The world’s longest non-stop flights

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Here’s a scenario with which you might be familiar. You’ve been flying for what seems like way too many hours already. You’ve had two meals, watched three movies, and read part of the newest Oprah’s book club book. You even had a friendly conversation with the person sitting next to you. And now…there is nothing left to do. Yet you’re still only halfway through your flight.

Is it possible that you are on the longest flight in the world? Although it may feel that way, probably not.

(Photo by Michael Vi/Shutterstock)

Longest recorded flight of all time

What is the longest recorded direct flight to date? There are two different answers here, depending on how you define “longest.”

You could measure the distance between two cities to determine the mileage, but planes don’t travel in a straight line when they fly. Other factors, such as weather and tailwinds, come into play when routes are determined. So let’s look at two different ways to measure the length of a flight:

  1. Greatest “circle distance” – meaning the actual flight path taken. To date, the longest flight when counting the circle distance was a Singapore Airlines flight that traveled 9,534 miles from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey in 2018. 
  1. Greatest “ground distance” traveled – meaning the mileage in the straight line between origin and destination. The longest flight on record when measuring the ground distance is an Air India flight that departed Delhi and landed in San Francisco some 9,507 miles later. 

These records are close, and there are several flights that follow this path that might vary by a few hundred miles depending on how the planes are routed on the day of travel.

Longest passenger flights

In October of 2019, Qantas Airways set a record with the world’s longest non-stop passenger flight time ever recorded. Their commercial flight departed from New York on a Friday night and landed in Sydney, Australia, 19 hours later. Granted, this was not a standard commercial flight. There were only 49 people aboard, including both crew and passengers. The cabin schedule was planned for months in advance, with everything from the meals’ timing to the lighting being tested.

Most non-stop long haul flights aren’t planned out to the level of an intense psychological experiment. So what was it like to fly on the longest flight ever? On this flight, passengers and crew traveled aboard a Boeing Dreamliner, designed specifically to test travelers’ comfort and stamina.

Weight was a specific consideration when traveling this far. To carry as much fuel as possible, luggage was limited and the bar was not stocked. That said, every passenger traveled in business class and was treated to specific meals aimed at reducing jet lag when they landed. Almost a day later, they arrived at their destination.

Current longest passenger flights

Do you think you could hack a 15+ hour flight? What does it take mentally and physically to sustain that length of travel? There’s only one way to find out. Currently, five of the longest passenger flights found on Google Flights include: 

  1. Newark, NJ to Singapore, on Singapore Airlines – This non-stop flight takes just under 19 hours, clocking in at 18 hours and 45 minutes. 
  2. Los Angeles to Dubai, on Emirates Airlines – This direct flight takes just under 16 hours. 
  3. Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, on Delta or United Airlines – This non-stop flight takes 13 hours and 45 minutes, just a bit longer than a flight from LA to Tokyo. It seems like a decent flight time considering you are traveling half-way around the world without touching down once. 
  4. London to Singapore, on British Airways – Non-stop flights from Heathrow to Singapore take about 13 hours on British Airways. Compared to some of the other flight times, this one seems like a puddle jumper. 
  5. Tokyo to Paris, on Air France – You can fly from Tokyo to Paris non-stop in just 12 hours and 50 minutes. This flight is slightly longer than the flight from Tokyo to New York, which takes 12 hours and 15 minutes. 
Flying in business or first class can make the world of difference on a long-haul flight. (Photo by JT Genter)

Longest recorded passenger flights

Historically, the longest recorded passenger flights on record in the last few years include: 

  1. Newark, NJ to Singapore – The flight time is 18 hours and 45 minutes. There are no economy seats offered on this flight. The assumption is that passengers will want to be as comfortable as possible.
  2. Auckland, New Zealand to Doha – This is another flight clocking just over 18 hours and nine thousand miles on Qatar Airlines. 
  3. Perth to London, Heathrow – This 9k mile route was established in 2018 and remains one of the more popular long-haul flights for those looking to travel between Australia and the UK. 
  4. Auckland to Dubai – On Emirates Airlines, flight time is around 17 hours, and the distance traveled is just under 8k miles. The aircraft can carry up to 112 passengers, making it an easy and comfortable option. 
  5. Los Angeles to Singapore – Singapore Airlines offers a non-stop flight from LA to Southeast Asia in just 17 hours. You can currently find this flight with departure times six days a week, making it one of the most frequently flown long-haul, non-stop flights.

Some of these flights are still available, while others are temporarily out of service due to COVID-19 travel regulations. 

Bottom line

Do you prefer a non-stop long haul flight or an itinerary with several stops to break up the flight? Maybe you’ve got a favorite lounge in Tokyo that you plan your trips around? Or maybe you don’t want to deal with boarding a flight more than once and would rather knock out travel as quickly as possible and relax once you get to your destination. Regardless of your preferred method, it’s fascinating to see some of the longest flights recorded and imagine what type of traveler has that endurance.

Erin Lizzo is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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