World’s Longest Commercial Flight Lasted Almost 20 Hours

Photos by James D Morgan/Qantas.

Flying long distances always includes changing airplanes midway. Naturally, that’s a hassle for everybody, especially if you need to wait a few hours between flights. Luckily, things might change for the better – Qantas just completed the longest flight, ever.

The company claimed the record from Singapore Airlines, which held the record for a flight from Singapore to New York (900 kilometers shorter).

Using one of their Boeing Dreamliner 787-9’s, the company achieved the seemingly impossible – to fly from New York to Sidney in only one go. The distance between these two cities is 10,200 miles or 16,200 kilometers. The flight lasted 19 hours and 16 minutes enough to reach the milestone of the World’s longest flight in history. The plane spent most of the flight over the Pacific Ocean, simply because that’s the shortest way between the two cities.

Fun fact: the standard QF12 flight from New York to Sydney took off three hours before the record-breaking QF7879, yet it arrived several minutes later. The usual flight stopped in Los Angeles, though.

There were few caveats, though. In order to make the flight, the airplane needed to be as light as possible, and have as much fuel on-board as it could take. The first feat was achieved by limiting the number of passengers and their cargo. The airplane only had 49 people on board, including as many as six pilots and six members of the cabin crew. They need to rest, remember – the flight took almost three working shifts. As for the fuel, the Dreamliner 787-9 started with 101 tons. That is half of the total weight of the airplane, mind you.

Many people had reservations about this flight for environmental reasons. That much jet fuel certainly has a significant impact on the environment, especially when it comes to greenhouse gasses. However, according to a spokesman from Qantas, the airplane generated less CO2 when compared to regular flights. The reason seems logical – planes use most of their fuel in take-off.

In other words, longer flights aren’t just more comfortable for passengers, but they might be greener as well. Qantas already plans to set a new flying record next month by flying from London to Sydney.

Bianca Van der Watt

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