Qantas Airways Setting Its Sights On Offering The World’s Longest Nonstop Flight

Image courtesy of Flying Photog

Although many air travelers are counting down the minutes until they can get off the plane and away from sitting in cramped quarters with hundreds of strangers, there’s a certain cachet these days in offering extreme long-haul flights. Qantas Airways wants to be the next to claim the title of world’s longest nonstop flight, with plans for a new route that would take 20 hours.

Dream a little dream

Qantas announced Friday that it’s dreaming of a flight from Sydney to London that would take 20 hours and 20 minutes with no stopovers along the way, something that isn’t possible at the moment. It would also offer a nonstop route to New York that would take 18 hours.

Again, being trapped on a plane for a long time is probably not anyone’s idea of a dream situation, but as we all know, time is money — and these new routes would definitely save some time: The Sydney to London route would be almost four hours less than the time it currently takes to get from Australia to the UK, including a stopover. Travelers between Sydney and the Big Apple would save about three hours.

The airline says it wants to offer these flights by 2022, and that it’s issued a challenge to Airbus and Boeing to give their next-generation aircraft currently under development — Airbus’ A350ULR and Boeing’s 777X — the range to make these non-stop flights possible with a full passenger load.

Both manufacturers are working on planes that can “almost do the job,” CEO Alan Joyce says.

“We believe advances in the next few years will close the gap, and Qantas has the unique operational experience to be the airline that helps make it happen,” he told investors in a statement.

Airbus told Bloomberg that it’s game.

“We’ll have the A350-900 ULR in service next year for ultra-long range flights of up to 20 hours,” the company said in a statement. “We’ll look forward to working with Qantas to see how we can meet its requirements for Sydney-London non-stop.”

Boeing tells Consumerist that the company “continues to work with our customers to understand their fleet requirements and market demands.”

“While we don’t share details of our discussions with customers, we are confident the 777X will advance the world’s most efficient twin-aisle family by providing the best payload, operating economics and range combination in the market,” a spokesperson for the airline said in an emailed statement.

Chasing the long-haul crown

Even if it sounds like hell to you to be stuck on a plane for almost an entire day, airlines have been trying to outdo each other with these extreme long-haul flights for years.

Earlier this year, Qatar Airways claimed to have the world’s longest flight, with a route that travels 9,032 miles from its home base in Doha to Auckland, New Zealand and takes 17 hours and 30 minutes.

Before that, its rival Emirates took the title with a trip that was actually a bit longer in the air — 17 hours and 35 minutes — but was only 8,590 miles. That flight usurped Qantas, which has a 8,578-mile trip connecting Dallas and Sydney.

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