These days, flying is more about smaller seats and cheaper ticket prices than it is about comfort and luxury — unless you can afford it, of course.
It seems that the evolution of aeroplane travel is pointing towards glamorous piano bars and cocktails rather than hundreds of loud, sweaty passengers.
This shift has been signaled with the introduction of Singapore Airlines A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which is designed to fly directly from Singapore to New York.
That’s a casual 19 hours, or 16,700 km spent suspended in the air. While the idea of getting rid of stopovers sounds lovely, the thought of being encased in a metal tube for almost 20 hours straight gives me nightmares.
Of course, this option comes at a hefty price. The flight has no economy seats at all. Instead, there are 94 ‘Premium Economy’ seats and 67 flat-bed business class seats.
This is kind of unsurprising given the length of the journey and how hard flying long distances can be on the body. Even if cheaper seats were available, what maniac would dare take them?
Flights start from AU$5,625 for a return ticket, and your money will be put to good use. Singapore Airlines has teamed up with the health spa resort Canyon Ranch to design a set of guided stretching exercises, sleep strategies and a healthy menu to keep you hydrated and healthy.
The menu includes such exotic delights as: prawn ceviche, organic chicken and zucchini pappardelle.
However, if you prefer to keep it old school, and enjoy using flights as an excuse to binge-watch movies and tv shows without guilt, you can ignore the wellness programs. Instead, you’re welcome to explore the more than 1,200 hours of media available to distract you from your aching limbs, and that guy snoring next to you.
You can also forget the pappar…paparzoodl… whatever that fancy stuff was, and opt for a burger instead. Money buys choices, man.
But all snobby food jokes aside, the methods that Singapore Airlines have introduced to help you stay alive are pretty awesome. Two days in the air will be pretty taxing on the body, so it’s nice of them not to just stuff people in the plane and hope for the best.
For those who can’t afford to spend 20 hours away from work, you can also buy 200MB of wifi for an additional fee.
The same airline actually flew a similar route several years ago, but were forced to stop after oil prices hit $100 a barrel. Now, at $75-per-barrel, it’s still not cheap, but advances in technology mean that planes are lighter and require less fuel.
This won’t be the last announcement about advances in flying technology, with other airlines rapidly making plans to upgrade and extend their services.
Other airlines are making plans to upgrade and extend. Bloomberg reports that Qantas is thinking about developing an aircraft that could handle a Sydney to London direct route.
Words and phrases such as “bunks”, “child-care facilities”, and “gym” are being thrown around, so you can be sure that things are only just getting started.
[Lead and body images courtesy of Singapore Airlines]