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Quantas to test 19-hour flights from New York and London to Sydney

August 23, 2019 - 6:04 pm
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(NEW YORK) -- Some travelers start a long book, binge-watch movies or series, or even do their best thinking on long flights.

Now, they may be able to do all those things -- and more -- on a single flight.

Quantas has announced that it is launching what it calls an "ultra-long-haul research flights" that will collect information about how passengers respond when they're in the air for upward of 19 hours.

The flights, which will travel from Australia to New York or London, will start as controlled research programs, with the goal being to make long-haul flights safe for regular travel.

Quantas will be start with three test flights, occurring in October, November and December, with the first flight from New York to Sydney being a landmark one for that route.

The flight from London to Sydney will be the second time such a route was traveled directly, according to a news release from Quantas.

"Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and well-being of passengers and crew. These flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in the news release.

These first three flights will be different from other commercial flights in more ways than just the length.

The 787-9 planes will only have up to 40 people on board, and most of them will have ties to Quantas. They will either be working as crew members or as other employees who are taking part in the test flights as part of the company's research.

The company's news release, released Thursday, says those on board will be wearing devices to record various health-related levels throughout the flight. They'll also be asked to "take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the approximately 19 hour flights," the release states.

One of the concerns with long flights is the threat of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, potentially fatal blood clots can occur when individuals sit still for long periods of time, such as when they are confined to one seat on a long flight.

The CDC advises that moving legs frequently during long flights and exercising one's calf muscles will help to improve blood flow.

Researchers from Australia's Monash University will be tracking the melatonin levels and brain wave patterns for crew members during the flights, the Quantas news release states.

The goal is to make the company's initiative, called "Project Sunrise," a reality and allow customers an option of flying directly from the east coast of Australia to either New York or London directly.

"There’s plenty of enthusiasm for Sunrise, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. This is ultimately a business decision and the economics have to stack up," Joyce said in the statement, which noted that a final decision on the viability of the project is expected in December 2019.

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