Passengers are preparing to board the world’s longest flight — a marathon 19 hour service connecting Singapore and New York.
Two pilots, a special “wellness” menu and more than a thousand hours of inflight entertainment will accompany travellers on the first 10,400-mile flight to the Big Apple today (Thursday, October 11).
Singapore Airlines will use the long-range Airbus A350-900ULR, configured to carry 161 passengers — 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy, with no economy seats.
For the flight crew — which includes two first officers and a 13-strong cabin contingent — the work load will be split into shifts, with each pilot having a minimum eight hours of rest during the flight.
For passengers, however, the big challenge will be about how to pass the time — but more than 1,200 hours of audio-visual entertainment should help.
According to the airline, the menu options have been chosen to “promote well-being in the skies”, with a healthy selection of organic options on offer.
The cabin features a higher-than-normal ceiling, larger windows and lighting that is designed to reduce jet lag on the world’s longest flight.
The flight from the Southeast Asian city-state to Newark Airport can be completed in 18 hours and 45 minutes with ideal weather conditions, but the pilots will have fuel in reserve should the journey approach the aircraft’s maximum 20-hour flying time.
Singapore Airlines has previously flown the route using the uneconomical, four-engine A340-500. This was abandoned in 2013 due to high oil prices.
Today’s flight will top the current longest direct link between cities — Auckland to Doha with Qatar Airways, which takes 17 hours 40 minutes.
Also near the top of the world’s mega-flights, is the Philippine Airlines Manila to London service, which takes more than 15 hours.
Singapore Airlines is the first carrier in the world to operate the A350-900ULR. It received its first aircraft last month. Six more are due for delivery by the end of the year.
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