Qantas Sets Record with 20-Hour Flight from New York to Sydney

By Jesse Sokolow on 21 October 2019
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Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight deck

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight deck

Qantas operated the longest non-stop commercial passenger flight over the weekend to test the impact of ultra-long flights on passengers as well as flight and cabin crew.

The airline operated the 19-hour 16-minute flight using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.  A total of 49 people were on board.

“This is a really significant first for aviation,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other.”

The airline monitored the health and well being of passengers and crew, with tests that ranged from monitoring pilots’ brain waves to checking melatonin levels and alertness. It conducted exercise classes for passengers and designed the in-flight meals to help reduce jet lag.

Instead of starting the flight with dinner and then dimming the cabin lights, as night flights typically do, the research flight began with lunch and cabin lights were kept on for six hours to mirror the destination’s time of day.

The flight went “really smoothly,” said Qantas Captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots who operated the flight.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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