Flight Plan

Photo by Lasse Fuss

The Wall Street Journal‘s Scott McCartney chronicles the longest coach flight currently operating—Qantas from Sydney to Dallas. And it doesn’t sound half bad, provided you walk a lap or two every few hours and drink plenty of water. But as McCartney notes, there’s a growing segment of travelers that prefers the nonstop flight even if it costs a thousand dollars more. Back in the day, I remember flying to the Philippines from New York’s JFK with stops in Anchorage and an overnight in Tokyo prior to landing in Manila and switching planes to finally arrive at our destination, The Island of Dr. Moreau. (Kidding!)

The passengers on these long-haul flights develop a routine that makes flying sound pleasurable. Except I know it’s not. In any event,

“You have to know how to pace yourself,” said architect and interior designer Beatrice Girelli. For her, the Los Angeles to Singapore 18-hour nonstop she takes about six times a year on Singapore Airlines is like a “spa day.” Working long hours on the ground, she finds that time spent six miles above Earth becomes her escape: She sleeps, relaxes, avoids work and enjoys three meals plus Italian or French movies.

Real-estate executive Gerald Giannini, another regular on Singapore Air, has his own routine. Dinner after departure from Los Angeles is followed by a sleeping pill. He wakes up after a full eight to nine hours of sleep—something he never gets even on 12-hour trips to London.

It should be noted that Singapore has gone all-business class on this direct flight. That route from LAX to Changi Airport costs about $5,875. For that price, I hope it’s a spa day.

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