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Ultra-long haul flights – How long is too long?

We’re off to the UK tonight, on our first of many trips overseas this year. While working out our sleep routine, in order for us to hit the ground running, we were reminded of Qantas’ announcement last month to fly non-stop from Perth to London.

A drop in oil prices is not the only thing fueling the rife competition for airlines to fly passengers on the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight. The introduction of efficient, ultra-long range aircraft has allowed airlines like Emirates and their Boeing 777-200LR to fly non-stop from Dubai to Auckland daily, covering a massive 14,200 km (8,823 miles) during approximately 18 hours. Other airlines have begun announcing plans of launching flight sectors such as Doha to Santiago and Singapore to New Jersey.

If the thought a minimum 16-hour flight makes you sleepy, spare a thought for the crew who’s job it is to get you to your destination safely. Although airlines are doing what they can to mitigate the risk of fatigue (such as using two full sets of crew), being awake for long periods of time, crossing multiple time zones and have a disrupted circadian rhythm can all contribute significantly to fatigue.

Please comment and tell us what excites (or scares) you the most about these sorts of ultra-long range flights.

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