NO MORE hanging out by the toilets to swing your legs on lengthy plane journeys.
Qantas is planning to remove a number of plane seats to allow for “move and stretch” zones, as it looks at incorporating more ultra-long haul flights to its roster.
Australia’s national carrier is preparing to launch its second ultra-long haul research flight as part of Project Sunrise, which is studying ways to combat jet lag for those on-board.
The first flight in the three-part series connected New York and Sydney non-stop last month – and on Friday, a 787 Dreamliner will make the estimated 19 and a half-hour journey from London to Sydney, carrying just 52 passengers and crew.
It’s just the second time in history the route has been flown by a commercial airline, with the first time being in 1989.
The flight is actually 930 miles further than New York to Sydney, but is shorter due to prevailing tailwinds.
Ahead of the flight, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce explained that to make the non-stop journeys a reality within the next few years, the airline is looking at ways to redesign cabins and improve comfort to make the long stretches in the sky more manageable.
He said: “We know that travellers want room to move on these direct flights, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well.
“So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”
Passengers will board at 6am London time and be offered high GI supper options like a steak sandwich or chicken broth with macaroni, followed by a milk-based pannacotta dessert.
During Friday’s research flight, the impact of the lengthy trip on Qantas’ crew will also be under the microscope.
Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device to track brain wave patterns, while three Go-Pro cameras will be placed in the cockpit to monitor alertness.
A final decision on whether the ultra-long haul flights will become a commercial reality is expected by the end of the year, with the service potentially launching by 2022.
Since Qantas launched their non-stop Perth to London flight last March, 250,000 people have taken the 17-hour route.
The Perth to London route, going against the wind (which takes longer), took around 17 hours and 15 minutes – although the schedule time is 16 hours and 45 minutes.
The Sun Travel’s Jacob Lewis, who was on the inaugural flight, said the entire journey was in total darkness due to the timing of the flight.
He added: “The route is not only the UK’s longest, but also holds the depressing honour of being the world’s longest flight without daylight.”
Jacob explained that while it was certainly a faster route, it felt like an “endurance test” due to the cramped conditions and two meals.
The food, designed especially by nutrition boffins at the University of Sydney, “was painfully bland but meant to help keep you hydrated” according to Jacob.
The longest flights in the world
1. Newark to Singapore, Singapore Airlines: 9,534m (18 hours 45 mins)
2. Auckland to Doha, Qatar Airways: 9,032m (18 hours 20 mins)
3. Perth to London, Qantas: 9,009m (17 hours 20 mins)
4. Auckland to Dubai, Emirates: 8,824m (17 hours 15 mins)
5. Los Angeles to Singapore, Singapore Airlines: 8,770m (17 hours 50 mins)
6. Houston to Sydney, United Airlines: 8,596m (17 hours 30 mins)
7. Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney, Qantas: 8,578m (17 hours 10 mins)
8. New York to Manila, Philippine Airlines: 8,520m (16 hours 30 mins)
9. San Francisco to Singapore, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines: 8,447m (17 hours 35 mins)
10. Johannesburg to Atlanta, Delta Air Lines: 8,439m (16 hours 55 mins)
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There was also no WiFi, although the Dreamliner aircraft that he flew on was a quieter plane than most, reducing the loud noises of the engines.
The Perth to London route was also more expensive than a route with a layover.
This article was originally published on news.com.au and has been reproduced with permission.