What a 19-Hour Nonstop Flight Can Teach Us About Jet Lag | WSJ

What a 19-Hour Nonstop Flight Can Teach Us About Jet Lag | WSJ


(engines whirring) – Singapore to Newark, Auckland to Doha, Perth to London, the three longest flights
in the world, for now. I’m here at New York’s JFK Airport about to board a nonstop
flight to Sydney, Australia. It’s one of three research
flights being run by Qantas. The others will be from London to Sydney and a second from New York to Sydney. This is really groundbreaking. Biological studies on passengers and crew haven’t really been done
like this ever before. They’re testing passengers and pilots with the aim of learning
more about alertness on ultra-long flights as well
as wellbeing and jet lag. To do that, 49 people,
made up of Qantas crew, a small media contingent,
and six game Frequent Flyers will take the nearly
19-and-a-half-hour journey and be tested in-route. (pleasant orchestral music) So, Marie, tell us exactly what you’ll be monitoring on the flight with the six passengers
that you’ll be tracking. – They’re monitoring their sleep, their mood or state of
mind, and what they eat. As soon as they get on the plane, we’re trying to get them
to live Sydney time. What they’ll notice in the cabin is a very different schedule from what most long-distance
schedules in the cabin are. Normally, you get on, you get a big meal, and then the lights go out. This time, it’s gonna be all-go. Lights will stay on for about six hours. Our passengers will be
asked to do exercise and do their logging and everything, but the most important
thing is to stay awake during the six hours of light. – So what do you hope to get out of this? What do you want to accomplish? – Ultimately, we hope for
personalized jet lag solutions. What we’d like to be able to say is you’re going to Rome, Italy. Here’s the schedule of
what you should be doing as soon as you get onboard, but in the medium-term
or the shorter-term, we’re just trying to enhance the wellbeing of passengers’ health
and comfort in the air on these probably increasingly-frequent long-haul flights that people will do. – At the end of the
day, Qantas is weighing whether to make this route
a commercial reality. The final decision, which
depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals,
and labor agreements, is expected by the end of the year. So, Alan, tell us why you wanna do this. Is there significant demand
for New York to Sydney nonstop, London to Sydney nonstop? Is there enough traffic to support a daily,
regular nonstop flight? – We believe there is, and actually, one of the advantages
of putting on a nonstop is you also stimulate the market, so actually today, we
have a flight that flies from L.A. to New York
every day, and we fill it, and they’re only traffic
coming from Australia, so we know if we put a direct flight from Sydney into New York,
Melbourne into New York, we’ll absolutely fill it. Between Melbourne and Sydney and London, there’s more than enough
for daily service each day. The question has always been
can you do it economically. – Enjoy your flight.
(group chattering) – Thank you.
– You’re welcome. (pleasant electronic music)
(group chattering) – And here we go!
(engines rumbling) 19 hours nonstop, New York to Sydney. (pleasant electronic music) Two teams are leading
the in-flight research. Professor Carroll is
running passenger studies by personalizing the flight experience, allocated times for activities. – Five. Not very hard, really easy. – [Scott] Reaction time
tests, and meal design. (pleasant electronic music) Meanwhile, a separate team
is studying pilot alertness with cockpit cameras and EEG monitors, and they’ll be measuring
melatonin levels in urine samples to determine body clock patterns. – [Pilot] 19 hours and five minutes later, we should be touching down in Sydney. – I’ve set my watch ahead to Sydney time, 12:47 tomorrow. First course, spicy
tomato and saffron soup. The idea is to both keep you
hydrated and keep you awake. (engine humming)
(muffled group chattering) And the lights in the cabin
go dark to encourage sleep. It’s 3:30 in the morning, Sydney time. We’ve still got four hours to go. Most everyone on the
plane is still asleep. I’ve in-and-out sleeping. It has been dark outside
the entire flight. It’s as if we’re chasing darkness. (pleasant electronic music) We have a little bit more
than two hours to go, and we’ve finally found the sunrise. (pleasant electronic music) – [Pilot] Welcome to Australia. The local time here in Sydney is 7:43 a.m. (engine humming)
(pleasant electronic music) (group chattering) – So here I am at Sydney Airport after more than 19 hours
nonstop from New York, and I feel surprisingly great, and it really does surprise me, because I usually don’t
sleep well on airplanes, but this was a different thing and a different thing
for many of the travelers who took part in the test. This was not just about passengers doing the Macarena in
aisles of the airplane. There was serious
research that was going on that’s going to impact
the future of air travel. We’re all gonna be on flights
that are longer and longer, and there are real health
concerns with that. The research that Qantas is doing will go a long way to improve
travels around the world. (pleasant orchestral music)

100 thoughts on “What a 19-Hour Nonstop Flight Can Teach Us About Jet Lag | WSJ

  1. To be honest, I do not see the big deal here about long duration flights. There have been B-52 and B-2 flights that have lasted greater than 30 hours non stop, and in a lot smaller space. It also does not have any of the amenities that a large passenger plane would have.

  2. Wait isn't Jetlag the time difference problem? A 50 hour flight but if you land back on your own timezone isn't gonna give you Jetlag.

    You'll be sleep deprived from bad sleep but that's not really jet lag. I'm confused.

    Unless for some reason the flight switches timezone mid flight which is kinda stupid.

  3. You better give everybody a big seat that reclines! I'm not flying 19 hours with a seat of only 17 inches clearance to the seat in front of me!

  4. For crew , better operate one up and down in 90 days. Bad health effects if you cross this limit .extra money but health is wealth.

  5. Imagine how would the crew will feel for working 19hours in the flight. Ofcourse they will rest in flight but it will be difficult to work. They will probably need 5 days to rest after the flight.

  6. You felt fine because you only had 50 people on board and no screaming babies 馃懚 – interesting study nonetheless! 馃憣 鉁堬笍

  7. So basically was they are saying is that they are invading our privacy and even what we eat or how much we eat is also their business. OMG what is this world becoming?!

  8. This wont work well without redesigning the interior plane that support this kind of healthy pattern. No matter if they come up with beatiful inflight scheduling

  9. Basically on non-stop flights to Tokyo, I do not sleep at all. If I do not work on my jet lag it takes me a month to convert to Tokyo time. If I work on it I can be significantly better in one week. 1st I begin taking melatonin coinciding with the new time, a few days before the flight. We arrive late in the day, and being sleep deprived, I manage to sleep the first night. It is extra helpful to sleep in a room with a temperature below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. During the day for at least the first week, I wake when the sun goes up and get outside. Exercise really helps especially exercise in daylight. Of course I continue taking melatonin. Reading before going to bed also helps. Alcohol, especially before going to bed does not help at all. Caffeine or caffeinated drinks, several hours before bedtime, do not help. Do not take naps unless that was what you were used to before. If you feel the need, it is better to get outside and go for a walk.

  10. I remember in the Army getting deployed. We flew out of Biggs Airfield. We take off to Maine then to Kuwait where we arrive at 0 hr. bus to camp Buring. by 6 AM we get breakfast go to the PX back to the tent and crash out till about 6 PM eat dinner crash out that night up by 6 AM. Jet lag cured.
    When I came home I almost thought I was going to die of jet lag.

  11. The longest flight I've been was from Abu Dhabi to Chicago for 11 hours in Economy Class.. Felt sick 馃ぎ and took me 1 week to recover from Jetlag.

    This guy was in business class..

  12. Whenever they do these type of videos, they always do it from a business class seat! Like dude, anybody can do a 19 hour flight when you're laying in luxury and being served premium meals…….show us this in Economy so we'll really see what jetlag is!

  13. I am so proud of our national airline, Qantas. The most profitable airline in the world. The oldest commercial airline in the world (100 years in 2020). The only airline in the world to have never crashed an aircraft and now it will be the first airline in the world to fly 20 hours non-stop without destroying passengers or aircrew.
    It pays its cabin crew and pilots really well, it still does its heavy maintenence after a disasterous experiment with the Phillippines a few years ago.
    So we Australian who fly to the US, Canada and direct to Chile regularly, 14+ hours anyway, 20 is just a bit more. But for those with a bit of time, a stop in Hawaii or New Zealand is always nice. I'd much prefer that.

  14. Lol if you鈥檙e flying business in a ultra long haul flight of course you鈥檒l feel 鈥渟urprisingly鈥 better.

    I鈥檇 like to see the data comparison between different clasrs

  15. I鈥檝e gone to CDG (paris) from ORD (Chicago) and it was a 9hr flight, WITH 2 CRYING BABY TWINS馃槅

    Gifting my next 50 active subs馃憖

  16. The fact that they are in business class already makes a huge difference to your well being when you arrive at your destination

  17. What a horrible …dreadful idea. In first class maybe. I don't know what business class is??? In coach…NFW.

  18. Please do this Qantas!! I will definitely buy a ticket and so will all these people! I know you're reading this because it's already super popular!! See??

  19. I have flown from NY to Dubai 14 hrs, so what鈥檚 the big deal adding 5 more hours to the aircraft which is already design to fly longer than 19 hrs. Since airlines not gonna wait to see the last drop from the fuel tank, there always left in the tank.

  20. Great Marketing @Qantas….We鈥檒l all feel fresh flying business. I鈥檒l be very surprised if this route gets commercialized!

  21. Uhh, I flew longer in 2017 when a bunch of countries suddenly closed their airspace to Qatar Air. It didn't seem like such a big deal to me.

  22. Was just wondering how mw many business seats could the cabin take if it was set in one business class. The 787 takes 285 economy, Why not to set the whole cabine in something like 150 business seats and sell the tickets a bit more expensive as the passengers will save time.. Just saying, come on Qantas, be the first airlines to do that..

  23. They should do a different research in terms of how it will be for economy class – limited space, bad food and sometimes crying kids.

  24. Make sure to cramp the plane with real passengers with low legroom and see how they really react to each other with their individual health and comfort as well discomfort.

  25. I鈥檝e done quite a few long distance flights from Asia to Europe. I鈥檓 ready to jump out of the plane after the 10th hour 馃槀

  26. I could never sleep on a plane. Seats too uncomfortable. Did a trip from la to korea. Looked at all inflight movies and listened to music tracks..even the ones not in english. Just sucked. And this was three days after 911.

  27. If this is a huge are stress on humans, then I can't imagine the plan to take humans to Mars on a 2 month journey by 2030. SpaceX you better start test flights to and fro from Moon..

  28. I could sense this is sponsored by Qantas flexing their Business Class suite has the capacity to reduce jetlag on wealthier passengers.

  29. I have regularly taken 14 hour flights from Toronto to qatar and uae in economy class . Its not that bad . Another 5 hour is doable

  30. In the end, Qantas may just end up with the 777-8. That plane, when equipped with Business and Premium Economy seating only (limiting the load to 250 passengers), could make the flight between London and Sydney non-stop possible.

  31. imagined sitting for 19 hours in economy class……nothing to learn but Pain in the ..s. I flew Singapore Airline from SFO Nonstop to SIN for 16 hours sitting in Premium Economy and it was brutal. I will never ever fly nonstop more than 11 hours period unless you are flying business class or higher.

  32. In my career in the Military I have flown to the Far East, and Europe many times and to the Middle East once. Jet Lag? We had no time for jet lag; once we deplaned and transported to our assembly area we got down to the business we came for.
    As for our transportation for our trip, if it was Military we Sardine packed. If it was commercial charter the seating was no leg room for anyone over 5 foot 10 inch. Sleep in flight was the recommended way to pass the time because we would be up and on duty for up to thirty hours after arrival. The longest flight was 23 hours from the West coast USA to Vietnam with two refueling stops and no deplaning, no walking about on board.
    Ah! To have the luxury of jet lag.

  33. Wow this was on business class no wonder why he felt so fantastic
    why do people do research like this it鈥檚 completely false

  34. Any other avgeeks thinking about the crew and the craft itself? Like poor engines! I know they鈥檝e been tested to run this long and this is the practical test with a marginal load, but still!

  35. These long haul flights should have premium economy seatings as its cheapest options. 19 hours is torture in an economy seating.

  36. Why is 19 hours such a big deal, I fly 14 hours all the time… a few drinks and a couple of movies plues a nap and I'm there. I don't think 5 additional hours is going to make a difference. Company usually pays for business for long flights, I guess its a different story if you fly in the back.

  37. They couldn't find a gate on arrival?! Sad. Nobody wants to end their mammoth trip by being forced to use the stairs.

  38. Do y鈥檃ll realize the end of decade is in almost 3 months…so much has gone down and shaped us the way we are today

  39. Not true, it still depends on how comfortable is your seat. If you're on business & first, of course the difference may not be significant. However, if you're in economy, I don't think so

  40. pffff….as soon as Boom Aircrafts come out with their supersonic plane in 5 years, this wont matter anymore….

  41. I do understand everyone's comments that it must be relatively easy to handle 19 hours in business or first class, but I will say I am always amazed that a two engine plane (the Boeing 787-9) can do that

  42. What would Claustrophobic do in this situation?? 19 hours in a tube space about <————-> that long..?? I can only imagine… 馃槥馃槥馃槥

  43. I refuse to fly Qantas since 2011 when Alan Joyce shutdown the airline to try to force Qantas pilots onto Jetstar contracts. His action left me stranded in Tasmania when I was travelling home to Perth. Not to mention his obscene $24 million dollars salary he just received

  44. come on Aussis… go and buy the A350-1000IGW for these flights, an A350k looks stunning in Qantas livery

  45. Did the 19.5 hour flight from Singapore to New York. Can鈥檛 complain because it was business class and the service was amazing. Also, the SIA seats are much better than the Qantas ones. 馃槄

  46. Longer and longer? BS, there is a point where you cant go any further before you start coming back. Just go the other way and you will get ther faster. I believe is somewhere between 20 and 21 hrs of flight, depending on winds aloft. Anything longer than that is just pointless. Take the opposite direction and it will be a shorter distance.

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