The world’s longest commercial flight is 15,343km from Newark to Singapore and takes anywhere from 15 to 19 hours depending on winds. Nineteen hours is a long time to spend anywhere consecutively other than a womb or a grave, both of which provide more legroom than economy, but Qantas wants to know if we can possibly tolerate any longer.
Qantas is going to test direct flights from Sydney to both New York and London, which will take about 20 hours, according to Bloomberg. The tests will occur with 40 people, most of whom work for the company, because who in their right minds would pay for that kind of punishment?
Sydney to JFK in New York is a distance of 9,950 miles, or 669km longer than the Newark-Singapore flight. But should these flights actually be put into revenue service, Sydney-London would take the crown for the longest commercial flight at a whopping 17,016km.
Currently, getting between Australia and the east coast requires a stopover in Los Angeles or San Francisco. While it would, in theory, be nice to avoid the stopover because one flight instead of two reduces the risk of delays and is better for the environment by avoiding another takeoff which is the most polluting part of the flight, I’m not sure my legs or arse could physically tolerate 20 straight hours of my knees being jammed against the seat in front of me. Sure, I’d do a 20-hour flight with pleasure in business or first class, but economy is a whole other story.
Qantas is just experimenting for now, but I fully expect them to follow through on this because no airline passes up an opportunity to make flying worse.