The last couple of years have seen airlines around the world battling out for the title of the world's longest flight.

Auckland was lucky enough to be the starting point for two of the top contenders. Emirates' Auckland to Dubai flight on the Airbus A380 claimed the title on March 3, 2016, clocking in at an epic 17 hours and 5 minutes and covering 14,326 kilometres along the way.

However, Emirates was promptly knocked off the podium by another Middle Eastern airline, just one week after its milestone maiden flight. Qatar Airways announced the launch of its Auckland to Doha flights on March 10, with the route pipping Emirates at 14,539km over 17 hours and 40 minutes.

Singapore Airlines' new Airbus A350-900ULR will host the world's longest flight, from New York to Singapore. Photo / Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines' new Airbus A350-900ULR will host the world's longest flight, from New York to Singapore. Photo / Singapore Airlines

Last week, Singapore Airlines announced it will launch the latest version of the "world's longest flight" in October between Singapore's Changi Airport and Newark Liberty Airport, which serves New York City.

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Its maiden flight on October 11 will cover a distance of approximately 16,700 kilometres with a travel time of up to 18 hours 45 minutes – over an hour longer than Qatar's Auckland to Doha route.

Singapore Airlines will be the world's first customer for the new Airbus A350-900ULR, which features 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

While the lack of a "cattle class" will mean passengers will travel in relative comfort, one quandary remains: how to pass all of that time in the sky.

Here are some tips on how to handle an ultra long-haul flight without losing your mind.

1. Sleep

It's an obvious one, but try to sleep as much as possible. Set your clock to be the same as your destination and doze off at the appropriate times to avoid jetlag. An eye-mask, neck pillow and a cosy blanket work wonders – and you definitely don't need to feel guilty about reclining your seat when a flight is this long. If it works for you, appropriate medicine – prescribed by your doctor, of course – can help you catch some zzzs.
However, even if you managed to get a full eight hours of sleep, there are still ten or so hours to fill, so read on.

Grant Bradley flies from Singapore to New York on SQ22

2. Binge watch

There's no better time to watch or listen to an entire TV, podcast or movies series than on a long flight. Still feel embarrassed that it's 2018 and you've never got around to watching Breaking Bad, The Wire, or Mad Men? During my Auckland to Doha flight, I chose to watch all seven of the Fast and the Furious movies. It turns out that stupid action movies are perfect plane viewing – every single film has basically the same plot so it doesn't matter if you fall asleep. And heightened emotions at 30,000 feet means it will seem a lot deeper than it actually is.

3. Read Proust

If you're too highbrow for Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, this could be your best opportunity to catch up on the greats of literature. Nothing deserves more bragging rights than Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, so load up your Kindle, sip some tea, bite into that madeleine and linger over the slow pace and long sentences.

A long flight is a great opportunity to meditate - just stay out of the aisles. Photo / Getty Images
A long flight is a great opportunity to meditate - just stay out of the aisles. Photo / Getty Images

4. Meditate

When you're stuck on a plane with nothing to do, you may as well make the most of it with some mindfulness. While some airlines include meditation programs in their in-flight entertainment systems, it's also useful to have an app installed on your phone, such as Headspace. If you're prone to homesickness, the Stars of Aroha app is another great option featuring the sounds of Aotearoa – it's also available in Air New Zealand's in-flight entertainment system.