The next time you feel antsy on a long flight, think about how much longer your flight could be.
Qantas just took a big step closer to creating a regular non-stop commercial flight that will last 20 hours.
Over the weekend, Qantas operated a special flight from New York to Sydney that spent 19 hours 16 minutes in the air.
While technically the first non-commercial flight to take this long, the plane carried just 49 passengers and crew.
And pretty much everyone participated in a variety of experiments to see how such a long flight affects health, well-being and, no doubt, sanity.
Passengers on this flight were fitted with wearable technology devices that a variety of measurements during the flight.
And those devices ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness and the value of hosting exercise classes for passengers.
Cabin lighting and in-flight meals were also adjusted in ways that are expected to help reduce jetlag.
Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre are gathering and using data from this flight – and others – to monitor all sorts of things: sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess the log flight’s impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.
And Qantas says data from these experiments will be used help shape the crew rostering and customer service of Qantas’ ultra-long-haul flights in the future.
Most notably, they’re focusing on Project Sunrise, Qantas’ plan to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.
Before it decides to make these super-long Project Sunrise flights permanent, Qantas will run two more research flights as part of its Project Sunrise evaluations: London to Sydney in November and another New York to Sydney in December.
Would you take a flight that lasts almost 20 hours?