Lots of Americans have flown from JFK to LAX – the New York to Los Angeles 2,482-mile cross-country flight that clocks in at about five-and-a-half hours in the air. Even getting through that trip can be an endurance test, so imagine taking a flight over 3.5 times as long: That’s the distance of the new world’s longest non-stop commercial flight.
On Sunday, Qatar Airways flew the inaugural voyage of flight QR920, a 9,032-mile, 16 hour and 23 minute trip on that classic route of Doha, Qatar, to Auckland, New Zealand. The airline can now say it has the longest currently operating commercial flight. According to The Guardian, Singapore Airlines used to have an approximately 9,500 mile flight from Singapore to Newark, but by 2013, the economics of running it had become unviable and the airline shut it down. Will flying from Doha to Auckland prove more sustainable?
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We’ll have to wait and see the answer to that question, but apparently, operating a 16-plus hour flight requires some serious service. According to the New Zealand Herald, the flight uses a Boeing 777 featuring 259 seats, with the paper suggesting that the 15-person cabin crew “will serve 1100 cups of tea and coffee, 2000 cold drinks and 1036 meals” while in the air. That’s over four cups of tea and coffee per person, and a total of about 12 drinks per person overall. But hey, using the bathroom is a great way to kill some time on a long flight.
The return flight is supposedly even longer thanks to headwinds: approximately 17 hours and 30 minutes. Might as well squeeze in a 13th drink!