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The World’s Longest Flight Is Here, and It Won’t Be the Comfiest

The World’s Longest Flight Is Here, and It Won’t Be the Comfiest
Jennifer Billock

The world’s longest flight is on the horizon, clocking in at twenty hours of flight time—but it’s not going to be as comfortable as everyone was hoping, and that’s if it happens at all. A considerable amount of roadblocks stand in the way of making the non-stop flight from Sydney to London a reality.

Clocking in at 20 hours of non-stop flight time, the proposed Qantas flight from Sydney to London will be the world’s longest. At first, people following the fruition of this flight had hopes for things like beds, a nursery, and a gym—but it appears those dreams are no more. Just like almost every other long-haul flight, all passengers will have is a small space to stretch and get some water.

That’s if it even happens at all, though. So far, the planes proposed for the flight can’t carry the weight necessary to make the trip, and pilots as of yet have not agreed to work the long hours needed for the flight.

“There are a significant number of hurdles to overcome but we think we can make this work,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said, reported by Bloomberg. “There’s still not full payload on each aircraft, but there’s enough we think to make it commercially viable if the other parts of the business case get there.”

The airline is expecting to order planes by the end of the year if everything works out—but, Joyce noted, he’s willing to kill the entire project if he has to.


[Featured Image: Flickr/ERIC SALARD]

View Comments (7)


  1. PHL

    June 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    A 20+ hour flight…I can imagine the pilot and FA unions petitioning for 3 sets of workers. 20+ hours flight time can equate to a few more hours on top with IRROPS and other ground related delays.

  2. OZFLYER86

    June 5, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    so no freight can be carried, so why not beds in what would otherwise be freight area ? It could all be built with incredibly light weight materials.

  3. MisterBill

    June 5, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    How does Singapore handle their 18 hour flight from EWR? How many sets of crew? Do they get decent seating when they’re not on duty?

  4. mvoight

    June 6, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Why is that not a QANTAS plane in the picture?

  5. Bill Chaffee

    July 20, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    What percentage of the planes weight is fuel on takeoff? A heavy fuel load early in the flight degrades fuel economy. As fuel is burned off fuel economy gradually improves. The plane has to fly at a lower altitude early in the flight until fuel use lightens the plane enough to climb higher.

  6. MimiB22

    August 2, 2019 at 5:25 am

    As a potential passenger…. no thanks. I flew from New England to New Zealand once… 2 legs was awful enough. Extreme muscle cramping and other physical discomforts, bathroom stench, inability to sleep thanks to talkers, snorers, “excuse me, gonna climb over you, I need to get out again “, crying miserable children, a seatmate’s head lolling on my shoulder trying to snuggle me in his sleep, …. It took days to recover, aside from jet lag. There are good reasons to break up a long journey.

  7. crunchie

    August 2, 2019 at 10:10 am

    SQ did it right with business class only for the SIN-EWR 18+ hours flight. They had it in the past with the A340 and now the much improved A350. If you’ve ever been on SQ long haul business class, you’ll see why that’s not just tolerable but actually very pleasant if not enjoyable. Having flown SQ TPAC a couple of times in business, I can honestly say I actually looked forward to those ~10hrs and will feel the same if I had to do the SIN-EWR route.

    Comfort aside, doing 20+ hours in coach (sounds like what QF is trying) even with 33″ pitch (QF current A380 economy pitch is 31″) might expose health problems with people who didn’t know they had such problems. Not a smart move. Might be tolerable if only premium economy and higher. Also reduces density so likely lower takeoff weight.

    Misbehaving children and adults acting like children can’t be avoided completely. At least not with actual children. Introducing brigs in the cargo hold might help with adults acting like children though.

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