More airlines opt for ultra-long-haul flights

Longest long-haul flight to New York draws curious flyers

Spending almost 19 hours in the air is a helluva long time to be flying, but fortunately the passengers on the world's longest flight won't be cramped in cattle class.

Compared to most worldwide long haul flights, which can accommodate up to 544 people (based on an Airbus A380), the A350-900 will accommodate just 161 passengers, made up of 94 seats in premium economy and 67 business class.

Singapore Airlines launched the record-breaking route in 2004, but canceled it nine years later because of rising fuel prices.

Airbus developed the latest model for extra-long flights.

According to the airline, the flight crew included two first officers and a 13-strong cabin contingent.

Passenger Peggy Ang, 52, said before the flight that she felt "apprehensive because I'm not sure what would I do in 18.5 hours" inside the plane.

Singapore Airlines says it will serve dishes that try to offset the effect of being stuck in a seat for a day.

The new Singapore Airlines service does not come cheap, however.




The flight from the Southeast Asian city-state to Newark Airport can be completed in 18 hours and 45 minutes with ideal weather conditions, but the pilots will have fuel in reserve should the journey approach the aircraft's maximum 20-hour flying time.

The cabin features a higher-than-normal ceiling, larger windows and lighting that is created to reduce jet lag on the world's longest flight. The airline is now using the an Airbus A350-900 aircraft with 161 seats, 92 fewer than the company's usual seat count on the same aircraft.

'My cousin said 'hey, this is in the press.' I'm going to take pictures and show her, ' she said.

But the carrier is hoping that the introduction of more fuel-efficient planes will set cash registers ringing even as crude prices soar above $80.

"It's turning out to be a race between a few airlines eyeing the longest routes inter-continentally", said Shukor Yusof of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics. That will take the title of the world's longest commercial flight from Qatar Airways' route from Doha, United Arab Emirates to Auckland, New Zealand.

"Ultra-long haul services comprise an important component of that strategy", an airline spokesman said.

The airline's revenue contribution from the Americas region is now at 14 percent, down from 20 percent in 2013 due to the loss of the non-stop flights, Corrine Png, CEO of transport research firm Crucial Perspective, said. In this case, I present to you the Airbus A350-900ULR. Six more are due for delivery by the end of the year.

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