Etihad Executive Trying To Beat Round The World Flying Record

Etihad Executive Trying To Beat Round The World Flying Record

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This is awesome. I didn’t realize this was a record, though now that I do, I’m totally going to try to break it. On Sunday Andrew Fisher, who is Etihad’s VP of Fleet Planning and a self proclaimed aviation geek, will start a round the world trip that he hopes will set a world record. Specifically, he’ll be flying from Shanghai to Auckland to Buenos Aires to Amsterdam to Shanghai, which covers a distance of 24,885 miles.

The record? If all goes as planned, he’ll beat the current 55 hour record for flying around the world by about three hours. That’s really damn impressive. If you assume planes fly an average of 500 miles per hour, it doesn’t get much more efficient than that.

For anyone wondering, here are the previous records that were set for round the world flying, per The National:

The first Guinness record was set in 2004 by Michael Quandt from Germany, a travel editor of the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

He flew around the world via six continents on scheduled flights in a time of 66 hours 31 minutes.

His journey started and finished in Singapore and proceeded via Sydney (Australia), Los Angeles (USA), Houston (USA), Caracas (Venezuela), London (UK), Cairo (Egypt) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

That record has since been broken several times, most recently in 2017 by Dubai resident Gil Azevedo who flew around the world in just 55 hours and 47 minutes.

The bank worker undertook his five-flight tour across the world traveling from Shanghai to Auckland, Buenos Aires, Paris and Moscow before returning to Shanghai.

To set the record, the time is recorded based on when the wheels of the first plane leave the ground at the airport of departure, until when the wheels touch down at the same airport at the end of the trip. Only flights that appear in published timetables may be used.

Based on doing some research it looks like there are different ways that round the world trips have been defined for these purposes, and this particular challenge is based on an attempt to reach approximate antipodal points. Here’s how that’s described:

A circumnavigation crossing the equator must be made. It is not necessary to visit the exact antipodal points, but airports nearest them. For this record an allowance of 5° is permitted, so if the co-ordinates north and south are the same, the east plus that west equals 180°, then that north might be, for example, 45° and that south anything between 40° and 50°. Alternatively that north might be 51° and that south 53°, in which case that west plus that east can equal between 177° and 183°. Being in a plane which lands at the airport but not having to changes would not be acceptable.

Good luck, Andrew! But careful, now that I know this is a thing, I’m determined to break it. If anyone has any routing ideas that beat ~52 hours, please do let me know. Now I know what I’ll be spending my weekend researching. 😉

(Tip of the hat to @SaeedMehairi)

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  1. Hawaiian Joe Guest

    Do it, Lucky! I would love to see that journey written up as a trip report

  2. Bill n DC Gold

    Wow! I returned last night from RTW18 - not for a record (gone 6 Days) since I spent 2 nights in Sydney, but for fun in experiencing Korean 747-8i & Etihad Apartment (again).
    All flights in 1st Class with lie flat beds, including the DCA-JFK - AA had a 1-off use of its A321T . DCA-JFK-ICN- SYD-AUH-IAD

  3. Kiwi Flyer Guest

    Back when Air NZ flew AKL-HKG-LHR some of us flew an Air NZ only RTW in under 60 hours, AKL-LAX-LHR-HKG-AKL. The schedule had quite a long time in LHR (long enough for me to easily visit Belfast).

  4. Denise Guest

    Why is his journey so curvy? Wouldn't it be quicker just to fly straight?

  5. WrightHI Guest

    Actually I'm not sure AKL and MAD don't work. But how fast can you do AKL-LAX-MAD-DXB-AKL?

  6. WrightHI Guest

    Antipodes is the killer. With those rules, the challenge may reduce to "fastest routing that touches PVG and EZE." 5% tolerance is tight. AKL is antipodal to southern Spain, but not close enough to MAD or LIS for either of those to work.

    HNL and WDH qualify and would be my choice for the coolest way to do such a trip, but a little longer and a lot slower via scheduled flights.

  7. Malc Guest

    What about Dubai–Sydney–Los Angeles–Dubai?

  8. Abe Guest

    Does this mean I’m technically in the running? I’ve booked all the segments in F:

    JFK-DXB-SIN-MEL-AKL-MEL-SIN-CMB-AUH-JFK-SFO-SEA

    I think it ends up being almost 250 hours of the world best product.

  9. Stefan Guest

    Now this would be the kind of a journey to experience in The Residence!!!

  10. Mr Veggies Guest

    Edit, David Springbeckett only touched three continents, not four.

  11. Mr Veggies Guest

    The current rules are a bit illegitimate, it really doesn't fully satisfy as "around the world" to me. The "world" has seven continents, a true around the world itinerary should include stops in every continent besides Antarctica (due to the lack of commercial flights to/from it). This Etihad guy is only touching four continents, and David Springbeckett only touched down in four.

    Here are the rules I would suggest to add for a true fastest...

    The current rules are a bit illegitimate, it really doesn't fully satisfy as "around the world" to me. The "world" has seven continents, a true around the world itinerary should include stops in every continent besides Antarctica (due to the lack of commercial flights to/from it). This Etihad guy is only touching four continents, and David Springbeckett only touched down in four.

    Here are the rules I would suggest to add for a true fastest around the world challenge.

    1) Must touch down in all six continents (Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Africa, Europe). You can touch down more than once in each Continent for routing purposes, but must at least touch down in each one.

    2) The entire trip must be in economy/coach class. The challenge should not just be viewed as a speeding contest, it should include an endurance factor. Spending time while being pampered in first/business class the whole time is vastly different from economy. This provides an equal playing field.

    To make it REAL interesting and make the challenge "meaningful".
    May I suggest to spice it up by requiring a checked baggage and have the time recorded as "From scheduled departure time of first flight to the time the luggage comes off the carousal at the final destination? This would separate the true travel savants from the amateur contestants as all kinds of analytics (airline on-time performance, airport conditions, baggage proficiency) will be tapped into and put into consideration during planning. Now, you can't tell me that's not interesting~

  12. MK531 Guest

    Here is a 51 hour itinerary - DEL-SYD on AI, 1:15pm-7:10am+1; SYD-SFO on UA, 1pm-7:35am, SFO-DEL on AI, 10:30-4:15pm+1. I am going for it in February....!

  13. MK531 Guest

    Here is a 51 hour Star Alliance itinerary :
    DEL-SYD on AI, 1:15pm-7:10am+1; SYD-SFO on UA, 1pm-7:35am; SFO-DEL on AI, 10:30-4:15pm+1.
    I am going for it in February....!

  14. houstontx New Member

    @Andrew Y I'm pretty sure he's taking Air New Zealand for the first flight bc it leaves an hour later (on certain days of the week)

  15. vimaury Guest

    I recently flew over 29,000 miles around the world: MIA-LAX-AKL-SYD-JNB-CPT-LHR-MIA

  16. Andrew Y Member

    It looks like his routing is feasible with these direct flights:

    MU - PVG-AKL
    NZ - AKL-EZE
    KL- EZE-AMS
    MU - AMS-PVG

    That gives him 1-2 hours to connect in each city.

    World record or not, that’s a crap load of time to be spending on China Eastern! This alone is award worthy!!!

  17. Gary Guest

    Sounds like a cool challenge.

    We did RTW in 3 weeks. Almost all in 1st/Biz on miles. What an awesome trip. www.rtw40.com

  18. Jeff Guest

    How much carbon does that produce? This is ridiculous and self-absorbed to focus on self-gratifying records without any regard for the long-term harm global warming causes.

  19. schar Guest

    LOL if ONE of his flights gets delayed omg i would cry

  20. Wp Gold

    There is a minimum distance you must cross to qualify as round the world. Many of you all's suggestions wouldn't cross that threshold. Go and check the videos some linked to see the requirement.

  21. Goose Guest

    If Thai ever brought back the BKK-LAX route the following would satisfy all the requirements (BKK/LIM are antipodal) and have a chance to be quicker pending connections:

    LIM - AMS - BKK - LAX - LIM

  22. Omer Guest

    Correction: jfk-jnb-hkg-jfk

  23. Omer Guest

    Jfk-jnb-hkg-jnb
    Would that work?

  24. Angel Member

    I'm from Argentina and the mention of EZE on such a tight connections makes me wonder if he'll make it......lol

  25. Pekflyer Guest

    Did not know there is a record... I just did YYZ-JFK-DXB-AKL-BNE-SIN-CMB in one shot on EK F/J and DL last Nov.

  26. Alex Guest

    That technically isn’t the world record, the world record was completed by David Springbett.

  27. mike Guest

    What is defined as round the world is pretty arbitrary, so I guess it depends on what matters to you. I guess there are multiple ways to set this "record".

  28. Goose Guest

    The antipodal requirement makes it tough and most of the suggestions noted above miss this point.

    Looking at Fisher's route he has a 2hr connection in AKL, 55 mins in EZE (tight!) and 2:45 in AMS. Will be very tough to beat but I'm sure there's a way.

  29. Julian Guest

    There's no way you are not going to break the record. Bonus points if you can do it all on one award booking

  30. DCJoe Guest

    @mike's routing doesn't cross the equator.

  31. Joey Diamond

    In addition to what Jonathan said, one of the airports must be within 5 degrees of the antipodal (sp?) of the origin/destination.
    I say try to pick the antipodal city airports first like EZE/PVG or AGP/AKL and then go from there. Good luck!

  32. mojo New Member

    Let's see him (or you) do it in coach. Then, it might be interesting.

  33. anon Guest

    @Jonathan , I think SIN is close enough

  34. mike Guest

    EK 216 LAX-DXB 3:35 PM – 7:30 PM+1
    EK 352 DXB-SIN 9:15 PM – 8:25 AM+1
    UA 38 SIN-LAX 11:00 AM -10:15 AM

    42.67 hours. Could easily be below 42 with good tailwinds on the SIN-LAX segment.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ mike -- Fascinating! Hmmmm.... does that qualify on the basis of antipodal points, though?

  35. Jonathan Member

    Seems that many of you are missing the point that you must cross the equator.

  36. kyle Guest

    The fastest flight in the world on scheduled airlines is 44 hours and 6 minutes by David Springbett back in 1980 when the Concorde flew nyc-london and london to singapore via Bahrain. The london-singapore route only lasted 20 months. This record wont be broken till we get another supersonic commercial aircraft if we ever do.

  37. Eugene Member

    EDIT: Play with those. I may have found simpler routings with less time.

  38. Eugene Member

    https://www.google.com/flights/#search;iti=LHR_SVO,DME,VKO,ZIA,JQO,XRK,ZKD,2G1,2G3,2G5_2018-02-04*SVO,DME,VKO,ZIA,JQO,XRK,ZKD,2G1,2G3,2G5_ICN,NRT_2018-02-04*ICN,NRT_YVR_2018-02-05*YVR_LHR_2018-02-05;tt=m;sel=LHRSVO0SU2579,SVOICN0SU250,NRTICN0KE704-ICNYVR0KE71,YVRLHR0AC854

    If my calculations are correct - 44:35 (connections included)

  39. tony Guest

    EK LAX-DXB-AKL-LAX does not work becaused you land in DXB after the flight for AKL has departed

  40. FFF New Member

    Hi Lucky.
    I usually like your posts but.....
    This makes me angry.
    I am an EY Platinum card holder and have seen their overall level of service going down dramatically, sometimes down to totally absurdity like not offering amenities kits in BC. Not to mention that the so called dedicated Platinum help desk doesn't bother to mail or call back after several requests over several weeks....until 2nd Christmas morning (no kidding).
    ...

    Hi Lucky.
    I usually like your posts but.....
    This makes me angry.
    I am an EY Platinum card holder and have seen their overall level of service going down dramatically, sometimes down to totally absurdity like not offering amenities kits in BC. Not to mention that the so called dedicated Platinum help desk doesn't bother to mail or call back after several requests over several weeks....until 2nd Christmas morning (no kidding).
    Well.....if this is how Etihad gets some attention, it really proves my point they don't care about their customers ( except Nicole Kidman and other select Residence guests ...like you). So please go ahead and break the planning VP's record and ignore them.
    Could it be you are totally EY biased since you flew them in FC ?
    I guess I flew them much more than you and their steep decline makes me sad...

  41. Ram New Member

    infact you can do with just two flights. Book back to back flights with DEL-SFO and one is transatlantic and most of the time the return is transpacific

  42. anon Guest

    I don't see a doable connection for LAX-DXB-AKL

  43. ian Guest

    I have a trip planned in March to do just this, should take me approximately 84 hours. The 14 hour layover in HKG is killing most of my time. $3600, besides the two domestic flights, all lie flat seating, all OW.

  44. Scott Guest

    If you want an even bigger challnage try to beat David Springbett’s record of 44 hours 6 minutes. His route was LAX-LHR-BEY-SIN-BKK-MNL-NRT-HNL-LAX. The LHR-BEY-SIN was flown on the Concorde.

  45. Charlie Member

    I did a different type of speed trip a couple of years ago - 6 continents in 117 hours but with running solo marathon distances (26.2 miles) on each continent. :) but, I didn’t go around the world as I started in Europe and ended in the US. And that was not a record!

  46. Soni New Member

    DEL-SYD-IAH-LHR-DEL

  47. Bob Guest

    Or rather it will be once LHR-SYD is doable.

  48. Bob Guest

    Would IAH-LHR-SYD-IAH get it done?

  49. Malc Guest

    Yep: lax-dxb-akl-lax was what I was thinking too. Emirates and Air NZ have good records for punctuality.

  50. Leonard Guest

    That's a very doable record to beat, given the right planning, but I wouldn't want to try 2 1/2 days in Economy like most of us mere mortals!

    In a few more weeks I'll actually be attempting an east-bound Around-The World flying only on 747's!

    I've booked it all, mostly through Aeroplan. I've already had one aircraft change after booking, but luckily I was able to move everything back a few weeks at...

    That's a very doable record to beat, given the right planning, but I wouldn't want to try 2 1/2 days in Economy like most of us mere mortals!

    In a few more weeks I'll actually be attempting an east-bound Around-The World flying only on 747's!

    I've booked it all, mostly through Aeroplan. I've already had one aircraft change after booking, but luckily I was able to move everything back a few weeks at minimal cost. Hopefully it all works out with no more issues, because the Queen of the Skies is slowly flying off into the sunset. Fly it while you still can!

  51. Zymm Member

    There's no factoring in weather? Just wait for super duper tailwinds :D

    Also, you might get a small advantage going over the poles rather than sticking to the equator, since the rotation of the Earth means the globe isn't a perfect sphere, though I think that only gets you about 14 miles.

    This'll be way easier once Virgin Galactic starts flights. Just go straight up out of the atmosphere and wait for the Earth to turn under you!

  52. uk Guest

    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/search/applicationrecordsearch?term=fastest+circumnavigation+on+flight&contentType=record

  53. mike Guest

    lax-dxb-akl-lax should work. emirates and ANZ

  54. MPapa Guest

    See the below video and tweet about the fastest way to do it. 23,443 mile itinerary in 48 hours and 5 minutes!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N3rC-F_wUI

    https://twitter.com/HalfInteresting/status/923943502655950848

  55. JohnC Guest

    Not a valid attempt. The first Guinness record was via six continents. This one is only three.

  56. Will Guest

    Interesting and it seems the selection of the departure city is one of the most important factors in this quest? Airline schedules, tail winds, on time records etc.

  57. John F Guest

    Hi Lucky,
    I emailed you about this world record on 12/6. Here is a youtube clip explaining it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N3rC-F_wUI

  58. DaninMCI Guest

    The big mistake is traveling West to East. If you flew the other direction you might have a shot at time travel. Seriously I've always wondered how to beat such a record. My guess is avoiding ORD, ATL and DFW are helpful ideas in the quest. Well that and having tight connections.

  59. Derek Diamond

    Silly me, didn't read. The rules are to use routes that airlines fly.

    I think Michael Quandt, the guy mentioned in the excerpt, might be related to the BMW Car family. BMW is family owned, unlike GM.

  60. Derek Diamond

    Good luck! He has 3 stops, AKL, EZE, AMS.

    I wonder if a 2 stop itinerary has advantages. A UA 747SP did SEA-ATH-TPE-SEA. I thought a A340 with little load was going to try CDG-AKL-CDG.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Hawaiian Joe Guest

Do it, Lucky! I would love to see that journey written up as a trip report

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Bill n DC Gold

Wow! I returned last night from RTW18 - not for a record (gone 6 Days) since I spent 2 nights in Sydney, but for fun in experiencing Korean 747-8i & Etihad Apartment (again). All flights in 1st Class with lie flat beds, including the DCA-JFK - AA had a 1-off use of its A321T . DCA-JFK-ICN- SYD-AUH-IAD

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Kiwi Flyer Guest

Back when Air NZ flew AKL-HKG-LHR some of us flew an Air NZ only RTW in under 60 hours, AKL-LAX-LHR-HKG-AKL. The schedule had quite a long time in LHR (long enough for me to easily visit Belfast).

0
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