Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fodder for Flight Geeks: Is There a 'Perfect' Premium Flight Length?

Ben Schlappig, aka Lucky, produces one of our favorite travel blogs, One Mile at a Time. It's a great spot for airline, airport lounge, and hotel reviews. We've met him a couple of times over the years, and he's as personable as you would think from his writing.

Today he muses about the ideal length for overnight and day flights in Business or First Class.

What Is The Perfect Premium Flight Length?

We generally agree with his conclusions, especially in regard to flights that are not long enough. A typical example is a flight departing JFK at night and landing at LHR the next morning. There just isn't enough time to enjoy the premium experience, and to get anything more than a very few hours of fitful sleep before landing.

While Ben's 12-hour optimum length for an overnight flight is a valid rule of thumb, a couple of our most enjoyable premium flights have been of the ultra long-haul type, for example the "world's longest flight" we tried in 2019, SQ 22 SIN-EWR. We had to start our trip in India to take advantage of the $1,300 one-way fare from Singapore to Newark, so upon arrival at SIN we spent a few hours in a transit hotel before moving to a Silver Kris Lounge.

When we finally boarded the Airbus 350 ULR (Ultra Long Range), we were suitably impressed. The dining experience was excellent and we had a couple of good rests during our 17 hours and 20 minutes in the air. It was one of our favorite flights ever, despite its length, and as we wrote here, we'd do it again in a minute if the price were right. 

On the other hand, take 15-20 hours of flying time and apportion it to two or even three flights, and that's much less enjoyable. In fact, it's downright fatiguing, even in Business Class. 

We wouldn't expect much sympathy from those flying in the back, or those who have never had the opportunity to fly on such aircraft. Every flight is a new adventure for us, and a flight that's too short or too long is still better than no flight.

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