World's longest flight from Singapore to NY takes off

World's longest flight from Singapore to NY takes off

The world's longest commercial flight has left Singapore for NY, beginning a journey scheduled to cover more than 15,000km in nearly 19 hours.

The flight is due to depart at 2.35 am Friday, Australian time from Changi Airport in Singapore and will arrive in at Newark Liberty International Airport at 6am on Friday, New York time. The plane will feature no economy class, with just 67 business class and 94 premium economy class seats.

The other long-haul flights that are now in operation are: Perth to London (17-hour non-stop) thanks to Qantas launched earlier in the year and Auckland to Doha (17.5 hours) by Qatar Airways. The journey may last for up to 18 hours and 45 minutes under normal weather conditions, but pilots geared up should they need to fly more than 20 hours non-stop.

Ahead of the take-off, the airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked, and there were "a very limited number" of premium economy seats left.

However, Singapore Airlines is now operating the long-range Airbus A350-900ULR on the route.

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"Cabin crew have been instructed to use the locker in the event of a death on a long-haul flight - particularly if the aircraft is busy, with no free seats on which to lay out the deceased", reports The Guardian. Each has 38 inches of pitch and eight inches of recline, with ergonomically designed leg and footrests. "Currently, we have only a daily, non-stop flight from Singapore to San Francisco". The passengers will be offered a special "wellness" menu comprising organic dishes, specially designed for long haul flights, as well as over 1,200 hours of audio-visual entertainment to choose from.

In other words, the airline is hoping to lure not just business travelers, but leisure ones including seniors and millennials looking to reach Singapore and secondary destinations faster.

"The thinking behind that is that they are selling a premium product - it's for the top end of town", says aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, who was booked on to Thursday's flight. Both these factors should help reduce symptoms like fatigue and lightheadedness.

But for passengers, the challenge will be what to do with all that downtime when they're up in the air. There are also hospital-grade HEPA filters circulating air throughout the entire cabin every two to three minutes.

Premium-economy tickets envisage three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between. Business class one-way fares start at $3,379 from Newark to Singapore later this month, or $5,098 round-trip. Taxes and fees are about $6-$50, depending on your direction of travel.

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