The longest commercial flight has been completed by Australian airline, Qantas. 49 people boarded a Boeing 787-9 and endured a 19 hour and 16-minute flight from New York to Sydney without stopping. During the flight, passengers, crew and pilots were closely monitored to understand the affects of travelling across several time zones.
This is the first of its kind for commercial flights, with the longest flight record currently held by Singapore Airlines for its 19-hour Singapore to New York service. Later this year, Qantas will be testing a London to Sydney route. If given the green light, the ultra-long-haul flights will start operating in 2022.
During the New York to Sydney test, passengers were asked to set their watches to Sydney time before boarding, according to the BBC. They were then encouraged not to sleep until night fell in Australia. During the flight passengers participated in exercise classes and were served high-carbohydrate meals.
Pilots were also monitored continuously throughout the flight. Tests included; monitoring brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness.
Currently, the longest Qantas flight is a non-stop service from Perth to London which takes 17-hours.
Long-haul travellers will no doubt be welcoming the introduction of ultra-long-haul flights. Not only are they less hassle than having to stop over, there are also reports that flying non-stop is better for the environment. Despite having to carry a larger amount of fuel, the plane is only required to take off and land once – the point in the journey when the most carbon is released into the atmosphere.
Environmental protesters however, are against the movement.