On 20th October 2019, the world saw its first 20 hours non-stop flight covering a distance of 16,200 kilometres, land in Sydney which had taken off from New York the previous night. This record-breaking task was conducted by Qantas Airways Ltd. This was undertaken as a test series to evaluate the effects an ultra-long flight can have on the exhausted crew members and passengers.
The Qantas airways want to begin flying these commercial flights from 2020. With this purpose in mind, the flight was taken to find solutions to the problems involved in this project which includes dreary and soul exhausting jet lag.
The plane, as reported by one of the passengers of the flight, took off from JFK International Airport in New York at 9:27 pm. Since the goal of the flight was to adapt to the time zone as quickly as possible, the clock in the flight was set immediately according to the time zone of Sydney. Following this, the lights were kept on and the passengers were told to stay awake for at least 6 hours – until evening time of Australia.
The plane carried a total of 49 passengers. This included the airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce, six pilots, 6 cabin crew members, a chef, few reporters and 6 frequent flyers. The number of flight members were kept limited to ensure the lightweight of the plane so that it could travel to Sydney easily in just one tank of oil. The rules to fly this plane were kept strict. Only limited luggage was allowed to be carried by the passengers and most of the bar was too de-stocked. All the passengers were seated in the business class. While on the flight, the passengers were served with spicy soup and fish food to help them stay awake for a longer time. This was likely to reduce their chances of getting jet-lagged.
The Boeing Dreamliner flight was loaded with 101 tonnes of jet fuel which contributed to half the weight of the flight. Quite obviously, it emitted huge amounts of carbon dioxide, however, as mentioned in The Guardian, a Qantas spokesperson wasn’t able to give out the exact figures of the carbon dioxide emitted.
It is said that Qantas Airlines will be conducting another test flight next month from Heathrow to Sydney which is going to set new distance records by travelling 17,000km.