The prestige of having the longest flights is possibly fading. United is cancelling its Los Angeles – Singapore flight after just one year. Among long flights some stand out. Qatar Airways is Doing – Aukland, Singapore Airlines is planning for a 19 hour flight Singapore – New York and Qantas has a flight Perth – London, considering also an even longer Sidney – London. Realizing that ultra-long flights might not be so popular after all – a lot of people find cutting up the trip in more manageable bits with one or two stop-overs might be more fun and also healthier, Qantas, among others, are looking into how the problem of 3/4 of a full day might affect the passengers.
In an effort to ease the pain of just sitting there, plans are to adapt meal service with consideration to local time at the destination. There might be ingredients in the food to make people sleep better (hopefully you will given the choice), and cabin lights will be adjusted according to the time at the arrival time zone. There are plans to put sensors on passengers (again, hopefully, volunteers) to see how they fare during all those long hours.
Clever passengers will be very interested in how the companies – while pampering the traveling public – plan to care for the crew, i.e. how they man the flight. If they are lucky a responsible pilots union and cabin attendants union will be a guarantee that cost-cutting – the modern plague affecting the airline industry and its safety standard, brought on by the advent of low -cost carriers – will not be allowed to impair flight safety.
On that subject it is worth mentioning that reality and modern employer-employee relationships are finally catching up with the airlines black sheep when it comes to not understanding. Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, finally had to realize that union building effort cannot be fought against forever. The number of pilots, who were willing to risk their jobs just to stand up for their rights, finally reached a critical mass, and he now has his first strike on his hands. Most likely his airline will be a shade safer, once things settle.