Want to revel in your own little corner of airline hell? Why not take one of the world’s longest flights, and really get seriously into a case of airline cabin fever?
There are a number of direct airline flights that clock in at more than 16 hours. Los Angeles to Dubai, Atlanta to Johannesburg, New York to Hong Kong — all of them will cost you an arm and a leg and take about as long as the waking hours in an average day.
Many of the flights shown in the linked article have fancy seats, special tables, and extended entertainment options to make those 16 hours fly by. (Pun intended). But let’s face it: 16 hours on a plane is 16 hours in the company of total strangers, 16 hours in which you could be annoyed by the shrill laugh of the woman sitting behind you or the unpleasant odor of the guy one seat over, and 16 hours that you would rather have spent almost anywhere else. The unpleasant, unavoidable reality is that you’re trapped in a metal tube, bored out of your mind, and you can’t get out.
And let’s not kid ourselves, either — your seats might be comfortable on these marathon flights, but what do the bathrooms look like after, say, 10 hours? When we flew on an eight-hour trip from JFK to Rome some years ago, by the final hours of the flight the bathroom looked and smelled like a disgusting war zone, with wastebasket overflowing and indeterminate liquids everywhere. I can’t imagine the toxic condition of a bathroom at the end of a 16-hour flight, and I’m not sure I ever want to personally find out. I might be tempted to break that 16 hours up, for sanity’s sake.