Well, I Guess I’m Not Breaking This Round The World Flying Record…

Filed Under: Travel

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a series of posts about the world records relating to flying around the world on commercial flights in the fastest amount of time. This started after an Etihad Airways executive set a new round the world flying record, as he flew from Shanghai to Auckland to Buenos Aires to Amsterdam to Shanghai.

This made me realize that there are actually several different ways that “round the world” flying is defined for the purposes of these records. The record this guy set was for the fastest round the world trip using approximate antipodal airports. He completed the journey in 52hr34min, and while that’s impressive, I don’t love the concept of setting a record based on antipodal points, since it limits creativity. That’s because there are very few major airports connecting several continents that are at antipodal points.

This made me realize that the much more interesting record (as far as I’m concerned) is flying to all six inhabited continents in the quickest time possible. The world record for visiting all six continents was 66hr31min, as someone flew from Singapore to Sydney to Los Angeles to Houston to Caracas to London to Cairo to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

I started contemplating potential ways to break this record, and @ladakn99 came up with a routing that would visit all six continents in 57hr40min.

Here’s the routing that was proposed:

QF0027 Sydney to Santiago departing 12:50PM arriving 11:10AM
CM0118 Santiago to Panama City departing 12:04PM arriving 4:52PM
IB6346 Panama City to Madrid departing 6:35PM arriving 10:30AM (+1 day)
IB3308 Madrid to Algiers departing 11:55AM arriving 1:25PM
EK0758 Algiers to Dubai departing 3:10PM arriving 12:40AM (+1 day)
EK0414 Dubai to Sydney departing 1:55AM arriving 10:30PM

A group of three guys is claiming to have broken the world record in the past few days, as they flew around the world in 56hr56min (the record is calculated from takeoff to touchdown, which explains why it’s a bit shorter than the above time, since the schedule is based on gate-to-gate times). The routing? Exactly the same as the above…

I’d note that while they wrote on January 5 they were going to try to break the record, they didn’t publish their routing. So I don’t think the reader who suggested this routing was “borrowing” it from them, and similarly, I don’t think they were borrowing it from the post I published. Instead there are only so many routings that will work, so I suspect they came to the same conclusion.

They had tried to break the world record with a team of five people in 2017, but they misconnected halfway through, so this wasn’t their first attempt.

Congrats to them, though given that they I was actively in the process of planning this, I’m sort of bummed. I guess I should see if there’s a better way to do it, though I’m not sure there’s much more time that can be shaved off here. I suppose some people might just try to take the same routing and hope the travel time is a minute less, or something, but that doesn’t seem like fun.

  1. I think the guy who suggested this routing borrowed the idea from these guys. As it was a second attempt and the first was June 2017 your commenter might have had got the route info from them. The suspicion arises as the routing and flights are ditto!

  2. I flew around the world a couple of times (not in one go but ALWAYS in first or Business). You can get tired quickly. However I never get tired of the excellent food in some Asian lounges.

  3. If I were you I’d keep this idea in the back of my head, and if some lucky routing appears… 😉

  4. I was the one who gave Lucky the routing. I didn’t even know this was being attempted by someone else.

    Lucky, what you may want to do in the future is to keep an eye on those flights timetables. I can imagine it to be possible for time to be shaved off at PTY, MAD and DXB on that routing.

  5. I love flying as much as anybody else here but is there a vainer, more environmentally harmful “record” out there? Mileage runs and flight reviews are one thing; at least they’re being performed for the sake of a tangible benefit. What are you getting out of doing this? It’s not advancing the field of aviation, it’s a pointless, wasteful, wannabe-rich guy exercise. I strongly recommend that you think twice about furthering this “record”. We all get that you want to leave your mark on commercial aviation but not every feat should be done just for the sake of completion.

  6. @AS – He isn’t taking a private jet. These are scheduled flights by carriers who are flying the routes with him on the flight or not. Relax.

  7. @AS — I kinda agree. It just feels like…why? The record will just hold for a couple weeks until the next guy tries it.

    @Sean M — Yeah, I agree, they’d be flying with him on it or not. Ultimately one person probably isn’t going to affect the airline’s considerations of supply and demand. Still, we as people don’t participate in a lot of things we know to be wrong even though our avoiding it doesn’t make much of a difference in the large scale. I dunno, it’s complicated.

    Airline travel is objectively terrible for the environment, but it’s also a necessity. I don’t think it’s insane for very frequent travelers to think about ways they can reduce their impact on the environment. I try to do that as much as I can. It’d be interesting to see a post about that here, if the OMAAT staff cares about such things. The bulk of my fellow frequent flyers don’t seem to care at all (a lot of weird science deniers in this community, very strangely), but Lucky’s blog is fun because he’s so different than the typical frequent flyer.

  8. Add the stipulation that you need to pay for the entire trip with miles! I’m hoping the magical routing will appear. You’ve got this, Ben!

  9. @Sean M.

    Demand is demand. Ignoring the effect of his weight on the flight’s fuel consumption, promoting wasteful behavior like this will still have consequences. If 10 or 20 or 50 other attempts at this or other nonsensical flying records are made (which takes zero skill, and just requires time and money to try), then that will have an effect.

    Frankly there’s nothing impressive about this. The only skill required is in identifying the optimal routing, which was crowdsourced anyway. Other than that one just has to purchase the tickets and show up. The rest is all luck.

  10. I cannot understand WHY PTY WAS CONSIDERED AS A NORTH AMERICAN CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  11. Is NZ considered part of the Australian continent or is the definition continental areas rather than continents in the strict sense?

  12. Could the new Hanian flight be used in this? Say taking the SAA flight from JNB-Perth and then taking avianca from TIJ-BOG-MAD and working back down to JNB?

  13. Marvellous. I wonder is Panama City classified as Norh America ? And maybe there is a better way than Madrid/Algeria ?

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