Qantas Dreamliner Sets Record for Longest Commercial Flight

New York to Sydney in 19 hours

Dreamliner
A Qantas Dreamliner in flight last year.
Bahnfrend/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / October 21, 2019 7:00 am

Have you ever wanted to board a plane in New York and step off of that same plane in Sydney with no stops in between? That day may be closer than you think — and for a select group of people, it’s already happened. 

The Guardian reports that a Qantas Dreamliner made the longest commercial flight in history, culminating with its arrival in Sydney on Sunday morning after leaving New York’s JFK International Airport on Friday evening. All told, the flight traveled 10,200 miles.

This wasn’t your average flight, however. The article notes that the number of people on the fight were limited in addition to the luggage they could bring, to reduce the overall weight of the flight in order to require less fuel. This was all, as the saying goes, for science.

“Just 49 people – including six pilots, six members of cabin crew including a chef, a handful of reporters, six frequent flyers and the airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce – were on board the Boeing Dreamliner flight, designed to test whether passengers can endure the physical and mental effects of extremely long aeroplane journeys.”

As for the flight’s ecological impact, the article observes that “it produced the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of burning more than 700 barrels of oil.” Apparently, that’s a reduced carbon footprint from an equivalent flight having to land and then take off again. 

Whether this historic moment will translate into more and longer flights to span the globe remains to be seen, but for those who were on it, it’s a journey they won’t soon forget.

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