Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The long and short of non-stop flights

The shortest distance between two points is not a straight line and neither is it the fastest. Most long-haul aircraft use the Earth’s contours to shave kilometres off distant points of the globe such as the much-touted Doha-Auckland non-stop flight.

Counter-intuitively, Air-India has chosen a longer route for its Delhi-San Francisco hop but arrives faster due to less headwinds. Soon, both those records will be up in the air again once the proposed Sydney-London and Singapore-New York flights add a few thousand more non-stop kilometres.

The question is, has anyone thought of the passengers stuck in a tube in mid-air for so long? Indians are no strangers to interminable journeys — by train and bus — but there are always stops for refreshments and exercising somnolent muscles.

Non-stop flights offer none of those, just several reheated meals and more movies. Now that doctors are warning against binge-watching serials, the latter seems just another health hazard to add to inflight deep vein thrombosis anyway.

However, the willingness of airplane makers and buyers to focus on long non-stop options shows there is a market for it, especially for those whom time (saved) is money (made).
06/06/18 Economic Times