Armrest Battles"If someone is battling you for the arm rest on an airplane cough into that arm then put it back. I fly a lot and have yet to see this fail."
Long HaulWhat is the longest possible long-haul flight you could take? Or, in other words, which international airports are furthest apart?
• Ignoring the fact that Earth is very slightly oblate and taking its circumference to be 40,000 kilometres, the longest possible great semicircle - that is, a circle whose plane passes through Earth's centre - is 20,000 km. The two major international airports I can find that come closest to this separation are Bogota, Colombia, and Jakarta, Indonesia, which are 19,829 km apart via a great circle.
There is a website for checking this sort of thing. The Great Circle Mapper (gc.kls2.com) requires the International Air Transport Association codes for two or more airports and will plot the great circle routes and distances between them.
• Given that Wellington, New Zealand, is almost precisely the antipode of Madrid, Spain, and both cities have international airports, this must be a contender. The question then arises, given the slight asphericity of Earth, which great circle route would be the longest between the two.
• Presumably your correspondent wishes to know the longest scheduled flight. By private charter one can book planes to their maximum range, and with military in-flight refuelling this can be increased to 40,000 km - say, between the South African cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria via the poles. No civil aircraft has this capability, though.
The Boeing 777-200LR has a range of 17,445 km but with passengers and international regulations it is less. However, in a record-breaking publicity stunt in 2005, a specially prepared 777-200LR flight with passengers flew eastwards from Hong Kong to London - a distance of 21,601 km.
The longest scheduled flight is by Singapore airlines using an Airbus 340-500 from New York's Newark airport to Singapore. This covers 15,345 km in about 19 hours.
• Both Bermuda and Perth, Australia, have international airports and are nearly precisely antipodes, although I doubt any airline offers a non-stop service between them.