What makes anyone want to take a plane ride for 18 hours? A renowned economist travels on the longest flight on earth
The two flights I was on for most of the day allowed me ample time to think about the history as well as the economic implications of long-distance flights, with plenty of time spent watching binge-worthy movies.
A long journey
Airlines and pilots have pushed the limits of flight time since the beginning of flying. In reality, 19 hours is quite rapid for the pioneers of the industry.
The first aircraft to make crossing the Pacific started its journey at Oakland, California, in 1928. It took the plane known as”the “Southern Cross,” three lengthy flights to arrive at the final destination of Australia, 27,5 hours from Hawaii 34 and an hour to Fiji and then 21 and a quarter hours to Brisbane. The team of the pilot traveled around 7,000 miles in just 10 days without loosing any luggage.
In the following year, in 1931, two brave souls seeking a prize of US$25,000 traveled across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo towards the State of Washington in the first flight that was nonstop across the Pacific Ocean. To cut down on weight and fuel, the pilots even dumped out their landing gear following the takeoff. Once they arrived in their destination in the U.S., they crash made it to the ground, but were able to take home the prize. The flight lasted 41 hours and covered over 5,500 miles.
These extremely long flights, obviously, were made by daredevil pilots without passengers. They were also extremely dangerous. The most well-known aviation accident was the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, who vanished in 1937 as she tried to fly across the Pacific during a world-circling flight.
The first trans-Pacific flight had three layovers, and the flight could last that lasted 34.5 hours. John Oxley Library, CC BY
60 hours and six days
The first service to transport paying customers over the Pacific was established through Pan Am in October 1936.
The trip began from San Francisco and ended in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. It was a total of six days and approximately 60 hours of flight time. The plane was in operation during the day, and stopped throughout Hawaii, Midway, Wake and Guam in the evening. The longest flight that ran between San Francisco to Hawaii, took 18 and one-half hours.
The Pam Am planes, known as”the “Clippers,” didn’t require airports. They were specifically designed for launch and then land on the ocean. The aircrafts were also very extravagant and included separate zones for sleeping and eating.
However, all the luxury traveling around the world was expensive.
The fare for one way for a one-way trip from San Francisco to Manila was $950 that’s $17,400 the dollars of today..
Thankfully, the cost of taking these long distances – in terms of money as well as time – has dropped dramatically. Today, it is possible to fly direct to San Francisco to Manila in business class for just $3000, which includes returning flights. The flight to Manila is just 14 hours long.
The modern day flights are more secure. For many travelers, the biggest concern isn’t crashing, but rather the health risks such as deep vein thrombosis, which is a kind that is caused by blood clots.
Amelia Earhart disappeared while attempting to travel around the globe. AP Photo
Time bags, money and cash
However, despite the fact that improvements have been made, I’m sure that most of us would agree that flying isn’t fun. Airlines frequently rank at the bottom in terms of survey of satisfaction with customers.
Then why do we need to raise the time spent 30000 feet above the ground inside a tube made of steel that has wings?
It also will mean less time spent traveling. For instance, my flight from Singapore will have been three and a half hours more with an overnight stop in Hong Kong.
If you’re a person who prefers to take a break on a long trip around the world The more practical benefit is that eliminating connections also decreases the likelihood that that your luggage will be lost because bags are handled less frequently. Nearly half of all bags that were delayed in 2017 were the result of baggage handlers failing to make connections.
A full flight of passengers directly saves airlines money. This often results in lower costs for customers as well. A layover at an airport is costly and incurs fees for landing, takeoff parking, noise control, and security. Airports may also charge for extra services such as cleaning, towing, and even providing power to a plane when it is at the gate.