Lonely Planet Writer

Could this in-flight menu developed by scientists and nutritionists beat jet lag?

A 16-hour flight can wreak havoc on your body, leaving you exhausted once you reach your destination. Qantas’ new Perth to London flight is certainly a long one, but the Australian airline is hoping to help travellers reduce the effects of jet lag before they land with a new in-flight menu.

Seared Cone Bay barramundi with herbed garlic potatoes, broccolini, lemon, olive and almond salad on the business menu. Image by Qantas

Qantas is introducing new meals created with the help of clinical sleep specialists, nutritionists and metabolic scientists, to help with hydration, sleep and reducing jet lag. That means travellers will be sampling items like healthy poke bowls and dishes with hydrating ingredients like cucumber and strawberries, as well as a herbal tea that has been designed specifically for the airline. While many travellers might look to a cocktail to help bring on sleep, the airline will offer healthier choices like probiotic-infused cold-pressed juice shots, organic kombucha, and a hot chocolate bedtime drink that will combine “warm milk and chocolate containing the sleep-inducing amino acid Tryptophan to help prompt the body’s sleep cycle.”

The business bar on Qantas. Image by Qantas

Qantas says the new menu was created with the help of research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to create dishes that encourage sleep at optimal times during the flight. The menu will be trialled on the super long Perth to London route, beginning on 24 March.

Salad of cumin spiced beef with zucchini, corn and a citrus dressing on the economy and premium economy menu. Image by Qantas

Professor Stephen Simpson of the Charles Perkins Centre says 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.” Together, the airline and the centre will continue their research on how to help travellers deal with the negative effects of air travel. The next stage of the research will involve trials with wearable technology and apps to collect data on sleeping and activity patterns, mental state, eating patterns and hydration before, during and after a long haul flight.

Poached eggs with kale, quinoa, grilled halloumi, pistachios, seeds and herbed tahini dressing are on the business breakfast menu. Image by Qantas

If you’re trying to stay healthy while travelling, there’s no one better to ask than the airline staff who fly on a regular basis. While there’s some obvious advice like staying hydrated and getting rest, get the full list of airline staff’s best tips for staying healthy on flights here.