By Burhan Turra
The World’s Longest Flight…once again?
On the 11 and 12th of October, Singapore Airlines showed who the leader of the ultra long-haul flights are with the re-inauguration of the longest ever commercial flight.
SQ22 flew between Singapore and the Newark Liberty Airport, New York, leaving Singapore at 23:59 local time and arriving at Newark at 06:00 local time with a mammoth 17.5-hour journey in that timestamp. Now, this may not seem like long, but the original flight time for SQ22 was supposed to be 18h 45m.
The aircraft used, was an Airbus A350-900ULR, with ULR standing for Ultra Long Range.
This is a variant of Airbus’ successful A350 program containing the longest range of any commercial aircraft today, capable of flying London-Sydney non-stop (which is 20 hours long). As such, there have not been any other orders for this aircraft or plans for a longer route, putting Singapore Airlines in the throne for now. Singapore Airlines operates this aircraft with only 161 seats, 67 of them in business class and 94 of them in premium economy. You won’t find a single economy class seat in the plane since this is such a long flight and comfort is key.
The airline decided to open up this route because of growing demand for a direct service between Singapore and the U.S East Coast. While the re-opening of this route may mean more convenience, I do think the idea of being locked up in a pressurized metal tube at 40,000 feet for 19 hours might just drive someone insane and make layovers all the easier to handle for them. Besides, most of the hype is around the inaugural flight and once that is over, the interest does die down.
This is certainly a big achievement for the aviation industry, the Singapore Airlines and Airbus for this could open up new possibilities in ultra-long-haul travel and we could see even longer flights being opened up in the next decade. The future certainly looks bright!
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