The longest flight in the world

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

Last week’s news featured a new flight from Newark to Singapore, and billed it as the longest flight in the world. At approximately 18+/- hours, it is not easy on the passengers or the crew. A few years back, Joan and I were lucky to go to Africa, and endured a 17 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta. That may have been the toughest stretch of sitting in my life.

There are lots of possibilities to keeping yourself busy. For me, that is very important because I can’t sleep in a plane... regardless of what your doctor may prescribe. I think I watched 5 movies and ate 4 or 5 meals. And yes, I actually ate them. To my surprise, I found the food on our international flight quite good. Not Michelin rated, but as good as most fast causal restaurants that seem to be popping up everywhere.

It’s a little freaky knowing that you're flying for 16 hours over some of the deepest oceans in the world. That made me think of the science of flying. I didn’t think too long and hard about the physics... my head would hurt. But I did think then, and now about the re-emergence of extremely long flights... and wonder the why and how.

The how part has been described as modern technologies ability to create polymers and other materials that are far lighter than the metal and other heavy materials that were once thought most durable. Even the jet engines have lightweight materials that you couldn’t have imagined just 10 years ago.

The why is because the airlines can make money on these long haul runs. In fact, some of the newer long term routes plan to only have business class or better accommodations. In case you’re wondering, that equates to a price tag of $10K or more per person round trip. But lower fuel prices and more efficient flying machines have made this possible.

If traveling to far away places is on your bucket list, what are you waiting for? Book one of these long haul excursions and get ready for a lot of movie watching, eating and stretching your legs. You’ll be there before you know it.