Airline Plans Longest Direct Flights Ever

Qantas will put people on a plane for 19 hours
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2019 2:55 PM CDT
Airline Tests the Longest Non-Stop Flight Ever
A Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.   (YouTube)

Think you've been on long flights? Qantas plans to test the first-ever 19-hour commercial flights from New York to Sydney and London to Sydney and monitor how the human body endures, the Guardian reports. Crew and 40 test passengers will be given wearable technology to measure sleep, food-and-drink intake, and reactions to inflight entertainment and lighting on new Boeing 787-9 planes. It tops the world's longest flight—New York to Singapore in 18 hours, 25 minutes—and another Qantas slog, London to Perth in 17 hours. But the latter comes with a special menu to aid hydration and a yoga studio in Perth to unwind, per the Wall Street Journal.

"If you can survive 16 hours, you can probably survive 19, 20 hours," says a passenger who's flown London to Perth. "I'd probably want to challenge myself. I'd definitely do it once." But long air travel can be hard on the body, sometimes inducing deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots. So Monash University scientists will monitor the flight crew's changing melatonin levels and measure brain-wave data on electroencephalogram devices fitted on pilots, per CNN. If successful, the flights could trigger a new battle between Boeing and Airbus over long-range planes. There's also the question of passenger interest. "This is ultimately a business decision, and the economics have to stack up," says a Qantas executive. The flights could be running by as early as 2022. (More air travel stories.)

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