Boeing has developed a long-range version of the 777, the Boeing 777LR. As a publicity stunt, they’re going to shatter the long distance record for a commercial airliner by flying from Hong Kong to London in 22 hours non-stop.
Loaded with 360,732 pounds of fuel and just 35 passengers — pilots, Boeing engineers and an international assortment of journalists, all of whom had been carefully weighed with their luggage — the big jet burned just 700 pounds of fuel in is less than 3 minutes of taxi time. And in 40 seconds of acceleration, the record-setting attempt by the huge 777-200LR was airborne and wheels up.
The unusual route — planes traveling from Hong Kong to London usually fly a great circle route farther north — confused even the onboard entertainment computers on the flight. The entainment system, familiar to passengers on many long flights to show progress of the plane, kept veering off at a right angle trying to show the plane on the shortest route to London.
My guess is that covering the 22-hour plane ride was not exactly a plum assignment for the journalists. You’re a part of history and all, but, “I went on the longest commercial flight ever!” isn’t really going to impress anyone when you talk about it later.