Australian not-for-profit Smiling Mind has partnered with Virgin Australia to see its wellbeing and mindfulness meditation resources integrated into the airline’s onboard offering.
Smiling Mind’s guided meditations will be provided to passengers via the inflight entertainment system, while Virgin Australia will also early next year launch a service allowing passengers to identify as having feelings of travel-related anxiety ahead of their flight.
The airline will in turn send them personalised messages in the lead up to their journey, and provide face-to-face interactions to assist them while on the flight.
Virgin Australia staff themselves will also have access to Smiling Mind’s workplace program.
The partnership was announced this week, Mental Health Awareness Week, on a dedicated ‘meditation flight’ from Sydney, with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson on board.
“Integrating mindfulness into our everyday lives is just as important as eating well and exercising regularly, and I am so excited to see Virgin Australia deeply embedding mindfulness into the workplace and onboard flights,” he said.
“Virgin Australia is very focussed on supporting the mental health of its passengers and team members, and there are very few of us who haven’t been directly or indirectly impacted by anxiety.”
Dr Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind, said the organisation is “delighted” to be working with Virgin to provide travellers access to its tools.
“The concept of flying can induce anxiety and panic in many travelers. Mindfulness is a tool that can reduce anxiety and stress, create a sense of calm, and teach us how to relax and regulate our emotions,” Dr Wootten said.
“As little as a couple of minutes of meditation can improve our overall sense of calm and wellbeing during a flight. And what better time than in air to meditate; we would love to see every passenger use air travel to give their mind time to thrive.”
Founded in 2012, Smiling Mind reported that its app has been downloaded more than 2.6 million times, while 200 workplaces have signed up to its workplace program, serving 20,000 employees.