World's Longest Non-Stop Flights

If you’re traveling from Newark, NJ to Singapore… bring a book. You’ll be in the air for almost 19 hours on the longest flight in the world, according to Forbes magazine. Long-haul flights have become more common in the last 6 years, Forbes says, “There were 866 scheduled flights between Hong Kong International Airport and the U.S. or Canada in July 2001 vs. 1,000 scheduled for July 2007.”

But there is a price for a non-stop flight: To increase that airplane’s range, airlines book less people (and therefore carry less weight). Passengers wanting to save serious money (about $750 a person) should book flights that have layovers.

    The World’s Longest Flights:

    1) Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

    18 hours, 30 minutes
    Singapore Airlines

    2) Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

    18 hours, 30 minutes
    Singapore Airlines

    3) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

    17 hours, 30 minutes
    Singapore Airlines

    4)John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK)

    17 hours, 10 minutes
    Thai Airways

    5)Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK)

    17 hours
    Thai Airways

    6) Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

    16 hours, 55 minutes
    Thai Airways

    7) Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

    16 hours, 20 minutes
    Singapore Airlines

    8) Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

    15 hours, 50 minutes
    Continental Airlines

    9) Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

    15 hours, 40 minutes
    Continental Airlines or Cathay Pacific

    10) Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

    15 hours, 30 minutes
    Thai Airways

World’s Longest Passenger Flights [Forbes]
(Photo:Aaron P)

Comments

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  1. banned says:

    Do these numbers include the delays, or should we add 10 hours to convert from imaginary time to real time!?

  2. Pelagius says:

    Bye-bye plane! Bye-bye plane! (etc.)

  3. mmcnary says:

    I’m just wondering how it takes 10 minutes longer to fly from JFK to BKK(17 hours, 10 minutes) than LAX to BKK(17 hours). It woiuld indicate that it only takes 10 minutes to fly from JFK to LAX…

  4. Tombfyre says:

    You gotta wonder if long flight times between popular locations will spawn an increase in faster aircraft. Recent development of rather functional ScramJet technologies will probably make stratospheric flights a lot easier.

    Rather than flying around the world at a high altitude, you just fire up and over the pole with sub-orbital paths. ‘twould definately speed things up, though probably be even more expensive than conventional air travel, at least for a while.

  5. yg17 says:

    @mmcnary: Maybe JFK-BKK flies east over Europe and Asia and LAX-BKK goes west over the Pacific?

  6. bnet41 says:

    @mmcnary:
    I believe in the route you mentioned from JFK the plane actually goes east and heads over Europe, etc. So, hence the short time difference. I know most of the international carriers have at least one daily that does this out of various east coast airports.

  7. The Walking Eye says:

    @mmcnary: Crazy thing, this sphere we live on where we can go in opposite directions from point to point and still end up in the same spot.

  8. kmccoy says:

    The great circles seem to be about 655 km different. [gc.kls2.com]

    That doesn’t take into account factors like jet streams. Maybe that accounts for it.

  9. jamesdenver says:

    I don’t understand how this is exactly “news”. (Long flights are lengthy?), but I thought Los Angeles to Sydney Australia was on of the longest routes at 20 hours. I didn’t see that mentioned.

    james [www.futuregringo.com]

  10. Skiffer says:

    So…you’re saying these are the flights we should take if we want planes with the most jet fuel on board?

  11. yg17 says:

    @jamesdenver: No, I think that flight is only around 15 hours or so.

  12. kimsama says:

    I think this is news because if you take a long flight, sure, it’s long, but you won’t have to figure in an extra 24 hrs of delays. So it’s really going to take you less time to get to Thailand than it takes to go from JFK to Boston. ^_^

    (P.S. I know that they’re monstrously long, but when I can I always get a long direct flight when I’m going to Asia. The hassle you save in not having to transfer is worth the mind-numbing longness of the flights)

  13. Consumertaz says:

    @YG17 LA to sydney is ~ 18 hours. Add 6 to go from Boston to LA and the time difference and you have yourself a nice 48hour trip…. of course, coming back it only takes like 5 and you get a day twice… its trippy

  14. bilge says:

    @mmcnary: Different routes. One way is a polar route, the other is a great circle route. Winds also affect flight time.

    @jamesdenver: LAX-SYD is about 15 hours.

  15. geeniusatwrok says:

    @James: LAX>SYD is 14 hours. Having done it, I’d slit my wrists facing 19 hours in a coach seat.

  16. Yozzie says:

    @ jamesdenver – Last time I flew that route, it was a hair under 16 hours, but Christ, it felt like at least 30…

  17. joeblevins says:

    Imagine the dirt bags having to fly in coach. Get your company, or use the points for an upgrade.

  18. bilge says:

    This article seems bogus: “Passengers wanting to save serious money (about $750 a person) should book flights that have layovers.”

    I plugged in a few routes for some possible fall vacation destinations into Orbitz and came up with the following economy prices:

    JFK-BKK
    Nonstop on Thai Airways: $1189
    Cheapest flight: $1103 on China Airlines (two stops)

    JFK-DXB
    Nonstop on Emirates: $1199
    Cheapest flight: $930 on Aeroflot (one stop)

    JFK-NRT
    Cheapest flight: $1113 nonstop on Japan Airlines

    Can’t say that booking a layover is saving me big bucks. And a savings of $270 isn’t enough to make me deal with Aeroflot and suffer a transfer in Moscow.

  19. chimmike says:

    this is some crucial information that a lot of people should consider:

    FAA rules mandate pilots can ONLY fly for 8 hours.

    Note that the only US airline to fly a long route in that list below those asian based airlines is Continental. They fly the 777 on that route, and it is a 2 crew flight. Each crew flies for 8 hours. The main crew for the first and last 4 hrs, and the reserve crew for the 8hrs in between.

    The asian airlines don’t follow the same mandates, and likely only run 2 crews on those 19 hr flights, meaning at least 2 crew members are flying for more than 8 hrs.

    It’s something that should be taken into consideration.

  20. bilge says:

    And this is horseshit too: “To increase that airplane’s range, airlines book less people (and therefore carry less weight).”

    To increase the airplane’s range, airlines use smaller planes such as the Airbus A340-500 instead of the A340-600.

  21. jamesdenver says:

    Thanks I stand corrected on LAX-SYD. The longest I’ve done was Buenos Aires – Mexico City at 11 hours, and Denver-Munich at 10. Not only is my butt sore, but in coach with the other dirtbags (see Joe’s pleasant comment), the whole cabin ends up smelling like a big giant bed.

  22. SBR249 says:

    hmmmm, now if only my iPod can last that long…

  23. bnet41 says:

    You haven’t lived until you’ve been cramped into coach for 12 plus hours. Especially if you can’t sleep on a plane like me.

    If they offer you a business class upgrade, and you can afford it, take it!

  24. chimmike says:

    @jamesdenver:

    I think the better description would be, the coach cabin smells like b.o. and stale farts.

  25. Wormfather says:

    @Skiffer:

    And the award for Most Cynical Comment goes to….

    like it was even a compitition.

  26. TVarmy says:

    So do they feed you at least?

  27. j-o-h-n says:

    Chicago to Paris the the middle of the 5 seat block in an L1011 (some years back). Not fun. I’d sooner drive.

  28. pkcore says:

    fyi on the SQ flights you only have Business (Raffles)Class and Executive Economy (much larger seats compared with typical coach, in a 2-3-2 config, 9″ A/V on-demand IFE, in-seat 110V power). There’s also a stand-up ‘lounge’ of sorts in both classes that you can grab an additional hot/cold snack and drink anytime during most of the flight. That plus one of the best cabin crews in the world makes for a rather pleasant flight.

  29. chimmike says:

    @TVarmy:
    yeah, like three times.

    If you don’t have the runs from airplane food by that time, you’ve got an iron stomach.

  30. Don Roberto says:

    I’ve flown Houston to Los Angeles to Seoul-Incheon to Chengdu. Just under 24 hours with transfers and layovers. Not a wink of sleep.

    The return flight was about the same except I flew through SFO instead of LAX. That one was full of poker-playing-pakistanis on the tray behind me (think: shuffling and stacking cards on the tray), and pakistanis pacing up and down the aisles. Again, not a wink of sleep.

  31. TechnoDestructo says:

    @rocnrule:

    I’ve never faced a delay for a flight in Japan, China or Korea. (The only non US countries I’ve been to) Unless you count my flight to the US being delayed a week due to 9/11.

    Also, a non-stop flight means you avoid connecting flights which means less chance for delays.

    But you still do have all that transit time to and from the airport, and probably 30-45 minutes getting your shit together in an overseas airport, or an hour and a half in an American one. So that 19 hour flight is probably more like a minimum of 22, origin to destination, if you count local transport.


    The longest I’ve done was about 13 hours from Las Vegas to Seoul. Also 11-12 hours San Fran – Osaka and Seattle – Tokyo. (What really sucked about that was I was coming from Fairbanks, AK the first time, and the flight goes right over Anchorage.)

  32. Don Roberto says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I had one delay in China at Jiuzhaigou on my way back to Chengdu. Over 6 hours waiting in a small crowded airport. They gave us food, at least. [www.airliners.net]

  33. Major-General says:

    @chimmike:

    Sadly, I like airplane food.

  34. mikelove says:

    Most of these flights have premium-economy-level seat pitches everywhere; even the non-premium economy seats on the Thai Air ones are 36″, and as someone else pointed out the Singapore ones are all-premium-economy and start at 37″, so in both cases a good 5-6″ better than you’re likely to encounter on United et al.

  35. aviationwiz says:

    I remember back a few years ago when the longest flights in the world were South African Airways from Atlanta to Johannesburg and New York to Johannesburg, both non-stop. They clocked in at around 16-17 hours or so on a Boeing 747-400. I did the JFK-JNB one twice, and even in SAA Standard Economy, it was great, but the lucky few who were able to get seats on the upper-deck of the B744 got a premium economy seat, or, as some called it “poor man’s business class.”

  36. dantsea says:

    I did SFO-SYD last month, just a hair under 16 hours and OH BOY I get to do it all over again in four days. I’m seriously looking into coming down with some impossibly horrible infection to get out of doing that trip (love the destination, but hate the journey) Flying less passengers to get that range seems like a pantload, at least in United’s economy class, which had not a single empty seat in either direction.

  37. Her Grace says:

    I did the LAX-Melbourne flight last year (stops in Sydney to get a new crew) with United…that was HELL. I’m flying business class back to the states, because I can’t stomach the prospect of losing my legs completely, and being cramped on a plane that long will surely cause such an injury. It was just shy of 17 hours long to Sydney.

  38. vonron says:

    The reason East Coast flights take virtually the same time (and sometimes less) to Asia is because Polar Routes are much more feasible from cities like Newark and New York. After all, they are closer to the North Pole than West Coast cities like LA and San Francisco, and if they were to use a Polar Route from the West Coast, then the trip would take much longer than it does. From New York it makes a lot of sense to just jump over the North Pole and head back down on the other side, as opposed to taking the long way across the country and the Pacific.

  39. cyrilchiang says:

    There is a missing tie with #8 (EWR/HKG) which is operated by Cathay Pacific between JFK and HKG. Since last month CX operated this non-stop route twice a day, one with the newest 777-300 ER.

  40. cyrilchiang says:

    Practically the longest route point to point is half of the earth sphere. With the same calculated mileage, the actual time of flight can be up to two hours in difference if you fly against the wind. Always choose to fly east bound !!

  41. wowpeter says:

    @chimmike:

    Huh? Just because Asian Airline doesn’t follows FAA rules, does not mean that they only have 2 crew for a 16 hours flight. Almost every asian country have regulations regarding flight time limitations for pilot. All of the above airlines that operate such long flight have flight time limitations that will require 4 crew for such flight. With each crew working no longer than 8 hours at a single continuous period and usually no longer than 10 hours max for each flight. All provided that a proper in flight rest area is provided to the crew (ie: proper bed). So I don’t think flying any of the Asian carrier is any less safe then flying the good old Continental. In fact, for many of the Asian carriers, they are probably safer because they have more experience in operating ultra-long haul operations.

  42. AustinUSA says:

    @mmcnary The reason the flight times are about the same for LAX-BKK and JFK-BKK is because Thai Airways heads straight over the top from New York. Flying over the North Pole actually saves them a lot of time.