It's not going to be stopping anywhere en route, so die-hard smokers may want to stock up on nicotine patches or use this trip as a head start on quitting. Everyone else, however, should be delighted with the world's longest range passenger jet, the Airbus A340-500.
It comes into service for the first time anywhere on Dec. 1, when Emirates airlines takes it on a maiden voyage from Dubai to Sydney. Flying time will be 14 hours, but these tireless behemoths can handle journeys of 17 hours or more, and Emirates has additional plans to deploy its fleet of eight A340s on journeys to North America and New Zealand. Other airlines are planning to deploy the planes Singapore Airlines in February 2004 and Thai Airways in 2005.
Staying power is not all that the new aircraft have to recommend them. An array of design and service innovations accompany their unveiling, including fully enclosed, flat-bed, first-class suites and "room service" (passengers phone orders through to the galley). Those with a low boredom threshold or restless children can find diversion in 500-plus entertainment channels, while a novel lighting system will coax your body clock into a rhythm that minimizes jet lag. And on trips this long, there will be plenty of that to contend with.