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Planning Retirement Online

Fly the world non-stop

January 2017

Qantas plane

Travel is always high on the list of how people our age like to spend their time and goodness, how things are changing from our youth.

The latest is that Qantas intends to introduce non-stop flights to Australia by 2018 and without doubt British Airways, who is already among the leaders in long-haul flights, will be doing something similar as well.

This flight will not really be a lot longer than some existing flights. Already there are many long distance flights around the world; with London to Singapore non-stop being an everyday event now taking just under 13 hours and Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles direct taking just over 16 hours. Emirates already flies Dubai to Auckland, 8,824 miles taking around  17 hours, and the new London to Perth 9,000 miles non-stop flight is expected to take about the same time.

Flying direct to Australia will be a huge boon for many people in the UK with children and grandchildren down under.  However, the planned direct flight will be ending in Western Australia.
If you need a connecting flight over to the east coast this will add another 4 hours onto the flight time.

So what is holding up direct flights London to Sydney? It is all to do with weight and fuel efficiency. The new London to Perth flight will be on a 787-9 Dreamliner; these planes can fly longer distances because they are made from new lighter materials, have better aerodynamics and are also 20 per cent better on fuel efficiency than a standard 747.

It has been described as the plane of the future and with its additional 20% reduction in carbon emissions, its 40% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions and its 50% smaller noise footprint around airports, it certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

For passengers, what we will notice is the larger windows, improved cabin pressure and a reduction in any turbulence.

With planes already doing over 9000 miles non-stop, it has to be within the near future that we will be able to fly the 10,560 miles London to Sydney route non-stop.

However, a word of warning on long distant flights. As we age, we can come more susceptible to problems caused by sitting for long periods in one position. All fine if you can afford first class and a proper bed, but in the crowded back portion of the plane where most of us exist, any journey over 9 or 10 hours in those seats can cause problems. Most people who travel by air are aware of the special pressure socks you can buy to help reduce the risk of leg swelling or DVT; the need to drink enough fluid and lay off too much alcohol etc.

If you are considering one of the really long-haul flights, it could be worth looking at the travel health page of the NHS to help ensure you enjoy your journey in the best possible health.

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