World’s longest passenger flight on a single-body plane
(CNN) – Last week it was the return of the world’s longest flight – Singapore to New York JFK. Another new aviation record comes this week: the longest flight in the world in a single-aisle aircraft.
Air Transat flight TS690 flew transatlantic from Montreal, Canada to Athens, Greece on Monday – a journey of 7,600 kilometers or 4,754 miles. So far, so normal – except that the eight-hour 32-minute flight was carried out in a narrow Airbus A321neoLR.
It was the longest commercial flight that a single-aisle aircraft was used for.
Although most people would shy away from the idea of a transatlantic flight in a single-aisle plane, the economy class seats are 1.5 inches wider than in Air Transat’s Airbus 310 – even though the seat pitch is 31 inches. The Club Class – the premium economy area with reclining seats and a spacing of 38 inches – has intimate 12 seats.
A test flight went on
Montreal to Athens may not be the record, but the A321LR has flown the farthest. In 2018 she completed a test flight from Mahé in the Seychelles to Toulouse in France – an 11-hour flight of 5,466 miles. On this occasion, however, the aircraft was fitted with heat-emitting dummies instead of passengers.
Earlier this week, the record for a commercial flight was the WOW Air flight from Reykjavik to LA in 2018 – eight hours 40 minutes and 6,927 kilometers (4,304 miles).
And it looks like the plane will fly a lot more long-haul flights in the future – especially with demand at an all-time low due to Covid and a predicted slow recovery.
This year, TAP Air Portugal launched flights from Lisbon to Maceió, Brazil, as well as Boston (via Ponta Delgada in the Azores) and Montreal. CEO Antonoaldo Neves has described the aircraft as a “game changer”. Norwegian has also ordered 30 aircraft for its long-haul routes.
Air Transat also uses the aircraft for the Toronto – London Gatwick and Montreal – Paris routes.
The plane can carry up to 199 passengers, making it a great choice for post-Covid recovery. So far, the airline has used Airbus A330s on the route, which can carry up to 375 passengers.
Headwind caused problems
The only problem: headwind. They meant that the plane had to refuel in Paris Charles de Gaulle for the return flight. Due to the winter weather conditions, this is more likely than in summer.
This was the last flight of the season. The airline will announce which aircraft it will be using closer to the time for the 2021 season.
What does a long haul flight look like in a single aisle aircraft? It depends on how prone you are to claustrophobia and the simple feeling that crossing continents on a narrow level is “wrong”.
For Kristi Clough, who flew to Germany on a single-aisle plane from her home in Washington, DC, and flew home from Brazil, the slim body felt “too small and” wrong “for these trips.”
Another frequent flyer who regularly flew the catchy Boeing 757 between Ireland and the United States told CNN that the experience was “quite acceptable in terms of economy, especially on day flights.”
No doubt, like the 17-hour ultra-long-haul direct flight from London Heathrow to Perth, Australia, which Qantas debuted in 2018, and the Singapore Airlines to JFK route, long-haul single-body aircraft flights, will soon become an endurance test – and maybe even one Boasters for frequent flyers.