Would 19 Hours and 16 Minutes in the Air Make Me Crazy?

Qantas plans to offer the longest commercial flight ever, nonstop from New York to Sydney. Sarah Lyall took the test flight, with kangaroo-themed pajamas and, perhaps, too much medication.

Comments: 186

  1. At this very moment there are thousands of people going through the same "experiment." Only instead of the relative comfort afforded by Quantas, they are under water in submarines. Our sailors leave their families on their local time and enter a world referenced to GMT often not seeing daylight for months. Having made seven 75 day patrols under water during the Cold War, I can assure the writer that you'll be fine after only 20 hours.

  2. @John Thank you for your service to our country. And, thank you to all who risk danger on the sea, in the air, and on land for our country.

  3. @John Yes, but on a submarine, you’re moving around and working. It’s really interesting work. Yes, a submarine is a small place but much bigger than a seat on a plane. You have a real bunk to sleep in with a curtain. Once you’re underway, there is a rhythm. Lights are turned down low in berthing spaces. The control room is darkened at night. It’s an odd, artificial environment but nowhere nearly as disorienting as crossing so many time zones at once. I’ve done both - a boat’s more comfortable.

  4. Everyone of those folks in the photo is stretching the quads incorrectly. The better technique is to use the left hand to hold the right foot to the buttocks and vice versa. This correction reduces the torsion applied to the knee when the same sided hand pulls the foot outward. I'll be headed to New Zealand for December... thanks for the article. NFE

  5. @No False Enthusiasm That is the preferred method however this old-fashioned stretch is not advisable, no matter what hand is used to hold what foot. Proper method is to flex knee and rest foot on a surface behind you about 18" to 24" off the ground, making sure to stabilize yourself while one leg is planted; then point the stretched leg's knee toward the floor slowly until you reach the end-range of the stretch.

  6. Thank you for this review! I have flown about 8 times to Australia through LAX and I wanted to know how this went. I have felt like tossing my cookies even after a 14 hour flight. My husband tossed his cookies ON a 14 hour flight and I had to run back and forth to the bathroom with the airsickness bags because flight attendants will not touch them (seems like a reasonable rule). Please write more reviews - your writing is stellar.

  7. @lkmassey28 The writing is great. The insight conveyed, non-existent.

  8. I flew from Sydney to Vancouver. Was jet lagged for weeks and haven’t been on a plane since( 5 years ago).

  9. I feel like I experienced more of the author’s illness than the flight itself.

  10. That's a lot of brouhaha for a flight that's only one hour longer than the current longest. Seems like Qantas is doing these 'research flights' for the sole purpose of garnering media attention.

  11. I flew about 19 hours from China back to Newark. I did this twice (round trip). And trip back home was with two, 15 month old babies. Yes, it was difficult and tiring of course. But it didnt drive me crazy.

  12. @Ben M, adopting* two toddlers is a great reason to take such a trip! I hope the toddlers did as well on the flight back, as you did. Hopefully they napped. :) *OK, I'm presuming that was the purpose of your trip. Wishing you and family great happiness.

  13. @Ben M, adopting* two toddlers is a great reason to take such a trip! I hope the toddlers did as well. Hopefully they napped. :) *OK, I'm presuming that was the purpose of your trip. Wishing you and family great happiness.

  14. "...the Concorde showed that it is possible, though perhaps not advisable..." "Perhaps not advisable" or "perhaps not profitable"?

  15. This is a mean less test. Sit back in economy for a twenty hour flight and let me know how you feel.

  16. Yes, the horror of enduring this flight in business class must be awful. Imagine how pleasant it will be for those fortunate souls who will be in cattle-class at the back of a FULL the plane. I've flown 16 plus hours from Doha to Houston in such economy seats. It's no picnic, to say the very least. I have no desire to try 19 hours to anywhere. Pointless for the sake of being pointless. A layover, as annoying as it may be, at least allows a chance at real movement and exercise and airport food.

  17. @David "A layover, as annoying as it may be, at least allows a chance at real movement and exercise and airport food" Exactly. I did that eons ago. It was good to have that stopover. As far as the writer's experience is concerned: How many of us can pay for business class for that trip? There are only 30 lay flat business class seats on that plane. Let us hear the experience on how the other 200+ passengers can expect to feel.

  18. @David YES! I've done LA to Sydney (in economy) and I almost cried when I boarded the flight to return home as I knew what horror awaited me.

  19. @David Pointless to you, but not to everyone. I'd rather sit on the plane a couple more hours and go directly to my destination.

  20. The idea of being in a plane for 19 hours isn’t near as disturbing as being forced to listen to the Macarena and not being able to kill myself right then is. Cue Stephen King to start a new book.

  21. Ha. Stephen King did write a book about this subject. It was called the Langoliers Everyone woke up in another dimension ala Stranger Things. They even made a movie.

  22. I have flown from Houston to Narita, Japan, at least 15 - 20 times. Flight time: 14 hours. My sensei (Japanese classes) is 80 and just came back from a trip to Nagoya (15 hours to Taipei, 2 hours on the ground, and 3-1/hours from Taipei to Nagoya. I've met ladies in terminals who have spent 24 hours getting back to Houston from New Dehli and took 24 hours to get from A to B. What's all the fuss about? It beats what my grandfather went through to get from a village in Sicily to Ellis Island! (P.S. I'm 73. Yeah, younger than Carl Fredricksen. And no, I'm not planning a trip to Paradise Falls in a balloon-powered house. I'm going to Narita again shortly, though. I'll survive.)

  23. @tbrucia While your uncle might have endured a multi-day journey from Sicily, it was done on the surface of the earth at a speed not very different from what we perceive to be the earth's rotation. Although he might have been physically uncomfortable if he was in steerage, your uncle probably experienced no jet lag as the sun rose on him each day while at sea and set only a little bit sooner than had he been at home in his Sicilian village. He went through 6 time zones in about as many days, not 14 zones in only 20 hours. He might have had a difficult journey, but not for any of the reasons of a 20-hour jet plane flight.

  24. Qantas' Research Flight is a nice first step in non-stop travel to Australia. Being coddled in all business class seats, a chef preparing meals in real time (not cooked by a contractor hours earlier and delivered in bulk), and psychologists leading exercise classes is not likely to be the average traveler's experience once this flight is routine. I fly Qantas to Melbourne from JFK twice per year to visit my daughter and her family, about an hour longer travel time compared to Sydney. Wheels up from LAX, it's over 15 hours until you land Down Under. Qantas gives great service - the meals and snacks are good for airline fare, and staff are very pleasant and helpful. But it is a really long time in the economy section, and I'm not a great sleeper on planes. The best you can do is just to tough it out, and I've gotten used to the trip. It's surprising what you can put up with when you have to, and another 4-5 hours in the air will become similarly routine.

  25. This isn't a article about a long plane trip. It's an article about how your body reacts when you've taken a large number of different medications in a short period of time. Three different unspecified prescription medications, plus an allergy tablet, a powerful decongestant, a decongestant nasal spray, melatonin and two sleeping tablets? Who would think this was a good idea? I would be interested in reading about someone's experience on the Quantas flight who wasn't heavily medicated.

  26. @Ron, I agree with your comments. I read the article thinking it would help me as I research different ways of getting to Australia with my family (three children), and it has not added any relevant information about the trip. The reporter would still have felt the same discomfort at home, under the effect of that many drugs. I wish the NYT publishes an article from the perspective of a different reporter, one that was not sick at the time of flight and provide informative reporting.

  27. @Ron Exactly correct. The more medications you take to get through a long flight, even things like Benadryl to sleep or a drink or two, generally the worse you will feel. The best thing is to consume as much water as you can, get up and walk around every hour or so, and sleep only if it comes naturally. But no matter what you do you will feel some degree of jetlag after arriving, and there is no way around that for most of us. There's nothing that can instantly convince your body and brain that it is 7:00 a.m. when it thinks it is midnight. That just takes time to adapt.

  28. @Virginia NYT Travel often focuses on experiences not relevant to the "average" traveler. Their "36 Hours In..." pieces are that way, describing great dining experiences at the expense of seeing the city.

  29. Besides all the unappealing food and beverages, how did they handle the changing of clothes and storage of clothes? Does the plane include gym locker rooms for men and women?

  30. @Bob Garcia It is standard on First and Business Class flights to provide pajamas to all passengers. You typically change in the bathrooms and store your clothes at your (very spacious) seat which has several areas suitable for it. Some First/Business class seats even have closets!

  31. Flying today is like medieval torture especially in long flights. Yes it is the most efficient way to get around to travel long distances but you pay for it big time with torture. As a senior I made a vow never to fly more than a few hours in a plane.

  32. Having traveled to Australia several times and putting up with Lax, future trips to Australia will include a two day stopover in Seattle, San FranSisco or other interesting cities. Nineteen plus hours in a plane is just too, too, too long.......

  33. @Telos Yes, that is the way to do it. When we have flown to Hong Kong we have stopped over in SF for a couple of days before and after, making it much less stressful.

  34. Vancouver-to-Sydney is another option. Plus, there are flights from mainland North America to Australia that stop in Hawaii.

  35. @Telos Don't forget to try Vancouver and Honolulu.

  36. I have to wonder about the flight crew, the original and the replacements who would take over and how fresh and keen they and their mental acuity are. They're flying this tortuous route too.

  37. @MIKEinNYC Such long flights usually have three flight crews.

  38. @MIKEinNYC On our recent JAL flight from Seattle to Tokyo (10 hours) I noticed that in the rear of the plane by the attendants' station there was a compartment for them to sleep/rest. One or the other would indeed pop out occasionally looking fresh as a daisy. There were plenty of attendants on that long flight and service (in economy) was impeccable.

  39. My mother is Australian. We used to travel for over 24 hours with plane changes, etc., to get there when I was a kid. I don't see why this wouldn't be better. Sure, the trip is brutal, but it's brutal no matter how you slice it.

  40. @FLT I've gone to SYD. I want to try a break with at least 24 hour layover in Hawaii both ways. The total flight time is still 20 hours. The cost may be $2000 more, but the toll on my psyche cut in half.

  41. I regularly flew 22 Hrs from Atlanta to Bangkok (15.5 Hrs ATL-ICN + 6.25 Hrs ICN-BKK) in economy for a year in 2006. It was fine. Eat, drink, watch movie, nap, walk. Making a business class trip with a lie flat bed sound like a gulag experience is the height of self-indulgent melodrama.

  42. Qantas has offered a 17-hour non- stop from DFW to Sydney for many years. My blue-eyed bride and I have flown it three times, in COACH. Try sleeping in an airplane seat and not the beds offered in biz class. How do you do it? Qantas has built in “foot nets” under the seat in front of you so you can get your feet off the floor and stretched out in front of you. I typically take 2 Tylenol PMs, downed with a red wine and sleep for about 6 hours. (Biggest annoyance was my feet swelling.) The meals are surprisingly good, and Qantas offers unlimited snacks and booze (in coach!!!). The main issue for us wasn’t jet lag but losing an entire day. We left Wednesday and landed on Friday. (Thursday never happened.) I would like to see a story on flying coach, because most of us don’t have the expense account to fly business class, PS Our daughter lives in Sydney so it’s worth it.

  43. The airlines don’t invite travel writers in coach. They comp them in business class and get what they bargained for in publicity.

  44. @Suburban Cowboy About those feet swelling, on our return trip I had to walk through LAX terminals barefoot because I had taken my shoes off during the flight. There wasn't a traveler's aide to be found. It was like a ghost town. We barely made it to the final lap in time. What a nightmare that was. What a wonderful place Sydney is! All worth it.

  45. @WesTex -- This particular test flight didn't have a coach offering. That will come later in the process.

  46. I am assuming this is a humorous piece? No one in their right mind would take that many different stimulants and sleep aides in a 20 hour period and expect to feel even remotely OK.

  47. @Jean / right?! I'm like, I would be a wreck in my own house, much less stuck in a plane for that long...

  48. @Jean I actually feel like this article is irresponsible. The amount of medication consumed is absolutely ridiculous and, for some, not very safe.

  49. @Jean It is a BIG mistake to take concurrently or sequentially all the meds the author did without the guidance of a physician; no wonder she felt awful during and after the flight. The drug potpourri seems to have colored the narrative, too, which reminded me a bit of interviews of people who were under the influence of single or combined street drugs. Bottom line: Consult a physician before mixing OTC and/or prescription drugs, especially if you are going to be more or less trapped on a plane for 8 or 10 or 20 hours.

  50. Another fine piece by Sarah. Shows her humanity and wit.

  51. In 2006 Thaiairways had inaugurated a JFK NY to Bangkok Thailand non-stop, a little over 17 hours straight flying. The planes were new, service great, food acceptable and it shortened the usual trip by 4-6 hours. I made several round trips and loved it. Lost luggage and missed connections no longer a problem. How to survive a 17 hour non-stop flight? Eat three or more meals, drink lots of water, make two circuits around the plane every 3 hours, doze off if you can, and try to hit the bathrooms often as early in the flight as you can. It seems that emptying bathroom trash and cleaning are not the job of flight attendants. Unfortunately, after a few years, oil went thru the roof and the airline ended non-stop service from NY. I would have much preferred to pay an oil surcharge of a few hundred dollars to keep that non-stop. Other routes on different airlines through Hong Kong, Narita, Seoul were ok but changing planes in Narita and going thru passport control to make my next flight was always a nightmare. The trip ballooned to 21-23 hours, with a 1-3 hour layover and the route changed so instead of going over the North Pole it added to flying time.

  52. @woody3691 I took that flight a few times, mostly for the novelty as I was starting in MIA. The novelty wore off. Back to MIA-(ATL, DTW,ORD, SFO,SEA,MCO, or IAD, depending UA,DL, or AA) through NRT or ICN, then on to BKK. Door to door quicker, at about 28 hours. The best flight experience? A DL-KAL flight, ATL-ICN, with flight attendants happy enough while serving meals to be singing or humming to themselves. The worst? A bumpy flight over the South China Sea, a storm raging outside, learning on CNN the next day several passengers and crew were injured, including one broken neck, when another carrier's flight experienced the same turbulence. The most interesting. A near empty UA flight, MCO-NRT, with plenty of seats to lay down on. A panicked look and whispers among the flight crew was bit disconcerting. An in-flight message had informed them UAL was bankrupt, them not knowing what was to happen when they landed. Would they have to find their own hotel? Would the plane be confiscated? How would they get back home? My offer, taken up, was a rear-of-the-plane 15 minute talk about USA bankruptcy law and what UL was doing to protect its own, their's, and my interests. 2nd place? Waiting at the DTW, delayed while Fukushima unfolded.The flight was re-routed away from the plant, with an over-the-Pacific descent into a damaged & mostly empty NRT. It's quicker now MIA through Dubai, if your sense of morality allows you to fly Dubai's national carrier(mine doesn't).

  53. Aren't all these 'research articles' just sharp marketing by Qantas? More than a decade ago I flew in tourist class on SQ's EWR-SIN and on Thai's BKK-JFK and seem to have survived similar duration flights. I can't imaging how much of a non event it must be with premium food and beverages and a lie flat bed!

  54. Nineteen hours non-stop is easier than twenty four hours through a hub. It gets you to a place to truly unwind quicker. You avoid the second process of boarding planes which can involve passing security twice too. What I find most difficult- the layover between flights which can be painful because you are exhausted BEFORE you even board the second leg. Nonstop rules.

  55. Very useful reporting, mostly on what not to do on a long flight. Sarah, someone else should have done this story. Flying with your congestion was very risky and I am glad that you apparently did not suffer any long-term damage. I flew with a bad head cold over 30 years ago and ruptured an eardrum and have had issues with that ear ever since. Your use/abuse of pharmaceuticals was excessive and definitely must have contributed to your post-flight coma. The food sounds great and I hope one day I will have the courage to take advantage of this flight.

  56. A 10 hour flight from Rome to DC is my limit.

  57. @DCQuilter A direct flight from Rome LDV airport to IAD is less than 9 hours, while a flight from IAD to LVD is at least and hour less because of the Jet Stream. Depending how strong the Jet Stream is on a certain day, flight time will vary quite a bit.

  58. Poor pitiful travelers, having so much to endure going from one place to another. After all these years of air travel, it is still somehow a traumatic experience to get on an airplane. It is after all just a ride to a destination. Try traveling by horse and wagon, 19 hours in a comfortable seat in a controlled environment with food served to you won't seem so bad. Or, ride the subway for 19 hours, Soft Americans.

  59. It's a total game changer for those of us who fly to Australia from the US that Qantas is trialing this long haul offering but disappointed in the focus of this piece. I'm sorry your reporter was ill for the flight, but this was such a missed opportunity for readers to truly get a sense of what this offering is all about (I have a lot of sympathy as I unknowingly overmedicated myself on the same medication on a long-haul flight years ago). Let's face it, this was an awesome assignment and a privilege to report on.  I would have loved to have heard more about this new model Qantas is experimenting with regarding the bright lights, spicy food, and other innovations to combat jet-lag. I've been flying long-haul most of my adult life having previously spent over a decade living in Australia and Asia, and I've never heard of this approach. Also flying business class, especially in long-haul, is a privilege and a joy. Definitely nothing to complain about. That said, given most travelers will not have access to this exclusive offering, I'd suggest sending future reporters to brave economy or premium, to give readers a better sense of what they're in for.

  60. @Jenny There have been other reports on this flight (which, by the way, was business class only) from other outlets.

  61. Recently flew from Vancouver BC to Guangzhou on China Southern crammed in economy with, it seemed, more people than seats. The flight took, with delays, 14 hours. Never again....

  62. A fun read! I fly to Asia a lot and the flights are 14-16 hours. All I can say is that the only way to endure the journey is to fly business class and cocoon in your pod.

  63. @Vanessa I've done the 19 hour flight coach, Newark to Singapore. Last seat in the back of the plane. I am grateful I could get halfway around the world in a mere 19 hours, and not 6 months like it would have taken by ship for much of recent human history. Some of us seem to know how to endure much more than others.

  64. Story could have been reassigned to someone healthy so readers might imagine such a trip without a horrible cold, too many chemiclas, etc. And the writer could've taken a sick day in her own dreamt-about bed. As is, the piece seemed overly focused on battling the misery.

  65. Now try the same flight in coach . Welcome to my world .

  66. Still beats swimming.

  67. The author scoffs at folks having some wine but has no problem popping pills all flight long? Let's review: unnamed decongestants, sudafed, 2 ambien, melatonin. And these are what she admitted to...so, I recommend she talk to her PCP. And, you can prepare for this type of journey many ways but if you have seatmates that are loud, watching TV all flight, have a screaming child...nothing will provide relief.

  68. @Patty Elston I had the same thought about all the pills, good grief! I occasionally take long-haul flights, sometimes in coach, sometimes in business class. I try to look at them as an unexpected opportunity to read without interruption. It usually helps with sleeping on the plane, too.

  69. I like LAX. At least, certainly no less than JFK.

  70. @Jeff I agree. If we're talking about flying Qantas, calling it a "hellhole" is a bit dramatic. I find the Bradley International Terminal a pleasant enough place to spend a couple of hours waiting for a flight.

  71. @Jeff You don't have to change planes there.

  72. Ambien is cheating. However, a glass of port with cheese service is not. While Qantas makes its money up front, next time for the sake of the article try this in coach!

  73. Thanks for the grins... and travel commentary!

  74. My prescription for a long flight: two glasses of red wine, some cheese, 2 Advil PM, and an 8 hour playlist on my iPhone. Even in coach this works fine.

  75. Singapore Airlines had a nonstop Newark-to-SQ flight about a dozen years ago that was scheduled for 18 hours 45 minutes on an A-340. I was lucky enough to do that run twice, and found it enjoyable, on the whole. Once was in a slightly-larger economy seat, and then a few years later it became an all-business-class flight, which was terrific. The only real drawback came during the last couple of hours of the return flight, when a young and inexperienced parent with a baby (to be fair, how many of us are experienced at making such a long flight with infants?) in our cabin decided to keep waking the child rather than let it sleep. The loud crying that resulted was not welcomed by our little sample of the Great Traveling Public. But then, that sort of thing could happen between ORD and JFK...

  76. I'm pretty sure that this not the longest flight ever. In 2011 or 12, I took a non-stop flight on Singapore Airlines from Newark to Singapore with a flying time of 19 hrs 45 min. The plane was entirely business class, with a seat that became a pull out bed, large flat screen TV, gourmet meals on demand, and bathrooms with marble counter tops and a vase of flowers. No problem.

  77. The flight you took was the flight that Singapore Airlines terminated a few years ago for economic reasons and reinstated about two years ago. They were able to switch from the four engine A340 (all business class) to the two engine A350 (business and premium economy). The current flight runs 18 to 18.5 hours depending on winds and direction. We actually flew eastbound both times in the round trip, thus completing a circumnavigation in two flights.

  78. Not so say Sarah's experience with medications is typical but I'm sure it's not unusual. Yet we act surprised at the level of prescription addiction and overdoses in our society. Given how many people share her reaction to physical discomforts - throwing a pill at everything from congestion to fatigue - the only thing surprising is that the level of addictions and overdoses isn't higher.

  79. @Tim What kills me is the (repeated!) admonition against alcohol in the article vis a vis the cornucopia of pharmaceuticals the author consumes.

  80. Enjoyed reading this article first thing this morning. I've suffered from sinus infections and headaches and totally relate to the need to medicate....and attempts to function. just wish my stories were as funny as the writer's! Appreciate the airlines attempts to research and help passengers cope.

  81. I’ve flown to Sydney about 8 times, maybe more. I actually appreciate the stopover, always SF not LA. Breaks up the trip and gives you a chance to walk around. Even better was when the stopover would be in Hawaii or some other Pacific island, closer to the halfway point. As for jet lag, it’s always been worse on the return trip from Sydney to NYC.

  82. @Bello We used to have a relatively brief layover in Guam when flying from the West Coast to SE Asia, and depending on where we are going and the airline we are flying, sometimes still do. A little fresh air, a little sunshine; it really makes a difference.

  83. @DJ McConnell Yes, and a nice thing about some of those Pacific island airports is that they have open air terminals.

  84. I rarely suffer from jet lag. However, it is very hard for me to sleep during a flight. If I am landing in the evening then - the difficulty falling asleep is in itself the solution to jet lag. Land without having slept. An hour or so to get out, another hour or so to get where I need to go. Bed and .. wake up normally. If however, I am landing with most of a day in front of me I need to sleep on the plane. I discovered that I could solve insomnia with the very ancient medications "beer" and/or "wine". Eventually - I will nod off. It may not be the most refreshing sleep but it *is* sleep and I have no problem getting through the day. Alcohol dehydrates?! Maybe. Gee whiz. I counter that with another ancient drink - w.a.t.e.r. Even el-cheapo airlines have water. Eventually, I discovered melatonin. It also works. Better with some ethanol and certainly 1 - 2 mg is not even close to enough but it works well. I also try to stretch. I wish there were still 747s flying. They made a walk, stretch and conversation easy.

  85. Traveling non stop between JFK and Tokyo takes over 12 hours. We had to return to JFK once and stop at Anchorage for mechanical problems adding about four hours to the flights. Being on an aircraft you lost confidence in over a frozen wasteland at night is unnerving. Lucky I was in business class and the alcohol was free. But in all seriousness if you can't handle fourteen hours of boredom and discomfort as time goes on you're going to have to endure.

  86. I had the fortune of Flying on said Singapore Airlines flight from Asia to Jersey back when it was first launched in 05'. It was grueling to say the least, if air-carriers are going to be attempting this kind of super long-haul, perhaps the return of an airplane lounge would be nice. Who knows? Time flies faster if you are meeting interesting people over snacks and a drink or two rather than being mandated to remain in your seat for +19 hours like I was.

  87. @Gabriel I, too, took that 19 hour flight on Singapore Airlines. I had the last seat in the back, next to the bathroom. I found the food amazing, the service phenomenal, and I was thrilled to be on my way to SEA. I just made sure to get up and stretch my legs every four or so hours, and I enjoyed catching up on lots of TV. To be whisked from one side of the globe to another in less than a day? A miracle, not a punishment.

  88. I've flow 13 hour flights. In economy if feels like it takes 26 hours, in business class it feels like it took 6 hours. I'm sure the same applies for a 20 hour flight.

  89. On Monday I flew home from Hawaii on the trip that took 19 hours. I had three flights, connecting enough San Francisco and Chicago and my way home to Oklahoma City. The trip was longer than scheduled due to a mechanical issue in San Fran and a crew time out due to weather in Chicago. I always need at least two flights to get to most places from OKC and booked this trip with three because of the timing. I flew business, and the plane part was very pleasant, it was the connections and time on the ground that were exhausting. If I flew business on a 19 hour flight to Australia, it would have been fine. Flying business on a long trip is like spending a day on your couch reading and watching TV while people bring you drinks and food. I fly business when I can afford it or can get on upgrade on points, but about half the time I fly coach. If the 19 hour flight was in coach, II would much prefer the connections. A long flight in that cramped seat jammed up against strangers is torture. Getting out and stretching my legs with a walk around the airport is a relief.

  90. No doubt this will end up being like the Concorde with the passengers either very wealthy or are working for companies that are willing to pay in order to reduce the time their employees are out of the office. As to mixing various medications, as a physician I can tell you this is never a great idea unless a physician specifically prescribe it. It's like playing Russian roulette with your health and at times even your life.

  91. @Steve "mixing various medications, as a physician I can tell you this is never a great idea unless a physician specifically prescribe it" I too am a physician, and I will say that we physicians do not have a lock on the proper mixing of medications. I've seen too many times where one Dr. has NO idea what another is prescribing, or when two drugs interact.

  92. Excellent review. Next time try EarPlanes rather than a decongestant-allergy cocktail. I’m one of those sinus people who always got a sinus infection from flying, whether or not I had one to begin with. Also painful landings. Found these things reviewed in a health magazine 20 years ago and never looked back. Wonderful that Qantas encouraged you to get up and move. I usually make 2-3 unnecessary trips to the restroom just to stand up. I always wondered why no “for profit” exercise space was available on long flights.

  93. Hilarious! I second the notion of skipping the stop in LAX, where I nearly lost two of my children on our intercontinental journey a few years back (I sprinted from one gate to the next, confident they were behind me, then had to sprint back to our incoming gate to retrieve two of them before the doors shut on our Sydney-bound flight). The new flights sound especially wonderful because there's no mention (of our experience) of constantly-replaying the Mama Mia! inflight movie for 12 hours.

  94. @AlisonO I don't think that was the fault of the LAX international terminal.....

  95. Three prescription meds, Afrin shots, a Sudafed, two Melatonins, and two Ambien tablets (I assume 10mg each) all within, as I calculate it, 7 hours? You're lucky to have made it at all.

  96. A bit too much personal drama for me in this article. It's a long flight, but gee whiz, you have pajamas and a bed and hardly any people on the plane plus an attentive staff. I traveled JFK to Bangkok 18hours+ on Thai Air a number of years ago. I was in coach. Luckily the airline is known for service which makes all the difference. A 7 hour flight can seem like an eternity on a bad airline with a skeleton crew. Basic tips; move around cabin, stretch, don't eat all the food (too much salt), remove shoes/wear cosy socks. I'm sure this flight will have excellent entertainment selections as well. Enjoy!

  97. Sounds like a good idea and fun with extended seating. Perfect for binge watching TV shows! Such a fuel efficient plane too — go 787! (Can you tell I’m from Seattle?) Plus, literally everyone wants to visit Australia! The land of the beautiful Olivia Newton John! Of course poor Greta T. will soon board a catamaran headed for Spain which probably will sport two non-catalytic-converter driven diesels. You can imagine the percentage SMOG to passenger ratio on that trip unless they go without the diesels all together. Good luck Greta! Meanwhile ExxonMobile is busy researching bio fuels which are cool because they have the word bio in them. Good times!

  98. WAY too many drugs, including excessive dose of melatonin! Do not envy traveller. Zombie time down under! I have made at least a dozen fourteen hour plus flights. Learnings: 1) The less stimulants and depressants, including alcohol, the better. This requires discipline. 2) Sleep when you are sleepy, and don't stress about NOT sleeping. 3) Walk around a lot to avoid cramping and/or throwing a clot. 4) Start adjusting gradually to your new time zone a week before travel. 787's rock, particularly the enhanced cabin oxygen levels and cabin lighting effects.

  99. Very witty writing. I enjoyed taking your journey with you.

  100. Sheesh. Business class for 19 hours is a treat. I'm taking a real-person flight later this month for 17 hours, in coach class. You just deal with it.

  101. The whole article I kept wondering what this flight would be like for the rest of us mere mortals sitting in coach.

  102. @megachulo There is no coach yet. This was an experiment, the very first run ever on the route, and they made it business class only. (When they start flying the route commercially, they may make it business class only, too.)

  103. The New York Times editors appear to have forgotten any commentary on the fact that airlines must fundamentally change how they use fuel and what kind of fuel they use. Air travel is but one of many ways the very rich and corporations are seriously contributing to climate change. A hyper-loop or ultra high speed magnet train perhaps? What will the future bring? But Airlines and air travel very much needs to start being grouped in the same noxious category as coal mining. Coal is finished. Airline travel using petroleum needs to be. Thats a much more important goal than flying from NYC to Melbourne.

  104. This article misses what should be its main point: how does it feel to fly 20 consecutive hours. The description should be of what a typical passenger experiences during the flight. However, central to the description is the author's problem with her congestion which colors whatever she feels and renders the information almost invalid for people who do not have that problem.

  105. great piece! caught all my fears and dread!

  106. This was a wonderful read. Also, please take care of yourself.

  107. I've flown the Chicago-Sydney route a number of times, usually stopping in San Fran, in my case. Not as many hours, of course, but enough to get a taste. Honestly, the author sounds like a nervous nellie. I never once worried about what she worries about. I doubt if I would by adding the six or so hours on, either. I flew coach. Everything, including the wine, was fine!

  108. @Brian : Please don't refer to the world's most beautiful city as San Fran. It's name is San Francisco.

  109. Wow, finally something that doesn't include TDS! However, the hypocrisy of flying just for..."research", doesn't set a good example for the New Green Deal or really any responsible action towards climate change.

  110. I wouldn't mind reading an account of the flight by one of the passengers who seemed to deal with it pretty well. I think I'd have a more realistic idea of what it's like to be in the air that long. As it is, Ms. Lyall's article gave me no idea really of what to expect on such a long flight, except for a person who is sick and full of drugs.

  111. My God! 2 Ambien on top of all the other drugs. You must have been comatose for 8 hrs. My wife and I took a flight 3 years ago from SFO to Auckland. It was only 13 hrs. In economy plus not business. The woman next to my wife took two Ambien. She was so out of it her head would fall forward and hit the seat in front of her or she would roll to the side and hit my wife. Totally unarousable. The attendant did the best she could to strap her into her seat. She woke up very refreshed. Needless to say we didn’t. She got a stern lecture from the attendant. We managed to stay up til 7pm the next day then slept for 12 hrs. No jet lag after that. Note that you can fly Houston to Sydney nonstop in only 17hrs 20 min. Unfortunately not on Qantas.

  112. What's the big deal over 19 hours to Sydney when it's already 15 hours to Seoul?

  113. As lovely an "experience" as this is in business class, I shudder to think about doing this coach - perhaps nine or ten across with your knees folded up to your chest, and no psychologist advising on how to avoid stress. Makes LAX sound amazing.

  114. I don't think I would be brave enough to lay down in the grass in Australia.

  115. @D Todorovic Agreed. I would imagine that even the grass in Australia is trying to kill you.

  116. @D Todorovic It's actually "lie" down in the grass.

  117. This is the wittiest piece of writing I've ever seen in the Times, which is saying a lot

  118. Come on readers this is so funny. Sarah hope you try being a comedy writer. Thanks for the laughs.

  119. Eating carbs in hopes of getting a good night's sleep is ill-advised. The spikes in blood sugar don't make for good rest.

  120. I feel no compassion towards anyone who has been chosen to be one of the first persons to ride business class in a brand spankin new plane - for free, and then about it. Lighten up princess.

  121. @Kurt Pickard She mentioned that. "I am aware that no one wants to hear how a person lucky enough to be an aviation pioneer traveling in the lap of luxury on a historic flight in a brand-new airplane to a continent halfway around the world at no personal financial cost can, in the end, barely make it out in one piece. No one wants to hear how I lost first my kookaburra, and then my breakfast. " Even if she didn't there is no reason for such a petty remark.

  122. Curious to hear why or how this person thought she "was no longer contagious" while boarding this long flight ill

  123. Because, with an ear infection, after 24 hours on an antibiotic, she no longer was?

  124. To the many, many, many commenters who have contributed something like "well, try it in economy class" -- you can't. At least not yet. The flight INTENTIONALLY carried a small number of passengers who were coddled this way to see if ANYTHING could work in terms of getting people from NY to Sydney non-stop without them falling apart. It also was necessary to see how the crew would be able to cope with the time. If and when they get closer to commercializing the route, I'm sure they will have research flights with coach passengers. Or maybe they will decide that there's simply no way they could offer the current "industry-standard" coach product on this flight. It's just a start folks.

  125. I fly to Asia regularly, meaning 13-18 hour flights depending on the airline and the destination. The best — indeed the only — thing to do to make it palatable is to pay for business class or at least premium economy. The delightful Newark-Singapore flight makes that easy for you by having only those options.

  126. I wonder if the writer could write a follow-up about her return trip, which presumably was made in a "conventional" flight. Hopefully, she was feeling better when she flew back. She could compare the seating, meals, jet lag, etc. and see if it was worse/different than on the experimental flight.

  127. I have family all over the world and I also have a global job - so I have been a frequent flyer for a long time. As a kid, I loved it but now as a middle aged man, I dread it. I went to Australia a few times as I used to work for an Australian co. The long flights are cringeworthy. Being stuck in a pressurized metal tube at a very altitude and engaging in superficial bonhomie with a whole bunch of total strangers can be very challenging. I have witnessed some really strange human behavior during long flights. Going through the airline checkpoints can be very stressful specially in certain countries like the Brussels airport. Also I’m not a fan of airline food at all. Over the years, I also got impacted by airline strikes, lost luggage and getting rerouted to different countries because of bad weather. Notwithstanding my kvetching - lol - my favorite airport is Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. People are so nice and helpful. Heathrow airport in London is a close second. My wife misplaced her passport and we got it back within a very short period. But at the end of the day, I just love coming home to NJ and as the plane circles over the NJ Turnpike before landing at Newark airport - my heat misses a beat and when the pilot lands the plane - I always CLAP - there is no place like home !!

  128. I medicate myself for every single flight I take (crippling phobic anxiety), and it has meant the difference between having a career with work travel, which I enjoy immensely, and not. I have simply gotten used to fighting my way through post-flight fog, and getting my work done. Cold water face immersion, a jolting triple shot latte, and changing my clothes as quickly as possible post-flight work wonders. The only moment I regret from a dozen years of this practice is falling asleep in a cab in Mexico City (it was so warm!). That could have ended badly. I would gladly take this flight. Other options to Australia seem like torture.

  129. @John I too was a fearful flyer with a job that required copious travel. I never took anything just toughed it out...but eventually the fear went away somehow. Thank God. Now I fly without an issue.

  130. While watching over and praying for a very sick relative in the hospital which made me have grief , my Internist gave me Ambien to sleep in a short time I was unable to sleep w/o it. I then became upon waking up after needing it to sleep a sort of anxious flying of the handle zombie, when I finally stopped it I was happy and felt this is a very bad drug for sleeping problems,never again!

  131. Your trip does rather sound like fun, Ms. Lyall, but somehow many of us do survive the international air travel norm: My wife and I fly r/t LAS-MNL coach at least twice a year to visit family in PI. I am 6'4 and rather large, and we are permitted no pajamas (accordingly, we are unable to ponder the "psychological ramifications of the sartorial transition" into such), no curling up into a fetal position unless there is a shrieking infant in the row in front of ours, and no "saffrony tomato soup and a lively-tasting sea bass". Instead, we get scratchy synthetic blankets, seats that recline approximately 2 degrees from bolt upright, and a choice between a rather stark bibimbap (which is better than it sounds, at least when liberally dosed with gochujang) or curious Korean analogues of Americanesque food, which is only somewhat edible. We also get a couple of hours each way in Incheon, dark and early in the morning on the way to the Philippines when the concourse it completely deserted, and depart for Manila just as the sun is coming up (we pass through Incheon in the early afternoon on the way home so it's not nearly as relaxing). 20 hours and 10 minutes outbound, 19 and change on the return; if we're lucky, $1,200 r/t for the two of us. I look upon trans-global air travel thusly: In the immortal words of Elvis Presley, "just TCB, baby." The true award awaits at the other end.

  132. If you are flying LAS-MML you are almost certainly flying Philippine Airlines, which from my experience, speaks volumes as to your experience.

  133. I have flown the Qantas and United flights through LAX and SF. The layovers are killers, changing planes, walking through airports to get to international terminals and you are awake again and not happily looking forward to the Sydney leg of the flight. ...Queue the Dallas to Sydney nonstop...heaven. We flew premium economy Qantas flight last November and it was great. You are treated to champagne as you board, a lovely meal with paired wine service and then a fairly relaxing trip. Qantas does not charge for beverages, snacks (bigger than a pretzel bite) or object to passengers moving about. It is the only way to Oz without flying monkeys controlling your trip.

  134. 20 hours?!? Good grief. I could get on a flight in New York, fly to Rome, turn around, come back to New York and still have more time left over? Medication, indeed.

  135. This article harks back to an earlier age when flying was considered stylish and fun rather than a destructive and often nonsensical human indulgence. Consider what recreational long-haul flying really is: a bunch of advanced primates digging up fossilized life from thousands of years ago and stuffing it and themselves into a metal tube for the purpose of "fun." It's no coincidence that the author found herself sick and miserable on this flight: long-haul flying is hard on the human body, hard on the environment, and perhaps something that we need to stop doing altogether. This essay was a missed opportunity to explore the advent of yet another decadent long-haul commercial flight route in an era when flying is coming under increasing scrutiny for its destructive carbon impact.

  136. Come on, people. This is Sarah Lyall reporting! She’s an absolute NYT treasure and has been forever. Go back and read all her bylines if you like humorous tangential stories on the humdrum reality of long-haul life.

  137. @Karen Bergan I had never heard of her before reading this story. I am not impressed. At all. No one cares about who wrote the story, they care about the story, and in this case, the story was more about the writer than anything else. Self indulgent and narcissistic. I expect better from NYT.

  138. Yes, funny, I do enjoy Sarah's writing. Glad Sarah arrived in one piece. But ... two Ambiens? That's just crazy! I was worried about her sinuses and hearing the whole article! I recently flew Seattle to DC. Going there, took Jet Blue which stopped in Boston for a plane change at Logan. Coming back, direct on Alaska. The route with the plane change was much easier on my body, even though it took a bit longer. I'm contemplating a trip to Ireland in a few months and already dreading the hours on the plane. How will they run the calisthenics for a full plane?

  139. It's early here on the Left Coast, and this piece was the perfect way to start the day in lieu of the impeachment news. Having just finished the last episode of "Fleabag" the night before, I had to crack up about Lyall's fellow traveler discovering the series while on her long-haul flight. Flying between Atlanta and Johannesburg some years ago, I was in the air about 17 hours each way. Shortly after arriving in Atlanta, I boarded a flight to California. Never had jet lag. Go figure. Maybe I'll take more long flights and donate my body to science. Does Qantas have a waiting list for future volunteer guinea pigs?

  140. Ms. Lyall, this is fabulous writing -- I am cracking up over my morning coffee reading this. Thank you!!

  141. Beautifully written and also amusing. :-)

  142. So amusing and informative. I truly got the sense of the planning Qantas put into this venture, and the writer’s reactions made me laugh. Thanks Sarah!

  143. I have twice taken Ambien on an overnight flight, and each time got violently ill/nauseous, and stayed that way for days afterward. It doesn't happen when I take Ambien on land, and my doctor told me he's heard of this side effect before. It sounds like that's what happened to you as well. Now I go old school with an over the counter motion sickness pill, it helps me sleep and battles any potential motion sickness.

  144. @JG Yes. Dramamine all the way.

  145. @JG I have also taken sleeping pills on long flights. I should use them on long drives, too. Nothing is more effective at keeping me awake.

  146. @JG That has happened to me as well. Flying from Atlanta to Johannesburg, I took half and Ambien. I fell asleep quickly, but woke a couple of hours later and thought I was going to lose my lunch. I did not repeat my mistake on the return. I don't get motion sickness, but may try that trick next time I want to sleep on a flight.

  147. This is wonderful -- thank you, Ms Lyall! Ages ago -- and far younger of course -- I took a many-hours-long flight from Singapore to London. When I arrived in London, I asked at an information desk about hotels for that night, citing the date. I got a peculiar look -- I named a date lost forever in time due to the endless hours in the air and the continuous dark we were in as the sun evaded us. Again, thanks for a lively and properly discombobulated account of the world's first-longest flight from here-to-there, on OTC drugs, dressed as a kangaroo, stoked on sleeplessness, and dedicated to entertaining those of us who would never think of actually taking said flight but love reading about it.

  148. Years ago, when I was 29, I flew from Houston to Seattle to Tokyo to Bangkok. About 27 hours total, including changing planes at each stop. I avoided alcohol, drank water, tried to sleep. On arrival, like Sarah, I was “throw up” sick for 48 hours, feeling terrible for another 48. 19-20 hours non-stop? No thanks.

  149. You can joke about going bonkers at 40k feet, but I have been through it and I can tell you it is not funny. I don’t think having kangaroos on your jammies would be enough to flavor such a dire situation with humor. Years ago, on a 14 hour flight to Auckland, in a sickeningly overcrowded coach (steerage) class seat, I was hit with an explosive, blinding migraine and accompanying panic attack. At 40k feet, and with 13 hours to go. You could’t pay me to get in a 20 hour flight. Even in first class.

  150. @Passion for Peaches once upon a time we had enough miles to fly to Vietnam in Business. It was cheaper then, and required fewer miles. Anyway, it was 12 hours to Tokyo and another 7 to HCMC. As soon as we took off, we were notified that the entertainment system on the long NYC-Narita leg was NONFUNCTIONAL. They gave us some lovely consolation prizes (which I think the people in the back of the plane did not get) but that was a VERY long time, in the pre-Netflix years. to have to depend on one's own supply of reading material.

  151. @Passion for Peaches my first long-haul flight was DFW-HNL, back in 1991, and the day before, because I had bronchitis, I’d gotten a steroid shot, and although I was in first class, I had an enormous panic attack - my first - after 5 hours in the air. I hallucinated seeing my eyes as snake eyes in the lav mirror. I spent 2 days immobilized with fear and illness in my beachfront hotel room in Waikiki. Long-haul flights shouldn’t be undertaken while sick/on decongestants/meds/etc. If I could go back in time, I would have never gotten on that flight.

  152. Twenty hours?? Forget it. When I have a long-haul to the far east, I stop somewhere in Europe for a day to recover from the 6-7 hour first leg. The next leg is usually around 8-11 hours. Then I rest when I arrive for a day. I've done more direct routes for business travel and it's a nightmare. One long flight seems much worse to me. I start to lose my mind at about the 11-hour mark.

  153. @TFD Why not go westward and stop in Hawaii instead? It always seems like the jetlag is easier heading westward.

  154. @TFD Right on! Sydney to New York stop over for at least a day in Fiji and Tahiti and then in Los Angeles. Three five to seven hour legs - okay even in economy. London to Sydney stop over in Dubai and Singapore. London to Cape Town - Dubai or Istanbul. New York to Singapore stop over in Tokyo or Beijing. I have flown well over a million miles and haven't slept for more than about ten minutes in total (only a slight exaggeration).

  155. @TFD We are the same - frequent travelers from Australia in our late 50s, we are now spending a day or 2 in Dubai, Singapore or Hong Kong on our way to Europe. Although there is nothing for us to see having done it several times, it allows for a walk, a sleep in a real bed, decent food and space.

  156. Is there a rule against taking all those meds even if you're not on a 19 hour flight? Asking for a friend.

  157. Sarah Lyall describes her non-stop flight from New York to Sydney as a "tiny upscale refugee camp created by the airline." I have to wonder if the author has ever *read* any first-person accounts of people who have spent time in refugee camps? Or even any third-person accounts of what it's like? Refugees are fleeing circumstances unthinkable to American citizens who've lived their whole lives here. Circumstances so bad that they fled into the ongoing horror of refugee camps to escape starvation, murder, torture, rape. Refugees don't get to spend 19 hours at a camp and then go back to their daily live. They spend months, often years, in an anguishing limbo while they wait to see where they can safely settle. I was recently reading The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri. I haven't finished yet, but at one point they are housed not at a refugee camp but at a hotel. Not a fancy hotel, but still "upscale" by refugee camp standards. I hope the author of this article will consider reading this book to understand the anguish of the isolation and uncertainty and endless waiting that marks the refugee experience.

  158. I reckon the writer had a choice: end up with an article sounding like hack publicity for an airline or an attempt at something funny. She got her out because a non-travel related illness. I look at travel a little differently. I don't use flight time to calculate travel time< I use door-to-door time: the time to get to the airport + the waiting time +the flight time + clearing customs + travel from airport to final destination. Direct flights are much better multi-stage. It is the waste of time walking or waiting in an airport that fatigues me on an international flight. So I break it up with an overnight in the Asian hotel airport hotel before the last leg into some remote area of a developing country for work purposes. I arrive fresh and ready to work. Others, marching like soldiers to the next available flight, arrive at the final destination bedraggled. The Quantas service sounds quite amazing, take a direct flight anytime.

  159. Like countless others, I made the journey from Dallas to Sydney in one, 17.5 hour flight...in coach. The horror! That said (and considering the whole bathroom situation...disgusting), what's another 90 minutes?

  160. I flew the Newark to Singapore flight a few years ago. My client sat business; I sat economy. 19.5 hours in one seat. The person in front of me insisted in leaning her chair back. I made it uncomfortable for her but she insisted and the flight crew said it was her right. I have restless leg syndrome and so a few hours in, it was getting pretty bad. But in the big planes, there are areas you can stand and do exercises, and many people were doing that. In international airspace, the fight crew didn't ask anyone to sit down. Some of us were even doing push ups. Have lots of entertainment options, try to get yourself onto your destination timezone quickly, bring a few snacks that you personally love and be patient. You'll get thru it.

  161. As a resident of Seattle, I feel compelled to point out that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made of carbon fiber, and not aluminum. "No one wants to go crazy in a metal tube 40,000 feet above the Pacific."

  162. @Doug Vavrick : This former Seattle resident couldn't agree more. Thanks for posting this.

  163. Somehow i don't think that being drugged out makes you want to fly to Australia this way. Personally, I refuse to be in a metal cylinder that long. The article says nothing about what such a journey would be like in a plane crammed with people, limited access to bathrooms and un-affordable business class seats. In short this so-called research flight hardly describes what it would really be like to fly so far under normal conditions.

  164. What an awful story. I don't need to hear about your drug intake. I thought I'd be told a story about the flight experience to your body and your impression on how, if the flight goes commercial, one could expect to feel in flight. As someone who doesn't take twenty pills a day, I have no clue whether this would be an enjoyable flight or a torture.

  165. There are no "good" airports; some are just less bad than others. The author's gratuitous swipe at LAX ignores the fact that the Los Angeles airport is far "less bad" than her three New York-area airports. Maybe this is a hard lesson for someone who travels in kangaroo pajamas.

  166. Ha...Having taken the Singapore to Newark flight as well as the Dallas to Sydney flight ( Quantas ), I have a routine that’s works well on 17-19 hour flights. Of course going west is always the easy part, returning home not so much. Get on the plane, don’t eat the evening meal,take your medication, put on your pjs,eye masks, earplugs,and sleep. Wake up, walk around, drink lots of water, and read a bit. Have a light snack Go back to sleep till breakfast. Enjoy the sunlight when you land and stay up all day. It works

  167. This reminds me so much of a Hunter S. Thompson piece. I didn't know a human being could use that many legal drugs on one flight...

  168. Reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson’s flight in The Great Shark Hunt. Except about 15 hours shorter and all the medications were over the counter.

  169. The longest flight I have ever been on is 5 hours. This sounds like my worst nightmare even if I was seated in business class.

  170. A more realistic test will be flying from JFK to SYD nonstop on an economy class in the middle seat in the back of the plane. I am not sure I can make it. But, worst than non-stop JFK-SYD flight is JFK-LAX-SYD, stopping anywhere on a 20+ hour trip is always the worst. And, by the way, do that in an economy class like the rest of us.

  171. My 14 hour flight to Seoul from Detroit was probably the worst thing I have ever done in my life! Thankfully I didn't suffer from jet lag, though.

  172. Oh my good lord, the ending hit me like the best comedy routine ever. Thank you for your candid account of your trip!

  173. I have taken the 15+ hour non-stop flight between Newark and Mumbai. I was dreading it, but really, it was no big deal. I brought a sleep mask and earplugs, just in case, napped on and off, and did just fine. I cannot imagine doing it wth a bunch of medications, though.

  174. I haven't gotten lost in a piece of journalism for a long time. Well done Ms. Author. I could feel every bit of the disorientation, dehydration, swimming head and stomach you described! Not sure I'd really want to take this flight, given that I'd be in the back of the bus where the experience will be worse X2. Progress?

  175. loved this dry, sardonic, witty writing. bravo sarah!

  176. Come on, people. the previous record for non stop air travel is 18 hours and 30 minutes. Singapore air from Newark to Singapore. you mean to tell me that an extra 45 minutes in the air is going to be the barrier between landing in a sane condition and going straight to Bellevue (or the Australian version)??

  177. @jaydee the Australian version is a bar.

  178. Qatar Airways has been flying non-stop from LAX to Doha for several years. This is a 17 hour flight. And, a majority of the travellers catch connecting flights from Doha to destinations in India, Sri Lanka etc. Why is this 20 hour flight considered such a novelty?

  179. I flew on what was the previous longest non-stop flight from Newark to Singapore on Singapore Airlines about 10 years ago. The plane was configured so that the entire cabin was "executive economy" which essentially means it was like flying domestic first class. They had a nice area set up where you could stand, stretch your legs, and have complimentary snacks throughout the flight. It wasn't nearly as bad, or scary, as I anticipated.

  180. This sounds like a horror story. But as a person who has spent 19 hours in a foreign airport going nowhere, which comes with a lot more aggravation and leaves you feeling a lot worse than a time change, I don't think the length of the flight was the issue.

  181. There is a serious problem with being confined for more than a few hours without exercise. Keeping still for several hours without leg exercise can potentiate deep venous thrombosis (blood clots), which can serious damage a person when it detaches and migrates to the lungs or brain (causing a stroke). This can be even fatal. Either such a flight must include an area for exercising, maybe for example a leg ergometer (a mini-bicycle), if one cannot take strenuous walks or jogging, or the flight really has to make one stop midway to allow passengers off to walk about for an hour.

  182. That's more medication then I've ever taken in my life. And I'm 45.

  183. @Jen Me too and me too.

  184. I’d be thrilled to travel nonstop from New York to Australia! My longest flight so far is 13 hours, and it wasn’t so great in Economy. As far as health issues, my doctor prescribed one Xarelto pill to prevent blood clots. An aspirin or two would probably have the same effect. Bottom line for me: I loathe stopovers. Getting off the plane with hand luggage, finding your gate, praying for no missed connections or delays, several hours of waiting, boarding a new aircraft. Nonstop please!

  185. Ambien puts you out. Alcohol, seeming a good idea, will dehydrate you and cause bathroom trips, both of which are tough on a plane. The answer is gummy bears...colorado style. Arrive rested and hydrated to boot.

  186. What a a wonderful read this is! Still, here we are in the 21st century without intercontinental supersonic air transportation --- remember the Concorde, anyone? And we have Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos investing in space travel and we're here on Earth we're celebrating a 19-hour non-stop flight as an innovation.