In case you didn’t know (and I didn’t), Stavanger is a town in southwest Norway, known locally as the Oil Capital because of its close proximity to that country’s booming offshore oil industry.
On August 20, SAS will launch flights between Stavanger and another oil-industry hub, Houston, Texas.
And it plans to operate the 10-hour flights with a B737-700.
Ten hours on a B737?
With around 8,000 delivered to airlines around the world, the B737 is the best-selling commercial aircraft ever produced. But with its narrow body and single aisle, it’s a plane with a purpose. Boeing itself describes the B737 as a “short-to-medium-range airplane.”
The B737-700 version of the plane makes up the bulk of Southwest’s fleet, and various other versions are in wide use by other U.S. carriers as well. So you’ve almost certainly flown on one yourself. Most likely on a short-ish domestic flight. Between Phoenix and Los Angeles, for instance.
But on a 10-hour transatlantic flight?
There is a saving grace in SAS’s plan that will go a long way toward making those long-haul flights bearable, and then some. Unlike Southwest’s B737-700s, which accommodate 143 passengers in seats with 31-inch pitch arranged in a 3×3 configuration, SAS will outfit its B737 with just 44 seats reflecting its “Long Haul Business Class concept.” In other words, all business class.
No doubt the comfy seats will mitigate the closed-in feeling of flying for so long in a narrow-body plane. But it does raise the question: How long is too long?
Tickets go on sale April 29.
Reader Reality Check
When flying long hauls, do you make it a priority to book on a wide-body plane?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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