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  • David Slotnick: Back in October,

  • I flew on a nearly 20-hour flight

  • from New York to Sydney with Qantas Airways.

  • But this wasn't your ordinary long-haul trip.

  • There were only 50 people on board

  • because this was a test flight

  • to see how ultra-long flights affect passengers and pilots.

  • But is bringing a flight like this

  • to regular service possible?

  • And would customers even want to be in the air

  • that long without a break?

  • Normally if you're flying from New York to Sydney,

  • you'll have to stop for a layover,

  • which usually adds to jet lag

  • and takes longer than a direct flight.

  • So airlines have been working

  • towards more convenient routes.

  • Qantas Airways recently tested two flights:

  • New York City to Sydney and London to Sydney.

  • At nearly 19 1/2 hours long,

  • they each set the record for the longest passenger flight

  • in the world at the time.

  • The test flights were aboard a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

  • that only had about 40 passengers

  • and 10 crew members on board.

  • Because, technically, these planes

  • couldn't make the distance with a full payload.

  • They would've run out of fuel.

  • Sean Golding: We have two crews, four pilots in total.

  • We'll have a team A and a team B,

  • and we'll be swapping throughout the night

  • to ensure that the pilots get adequate rest.

  • Slotnick: Pilots gave urine samples

  • every four hours to test melatonin levels.

  • They were also outfitted with an activity monitor,

  • a light monitor, and an EEG headset

  • to monitor their alertness.

  • Golding: There's a whole bunch of sensors

  • in behind this strap here

  • that are measuring our brain wave activity.

  • Slotnick: So, obviously, this was no ordinary flight.

  • We were making aviation history.

  • Slotnick: We were flying in business-class seats,

  • but the Qantas team asked us

  • to rotate through the coach cabin

  • to balance out the weight on the plane.

  • So I tried out the coach cabin,

  • but obviously I preferred my business-class seat.

  • We've got about 18 hours and 17 minutes to go.

  • So it's gonna be a slightly shorter flight

  • than the 20 hours that was a possibility.

  • That's really just 'cause the winds are working with us,

  • the way that the captain was able to plan the flight.

  • We're not expecting any bad weather,

  • and that's gonna help us fly just a little bit faster.

  • If this had been a normal long-haul flight,

  • the plane would have stayed on New York time

  • throughout the flight,

  • which typically makes it hard to adjust

  • to a new time zone when you arrive.

  • But on this flight, the plane and its passengers

  • switched to Sydney time right away

  • as part of an experiment to minimize jet lag.

  • Marie Carroll: Everything about the cabin lighting,

  • everything about the food,

  • will be designed either to keep people awake

  • or to induce them to go to sleep.

  • And so we're hoping that

  • they're going to end up getting off the plane

  • and be quite comfortable in Sydney time.

  • Slotnick: Throughout the flight,

  • we had to follow a sleep schedule.

  • But normally passengers wouldn't have had to do this.

  • Right now, the cabin lights are all bright,

  • everybody's walking around taking pictures,

  • and we're really just trying to, you know,

  • power through and stay awake.

  • To keep us from falling asleep,

  • we were encouraged to get up and walk around.

  • I went and checked out the crew quarters,

  • where cabin crew members and pilots

  • can take a nap between their shifts.

  • Then it was time to eat.

  • This is the first meal.

  • This is the one that's a little spicier:

  • chocolate, chilies, peppers.

  • The first meal was light, spicy, and flavorful,

  • helping us stay wide awake.

  • We weren't supposed to have any alcohol

  • because it would make us sleepy.

  • After lunch, we were asked to stay awake

  • for the next four hours until dinner.

  • Some people watched movies,

  • and others chose to keep moving,

  • stretching, squatting, and even dancing.

  • Definitely starting to feel a bit tired.

  • It is 3 o'clock in the morning, New York time.

  • We're about to have our dinner and then after that

  • the whole plane is gonna go to sleep.

  • The flight crew came and put mattress pads

  • on each of the seats.

  • Then it was time for a heavy dinner

  • that would make us want to sleep.

  • At the touch of a button,

  • the business-class seats folded flat into a bed.

  • Then the flight attendants turned off the lights

  • to match Sydney's nighttime.

  • I passed out almost immediately and slept so hard.

  • In the morning, the lights were brought up slowly

  • with a warm glow, copying Sydney's sunrise.

  • Right away, we had breakfast.

  • And before I knew it, we were coming in on Sydney.

  • We landed at 7:43 a.m., 19 hours and 16 minutes

  • after taking off from New York.

  • Even after crossing 15 time zones,

  • I didn't feel jet lagged.

  • And all the other passengers I spoke to felt the same.

  • Qantas hasn't released the pilots' biometric data yet,

  • but the pilots told me they felt great after the flight.

  • 20 hours in the air

  • wasn't as hard on my body as I thought it would be.

  • The new service flow really did help me

  • adjust to Sydney time a lot faster

  • than had I broken up the trip with a stop.

  • But I really think getting up and moving,

  • eating the right food, and sleeping on Sydney time

  • is what made the flight easier.

  • Plus, we got there a lot faster.

  • While I would totally take this flight again,

  • I'll have to wait.

  • Qantas says it won't actually start

  • regular service until 2023.

  • I flew it on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

  • However, Qantas picked the Airbus A350-1000

  • for the future routes.

  • But before Qantas starts flying,

  • it has to convince investors that this'll make money

  • and that passengers would actually wanna take this flight.

  • Then they have to convince regulators

  • that crews can work the long flight safely.

  • Right now, Singapore Airlines holds the record

  • for the longest commercial flight:

  • a 19-hour daily flight

  • from Newark, New Jersey, to Singapore.

  • But with its test flights through Project Sunrise,

  • Qantas is getting closer to flying these routes

  • as regular service and holding the record

  • for the world's longest flight.

  • Alan Joyce: Project Sunrise is our attempt to overcome

  • probably the last frontier in aviation.

  • And that opens up just about every destination

  • in the world we can fly nonstop to.

  • Slotnick: Shortly after my flight,

  • Qantas flew another successful test flight

  • from London to Sydney.

  • It came in at 19 hours and 19 minutes,

  • setting another record for the world's longest flight.

  • But Qantas' CEO said that's not what it's about.

  • Joyce: We're not aiming to have

  • the title of the world's longest flight.

  • For us, it's about having

  • the world's most convenient flights, to avoid stopovers,

  • and that's what we're aiming for.

David Slotnick: Back in October,

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測試世界上最長的飛行是什麼感覺? (What It's Like To Test The World's Longest Flight)

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    Courtney Shih 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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