QANTAS’s flights of fantasy

Australia’s national airline, QANTAS, seems to have entered the new age of woo, offering highly dubious (shall we say, useless) trinkets for sale in its in-flight duty free magazine catalogue, In Sky Shopping.

On two pages in the magazine it was touting the benefits of “negative ion” necklaces, bracelets and bangles.

Supplemented by a short pitch on “A modern approach to health and negative ions”, the items were for sale from A$70 for an “Oregon i.Balance negative ion necklace in black” to A$180 for an “Artesian germanium and titanium negative ion magnetic necklace”.

The four items offered, for sale as “travel retail exclusives”, are all designed to improve the body’s “natural balance”, as well as improve metabolism, expel toxins, lift alkaline levels, reduce stress, improve sleep, enhance the immune system, soothe muscle fatigue, and “encourage blood circulation” (a worthy function to say the least).

The accompanying blurb suggests that “It is believed by many that there are two ions in nature”. Presumably they mean negative and positive ions, which are definitely believed by many to occur in nature. Further, these two ions are “within our bodies [and] provide two balancing forces of life and contribute to our wellbeing. Negative ions are seen as alkaline and positive ions as acidic. It is thought that stressful city living causes acidic toxins to accumulate in the body.”

The blurb includes helpful illustrations, in some sort of thermographic style, showing bad “slow blood circulation, lower body temperature” and good “improved blood circulation, increased body temperature”. Exactly why only parts of the stomach, forearms and calves are affected is not explained.

More seriously, the Skeptic who noticed the advertisements “rang QANTAS and eventually spoke to someone who took down my comments”, though they were not convinced the comment would go much further than that.

We asked QANTAS to clarify its position on this promotion, but to date we have not received a response.