Time is money and sometimes you just need to get to your destination as fast as possible.
I am an advocate for efficiency and in an unending quest for work-life balance, I often find myself debating…1) more expensive ticket but direct flight or 2) cheaper multiple-leg journey?
MY INTRODUCTION INTO ULTRA LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS
Ten years ago, I flew 8,339 miles in economy from Los Angeles to Dubai on Emirates Airlines.
I think the pure excitement of the trip removed a bit of sting from sitting in an economy seat for, approximately, 16 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Dubai and had an amazing flight experience but I’m not sure if I would do it again (particularly if I have a stash of points and can make my experience a bit more comfortable). 😉
More recently, I helped a friend book a business class award flight for the long and direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I thought it would be fun to compare the length of my Dubai flight, the length of his Johannesburg flight, & the length of the longest flights in the world.
THE 5 LONGEST FLIGHTS
Currently, there is a strong demand for direct flights from business hubs and airline manufacturers have focused on making airplanes more fuel efficient to meet that demand.
In addition, fuel costs have been low. This equation makes for a great time to launch ultra long-haul flights and you are able to see the result of latest airline technology in the Boeing 787s & Airbus A350s that typically fly these routes.
I have ranked the flights in order of total miles flown since airlines typically pad flight schedules with extra time to prevent delays and wind direction can affect the duration of the flight.
I have included the type of aircraft for you avgeeks like me 🙂
- Newark to Singapore / Singapore / 9,534 miles / Airbus A350-900ULR
- Auckland to Doha / Qatar / 9,032 miles / Boeing 777-200LR
- Perth to London / Qantas / 9,009 / Boeing 787-9
- Auckland to Dubai / Emirates / 8,823 miles / Airbus A380
- Los Angeles to Singapore / Singapore / 8,770 miles / Airbus A350-900LR
Those are some wicked long flights! But where does my Dubai flight rank?
Let’s look at the next Top 5 Longest Flights…
- Houston to Sydney / United / 8,596 miles / Boeing 787-9
- Dallas to Sydney / Qantas / 8,577 miles / Airbus A380
- New York to Manila / Philippine Airlines / 8,520 miles / Airbus A350-900
- San Francisco to Singapore / United and Singapore / 8,446 miles / Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900
- Johannesburg to Atlanta / Delta / 8,439 miles / Boeing 777-200LR
As you can see, my friends flight (ATL-JNB) ranks in the TOP 10. I eventually found my Dubai flight and it ranks as #12.
11) Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles / Etihad / 8,390 miles / Boeing 777-300ER
12) Dubai to Los Angeles / Emirates / 8,339 miles / Airbus A380
All of the flights above are blocked between 16 and 18.5 hours.
Interestingly, there are additional non-stop, long-haul flights scheduled to the market this year that will including:
- Brisbane to Chicago / Qantas / 8,902 miles / Boeing 787-9 04/15/20
- Auckland to Newark / Air New Zealand / 8,810 miles / Boeing 787-9 10/29/20
They will begin service on 15 April and 29 October respectively.
When I think we may have reached the precipice, airlines continue to surprise me. But would you be interested in flying for 22+ hours on a plane?
As an avgeek, I’m always excited to experience new planes and technology and it’s impressive to see how the airline manufacturers continue to increase the distance flown.
However, I have to wonder where it’s going to end? Even if it is the fastest route between business hubs, is there demand to sustain the route?
For example, Singapore Airlines has a custom configuration for that #1 longest flight. The airline installed two classes; Business and Economy class. However, all “regular” economy seats are actually premium economy seats because 18 hours in a regular economy seat could be dreadful.
There is one thing that I know…sitting in economy for ~18 straight hours wouldn’t be my first choice. I would probably break up the flights rather than fly non-stop. But again, time is money!
Has anyone experienced one of the longest flights or planning on taking one? What is the longest flight you have taken?