Over the weekend, Qantas launched the publicity stunt of a lifetime “testing” how pilots and passengers would fair on a 19+ hour flight. I say publicity stunt, because of all the reporters on the test flight and the fact that Singapore Airlines already has a daily Singapore – New York route that takes 18 hours and 45 minutes and uses a specially modified plane. Also, everyone on the flight flew business. (How does this “research” help people flying economy?) So, my question is why?
Undoubtedly, someone does and will take these tremendously long flights (not me, I’d rather have a layover on my way to New York from my home in Melbourne and be able to stretch my legs than have to do the macarena in the aisles – yes, this was reportedly done during the test flight), otherwise they wouldn’t have these routes.
But how many people are so keen on direct flights that they’d be willing to be crammed into a tin can for over 19 hours with no access to fresh air and the potential for a truly terrible seatmate? Also, how do people mentally get through a flight like that? Personally, after about ten hours, I’m so stir-crazy that I start thinking about how wonderful it’d be to parachute out of the plane. And for all the talk of exercising on the flights, are you really going to go do squats next to the lavatory to keep the blood pumping?
Tell us your thoughts!