What it’s like to live in the economy on 20-hour Qantas flights

Speaking of which – Kikiki Mahina a CNN travel series featuring some of the most exciting topics in the travel world. In June, we take to the skies to check out the latest in aircraft, with people working to change the way we fly.

(CNN) – The longest flight in the world: no rest, 20 hours, while you sit in your spacious lounge and decide if you want to relax with the best Champagne, enjoy a meal prepared by the chef with a companion sitting in front of you, or to get workers to do yours. beautiful soft bed with new clothes.

That’s what’s on offer for the first six passengers on Qantas ’Project Sunrise flying directly to Sydney from London and New York starting three years from now, and they can expect pay the best half of the five points for it.

What about the 140 of the economy class sitting behind the 12 Airbus A350-1000s ordered by the airline to do the service?

Qantas did not say. “We don’t have any updates right now but we want to keep you up, and share again when we get it,” a spokesman told us.

We do know, however, that Qantas is developing a Wellbeing Zone, which is about one of the galley bowls where you can relax, maybe do some yoga poses, and just stand. perhaps for some time.

And, of course, Qantas will make every effort to have movies and TV shows for you to enjoy with the latest inflight screens, as well as food and drink designed for your health at all. long flight.

But it probably is.

Ian Petchenik, host of the aviation podcast, told CNN “while there has been a lot of attention to Qantas’ first stage for Project Sunrise, I think the real difference for the passengers behind the plane will be to soft.product.

“You can upgrade to a very professional nine-abreast seat, so finding ways to make a 20-hour flight in one of those comfortable seats is as low as possible. and to Qantas to provide those vehicles. “

I am a professional aviation historian with more than a decade in depth with all sorts of people on airplanes, aircraft builders, designers, and residents considering applications. Measurement of every inch of the plane. And since Qantas doesn’t talk, here are my professional translations of what will be offered on board.

First of all, no real rebel has much in common. It won’t take three years until 2025 to get on the plane, there will be more seats. If Qantas doesn’t plan some kind of big bunk display – which requires a lot of safety verification work – riders will be seen in standard seats.

The knees and thighs

The A350 is one of the most comfortable economy options.

The A350 is one of the most comfortable economy options.

WENDELL TEODORO / AFP and Getty Images

Going back to the basics, the comfort levels of economy class chairs depend on the type of seating, pitch and width.

In terms of lifestyle, Qantas can be expected to get the best economy class seats on the market from advanced design and engineering companies, such as Recaro or Collins Aerospace.

These are called full -length chairs, with comfortable training seats covered by special fabric, a large seating area, a large head rest, under footrests, and in the case of Qantas a foot hammock. a little.

In recent years, designers and engineers have worked so hard on the back and bases of airplane seats that they give more time to the occupant – even more so. many of their knees and thighs.

They figured out how to make the cushioned bottom of the seat, called the seat pan, tell when to rest, changing the pressure points on the occupant’s body to their confidence. Going backwards.

Qantas ’Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, released in 2016, used a standard version of the CL3710 seat of German manufacturer Recaro.

The CL3710 launches in 2013, and Recaro makes new ones every year, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s working on a special powerhouse for Qantas.

There may be a new seat – from Recaro or another – with more comfort. It could be ready for Qantas to start flying by the end of 2025.

separate bathroom

In 2019, Qantas embarked on pilot research trips to test the London-Sydney line. CNN’s Richard Quest reported on the plane of one of the longest -running flights.

The second pleasure is the pitch, which measures the point in the single seat and the point in the single seat in front of that place, so that or a full footing room because the living space is an inch or two away.

Qantas has vowed to give its onboard economy seats 33 inches (84 centimeters) of pitch.

That’s more than an inch longer than the 2016 Dreamliner seats, and by 2025 I expect the seat engine to reduce the seating design by up to one inch to give more knee width.

It’s no surprise that Qantas also offers extra -legroom units, which can extend up to 35 or 36 inches, in the lines of United’s Economy Plus or Delta’s Comfort Plus – not economical, but economical seats. common with foot rooms.

What is the range?

There is some good news or worse news than for the passengers, due to the number of seats that Qantas will put in each line of the A350.

The giant twin plane can hold up to nine seats in a row, which is typically provided by full -service airlines such as Qantas, Delta and Singapore Airlines, or 10 seats in each row. , which is largely focused on ultra-low-cost. and entertainment carriers such as Air Caraïbes and French Bee.

The A350 The A350 is one of the most comfortable driver options in the air at nine-medium with seats over 18 inches wide. At 10-inch, it’s one of the most comfortable, with 17-inch non-cutting seats and super-narrow aisles as well.

You might think – and Qantas ’printed cutaway actually shows it – that a full -service airline would actually go like the Australian flag carrier for a nine -round arrangement.

But Airbus has devised a subtle plan to cut an inch or two of the rest of the space by lowering the side walls of the building. That has led several entire airlines, including Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, to plan to install a 10-seat space among some future A350s.

Nonstop vs. rest

Qantas physical activity is more common

A Ladana test flight to Sydney in 2019 saw riders take part in fitness classes.

James D Morgan / Qantas

Qantas said it plans to add 140 economy -class seats to its A350. That’s 14 rows out of 10, but that number won’t properly divide by nine, even if you try to add new seats on the sides or in the middle.

It will be amazing to see Qantas do that, especially for these long -haul aircraft. But the plane has included seats almost as narrow as its Dreamliner seats that London-Perth regularly flies for long distances, so check here for details.

At the end of the day, every inch is all about economic class comfort. Many riders – I included – wince the idea of ​​a 20 -hour -plus flight, even on the business class.

I’ve done something like that for a long time in the business class, on Singapore Airlines ’nonstop from Newark to Singapore about 10 years ago, but it’s not fun, even with the possibility of a movie coming out. to fall asleep and come back.

Every time we talk about this, people always come up with a different option, a part of New York to Sydney in Los Angeles or San Francisco, or to one of the top airports. most in Asia between Sydney and London.

But for those who always enjoy a long stay in a seat: first in the idea of ​​a one-hop Kangaroo Route flight, then in the idea of ​​a permanent 12, 14 or 16-hour flight. .

Before the epidemic, there were more planes than that, with standard economy class seats under the back, and people wanted to live in them.

The only question is how much of a difference of three or four hours on a London -Perth Qantas 787 Dreamliner flight will make passengers – and more importantly, their experience.

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