Will the World’s Longest Flight Please Stand Up?

The Battle Between Airlines for Longest Time Aloft Continues

A United 787-9 will operate the longest scheduled flight by a U.S. carrier and the longest flight flown by a Dreamliner

A United 787-9 will operate the longest scheduled flight by a U.S. carrier and the longest flight flown by a Dreamliner

By Paul Riegler on 15 March 2016
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Many airlines are currently vying for the title of offering the “world’s longest flight,” but few if any will come close what was the longest ever commercial route: the now-discontinued Newark-Singapore route operated by Singapore Airlines. The flight covered 9,535 miles (15,345 kilometers) and had a scheduled flight time of 18 hours 50 minutes.

Singapore also held the number two slot, linking Singapore and Los Angeles, California, with an 18-hour 30-minute flight that covered 8,000 miles.

Both routes were discontinued in late 2013.

The mantle was assumed by Qantas, with a non-stop 8,578-mile (13,805-kilometer) flight linking Dallas, Texas, with Sydney, Australia. The trip took 16 hours 50 minutes and was just eclipsed by Emirates’ new flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. That service, with a scheduled flight time of 17 hours 15 minutes, covers 8,824 miles (14,201 kilometers).

Singapore, however, hopes to regain the title in 2018 when it will begin to operate non-stop service from New York to Singapore, a 19-hour flight that will span roughly 9,350 miles (15,300 kilometers). The airline will use Airbus’ newly launched Ultra-Long Range version of the A350-900 to provide the service.

“Our customers have been asking us to re-start non-stop Singapore-US flights and we are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner,” said Goh Choon Phong, the airline’s CEO, at the time the announcement was made.

Slated to start June 1, 2016 United Airlines will join the sweepstakes with yet another Singapore-to-California route, a flight from San Francisco that will be the longest scheduled flight of any U.S. carrier. It will have an approximate flying time of 15 hours, 30 minutes eastbound and 16 hours, 20 minutes westbound covering 8,430 miles (13,600 kilometers).

While it won’t be the world’s longest, this flight will hold several distinctions. It will be the longest flown by a Dreamliner and the only non-stop service linking the United States and Singapore.

Another contender is, however, on the horizon: Qatar Airways may operate a non-stop flight between Doha in Qatar and Auckland, covering 9,034 miles (14,539 kilometers).

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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