Lonely Planet Writer

Qantas helps flyers take a stand against DVT

Many travelers have heard about the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other types of blood clots due to sitting still for long periods.

Qantas diverts yet another flight.
Qantas offers a new exercise video to thwart DVTt. Image by Aero Icarus / CC BY-SA 2.0

This so-called “economy-class syndrome” is quite rare, but still serious, say doctors. Flyers may develop blood clots, typically in their lower limbs, because blood is not flowing through their veins properly due to lack of motion. In the worst case, a blood clot may block an artery – a situation that could prove deadly, if left untreated

For years, in-flight magazines have provided details on the leg-based exercises that passengers can do to reduce the risks of DVT.

But this month Qantas began rolling out an exercise video on all its international flights in an effort to help travelers dodge DVT.

The video is short, lasting four minutes, and was designed by Professor Kim Bennell at the University of Melbourne Department of Physiotherapy. Watch here:

Here are some key tips for long-haul flights: While seated, you can stimulate blood flow by massaging your limbs, twiddling your toes, and swinging your legs. Even better, get up from your seat and stand or walk from time to time. Throughout the flight, stay hydrated. As always, ask your doctor about your personal health risks before you travel.

The Australian flag carrier says it is the first airline to have a video specifically address this issue. While that may be true, other airlines, such as Air France and Cathay Pacific, have long shown in-flight exercise videos of a general nature to encourage passenger comfort and health.