Articles, Blog

What a 19-Hour Nonstop Flight Can Teach Us About Jet Lag | WSJ

October 23, 2019


(engines whirring) – Singapore to Newark, Auckland to Doha, Perth to London, the three longest flights
in the world, for now. I’m here at New York’s JFK Airport about to board a nonstop
flight to Sydney, Australia. It’s one of three research
flights being run by Qantas. The others will be from London to Sydney and a second from New York to Sydney. This is really groundbreaking. Biological studies on passengers and crew haven’t really been done
like this ever before. They’re testing passengers and pilots with the aim of learning
more about alertness on ultra-long flights as well
as wellbeing and jet lag. To do that, 49 people,
made up of Qantas crew, a small media contingent,
and six game Frequent Flyers will take the nearly
19-and-a-half-hour journey and be tested in-route. (pleasant orchestral music) So, Marie, tell us exactly what you’ll be monitoring on the flight with the six passengers
that you’ll be tracking. – They’re monitoring their sleep, their mood or state of
mind, and what they eat. As soon as they get on the plane, we’re trying to get them
to live Sydney time. What they’ll notice in the cabin is a very different schedule from what most long-distance
schedules in the cabin are. Normally, you get on, you get a big meal, and then the lights go out. This time, it’s gonna be all-go. Lights will stay on for about six hours. Our passengers will be
asked to do exercise and do their logging and everything, but the most important
thing is to stay awake during the six hours of light. – So what do you hope to get out of this? What do you want to accomplish? – Ultimately, we hope for
personalized jet lag solutions. What we’d like to be able to say is you’re going to Rome, Italy. Here’s the schedule of
what you should be doing as soon as you get onboard, but in the medium-term
or the shorter-term, we’re just trying to enhance the wellbeing of passengers’ health
and comfort in the air on these probably increasingly-frequent long-haul flights that people will do. – At the end of the
day, Qantas is weighing whether to make this route
a commercial reality. The final decision, which
depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals,
and labor agreements, is expected by the end of the year. So, Alan, tell us why you wanna do this. Is there significant demand
for New York to Sydney nonstop, London to Sydney nonstop? Is there enough traffic to support a daily,
regular nonstop flight? – We believe there is, and actually, one of the advantages
of putting on a nonstop is you also stimulate the market, so actually today, we
have a flight that flies from L.A. to New York
every day, and we fill it, and they’re only traffic
coming from Australia, so we know if we put a direct flight from Sydney into New York,
Melbourne into New York, we’ll absolutely fill it. Between Melbourne and Sydney and London, there’s more than enough
for daily service each day. The question has always been
can you do it economically. – Enjoy your flight.
(group chattering) – Thank you.
– You’re welcome. (pleasant electronic music)
(group chattering) – And here we go!
(engines rumbling) 19 hours nonstop, New York to Sydney. (pleasant electronic music) Two teams are leading
the in-flight research. Professor Carroll is
running passenger studies by personalizing the flight experience, allocated times for activities. – Five. Not very hard, really easy. – [Scott] Reaction time
tests, and meal design. (pleasant electronic music) Meanwhile, a separate team
is studying pilot alertness with cockpit cameras and EEG monitors, and they’ll be measuring
melatonin levels in urine samples to determine body clock patterns. – [Pilot] 19 hours and five minutes later, we should be touching down in Sydney. – I’ve set my watch ahead to Sydney time, 12:47 tomorrow. First course, spicy
tomato and saffron soup. The idea is to both keep you
hydrated and keep you awake. (engine humming)
(muffled group chattering) And the lights in the cabin
go dark to encourage sleep. It’s 3:30 in the morning, Sydney time. We’ve still got four hours to go. Most everyone on the
plane is still asleep. I’ve in-and-out sleeping. It has been dark outside
the entire flight. It’s as if we’re chasing darkness. (pleasant electronic music) We have a little bit more
than two hours to go, and we’ve finally found the sunrise. (pleasant electronic music) – [Pilot] Welcome to Australia. The local time here in Sydney is 7:43 a.m. (engine humming)
(pleasant electronic music) (group chattering) – So here I am at Sydney Airport after more than 19 hours
nonstop from New York, and I feel surprisingly great, and it really does surprise me, because I usually don’t
sleep well on airplanes, but this was a different thing and a different thing
for many of the travelers who took part in the test. This was not just about passengers doing the Macarena in
aisles of the airplane. There was serious
research that was going on that’s going to impact
the future of air travel. We’re all gonna be on flights
that are longer and longer, and there are real health
concerns with that. The research that Qantas is doing will go a long way to improve
travels around the world. (pleasant orchestral music)

100 Comments

  • Reply GolfCartBoi October 22, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Lol my taxi driver was tracking that flight

  • Reply Mustang_3.7 October 22, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    The amount of farts in the air will be unbelievable. 😷

  • Reply Daniel October 22, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Not more than the 17-18 hrs flight that is happening all the time I guess

  • Reply joseluis pr October 22, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Did you use compression stockings?

  • Reply ita god October 22, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    anyone can do this in the comforts of business class Gees

  • Reply Adi C October 22, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    You don’t look surprisingly great

  • Reply Orpheus October 22, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Pfft. It already takes me 14 hours plus another 8 hours to get from Britian back to Melbourne.

  • Reply Fly With Stella October 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    I’m a Flight Attendant and this flight would still be so hard! Schedule or not.

  • Reply ʝσυяиєу мαи October 22, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    How to over come jet lag… Fasting!

  • Reply Kishore S October 22, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Kudos Quantas

  • Reply Chris M October 22, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    For the WSJ writer: This is great stuff for sure, and Qantas deserves to be commended for paying attention to safety and passenger considerations on these (commercially) unprecedented flights. To complement your reporting, it's worth noting the US Air Force has been systematically studying and doing (very) long-duration flying for decades, and there's quite a body of knowledge out there about sleep/rest cycles, crew alertness, inflight nutrition & hydrations, preparation, recovery, and the like. Thanks for highlighting some of the issues associated with being above earth for a long time!

  • Reply Cal Caliente October 22, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Just take a Xanax

  • Reply Mr. Nick October 22, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    Jet lag means you’re lagging a jet. Get a jet.

  • Reply Mattia Polverino October 22, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    you need to test the people in the economy class not the business or first!

  • Reply 雪祭り October 22, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    So you will make the passangers do exercise in the plane?

  • Reply Ayaan Ibrar October 22, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    I rather have a 3 hrs stop over to flex my legs and see around airport specially as I'm in economy class

  • Reply mwint1982 October 22, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    How bout a Xanax. Problem solved.

  • Reply Acke Wacht October 22, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    I really like this reporter, he seems to enjoy his job. Seen a couple of his mini documentaries now.

  • Reply Dan Pop October 22, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    I have a simpler solution to this: increase at least three times the speed of planes.

  • Reply Travis k October 22, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    This video absolutely proves that the earth is flat and larger than they tell us. With the earth's rotation and the jets speed there is no way that this would be possible on a round earth.

  • Reply FlyLowLikeRylo October 22, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    19 hours to go from NYC to Sydney? Boo hoo – 200 years ago this trip would have taken several months.

  • Reply DAN DENNIS October 22, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    NO REALISTIC COMPARED TO THE AVERAGE FLYER

  • Reply baerleon October 22, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    4:08 so part of this research strategy is doing the Macarena?

  • Reply Jo White October 22, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    We are all gonna be in flights which are longer and longer. Right. 😂

  • Reply Pascal Buffalo October 22, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Anyone else read Travel Communist at 0:13 or is it just me 😂

  • Reply Perich29 October 23, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Spending 19 hours on that cheep economy class is much worse than spending 19 hours locked up in jail.

  • Reply William Peng October 23, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Some weed edibles before flight will be great🤤🤤😌😌😌

  • Reply Alice Tse October 23, 2019 at 12:17 am

    tbh coz you were not in economy class…

  • Reply Diboy Mashesha October 23, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Get a new host this guy got me jet lagged by watching him

  • Reply Petey Pete October 23, 2019 at 12:22 am

    How unrealistic. How about one of them get drunk before the flight?

  • Reply Ralphgamer October 23, 2019 at 12:24 am

    I dont care how long the flight is the only thing that bothers me is the the engine sound witch is heard from inside

  • Reply BornInJordan October 23, 2019 at 12:26 am

    Long flights don’t bother me much.

  • Reply x x October 23, 2019 at 12:47 am

    All good points until see you in business class.

  • Reply Asier Guerrero October 23, 2019 at 12:48 am

    4:09 good to know that dancing the Macarena is one of the secrets for surviving to a 19 hour flight

  • Reply Al Lex October 23, 2019 at 12:49 am

    While you study these effects for 19h flights. Elon Musk will come with a 1h flight to anywhere around the world in months 😂😂😂

  • Reply Jean-Guillaume Lonjaret October 23, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Qwantas ?

  • Reply wotan20 October 23, 2019 at 1:11 am

    This was an interesting report, which started such a way, that I almost commented right there. Initially the report claimed the main focus of the research was reducing jetlag, I thought that was misallocation of resources. The real aim should be is to prevent blood clots developing in the lower extremities, which in turn induce thrombosis of the heart, basically a heart attack. Now obviously not everyone is equally effected, the young and healthy, the athletic type who keep fit by daily exercises and so on, should be OK. The risk increases with age. An average adult westerner over the age of forty is already at risk. This risk is real, its palpable and quantifiable. The exercise on board is a good idea, which should be kept, and not allowed to be only a passing fad.

  • Reply Karl Dunne October 23, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Why don't passengers do the Haka, in the food gallery.. Then all play touch football throughout the aircraft…… There some good exercise for you!!!!!!!……. ☺.

  • Reply Bernard Cohen October 23, 2019 at 1:26 am

    I’d rather have a Rolex and a corvette for the round trip price to a penal colony 1 st class

  • Reply Visvesh Narayan October 23, 2019 at 1:26 am

    So, that's about 7 to 9 movies worth of time there. They really need to have a load of good entertainment if they don't want the passengers to get bored and tired.

  • Reply zapfanzapfan October 23, 2019 at 1:27 am

    19 hour flight, just about enough for a LOTR marathon 🙂

  • Reply Maachsse Maay October 23, 2019 at 2:03 am

    Hey stupid ! Jet lag = different time zone bed time.

  • Reply 길산 October 23, 2019 at 2:31 am

    My tail bone will be broken due to seat

  • Reply frederick lee October 23, 2019 at 2:58 am

    BEDS in the cargo hold. Gotta get sack time.

  • Reply Dmytro Bondarenko October 23, 2019 at 3:02 am

    i think they should focus on monitoring economy class and not business🤣 i am sure those people will suffer more then business class

  • Reply BammerD October 23, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I bet Greta and her lemming followers will appreciate this. lol.

  • Reply iTech Talk October 23, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Obviously you are going to be fine if you fly business class economy would be horrible!

  • Reply Dr Val October 23, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Way don't pass ocean Pacific is shorter right

  • Reply Dr Val October 23, 2019 at 3:28 am

    Ny. Los Angeles Hawaii or tokyo some like that hmmmm way flying north wen you go south

  • Reply Jonathan Smith October 23, 2019 at 4:02 am

    Personalised jetlag solutions: what vital work you do

  • Reply Noah Bird October 23, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Why fly 19hrs one way when you can fly 5hrs the other way? #Mathmattery

  • Reply saintron60 October 23, 2019 at 4:25 am

    I flew 17 hrs nonstop San Fran. To Dubai. In coach. It is miserable and dangerous. Sitting that long even with restroom breaks Causes loss of circulation in legs and buttocks. It is painful. Business and first class. No problem. You can lay down.

  • Reply QuarioQuario54321 October 23, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Imagine if Ryanair flew this. It would be 2 hours of something, and 17 of boredom.

  • Reply Juan Gallego October 23, 2019 at 4:40 am

    "Doing the Macarena" 😂
    And on the background you hear "EEEEEEHHH MACARENA AAAAAAYEEE"

  • Reply Aussie Oz October 23, 2019 at 4:41 am

    Fly economy in Boeing 787 doesn't matter how much water you will drink or how many hours you will sleep in board the jetlag After will kill you..The Aircraft to noisy seats not enough room too sleep and most company reducing number of the meals because they can't carry much Load for fuel efficiency so I hope Qantas Swapping Boeing with A380

  • Reply Radhika J October 23, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Having done lot of 15-16 hour trips in economy from middle east to Lax, I don't mind another 3/4 hours. Anyday better than off boarding, security chex, waiting at airport, and finally onboarding again.

  • Reply Carl Winstonson October 23, 2019 at 5:02 am

    what kind of nonsense when singapore airlines is already doing one of the longest flight for so long!

  • Reply Louis Y October 23, 2019 at 5:15 am

    Try economics like majority of people fool

  • Reply Java Pistu October 23, 2019 at 6:05 am

    This research is of no value if they do on First and Business class only

  • Reply Abdullah Arief October 23, 2019 at 6:10 am

    You guys never on a 24 hours bus ?

  • Reply Nicolas Cabrales October 23, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Isn't the same Boeing plane that killed 364 people in Africa 🤔

  • Reply Jim Talor October 23, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Health concerns for long flights…when to change your skivies!

  • Reply TK Baha October 23, 2019 at 7:47 am

    this is a test flight, so comfortable and relax.

  • Reply sickhcivc October 23, 2019 at 8:13 am

    business class… lolz

  • Reply key West SUNSET October 23, 2019 at 8:27 am

    I left video as soon as I knew they were in business class.

  • Reply King Vaith Kumars October 23, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Indians do this all the time lol

  • Reply Kenny Ray October 23, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Shed-jewel. Sked-jewel. Two very different ways of pronouncing that word. 🤗

  • Reply Mr Potato October 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

    0:18 quantas ?? * Qantas , there is no " u " in that word

  • Reply Tim Sila October 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

    When you think it’s over but then realize you have to fly back..

  • Reply Marc D October 23, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Boss hear me out I will fly to Australia in first class to test… umh… jet lag… yeah…

  • Reply yidingcao October 23, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Who is going to pay for all those carbon emissions?

  • Reply yidingcao October 23, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Increasing people’s wellbeing? What about increase some space instead of reducing them?

  • Reply Captian Nemo October 23, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Except its only longest in terms of distance. Not TIME.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Double_Sunrise

  • Reply carlos October 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

    the guy at the end LOOKSS EXHAUTEDDD

  • Reply EJ Ioane October 23, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I live in Sydney and Ive been waiting for a direct flight to NYC. I cant Stand 12hr flight from Syd to LA then another 6 hours from LA to NYC… its exhausting escpecially how confusing LAX is.

  • Reply Woz Mac October 23, 2019 at 10:39 am

    The results can be slightly misleading. Why? the 19 travelers are occupying in a 200+ capacity plane with empty seats. The full cabin creates a logistical issue for exercising, walking around or just standing in the aisles or near the kitchen. I think the A380 can be more suitable for this. Passengers can walk in a circle on the two decks. Of course not together.

  • Reply Malik 007 October 23, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Qantas best Aircraft❤

  • Reply Andy Bush October 23, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I have completely eliminated the 'jet lag' problem at least for myself. I have been flying internationally since 1980 These days I regularly fly between Asia, USA and the UK. I am not sure that the exhaustion is due to time differencies.
    Try sitting up at home in an uncomfortable chair unable to move your legs and often told you cannot get out of your seat, for 10 hours. You might experience the same 'jet lag' symptoms after that, in fact it would be almost torture to try it.
    I found that a lot of the problem was due to lack of sleep. A USA to Asia trip can mean being up or on the plane over 30 hours. Try going without proper sleep for 24 hours or more, even a moderate 5 hour flight means being awake and busy before and after the flight, and getting tired even without the flight
    A luxury solution I have these days is to be able to take an afternoon nap. This puts me into two 12 hour cycles instead of one 24 hour cycle. When I get to the US which is about 12 hour out from Asia, I just extend the nap to become the night sleep and reduce the what was the night sleep to a nap.
    Another luxury solution is I refuse now to fly economy any longer than a couple of hours. The lay flat business class seats are lovely. I enjoy the pampering by the service to but it isn't why I fly business its being able to sleep properly.
    That is how I can arrive after a flight and not feel any problems at all.

  • Reply Grant Goldberg October 23, 2019 at 11:11 am

    How anyone can sleep on a plane is beyond me. I'm always afraid they're going to crash.

  • Reply Will Z October 23, 2019 at 11:34 am

    only if you flew economy might I have taken your words seriously

  • Reply Knd Rolex October 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Qantas just bring back the plane from Boeing factory… they had no other options

  • Reply Mohamed Jama October 23, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    New York to Nairobi Kenya 14.50
    Hours I did for times it’s little bit hard. If you are in first class it’s easy but in the middle class with no space that sucks

  • Reply Mohamed Jama October 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I can do it 19 hours first class 10 times in a row

  • Reply Gabe Nikias October 23, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Literally just an ad for Quantis Air lol.

  • Reply Morahman7vnNo2 October 23, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Bah, I'll take a boat instead.
    Steamboat. Willie.

  • Reply Pierobon October 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    That looks really interesting.
    What about the return flight, with inverted timezone change? Is the schedule also the same, 6h awake than sleep?

  • Reply Philip Luc October 23, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Pay me as an economy passenger and I’ll be your studies, which will reflect reality, representing 90% of passengers.

  • Reply Fillus Fillus October 23, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    imagine this in economy

  • Reply bitemyteeth October 23, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    teach us 1. don't fly economy 2. don't trust airline marketing department.

  • Reply xevious2501 October 23, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Need i state the obvious.. If people will loose their minds and body over a scant 19-20 hour flight, how on earth will anyone deal with a 9 month or more trip to Mars.

  • Reply Ezra Borg October 23, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Almost a complete change in day/night cycle AND seasons in one flight? Oof.

  • Reply Dave Glo October 23, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    My longest sector has been 13 hours in Economy. And to tell the truth, I think that’s my limit.

  • Reply Dumitru Langham October 23, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Definitely need book premium economy if you are flying for 19hr!

  • Reply micah bowen October 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I've taken 19 hour flights, never experienced jetlag.. I think it's just an excuse to be lazy for a couple days

  • Reply Killian October 23, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Clickbait

  • Reply Gabriel Delgado October 23, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    no babies crying on the plane? not a good test

  • Reply Y O October 23, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Wait, Qantas is pronounced “Quant-Us“? All these years I thought Qantas rhymes with “Kansas”.

  • Reply Solveig Fia Bjornstad October 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    I wanna try this one day,looks fun and tiring 🙂

  • Reply Earl Edward October 23, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Quantas is a superior airlines compared with other US carriers. JAL is probably one of the more elegant airlines in business today. Don't believe me? then try them out.

  • Reply Darren Markiewicz October 23, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    19 hours 16 minutes is very long but there are already non stop flight over 17 hours and from what I heard about this flight is that only had 17 minutes of fuel remaining. The plane also had only a handful of passengers and no baggage so this flight will not be possible with a normal weighted airplane. Still an amazing achievement.

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