The 10 Longest Nonstop Flights in the World (From a Points & Planes Perspective)

Pilots in Cockpit - Longest Nonstop Flights In The World

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As of this morning, Singapore Airlines officially clinched the top spot on the list of World’s Longest Non-Stop Flights. The inaugural flight for the Singapore to New York (EWR) route arrived Friday, October 12 at 5:24 am.

Along with the Qatar’s hefty Auckland to Doha route and Qantas’ 3rd place Perth to London having launched earlier this year, travelers worldwide are wondering: “Could I really handle a flight that long?”

For many, a 17.5+ hr long-haul sounds plain awful, and likely conjures thoughts of hours spent cramped in an economy seat.

However, for points and miles geeks, the tables are turned.

These travel hacking ninjas are generally ecstatic about the increasing number of 17+ hour flights. It’s not uncommon for points nerds to go out of their way to hop on one of the longest commercial flights in the world. (We’d know: we’ve done it!)

10 Longest Non-Stop Flights in the World - Updated Oct 2018
Image property of Upgraded Points.

Why would anyone subject themselves to a 17+ hour flight on purpose?

Because often, they’re not flying economy.

Jetting around the world (literally) on one of the longest nonstop flights in existence means maximum time to enjoy truly fantastic products. It’s a big redemption win for seriously hard-earned miles!

We’re diving into the 10 longest nonstop flights in the world and what they’re worth from a points perspective — along with some fun facts, and a look at future top 10 contenders (as well as the aircraft primed to get you there).

The Top 10 Flights

1. Singapore to New York – EWR (Singapore): 9,540 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 50 minutes
Flight Number: SQ 22
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900ULR
Best business class redemption: 92,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles one-way (transfer from UR, MR, TYP, or Marriott)
Best first class redemption: N/A (No first class cabin on this flight)

You could:

  • Watch all 6 movies in the Mission Impossible franchise, plus Top Gun AND Jerry Maguire…and still have almost an hour to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Austin to Anchorage AND BACK with over 1,000 miles to spare (and it would take you about 6 days).

Singapore Airlines previously flew this route with their A340-500 aircraft with a scheduled flight time of 18 hours, 50 minutes. However, the route was discontinued in 2013 due to rising fuel costs. This reopened route now exclusively utilizes premium economy (94) and business class (67) seats on the A350-900ULR.

2. Auckland to Doha (Qatar): 9,032 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 40 minutes
Flight number: QR 921
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR/Future – Airbus A350 (900 vs. 1000 unknown)
Best business class redemption: 80,000 American Airlines Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)
Best first class redemption: 100,000 American Airlines Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)

You could:

  • Watch all 7 movies in the X-Men franchise and still have about 3 hours to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Manhattan to Miami and back 3.5 times. (It would take you almost 6 days without stops.)

This flight crosses a seemingly impossible 10 time zones!

3. Perth to London (Qantas): 9,010 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 20 minutes
Flight number: QF 9
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Best business class redemption:
85,000 American Airlines Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)
Best first class redemption: 115,000 American Airlines Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)

You could:

  • Watch all 7 movies in the Rocky franchise and still have about 4.5 hours to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Seattle to San Diego and back more than 3.5 times.

4. Auckland to Dubai (Emirates): 8,824 miles

Scheduled Flight Time: 17 hours 5 minutes
Flight number: EK 449
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Best business class redemption: 
85,000 Japan Airlines Miles + large cash surcharge one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)
Best first class redemption: 135,000 Japan Airlines Miles + large cash surcharge one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)

You could:

  • Watch all 5 movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and still have about 5 hours to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Tuscon to Tampa and back twice with miles to spare.

5. Los Angeles to Singapore (United): 8,770 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 50 minutes
Flight number: UA 37
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Best business class redemption:
 67,500 Asiana Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott) or 75,000 United Miles one-way (transfer from UR)
Best first class redemption: 90,000 Asiana Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott) or 95,000 United Miles one-way (transfer from UR or Marriott)

You could:

  • Watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, and still have about 45 minutes to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Portland to Pittsburgh and back more than 1.5 times.

6. Houston to Sydney (United): 8,596 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 30 minutes
Flight number: UA 101
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Best business class redemption:
 80,000 United Miles one-way (transfer from UR or Marriott)
Best first class redemption: No first class cabin available on this flight

You could:

  • Watch all 4 movies in the Indiana Jones franchise plus all 4 movies in the Jurassic Park franchise, and still have about 2 hours to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Boston to Boise and back more than 1.5 times.

7. Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney (Qantas): 8,578 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 15 minutes
Flight number: QF 8
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Best business class redemption:
 55,000 Alaska Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)
Best first class redemption: 
70,000 Alaska Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott)

You could:

  • Watch all 3 movies in The Godfather trilogy and all 4 movies in the Terminator franchise and still have a few minutes to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Salt Lake to Savannah and back more than twice.

8. San Francisco to Singapore (United/Singapore): 8,446 miles

Scheduled flight time: 17 hours, 5 minutes/16 hours, 40 minutes
Flight number: UA 1/SQ 31
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9/Airbus A350-900
Best business class redemption:
 67,500 Asiana Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott), 75,000 United miles (transfer from UR or Marriott), or 88,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way (transfer from UR, MR, TYP, or Marriott)
Best first class redemption: No first class cabins operated on this flight

You could:

  • Watch all 5 movies in the Die Hard franchise, plus 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, and The Sixth Sense and still have about an hour to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Las Vegas to Louisville and back twice with about 1,000 miles to spare

9. Johannesburg to Atlanta (Delta): 8,439 miles

Scheduled flight time: 16 hours, 35 minutes
Flight number: DL 201
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR
Best business class redemption: 
95,000 Delta SkyMiles one-way (transfer from MR or Marriott), 100,000 Flying Blue Miles one-way (transfer from MR, UR, TYP, Marriott), or 120,000 Korean Air Miles round-trip (transfer from Marriott)
Best first class redemption: No first class cabins operated on this flight

You could:

  • Watch all 4 movies in the Jurassic Park franchise plus all 4 movies in the Terminator franchise and still have a few minutes left to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Grand Junction to Grand Rapids and back more than 3 times.

10. Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles (Etihad): 8,390 miles

Scheduled flight time: 16 hours, 30 minutes
Flight number: EY 171
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Best business class redemption:
 60,000 Asiana Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)
Best first class redemption: 80,000 Asiana Miles one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)

You could:

  • Watch all 4 movies in the Scream franchise, then all 5 movies in the Scary Movie franchise, and still have an hour and a half to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Atlanta to Albuquerque and back more than 3 times.

Honorable Mention: Dubai to Los Angeles (Emirates): 8,339 miles

Scheduled Flight Time: 16 hours
Flight number: EK 215
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Best business class redemption:
85,000 Japan Airlines Miles + large cash surcharge one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)
Best first class redemption: 135,000 Japan Airlines Miles + large cash surcharge one-way (transfer from Marriott *codeshare)

You could:

  • Watch the entire Making a Murderer Netflix series plus listen to 8 episodes of the Serial Podcast and still have about 45 minutes to spare.
  • Mileage-wise, drive from Detroit to Dallas and back almost 3.5 times.
Movie Franchise Binges vs. The Longest Flights In The World - Updated Oct 2018
Image property of Upgraded Points.

Future Top 10 Contenders

Manila to New York JFK (Philippine Airlines): 8,520 miles

Scheduled flight time: 15 hours, 30 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER

Philippine Airlines is set to begin operating this route on October 28, 2018. The current closest route is a “direct flight” from Manila to Vancouver to New York, with a hefty chunk of time on the ground in Vancouver. The new service will operate 4 times per week (the 7 times per week service from Manila to Vancouver will continue).

Rumored: Sydney to London (Qantas): 10,573 miles

Scheduled flight time: TBD
Aircraft:
TBD

Reportedly, the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, has stated he would like to see the airline run a nonstop flight from Sydney to London in the future. Currently, there is no plane that can handle this distance, but Joyce is allegedly discussing options with both Airbus and Boeing, and there are rumors this flight could be seen as early as 2022.

Mapping the Flights

10 Longest Nonstop Flights, Great Circle Mapper
The 10 longest nonstop flight routes via Great Circle Mapper.

The above flights are listed by the shortest distance between 2 points on the Earth’s surface, also known as great circle distance. This can vary from the actual distance due to a number of factors including winds, severe weather, and closed airspace avoidance. 

Flights are ranked by distance rather than flight time, since flight time can vary significantly due to a number of different factors. 

Great Circle Mapper Orthographic View, 10 Longest Nonstop Flights
Image made via Great Circle Mapper.

About the Aircraft

As planes become more fuel efficient and fuel costs remain relatively low, there’s a good chance we’ll continue to see big competition for a spot on the World’s Longest Flights leaderboard.

Boeing and Airbus continue to implement innovative methods of increasing aircraft range and passenger capacity, therefore allowing major airlines to turn a profit from these ultra-long-haul flights.

Boeing 777 Innovation Timeline
Timeline of Boeing’s continued innovation on the 777 aircraft. Image courtesy of boeing.com.

These aircraft (currently) make up the Top 10 Longest Flights roster:

  • Boeing 777-200LR
  • Boeing 777-300ER
  • Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner)
  • Airbus A350-900ULR
  • Airbus A350-900
  • Airbus A380-800

Boeing 777 Series Aircraft

Boeing 777 comparisons
Image courtesy of boeing.com.

The Boeing 777 commercial series is made up of 3 long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliners. Boeing states the 777 aircraft provides a considerably improved reach and increased revenue potential.

“Airlines have only begun to capitalize on demand for point-to point service in intercontinental markers. The 777 has both the range to fly these very long routes nonstop and the revenue payload capacity to earn a healthy profit throughout the year.” – boeing.com

Boeing 777 Series Range
Boeing 777-200LR range. Image courtesy of boeing.com.

Boeing also claims the GE90-115B turbofan engine is the most powerful engine in the world. Operating with these twin engines, either plane can reach a max cruise speed of Mach 0.84 (644.5 mph) under specific conditions.

The Boeing 777 series has won a number of awards for its interior cabin design and passenger satisfaction.

Boeing 777-200LR

Qatar Boeing 777-200LR Plane
Image courtesy of boeing.com.

Range: 9,845 miles/8,555 nautical miles/15,843 km
Capacity: 317 passengers
Engine: 
GE90-115B (turbofan)

The 777-200LR is the aircraft of choice for Qatar and Delta for ultra-long-haul flights, including Qatar’s Auckland to Doha route and Delta’s Johannesburg to Atlanta route.

Boeing 777-300ER

Boeing 777-300ER Aircraft
Image courtesy of boeing.com.

Range: 8,481 miles/7,370 nautical miles/13,649 km
Capacity: 396 passengers
Engine: 
GE90-115B (turbofan)

The 777-300ER is Etihad’s aircraft of choice for their Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles route.

Boeing 787 Series Aircraft

Boeing 787 Series Aircraft Comparison
Comparing the 787-8, 787-9, and 787-10 aircraft. Image courtesy of boeing.com.

Boeing’s 787 series is comprised of 3 midsize, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliners. Combined, the 787 series currently services 170+ nonstop flights worldwide. The 787-9, however, is the only Dreamliner to make it on the world’s longest flights roster.

Boeing 787 Series Benefits
Image courtesy of Boeing.com.

Boeing states their 787 series provides a number of advantages over other aircraft including higher distance range, more cargo volume, higher fuel efficiency, lower operating costs, and a more reliable aircraft.

Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner)

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft
Image courtesy of boeing.com.

Range: 8,786 miles/7,635 nautical miles/4,140 km
Capacity: 290 passengers
Engine: GEnx-1B/Trent 1000

The 787-9 is the aircraft of choice for Qantas’ Perth to London route and all 3 of United’s top 10 routes.

Airbus A350 Series Aircraft

Airbus A350 Series Aircraft
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

Here’s what Airbus has to say about their A350 series aircraft:

“Designed with passengers and airlines at heart, the A350 XWB benefits from being built with over 70 percent advanced materials; combining carbon composites (53 percent), titanium and modern aluminium alloys, to create a lighter and more cost-efficient aircraft while also reducing maintenance requirements. The latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are quieter and more efficient.

The combination of these advantages result in 25 percent lower operating costs, fuel burn, and C02 emissions when compared with previous-generation aircraft – showing Airbus’ commitment to protecting the environment while remaining at the cutting edge of air travel.” – airbus.com

Airbus A350-900ULR

Airbus delivers first UltraLongRange A350-XWB
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

Range: 11,163 miles/9,700 nautical miles/17964 km
Capacity: 161 (SQ configuration – premium economy & business class only)
Engine: Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84

The first A550-900ULR was delivered to Singapore Airlines in September of this year, and the inaugural flight set out Thursday, October 11, 2018.

A350XWB-UltraLongRange-infographic
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

Here’s what Airbus has to say about their new model:

The main change over the standard aircraft is a modified fuel system, enabling the fuel carrying capacity to be increased by 24,000 litres to 165,000 litres. This extends the range of the aircraft without the need for additional fuel tanks. In addition, the aircraft features a number of aerodynamic enhancements, including extended winglets, which are now being applied to all in-production A350-900 aircraft.” – airbus.com

Airbus A350-900

Airbus A350-900 Aircraft
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

Range: 9,320 miles/8,099 nautical miles/15,000 km
Capacity: 325 passengers
Engine: Rolls-Royce Trent XWB

The A350-900 is the aircraft of choice for Singapore Airlines’ San Francisco to Singapore route. Airbus currently has 664-900s on order, delivering 166 of them in April 2018.

Airbus A380 Series Aircraft

Airbus A380 Series Aircraft
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

There’s no denying it: the Airbus A380 has “wow factor.” It’s the cream of the crop; the plane to see and be seen flying.

This double-deck, wide-body, 4-engine jetliner is the largest commercial aircraft currently in service. The A380’s 2 full-length decks and wide-body width provides about 40% more cabin space than the next-largest passenger aircraft, the Boeing 747-8.

Here’s what Airbus has to say about their A380:

“With more seats than any other aircraft, the A380 offers solutions to overcrowding; needing fewer journeys to carry 60 percent more passengers, making it the perfect solution to airport congestion, fleet plan optimization and traffic growth. Protecting our planet and ensuring we will continue to have a world full of beautiful places to visit in the future.

Greener, cleaner, quieter and smarter, the A380 is setting a new standard for the global aviation industry with its superior efficiency, profitability and operational effectiveness.

Not only is it setting new passenger comfort standards, the A380 also is raising the bar for environmental standards with its low fuel consumption and noise levels – as well as reduced CO2 and NOx emissions.”

 

Airbus A380 technology
Image courtesy of airbus.com.

The A380 currently has just one model in service, the A380-800. While there were rumors of an A380-800neo and an A380-900 in the past, the models never materialized (and current reports state they won’t).

Airbus debuted their A380plus at the Paris Air Show in 2017; an enhanced version of the current A380 that’s set to be available in 2020.

Airbus A380-800

Emirates A380 Aircraft & Flight Attendants
Image courtesy of emirates.com.

Range: 9,756 miles/8,478 nautical miles/15,700 km
Capacity: 544 passengers
Engine: 
Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or Engine Alliance GP7200

This is the aircraft of choice for Emirates’ Auckland to Dubai and Dubai to Los Angeles routes, as well as Qantas’ Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney route.

Final Thoughts

The competition for top spot on the World’s Longest Flight list won’t be ending any time soon. The only question is, how will the airlines choose to get there?

After almost 50 years in service, this past December marked the final flight of the last U.S. carrier-operated Boeing 747. Moving forward, will airlines shy away from these jumbo jets in search of slimmer, more efficient aircraft? Or will planes like the Airbus A380 continue to evolve, providing a more efficient and profitable means of carrying passengers around the world?

From a points perspective, we certainly hope it’s the latter. The optimized business and first class cabins of the more upscale carriers are every miles chaser’s dream.

Rewarding your hard-earned miles with 17 hours in first class on an A380 is unbeatable.

FAQ

What is the longest flight time in the world?

The longest nonstop commercial flight in the world is scheduled at 17 hours and 50 minutes. This route from Los Angeles to Singapore serviced by United Airlines isn’t the longest by distance, but it has the longest duration due to commonly strong headwinds.

What is the longest flight in the world by distance?

The longest flight in the world by distance is QR921. Qatar Airlines’ Auckland to Doha route comes in at 14,535 km/9,032 mi/7,848 nm.

What plane can fly the farthest in the world?

The current record for the longest-distance commercial flight is held by a Boeing 777-200LR. This flight from Hong Kong International Airport to London Heathrow took the long way (vs. great circle distance) and was logged at 21,602 km (13,423 mi/11,664 nm).

What is the largest plane in the world?

The largest commercial jet airliner in the world is currently the Airbus A380.

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2 comments

  1. Peter · May 7, 2018 · Reply

    Question about Johannesburg – Atlanta (Delta) Best Biz Class Redemption: 75k Air Canada Miles, One-Way

    Is the author referring to Aeroplan/ Air Canada which is Star Alliance??

    • Michael McHugh · May 7, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Peter

      The article incorrectly stated that you can use Aeroplan for this redemption. The best redemption (I’d recommend using Expert Flyer for award availability) is either 100k Flying Blue miles one-way or 120k Korean Air miles round-trip. The lowest amount of miles I found on Delta was 325k one-way!

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