(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)

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

  1. Having done lot of 15-16 hour trips in economy from middle east to Lax, I don't mind another 3/4 hours. Anyday better than off boarding, security chex, waiting at airport, and finally onboarding again.

  2. I live in Sydney and Ive been waiting for a direct flight to NYC. I cant Stand 12hr flight from Syd to LA then another 6 hours from LA to NYC… its exhausting escpecially how confusing LAX is.

  3. The results can be slightly misleading. Why? the 19 travelers are occupying in a 200+ capacity plane with empty seats. The full cabin creates a logistical issue for exercising, walking around or just standing in the aisles or near the kitchen. I think the A380 can be more suitable for this. Passengers can walk in a circle on the two decks. Of course not together.

  4. I have completely eliminated the 'jet lag' problem at least for myself. I have been flying internationally since 1980 These days I regularly fly between Asia, USA and the UK. I am not sure that the exhaustion is due to time differencies.
    Try sitting up at home in an uncomfortable chair unable to move your legs and often told you cannot get out of your seat, for 10 hours. You might experience the same 'jet lag' symptoms after that, in fact it would be almost torture to try it.
    I found that a lot of the problem was due to lack of sleep. A USA to Asia trip can mean being up or on the plane over 30 hours. Try going without proper sleep for 24 hours or more, even a moderate 5 hour flight means being awake and busy before and after the flight, and getting tired even without the flight
    A luxury solution I have these days is to be able to take an afternoon nap. This puts me into two 12 hour cycles instead of one 24 hour cycle. When I get to the US which is about 12 hour out from Asia, I just extend the nap to become the night sleep and reduce the what was the night sleep to a nap.
    Another luxury solution is I refuse now to fly economy any longer than a couple of hours. The lay flat business class seats are lovely. I enjoy the pampering by the service to but it isn't why I fly business its being able to sleep properly.
    That is how I can arrive after a flight and not feel any problems at all.

  5. New York to Nairobi Kenya 14.50
    Hours I did for times it’s little bit hard. If you are in first class it’s easy but in the middle class with no space that sucks

  6. That looks really interesting.
    What about the return flight, with inverted timezone change? Is the schedule also the same, 6h awake than sleep?

  7. Pay me as an economy passenger and I’ll be your studies, which will reflect reality, representing 90% of passengers.

  8. Need i state the obvious.. If people will loose their minds and body over a scant 19-20 hour flight, how on earth will anyone deal with a 9 month or more trip to Mars.

  9. 19 hours 16 minutes is very long but there are already non stop flight over 17 hours and from what I heard about this flight is that only had 17 minutes of fuel remaining. The plane also had only a handful of passengers and no baggage so this flight will not be possible with a normal weighted airplane. Still an amazing achievement.

  10. Do they have a way of stowing obstreperous young-uns with the baggage? Or have a minimum age requirement? For unruly adult passengers, do they fit them with 'chutes and maybe slip them out a discharge port? Hypodermic sedative, anyone? Just asking.


  12. 2019: We want to see the potentially damaging health effects of traveling all the way across the world in just 19 hours…

    People from the past when it took > 2 months to sail the Atlantic: Hold my beer

  13. Humans were never meant to hang in the air for that long and indulge in a punishing amount of cosmic radiation…the effects that won't be felt for years

  14. Cool!
    Big things are: cabin pressure, home (mathematical average bi-monthly elevation saturation) (Above Sea Level) ASL, and destination elevation ASL. The first couple days are generically spoken to be the down, with a typical rapid recovery and elevation acclimation…
    just sayin’

  15. I’m sorry but if I’ve paid the thousands of dollars to get this flight the last thing I want is for someone to be telling me when I eat what I eat and then it’s time for exercises, no thanks.

  16. I can’t help but think this is a bit of a publicity stunt. If Qantas REALLY wanted to find out the effects on passengers, they’d have crammed in hundreds of people in economy – 9 abreast, with a seat reclined in peoples’ faces. That’s the true reality of long haul travel.

  17. There is no point doing a test like this with Business & First class instead they should check the passengers flying economy for long hours.

  18. longest i did was almost a 16 h flight , economy . in the way back i managed a first row seat with pleasant passengers next to me . but yet , you eat , sleep , wake up , watch 2 movies, eat again …then you still have 6 hours to go . its not fun at all ….oh and i read a whole freaking novel in between . never again ..

  19. those people are talking about the economy class, I have the only thing to say them "PEOPLE'S THIS IS NOT THE ECONOMY CHANNEL TO WATCH THIS IS "WALL STREET JOURNAL", and the name itself says MONEY, so why they fly in economy ask a question by yourself"

  20. Customers used to get free alcoholic drink every time you passed into a new time zone. By the time the plane landed the only sober people where the pilot and copilot. Mean hangover.

  21. I think they better tidy economy class passengers, it is nearly irrelevant for most people if they study business class passengers

  22. Wow so if you have a close to 24h flight, then you don't have jetlag? That is mindblowing. It should hail nobel prizes for that!

  23. Maybe flying through edge of space, or a super sonic flight , but cruising at subsonic speed medium altitude in economy ! With screaming kids upgrade ,must be hallucinations

  24. Showing up for a 19 hour flight in a suit – really ??? This whole exercise smacks more of a Quantas marketing stunt.

  25. Did they have people in economy sitting in a couple rows adjusting the seats, trying to go to the bathroom while having 2 people asleep blocking the row but don’t want to wake them up?

  26. In business seat who doesn’t sleep? Take the 3x3x3 seat configuration in this 787 and everyone will have great sleep time (I’m being sarcastic). At least should be an A350

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