Qantas wants its smartphone app to help you beat jetlag

Qantas' Project Sunrise research flights could see jetlag-busting features added to the airline's app.

By David Flynn, January 21 2020
Qantas wants its smartphone app to help you beat jetlag

Qantas' smartphone app could soon become smart enough to help travellers overcome jetlag, based on findings from the airline's Project Sunrise research flights.

It's potentially the next stage in the evolution of iPhone and Android airline apps, from being basic tools for booking and managing a flight to becoming more integrated into a passenger's overall travel experience.

According to Qantas' own studies, "only one in 400 people are using an app to try and help you get your circadian rhythms right," says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. "So what we're looking at is whether we can integrate this into the Qantas app."

Adjusting your sleep schedule is part of taming jetlag.
Adjusting your sleep schedule is part of taming jetlag.

"If you think about what you can program into the Qantas app... you know when people are departing, you know what the regime is up to there, what type of flying they're doing," Joyce told Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the official opening of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge.

Based on the passenger's flights, the app would provide advice on what to eat (and what to avoid) at various stages of the journey, as well as when to sleep and the best time to be exposed to and avoid light, so as to quickly adjust to their destination's time zone.

Joyce said the app would map out a recommended schedule "in the buildup to the flight, on the flight and post-flight."

"It's a lot easier than downloading an app from the app store, and gives people an added advantage that they don't get today with other airlines."

United Airlines recently partnered with the popular Timeshifter app.
United Airlines recently partnered with the popular Timeshifter app.

While Qantas could be the first airline to roll a jetlag manager into its app, United Airlines has already forged a partnership with the Timeshifter app which lets all members of its MileagePlus rewards program receive access to a free Timeshifter jetlag plan for a single flight, while top-tier Premier 1K members receive a complimentary Timeshifter subscription with unlimited plans.

This upgrade to the Qantas app would be one spin-off from the Project Sunrise 'research flights' held across October-December 2019, which saw a Boeing 787-9 trek non-stop from New York and London to Sydney.

Review: Here's what it was like on Qantas' non-stop New York-Sydney flight

Having already settled on a long-legged Airbus A350 for the globe-striding Project Sunrise fleet, Qantas is aiming to obtain regulatory approval by Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority and complete negotiations with its pilots – which the airline has described as "closing the last remaining gap in the Project Sunrise business case" – ahead of what Joyce calls "a final go/no go decision" to be made in March 2020.

If it's a green light, the marathon flights would begin in 2023. 

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, the Project Sunrise fleet will carry around 300 passengers in all-new first class suites and business class seats, along with premium economy and economy, the latter of which will also have extra leg-room compared to today's economy seats.

London, Paris and Frankfurt have been singled out as the European destinations for Project Sunrise, alongside New York and Rio de Janeiro in the Americas.

However, Qantas will keep its non-stop Boeing 787-9 service between Perth and London even if Project Sunrise adds Sydney-London and Melbourne-London flights.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 163

Virgin Atlantic had this in an app years ago - it was based around starting to adjust your sleep pattern gradually - moving it an hour earlier or later each day from around 3-5 days before the flight. Also said when to exercise and when to rest. Didn't go as far as food though.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

Beating Jetlag...let me see. How about Qantas allow me to keep my window open on a DAY FLIGHT, say to an Asian destination with an almost comparable timezone. As it stands i sit there in darkness trying to not to fall asleep when i should be baking in the natural night to keep me awake and the circadian rhythm in sync.

A quick note, it s completely possible to watch a seat-back video without having the shades down, we all managed to do it for the last 20 years - and still do on short-haul flights, without difficulty. For those who do wish to sleep, take a mask - the other 300 of us don't need to sit in darkness to accomodate their lack of preparation.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jan 2019

Total posts 1

Would be great if they could fix the app before enhancing... for example my departure city will usually be Melbourne, however when accessing the bookings, it always defaults to Sydney... a simple user friendly fix would be to allow the user to select their "home town" so that it defaults to that...

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 43

Agree fully with estanjo. And this applies equally to every airline in the world. I like to look out the window to see where I am flying. I am not interested in mindless movies. I select a window seat for this very reason, to look out it. If you want darkness, put on a shade. Airlines could hand them out like they do headphones.

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 55

maybe basic stuff like searching award availability etc. would be a more worthwhile improvement first...

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