Qantas Airlines completed the world’s longest nonstop flight on Sunday, flying 19 hours and 16 minutes from New York to Sydney, Australia.
The Australian airline completed the 10,066-mile test flight with 49 people onboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
“Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service,” Capt. Sean Golding, who led the team of four pilots, said in a statement.
During the flight airline staff completed “a series of experiments to assess health and well-being onboard,” according to a press release. The data collected from these experiments will be used to help shape customer service on the airline’s future ultra long-haul flights, including “Project Sunrise,” its tentative regular service between Australia’s East Coast and New York and London.
Much thought was given to the flight service’s schedule in order to reduce passenger jet lag while crossing the globe in 19 hours. The flight started with lunch service and cabin lights were kept on for the next six hours to match the time of day in Sydney, its destination. By starting to get passengers adjusted to the time zone as they board their flight, the airline hopes it can reduce significant jet lag.
In order to keep active while trapped in the cabin, Professor Marie Carroll from the University of Sydney, who was onboard the flight, said that passengers got up from their seats for regular group exercise at assigned intervals. “We did the Macarena in the economy cabin,” she told USA Today.
The company plans to test flights from London to Sydney next. The airline will decide whether or not to launch regular service by the end of the year. It said in a statement that all carbon emissions from the test flights will be offset. If tests are successful, regular ultra-long-haul service would begin in 2022 or 2023.