06 DEC 2016: The next time I get on a transatlantic flight I am going to let the flight attendants know if I am feeling good about my amino acids.  I’ll even ask them if they want to mark that on my chart. Apparently airlines want information about our physiological state. British Airways is researching a pill for their passengers to swallow that will electronically transmit information about their pulse and heart rate.

The pill is the size of an almond and has small microphones that react to acidity in the stomach to reveal if a person is awake, asleep, hungry, nervous, cold or uncomfortable.

I can often pick up signs that a person is awake without high tech intervention.  Eating, drinking, typing on a laptop, and laughter are often helpful signs.

I find that when I am chatting with people they are usually awake, though I have had conversations that have indicated otherwise.

The device is presently used in hospitals along with a wearable patch and smartphone app, mainly to let health care providers know if a patient is taking their medication.

BA has initiated a patent application for a ‘system and method for controlling the travel environment for a passenger’ published by the Intellectual Property Office.

The airline says they can enrich the whole travel experience if they can alleviate jetlag by controlling sleep, eating and exercise patterns.

Until now I was oblivious to how much the airlines really cared about my digestive fluids.  In my own defense, no one has ever asked, so I never thought of revealing if I had heartburn or excessive bloating. But of course, now I’ll share.

The pill is said to stay in your system for a few days, so I will present my bicarbonate levels upon arrival at UK border control.  Might ask the folks at the underground for a second opinion.

Realistically the people whose physiological state is of importance are the pair in the cockpit and the team in the cabin. Should they not be the recipients of this wonder pill?

Somebody should know if the captain is asleep or if the co-pilot is nervous and attend to them. I can assure British Airways that my travel experience is enhanced knowing that the flight crew is healthy, alert and comfortable.

My acid reflux, although annoying, is my problem, but I thank them for their interest.


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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini delivers her original spin on alternate Tuesdays in her column Without Reservations. (Formerly titled, Notes from A Broad)

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