Stationary exercise bikes and virtual reality relaxation and entertainment are among several features Qantas customers are suggesting for futuristic long-haul flights.
The new research, captured late last year in conjunction with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, is being conducted as Qantas prepares to conquer the final frontier of global commercial air travel, with world first non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to New York and London to start from 2022.
The airline has been conducting focus group research as well as surveying customers as they step off the direct London to Perth services to capture their experience, suggestions and feedback.
Health and wellness are the top trends coming through all research, with a strong focus on mindfulness and “separation of experience” at different stages of a long-haul flight.
CEO Qantas International Alison Webster said the new research is showing increased interest towards physical wellbeing, state of mind and personal time and space.
“Customer feedback from the Perth to London flight has exceeded expectations, especially in relation to the time saved by skipping the traditional stopover and going direct to their destination,” said Ms Webster.
“The engagement and enthusiasm we’re seeing from this research highlights how passionate our customers are to be a part of the evolution of ultra-long-haul travel.”
“Our job now is to determine where the most demand is and create this cabin in a way that makes it both affordable for customers and commercially viable for the airline. Everything is on the table and we are excited about what innovations may come from this research.”
The top five most frequent suggestions from customers for Project Sunrise:
The top five Qantas health and well-being initiatives already in place:
The next phase will involve using new research from Charles Perkins Centre and ongoing customer feedback to inspire Qantas Industrial Designer David Caon to create features for the interior cabin, as well as future lounge features further incorporating health and wellness initiatives.
David Caon said Project Sunrise is pushing not just the boundaries of distance, but also product innovation.
“Customers are sharing some incredibly imaginative ideas, which is an exciting challenge and helps us to think outside of the box to redefine the ultra-long-haul experience,” he said.
“Bringing some of these concepts to life will involve an entire rethink around how to be clever about use of all cabin space and what is practically possible but it may well involve incorporating design elements never before seen on commercial aircraft.”
The same research will also be used by Qantas Director of Food, Beverage and Service, Neil Perry, to create the future onboard dining experience.
Qantas is expected to make an announcement around Project Sunrise later in 2019, including which aircraft type it would operate, with both the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350 under consideration.
Qantas launched a partnership with Charles Perkins Centre 12 months ago to use scientific research to help shape the customer experience of these long-haul services. Many initiatives have been introduced on the current direct Perth – London flights, which currently has the highest customer service rating of any flight on the global Qantas network.