A couple of days ago, world-famous fitness guru, Jen Selter was kicked off an American Airlines plane for trying to stand up and stretch in the aisle. The model who has over 11 million followers on Instagram was apparently escorted off the plane by police following a ground delay on the Miami to New York service, Saturday night.
In a series of Tweets and videos sent from Selter’s Twitter account, the fitness lover could be seen getting into a heated argument with flight attendants and even the Captain over her right to stretch. After all, she claimed other passengers had been allowed to get up and go to the toilet.
Unfortunately for Selter, she lost the argument, as a police officer could be heard in one video explaining: “American Airlines calls the shots. They don’t want you to fly on their plane today.” It’s even claimed another passenger offloaded herself in solidarity with Selter.
As this story goes to show, passengers performing elaborate stretches and even ambitious yoga poses in the confined environment of a passenger aircraft, is not an activity welcomed by many flight attendants. For some, it’s an amusing annoyance, for others it’s a down-right no, no.
But it doesn’t look like in-flight yoga is going anywhere soon – no matter how much some flight attendants detest it. While it’s an activity that both cabin crew and fellow passengers have been enduring more and more over the last few years, there are plenty of aeroplane yoga proponents.
— Jen Selter (@JenSelter) January 28, 2018
Back in 2013, the Huffington Post extolled the virtues of in-flight yoga, explaining it could “reverse some of the damaging effects of extended periods of sitting,” including the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
There’s even a book written on the subject, Airplane Yoga, which dates all the way back to 2003. No wonder the more extreme yoga poses we’ve seen performed in aircraft galley’s around the world, are seemingly becoming more popular of late.
The rise of social media such as Instagram obviously hasn’t helped matters either – often attracting the #passengershaming hashtag.
But while U.S.-based airlines grapple with the decision to either welcome or forbid aeroplane yoga, Cathay Pacific has decided to embrace the trend. Teaming up with Pure Yoga, the airline has developed a series of videos that passengers can follow along to on their seatback televisions.
Admittedly, the six easy-to-follow videos are primarily designed for in-seat stretches and yoga poses. Although for more adventurous yogi’s there are some routines that the airline says “can be done after the flight” (ie. not in the galley during the dinner service).
“We all know that sitting still for a long period of time can be uncomfortable. The need to get up, move and get your blood pumping is important during a flight. Yoga is an innovative way to do this,” explains Simon Cuthbert who works in Cathay’s in-flight entertainment department.
Next time Jen Selter is planning a flight she would be well advised to book her ticket with Cathay Pacific.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.