SURVIVE LONG NONSTOP FLIGHTS
ARAM GESAR EXPLAINS HIS TRICKS TO MAKING THE BEST OF A LONG FLIGHT
The traveler who sets off from New York or London with the intent of flying around the world can do so in three hops. In the late 1980s, upgraded engines allowed Jumbo jets to reach Tokyo non-stop. From the Japanese capital, transPacific flights opened up to Vancouver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. From any of these, you could make a final leap back to London or New York.
Since Feb 5, 2017, the longest non-stop scheduled airline flight by great circle distance is Qatar Airways Flight 921/920 between Auckland, New Zealand and Doha, Qatar at 14,535 kilometers (7,848 nmi; 9,032 mi). The flights use a very long-range Boeing 777-200LR. QR 921 from Auckland to Doha is also the longest flight in duration, taking 18 hours and 20 minutes.
Qantas began the first UK-Australia scheduled non-stop Boeing 787 service on Mar. 25, 2018, with a special jetlag reducing menu. The flight will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.
Later this year these new very long flights will be introduced:
On September 1, 2018, Qantas will launch nonstop flights between Melbourne and San Francisco using Boeing 7879 aircraft. The flight will cover 12,641 kilometres (6,826 nmi; 7,855 mi) and last
Troughly 15 hours. On September 15, 2018, Cathay Pacific will begin nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Washington—Dulles using Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. The flight will cover 13,122 kilometres (7,085 nmi; 8,154 mi) and last about 16 hours.
On October 28 2018 Philippine Airlines will launch nonstop flights between
Manila and New York using Boeing 777300ER aircraft (could change to an Airbus A350-900). The flight will cover 13,712 kilometres (7,404 nmi; 8,520 mi) and last 15 hours and 30 minutes.
On November 30, 2018, Air New
Zealand will begin nonstop flights between Chicago—O’Hare and Auckland using Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The flight will cover 13,171 kilometers (7,112 nmi; 8,184 mi) and last about 16 hours.
MY SURVIVAL GUIDE TO VERY LONG FLIGHTS
Hearing a recent discussion with fellow frequent flyers concerning the world’s longest flights made me remember my first true long-haul flight to Hong Kong from New York. About six hours into the 15-hour flight, I was feeling strong and confident. I clearly remember thinking, “Six hours down, nine to go. No sweat.”
But get there I did. Unfortunately, that meant I had to get back as well, a flight on which I made a serious tactical error, which led to misery for me and entertainment for my friends on the flight—about which I will tell more in due course.
However, not all long-haul flights have to be miserable; on one direct flight from New York to Honolulu or Zurich to Miami took once 11+ hours! I was nearing the end of a book I was enjoying immensely, and remember distinctly thinking, “No, no, just a little more time!” when the pilot told us over the in-flight PA that we had started our final descent. Here are 10 tips for preventing boredom, dehydration, deepvein thrombosis, sleep deprivation and more so you can confidently say “I got this” the next time you are imprisoned in a metal tube for an entire waking day of your life.
USE AIRLINE SEAT MAPS OR SEATGURU
On the flight back from Hong Kong mentioned above, I called ahead to get my seat reassigned to an exit row—big mistake. Unbeknownst to me, the exit row seat I chose was a window seat at one of the big, thick exit doors, which encroached on my leg area such that I had to sit sideways in the seat for the entire flight. It was also more like an “exit aisle,” located right at a restroom, so there was endless