A Qantas passenger flew all the way from Perth to London without using the toilet.
A Qantas passenger flew all the way from Perth to London without using the toilet.

Man flies for 17 hours without using toilet

EARLY findings in a groundbreaking study into jet lag on Qantas' Perth-London service has produced new insights and discovered a passenger who didn't move at all during the 17-hour marathon.

Readings from wearable devices showed the male business-class passenger stayed in his seat, which becomes a comfy bed, during the flight, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Astonished researchers double checked the equipment, which was on the volunteers' wrists and thighs, to make sure it wasn't faulty, but the academic leading the study said it was functioning properly.

"The one thing we couldn't believe was how little [he] moved. One subject took zero steps,'' said Professor Stephen Simpson from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

No toilet break for 17 hours? That’s a flight record no one wants to beat. Picture: Qantas
No toilet break for 17 hours? That’s a flight record no one wants to beat. Picture: Qantas

The study is in its pilot stage but will be expanded to include up to 1000 volunteers on a variety of flights.

Qantas, its creative director of food beverage and service Neil Perry, and the centre have already worked together on cabin lighting and temperature, meal timing and recipe development for the 787-9 Dreamliner, which started flying the Perth-London service in March.

It is the first time Australia and Britain has been linked by non-stop regular services.

Simpson said the initial survey of 20 passengers also revealed that on an eight-point scale of jet lag for severity, subjects rated the journey 2.2 in a plane which has jet lag-busting features including being pressurised to a lower altitude and a higher cabin humidity.

Besides measurements of physical activity, sleep and posture changes throughout the flight, passengers also recorded on iPads how they were feeling before, during and afterwards.

The business class seats must be that comfortable. Picture: Qantas
The business class seats must be that comfortable. Picture: Qantas

He said those who were kept to a normal routine, with good sleep, exercise and healthy eating and exercise did better when they got to their destination.

However, those who "fought'' against jet lag during the flight by frequently getting up and moving around were likely to feel worse.

The research needed ethical approval and would be expanded within the next year to 18 months.

Qantas' head of food and beverage Helen Gray said the meal service was spread out keep passengers awake further into the flight and help them adapt to the time zone of their destination by resting at the ideal time.

"What's most exciting is that customers are telling us that they are experiencing real benefits. We have seen a double digit increase in our customer satisfaction scores.''

This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission.


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