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October 11, 2013 7:19 pm
Flying enthusiasts have just six weeks left to experience the world’s longest scheduled commercial flight. Singapore Airlines’ flight SQ22, which takes off in Singapore and lands almost 19 hours and 10,000 miles later in New York, is being discontinued from November 23. The service uses four-engine Airbus A340-500s specially configured to have only 100 seats, all business class. The route was introduced in 2004, along with a nonstop service to Los Angeles, but such extreme long-distance flights have struggled in recent years as a result of rising fuel costs. Very long flights are less efficient because of the weight of fuel they must carry. “With these flights, what you get is a flying tanker with a few people on board,” said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, former chief executive of Air France, in 2008. Long-distance services, including Thai Airways’ Bangkok to Los Angeles and American Airlines’ Chicago to Delhi routes, have already been cut, and Airbus has stopped selling the A340-500. Singapore Airlines will return its five A340-500s to the manufacturer as part of a deal to acquire 25 new aeroplanes, leaving it without an aircraft with the range to operate the direct New York and LA routes. A direct Singapore-New York return during November is available from S$8,471 (£4,217). www.singaporeair.com
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British Virgin Islands
The Great House, the centrepiece of Sir Richard Branson’s Caribbean resort, Necker Island, has reopened, two years after it was destroyed by fire. The hilltop, Balinese-style building, has eight guest rooms and a 1,500 sq ft “master suite”, a large terrace with hammocks and sofas, and a rooftop Jacuzzi. Guests who fancy a swim can take a zip-wire from the terrace to the white sand beach below. Exclusive use of the island, for up to 30 people, costs $60,000 per night; double rooms, only available on certain dates, cost from $26,600 per week, all inclusive. www.virginlimitededition.com
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The W hotel, which opened two years ago boasting high-tech rooms and a futuristic illuminated façade, is turning to the past for a new initiative. From the end of this month, guests who want to listen to music can call room service to ask for a vinyl record player to be delivered. A library of 200 albums, selected by DJ Annie Mac, is also on hand. www.wlondon.co.uk
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