game in this department more than others.
Aptly timed during mental health awareness week, Virgin Australia announced its first meditation flight from Sydney, in partnership with Smiling Mind (the mindfulness app). The app is now available as part of Virgin Australia’s in-flight entertainment system. The aim is to help curtail pre-flight anxiety and help travellers to arrive refreshed rather than distressed. It sounds good to us.
For this new route, Singapore Airlines has placed an increased focus on the modest (and often unappetizing) in-flight meal. Something we are sure airline passengers the world over will be thrilled to hear! The new in-flight menu for this ultra long-haul flight has been specifically formulated by nutritionists.
The new offering has come straight from the chefs at U.S. based wellness retreat Canyon Ranch. It deliberately shuns previous in-flight food staples, avoiding all added salt and sweeteners. The new concept menu focuses on combining delicious flavours and textures with clean and fresh ingredients. They have even paid attention to their food sources promising that all food served is free of both hormones and antibiotics.
This sort of partnership isn’t new, with British Airways proudly announcing a partnership with iconic British brand M&S Food back in 2016, for its short-haul passengers. It is refreshing to see this sort of collaboration that has been borne from airline passengers giving feedback and demanding better quality. This tasty collaboration promises seasonality as well as vegetarian, gluten free and healthy options.
In line with this new menu, which would make even the fussiest of foodies mouths water, Singapore Airlines are also moving away from the tradition that you will have your food when it is served or miss out. This perk is admittedly for business-class passengers only, but it does mark the start of a more service based, intuitive approach to in-flight service.
If you are one of the many people who struggle to sleep on planes – the seats, the lights, the strange noises coming from surrounding passengers – this will peak your interest. All cabin classes feature in-flight sleep strategies created through ambient lighting (that moves between yellow, orange and red) to help you relax and ultimately give you a head start on adjusting to your new time-zone.
If the in-flight entertainment gets a little dull and you need to stretch your legs you may not have to move as far as you think. There are a number of stretches featured within the in-flight entertainment system itself. This should help keep the blood flowing and stop the dreaded post-flight aches and pains.
It is great to see airlines sitting up and taking note of the importance of passenger wellness. Condé Nast Traveller have already dubbed this Singapore Airlines flight the world’s longest spa treatment and we are pretty impressed with their innovative approach. This certainly inspires hope that other airlines will soon be following suit!