Catch me if you can! Singapore Airlines’ non-stop flight between Singapore and New York is the longest scheduled flight in the world. We extended it to a round-the-world flight. Surprisingly, we didn’t suffer from jet lag. We were probably going too fast…
April 17th, shortly after 1 a.m., my project SQ 22 SQ 37 SQ 25 aka “Flight Around The World” starts. The SIA Airbus to Singapore takes off from Munich and a kind of “time travel” begins. The route takes me via Turkey, Iraq, Iran, India and Sumatra. I make myself comfortable and check the entertainment program. Very extensive, with many current movies.
SQ 327 | Flight around the world, first leg: 10,643 kilometers. 11:37 hours
Shortly after the start, a glass of champagne and beef and chicken satay, followed by the lemon pepper prawns ordered in advance via “book a cook”. I also treat myself to a Château Rahoul 2013. Then it’s time to read the paper, watch a movie on the big screen – and drink lots of water. The rule of thumb for long-haul flights is half a liter of water per hour.
After nearly seven hours in the air, fatigue sets in, even though it is only 8 p.m. German time. In two easy steps, the business seat becomes a bed, 72 centimeters wide and two meters long. I do not wake up again until breakfast. I am greeted with Dim Sum and a dramatic sunrise over the Andaman Sea. We land in Singapore shortly after 7 a.m.
SQ 22 | Between Pool and Jewel Changi
After the speedy immigration process, I head to the Crowne Plaza Changi Hotel, where I have reserved a room for six hours. Time for some exercise and fresh air. After checking in, I head to the 30-meter outdoor pool.
Accompanied by the sound of planes taking off, I swim 35 laps. Then, at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. German time), I take a shower and go to bed to catch up on sleep. Six hours later, the alarm goes off. Time for a tour of the Jewel Changi.
The 40-meter waterfall is spectacular. So are the crowds. Then it’s time to march to the gate – SQ22, the world’s longest scheduled flight, is about to take off. On to the second leg of the round-the-world project.
SQ 22 | Flight around the world, leg 2: 16,551 kilometers. 17:41 hours
Five minutes before midnight, the Airbus A350-900 ULR takes off with 165,000 liters of fuel in its tanks. The world’s longest scheduled flight, flight number SQ 22, is scheduled to last 18 hours, during which passengers will be seated in 67 new-generation Business Class and 94 Premium Economy seats with more privacy and legroom.
As we are flying east, an endless night of almost 18 hours awaits us. We will be in the air for a total of 17 hours and 36 minutes from midnight on April 18, but the clock in New York will only show 5 hours and 44 minutes later when we land in Newark on April 18. What happened to the remaining 11 hours and 52 minutes? Lost? Or gained? Am I now younger than I should be?
The SQ 22 Question: Food! Again? And what?
When eating on a long-haul flight as SQ 22, choose light foods such as poultry or fish instead of heavy foods that cause too much blood to flow to the stomach. And avoid cabbage, broccoli, beans, and cauliflower. Like highly carbonated beverages, they cause gas and abdominal cramps, which are exacerbated by the lower cabin pressure.
What does your biological clock say? Is it morning or evening? I have no idea. I follow Chief Steward Alex Koh’s recommendation and opt for Sate, Tiger Beer and order a couple of bottles of water for the “mid flight dinner”.
For my well-being, I try to drink half a liter of water per hour of flight. This requires a kind of pressurized refueling with 2.5 liters after the five hours of sleep. This prevents thrombosis: you’re constantly running to the on-board toilet and queuing there for quite a long time. There seem to be a few other eager water drinkers.
SQ 22 | Hudson Bay in Sight!
After eleven hours, we cross the Bering Strait and St. Lawrence Island. Now we have just under two hours of daylight. Snow and ice glisten below us. We continue across Alaska and Canada, past Hudson Bay and straight to New York, where the world’s longest commercial flight, SQ 22, will end.
SQ 22 lands at Newark Liberty Airport at 5:39 a.m., after exactly 17 hours and 41 minutes in the air. Time for a breather at the Moxy Chelsea, then it’s on to John F. Kennedy Airport.
SQ 25 | Flight around the world, leg 4: 6,188 kilometers. 6:40 hours
Hardly worth mentioning, this short hop across the Atlantic. By the time you’ve finished dinner and enjoyed two glasses of Bordeaux, the flight is almost half over. Time to sleep. My flight around the world comes to an end after 33,382 kilometers and 35 hours 58 minutes in the air.
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