Coming soon, 20-Hour airline flights to far away places

If you like the comfort of six-hour transcontinental airline flights today with 250 strangers, you’re going to love what Qantas has in mind for you.

Mind-boggling 20-hour nonstop flights between New York or London and Sydney.

As part of the business turnaround for Australia’s national airline, it is currently pitting Boeing against Airbus for the unique long-distance aircraft that can handle 300 paying passengers for the 17,000-mile flight between Down Under and Gotham.

Or the 16,000-mile jaunt to London. Please set your watches for 14 hours ago yesterday.

Qantas hopes to have the aircraft and regulatory approvals in place for takeoffs starting in 2022. “We’re now comfortable that we think we have vehicles that could do it,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

As you might imagine, the new Boeing 777X’s or Airbus 350’s will not be configured like your standard knee-bruising Southwest 737’s. There could be bars, sit-down eateries, sleeping modules with entertainment options, perhaps even workout areas.

Joyce added:

We’re challenging ourselves to think outside the box. Would you have the space used for other activities, exercise, bar, creche, sleeping areas and berths? Boeing and Airbus have been actually quite creative in coming up with ideas.

Of course, as with today’s 16-hour marathon flights, the new aircraft will also require bunks for a second flight crew to keep both fresh — one to operate the long middle stretches and another to handle takeoffs, early and late flight legs, then landings.

Qantas is not alone in going after the long-range market. Next month Singapore Airlines is scheduled to launch its non-stop 19-hour flights to New York using an Airbus A350-900. Qatar Airways already operates a Doha-Auckland route that’s currently the world’s longest.

Quite a change from the mid-1930’s when air travel between Australia and London took almost 13 days with 30 stops in “luxury” flying boats.

No word yet on mortgage arrangements to finance the 2022 tickets.