Review: The World’s Longest Domestic Flight – Delta First Class New York-Honolulu

Delta's Mai Tai as served on a New York-Honolulu non-stop flight

By Jonathan Spira on 15 February 2017
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Ask someone to name the longest non-stop domestic flight in the United States and you’ll get a variety of answers, almost all of them wrong. Many assume a Los Angeles-New York City transcon is the longest but at 2,470 miles, or 3,980 kilometers, it isn’t close to the right answer. Other guesses include Guam to Honolulu, which at 3,800 miles, or 6,120 kilometers, one would think would take the prize; Anchorage to Miami – a route that doesn’t actually exist – and Seattle to Miami, a 2,724-mile (4,384-kilometer) route operated by American Airlines that is the longest route in the contiguous 48 states.

But it isn’t the longest domestic route in the United States – or in the world. That title belongs to New York City-Honolulu and the route is operated by Delta Air Lines seasonally as well as Hawaiian Airlines year round. Both are relatively new flights – Hawaiian introduced it in 2011 and Delta in 2014. Prior to that, several now defunct airlines including Pan Am provided service between the two cities.

Indeed, at 4,970 miles (8,000 kilometers) Honolulu is farther from New York than is Moscow (4,650 miles or 7,483 kilometers) or Rio De Janeiro (4,810 miles, or 7,740 kilometers).

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It was a rainy morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport when I arrived for my 9:30 a.m. departure. There was a short wait at the Delta PreCheck line but I was airside and on my way to the gate within about eight minutes.


Boarding was about to start when I arrived at the gate and I was one of the first on the aircraft. The friendly Honolulu-based crew was preparing a welcome full of traditional ho’okipa, or hospitality, while directing passengers to their seats and, in the first-class cabin, hanging up heavy winter coats.

I quickly settled into my seat, 1A, and prepared for departure.

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