With Qatar Airways recently having launched the world’s longest commercial flight between Doha and Auckland, Business Traveler rounds up some of the other contenders – present, past and future…
Note that the approximate distances quoted below are the great circle distance (i.e., the shortest distance between the two destinations measured along the surface of the earth) – these can differ quite considerably from those actually flown by the airlines.
Also, where these marathon, globe trotting flight durations are quoted, these are for the longer of the two legs.
Distance: 9,032 miles
Qatar Airways launched what is currently the world’s longest commercial non-stop flight in February 2017, between Doha and Auckland.
The route takes approximately 17 and a half hours and covers 9,032 miles, and is the Gulf carrier’s first destination in New Zealand.
Flights are operated by Qatar’s 777 aircraft configured for 42 fully flat business class seats and 217 in economy.
Distance: 8.824 miles
Fellow Gulf carrier Emirates has also operated non-stop flights to Auckland since March 2016, and this route was the holder of the longest non-stop service until the introduction of Qatar Airways’ flights from Doha (situated around 180 miles west of Dubai).
The daily service was originally operated by 777-200LR aircraft, but has since been upgraded to the carrier’s A380 superjumbo.
Emirates also offers the option of flying from Dubai to Auckland with a stopover in Australia on one of the carrier’s three daily A380 services.
Distance: 8,575 miles
Prior to the Auckland services above, Australia’s flag carrier held the record for the world’s longest commercial flight, between Sydney and Dallas.
This route was launched in 2014, and is currently operated by Qantas’ A380 aircraft, with a flight time of around 16 hours 50 minutes.
To: San Francisco
Distance: 8,448 miles
The carrier launched non-stop flights between Singapore and San Francisco in October 2016, a route which is currently the longest in the airline’s network.
The route is operated by SIA’s new A350-900 aircraft, which are configured in three classes, with 42 business class seat, 24 in premium economy and 187 in economy.
From: San Francisco
Distance: 8,448 miles
United has also operated flights on the San Francisco-Singapore route since June 2016, using its 787-9 aircraft.
It is currently the world’s longest Boeing Dreamliner service, with a flight duration of around 16 hours and 20 minutes.
United’s 787-9 aircraft are configured for three classes, with 48 business class seats, 88 Economy Plus seats, and 116 in economy.
Distance: 9,009 miles
The Australian flag carrier has announced plans to fly non-stop between London and Perth beginning in March 2018, using its new 787-9 aircraft.
The 17-hour flight will be just short of Qatar Airways’ Doha-Auckland service in terms of distance, but will also be the only direct, nonstop route between the UK and Australia when it launches. It 1947, it took Qantas four days and nine stops.
Qantas’ Dreamliner aircraft operating the flight will be configured for three classes, with 42 fully-flat Business Suites, 28 of the carrier’s newly-designed premium economy seat, and 166 in economy.
Distance: 8,588 miles
The Gulf carrier announced plans to fly non-stop between Dubai and Panama in August 2015, with an original launch date of February 2016.
The new service was hit by several delays, and has yet to commence, with the carrier stating in March 2016 that “We firmly believe in the potential of Central America, and remain keen to link the Emirates network to the region,” adding that “We will retain staff in Panama City to continue developing our presence, as well as commercial opportunities with our industry partners, and will launch by the end of 2016 or early 2017 as soon as conditions allow.”
To: Los Angeles and New York
Distance: 8,769 miles and 9,537 miles respectively
Singapore’s flag carrier has previously operated non-stop flights to both Los Angeles and New York but was forced to cancel the services in 2013, when it retired its A340-500s from service.
SIA has since signed an agreement to be the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350 aircraft, paving the way for the carrier to relaunch these services in 2018.
Should these come to fruition SIA is likely to regain the crown for the world’s longest commercial flight, with the Singapore-New York route being around 500 miles longer than Qatar’s Doha-Auckland service.
A special note to...
To: San Francisco
Air India’s route between Delhi and San Francisco is considered by some to be among the world’s longest, because of the considerable difference between its great circle distance (7,705 miles), and the actual route taken by the carrier.
The flight’s current routing over the Pacific Ocean means it can cover as much as 9,010 miles, which places it up there with Qatar Airways’ and Emirates’ services to Auckland.
And the longest ever commercial flight ... Qantas
Distance: around 11,185 miles
In 1989 Qantas operated a one-off, nonstop delivery flight for one of its 747 aircraft (named City of Canberra), covering 11,185 miles and taking just over 20 hours.
The marathon flight carried only 16 paying passengers on board, making it what is generally considered by pundits and travel experts alike to be the longest ever commercial (non-charter) nonstop service.