Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with thousands of canceled international flights, and stranded passengers all over the world, airlines are going to great lengths to bring people home—and into quarantine. As a result, some interesting long-range routes are being flown for the first time.
With so many passengers crammed together in close quarters, cruise ships have been one of the early hot zones for the spread of the novel coronavirus, and ships that are out at sea have had trouble finding a port in this viral storm. Wednesday morning, a chartered Boeing 747 operated by Norwegian flew direct from Honolulu to Frankfurt with cruise ship passengers who had been tooling around the Pacific after four different countries refused to let the passengers disembark. Hawaii only let the ship dock when engine trouble arose that could not be fixed at sea. That flight covered 7,450 miles.
Since the mid-1930s, Australian flag carrier Qantas has flown its famed Kangaroo Route from Australia to England. As time passed and aircraft ranges increased, refueling stops dropped off the route. But even in modern days, the flight from Sydney to London called for a stop in Singapore. Now, in an effort to slow the coronavirus’ spread across the planet, Singapore no longer allows transfer traffic at its airports. So Qantas is using the Airbus A380 for the first time on the Kangaroo Route, a flight which covers a whopping 8,620 miles.
For its part, SWISS is now flying a Boeing 777 from Zurich to Santiago, Chile, the longest nonstop route the airline has ever flown. Like the others, the 7,418 mile flight is being undertaken to bring stranded travelers back to Europe.
As the pandemic continues, you can expect to see fewer regular flight and more of these special routes.
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