The World’s New Longest Flight Takes Almost 20 Hours!

Photo by tina on Unsplash

Qantas Airways, an Australian airline that has in its repertoire some of the longest available flights on Earth, broke new ground in October with a flight from New York to Sydney that lasted nearly 20 hours.

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Qantas flight QF7879 departed New York JFK Airport some 19 hours ago, and has just now touched down at Sydney Airport (SYD). It was operated bt VH-ZNI as a delivery flight, after it first flew from Paine Field (PAE) to JFK via LAX. QF7879 plays a crucial part in a project run by the Australian airline Qantas: Project Sunrise, which aims to connect Eastern Australia to Europe and the North American east coast. The test flight aims to examine and research the effects of jet-lag and fatigue on ultra long-haul flights, such as the flights planned to take place during Project Sunrise, on the human mind and body. The first test flight (which has just touched down) has broken the record of the world’s longest nonstop flight with passengers, a record that is currently held by Singapore Airlines’ SQ21/22 services between Newark (EWR) and Singapore (SIN), which take around 18.5 hours. Qantas themselves have operated a longer flight with their ‘Longreach’ 747-400, VH-OJA, when it was delivered, some 30 years ago in 1989, between London (LHR) and Sydney (SYD). In order to observe the effects of fatigue and jet-lag, the pilots of flight QF7879 will take urine samples, and wear brain monitoring equipment, in order to examine the effects of pilot fatigue during ultra long haul flights. The specific B787 has been set up to act as a “laboratory” for researchers and airline officials to see if the human body can handle such long flights. 6 voluntary passengers are flying on the aircraft, on whom Qantas will be testing lighting environments, temperatures, and various exercises in order to help the passengers combat jet-lag. A total of 50 people will be on the flight, due to the inability of a 787-9 Dreamliner to do such a long flight with a full payload. Qantas believes that, if the Project Sunrise test flights are a success, they will start to operate some of the ultra long-haul flights as soon as 2022 or 2023. Some of the key Project Sunrise destinations from Eastern Australia are London, New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro. Notably, Qantas have already scheduled flights between Brisbane (BNE) and Chicago (ORD). . 📸 Photo by AeroNewsX/Karam Sodhi

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Qantas flight 7879 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 9:27 pm on Friday, October 18th and landed at Sydney International Airport a whopping 19 hours and 17 minutes later at 7:42 am on Sunday, October 20th.

That’s right, passengers on this flight technically spent their entire Saturday in the air!

The extreme duration of this flight set the previously-established record of 18 hours and 30 minutes, which is the scheduled time of Singapore Airlines’ scheduled flight from Newark Liberty Airport to Singapore.

Qantas ran this flight as a test using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and still hasn’t decided if it will regularly offer this marathon flight as part of its schedule. However, the successful completion of this ultra-long-haul flight offers up new possibilities for flights from America’s East Coast to Oceania.

What’s even more amazing is that Qantas has plans to test a flight from London to Sydney in the coming months, which is about 500 miles longer and would take up to an hour more!

Could you survive on a flight as long as this?