Singapore has the privilege of being the only city in the world that will inaugurate the world’s longest non-stop flight. Taking off on Thursday October 11th, the flight departs from Changi International Airport and lands nineteen hours later in New York City.
The flight had 150 passengers and 17 crew and took off at 11.35 pm. Due to the duration of the flight, there are two pilots on board, a menu specially designed to promote the health of those on board, and there are over seven weeks’ worth of entertainment onboard.
Interestingly, there are no economy seats available on this flight. The Airbus A350 only contains 61 seats for business class passengers and 94 seats in premium economy.
What about the people flying you to New York City? Due to the workload of this flight and the amount of hours spent in the air, each pilot will need to rest for at least eight hours during the journey.
If that doesn’t reassure (or scare) you, just think about what you could do for nineteen hours and nowhere to go. It’s not all bad, though. The menu has been designed to cater for people’s health whilst they are in the air. The plane itself has higher ceilings, larger windows and special lighting which has been designed to counter the effects of jet lag.
If you decide to travel on this flight, you’ll be in good company as there are plenty of other companies which take long-distance travel to the limit. The current record-holder for world’s longest flight before Singapore Airlines stepped in was Auckland-Doha with Qatar Airlines. This flight tops out at around seventeen hours. In fact, all of the world’s longest flights involve travel to or from Australia or New Zealand. Prior to this, Singapore Airlines was in the top ten twice with their non-stop service from Singapore to San Francisco and Singapore to Los Angeles.
According to Singapore Airlines, their ulta long-haul routes are part of their strategy to capitalise on premium air travel. By strengthening those services, they have simultaneously compounded their low-fare travel to subsidiary airlines and have opened the way for ultra long-haul, premium services. Singapore Airlines is hoping to expand more into the US market and with plenty more aircraft on the way, we are likely to see more of these double digit duration routes.
So, if you decide to take this flight, what route will you be on and what exactly will be underneath you? The flight follows the North Pacific route, which heads over Alaska, northern Canada and down into New York. During the summer however, the flight can take one of four possible polar routes. On the return leg, the plane will cross the Atlantic, largely due to the strong headwinds that would occur crossing the Pacific. This would mean an increase in flight duration and fuel consumption, making the crossing untenable. So, during the many hours that passengers will face on board, they will cross over most of the world.
Making the world that little bit smaller and more accessible, Singapore Airlines is paving the way for air travel that will change the way we visit new countries.
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