On Thursday 11 October, Singapore Airlines Flight SQ22 heading to New York will claim the title of the longest ever nonstop flight. The record-breaking flight will transport 161 passengers from Changi Airport to Newark International Airport in a scheduled 18 hours and 25 minutes.
The longest direct flight before was Qatar Airways Flight QR921 – a marathon 17.5-hour journey between Auckland, New Zealand and Doha, Qatar.
The flight, covering 9,537 miles, has no economy class seats – only business-class and premium economy. It sounds generous to offer only luxury to passengers, until you realise the economy seats were purchased for a hefty $2,155.
Are 18-hour Nonstop Flights the Future?
The Airbus A350-900ULR is the first of seven aircraft scheduled to complete nonstop journeys in a record time. On November 2, two will travel to and from New Jersey, while the other five will be be used for a Singapore to Los Angeles service.
This is only the beginning of ultra-long-haul flights. Boeing and Airbus have been busy creating planes capable of flying for extensive periods of time. Earlier this year, Qantas launched a 17-hour nonstop service from Perth to London and has promised by 2022, they will offer 20-hour direct flights from London to Sydney.
It’s an exciting time for aviation – records seem to be broken at an almost constant rate. The new age of ultra-long-haul is here to stay, which is great if you don’t get travel sickness and enjoy a movie marathon.
If the future really is extra-extra-long-haul, then it’s best to start preparing. We’ve put together some top tips to help you survive extensive journeys.
How to Survive an Ultra-long-haul Flight
- Save up and treat yourself to premium economy or business class. If not, try to pick a seat with some extra legroom (usually near emergency exits or the front of cabin sections)
- Bring a wide variety of snacks – and LOADS of them. There’s nothing worse than being hungry for 18 hours
- Comfy clothes, always. Don’t turn up for a nearly day-long journey in a suit or heels!
- That brings us onto comfy socks – they’re a must! Everyone likes to take their shoes off on a long journey, but don’t be “that” passenger stinking out the whole cabin
- Bring as many activities as you can fit in your hand luggage – books, magazines, headphones, a tablet or mobile phone and games. Don’t sit there twiddling your thumbs, because even with all the latest Hollywood blockbusters on tap, an 18-hour journey can end up feeling like a 48-hour one
- Sleep if you can – those little neck pillows kind of work, so if you haven’t got one, grab one at the airport pre-flight