World’s longest flight departs Singapore for New York

Passengers of flight SQ22, Singapore Airlines’ inaugural non-stop flight to New York check-in at Changi International Airport in Singapore. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
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World’s longest flight departs Singapore for New York

  • Two pilots, a special wellness menu and more than seven weeks’ worth of film and television entertainment accompany the travelers on the 16,700-kilometer journey to the Big Apple
  • For passengers, the challenge will be what to do with all that down time when they’re up in the air

SINGAPORE: The world’s longest commercial flight took off from Singapore on Thursday, with excited and apprehensive passengers on board settling in for a marathon 19 hours in the air to New York.
A spokeswoman for Singapore Airlines told AFP that Flight SQ22 departed at approximately 11:35pm (1535 GMT) with 150 passengers and 17 crew on board.
Two pilots, a special “wellness” menu and more than seven weeks’ worth of film and television entertainment accompany the travelers on the 16,700-kilometer (10,400-mile) journey to the Big Apple.
The long-range Airbus A350-900ULR is configured to carry up to 161 passengers — 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy, with no regular economy seats available.
For the flight crew — which also includes two first officers and a 13-strong cabin contingent — the workload will be broken up, the airline said, with each pilot having a minimum eight hours’ rest during the flight.
But for passengers, the challenge will be what to do with all that down time when they’re up in the air.
For those not packing a weighty novel (or two), there will be 1,200 hours of audio-visual entertainment to choose from.
Dining options will include dishes the airline says have been selected to promote well-being in the skies, with organic offerings on the menu.
Passenger Peggy Ang, 52, said before the flight that she felt “apprehensive because I’m not sure what would I do in 18.5 hours” inside the plane.
“Now that you asked me, I’m a little bit worried. I’m thinking of sleeping, watching TV, doing my work,” she told reporters after checking in at Changi Airport for the flight.
“I have a lot of notes to read, hopefully I can sleep well,” said Ang, a membership director of an IT services firm.


Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

Updated 20 October 2018
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Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

  • Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the planet

TOKYO: European and Japanese space agencies say an Ariane 5 rocket has successfully lifted a spacecraft into orbit for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.
The European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency say the BepiColombo spacecraft successfully separated and was sent into orbit from French Guiana early Saturday to begin a seven-year journey to Mercury.
The mission is complicated by the intense gravity pull of the sun, forcing the spacecraft to take an elliptical path that involves two fly-bys of Venus and six of Mercury itself.
Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury.