By Alison Fox
November 15, 2019
Passengers stretching on a flight from London to Sydney
Passengers stretching on a Qantas' flight from London to Sydney.
| Credit: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Following the success of Qantas' non-stop London to Sydney flight, the airline wants to implement “move and stretch” zones to help passengers handle the 19-plus-hour flights.

Ultra-long flights are increasingly becoming the norm as airlines test the limits of what’s possible and the comfort level of passengers. And while the convenience of a nonstop flight is undeniable — no matter how long it is — it’s important to stretch and move around to prevent a myriad of issues from sitting in one spot too long.

As part of the test, the airline is examining the effects this kind of long-haul travel has on people, and stretching and meditation is part of that.

“We know that [travelers] want room to move on these direct services, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. “So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”

The London to Sydney flight had about 50 passengers and crew on board and flew across 11 countries, including Germany, Russia, China and Indonesia before it crossed the Australian coast near Darwin. The super long flight was met with a celebration upon landing in Australia as 2020 marks 100 years of the airline's operations.

Earlier this year, Qantas also tested a 19-hour and 16-minute flight from New York to Sydney during which staff tracked the passengers’ health while on board. During that flight, passengers got up for group exercise at assigned intervals.

While the idea of sitting in one spot and binging on movies is relaxing, it’s ultimately very important to get up and move while flying — and that is especially true for ultra-long-haul flights. Sitting too long can cause your feet to swell or could cause a potentially dangerous blood clot.

One of the best ways to avoid blood clots is to move around a lot, get up from your seat often, and invest in a good pair of compression socks.