Press Trust of IndiaSingapore
The world's longest commercial flight took off from Singapore on Thursday, with excited and apprehensive passengers on board settling in for a marathon 19 hours in the air to New York.
A spokeswoman for Singapore Airlines told AFP that Flight SQ22 departed at approximately 11:35pm (1535 GMT) with 150 passengers and 17 crew on board.
Two pilots, a special "wellness" menu and more than seven weeks' worth of film and television entertainment accompany the travellers on the 16,700-kilometre (10,400-mile) journey to the Big Apple.
The long-range Airbus A350-900ULR is configured to carry up to 161 passengers -- 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy, with no regular economy seats available.
For the flight crew -- which also includes two first officers and a 13-strong cabin contingent -- the workload will be broken up, the airline said, with each pilot having a minimum eight hours' rest during the flight.
But for passengers, the challenge will be what to do with all that down time when they're up in the air. For those not packing a weighty novel (or two), there will be 1,200 hours of audio-visual entertainment to choose from.
Dining options will include dishes the airline says have been selected to promote well-being in the skies, with organic offerings on the menu. Passenger Peggy Ang, 52, said before the flight that she felt "apprehensive because I'm not sure what would I do in 18.5 hours" inside the plane.
"Now that you asked me, I'm a little bit worried. I'm thinking of sleeping, watching TV, doing my work," she told reporters after checking in at Changi Airport for the flight.
"I have a lot of notes to read, hopefully I can sleep well," said Ang, a membership director of an IT services firm.