The World’s 12 Farthest Flights (2018 Edition)

This is an update to a post that I published in March. It’s interesting that when I published this post at the time I noted just how many new ultra longhaul flights there were. At the time, five of the world’s seven longest flights had been added in the past couple of years.

It’s pretty cool that I can update this post only a bit over six months later, and have several changes and additions to the list.

It’s incredible to see the number of new ultra longhaul flights that have been launched lately. In the past most of these routes were almost unfathomable, at least for a profit-oriented airline.

Why ultra longhaul flights are more practical than ever

What makes ultra longhaul flying more sustainable than in the past? A couple of factors:

  • The new aircraft technology we’ve seen, especially with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787; these planes are fuel efficient and relatively low capacity (at least compared to the 747), and as a result are able to operate long flights in a profitable manner
  • Oil prices are still fairly low (though airlines predict these will increase), and there’s strong global demand for nonstop flights between business hubs


Qatar Airways A350

The world’s 12 farthest flights

I figured it would be fun to look at the world’s 12 farthest flights, given how much the list has changed lately. I’m going off of distance here, since winds can also have an impact on the duration of flights, and on top of that, some airlines do a lot of schedule padding. What’s pretty amazing to me is that all 12 of these flights are over 8,300 miles, which is a long way to go nonstop.

So, what are the world’s farthest flights? Here they are, starting with the longest (I’m including the airline that operates the route, the distance, and the aircraft type used):

  1. Newark to Singapore / Singapore / 9,534 miles / Airbus A350-900ULR
  2. Auckland to Doha / Qatar / 9,032 miles / Boeing 777-200LR
  3. Perth to London / Qantas / 9,010 miles / Boeing 787-9
  4. Auckland to Dubai / Emirates / 8,824 miles / Airbus A380
  5. Los Angeles to Singapore / Singapore / 8,770 miles / Airbus A350-900ULR
  6. Houston to Sydney / United / 8,596 miles / Boeing 787-9
  7. Dallas to Sydney / Qantas / 8,578 miles / Airbus A380
  8. New York to Manila / Philippine Airlines / 8,520 miles / Airbus A350-900
  9. San Francisco to Singapore / Singapore & United / 8,446 miles / Airbus A350-900 & Boeing 787-9
  10. Johannesburg to Atlanta / Delta / 8,439 miles / Boeing 777-200LR
  11. Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles / Etihad / 8,390 miles / Boeing 777-300ER
  12. Dubai to Los Angeles / Emirates / 8,339 miles / Airbus A380


Singapore Airlines A350

I intentionally left out the flight time, since they fluctuate throughout the year due to winds. All 12 of these flights are blocked anywhere between 16hr and 18hr30min, depending on the time of year.

I’m leaving out those flight times not just because the seasonal fluctuations, but also because some airlines pad their schedules more than others (in order to create artificial on-time arrivals), so I don’t want to give them too much credit there.

Here’s a map with all the routes, which is quite cluttered, as you can see:

Just to further illustrate how much more popular ultra longhaul flights have become, only four of the above 12 flights have been operating prior to 2016, meaning that eight of the above routes have been launched within the past couple of years. Even more impressive, the world’s six longest flights, and for that matter eight of the world’s nine longest flights, have been launched since 2016.

What other record-breaking flights are on the horizon?

Two of the world’s three longest flights have been launched this year, which raises the question of what other record-breaking flights might be on the horizon.

Well, at the moment the answer is none. At least no routes have been announced that would be on the top 12 list. However, there are some routes that are both feasible and actively being considered by airlines:

  • Qantas has said that they are considering nonstop flights from Perth to Paris (8,863 miles), Brisbane to Chicago (8,901 miles), and Brisbane to Dallas (8,303 miles); while the Brisbane to Dallas route wouldn’t quite rank in the top 12, the other two would
  • In 2016, Emirates was supposed to launch nonstop flights from Dubai to Panama City (8,588 miles), though they postponed the route; personally I don’t think this route will happen anytime soon, though the airline has indicated that the route is still under consideration
  • For a while Thai Airways has been talking about launching nonstop flights to Seattle and Vietnam Airlines has been talking about launching nonstop flights to Los Angeles, but neither of these flights are set in stone, and for that matter, neither would be on the top 12 list

As far as I know, these are the only routes that would rank in the top 12 that have been announced as being under serious consideration.

Many of the other ultra longhaul routes we’ve heard about are ones that would require new technology. For example, the Boeing 777-8 is expected to enter service around 2022, and airlines are hoping this will be able to operate routes like Sydney to London and Sydney to New York nonstop. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen, though.

Bottom line

It’s exciting to see the number of new ultra longhaul flights that are being added by airlines, thanks to new aircraft, like the 787 and A350. While these ultra longhaul flights are great for those traveling in business class, I can’t imagine doing a nonstop flight like this in economy. In those situations I can’t help but feel like I’d rather break up the journey than fly nonstop. Heck, even in business class I feel like some of these flights are too long.

It’s especially encouraging that the six longest flights have been added within the past couple of years. Unfortunately at this point there’s not much else in the pipeline with current plane technology. We might see a new Perth to Paris route, or something similar, but other than that, it seems like most of the record-breaking ultra longhaul flights are behind us, at least until the 777-8 is introduced.

What ultra longhaul routes do you think we’ll see introduced next?

Comments

  1. I would love to see Thai Airways to bring JFK-BKK nonstop flight back, especially the fact that TG is one of airlines with generous award spaces!

  2. Ack, my high school grammar nerd is cringing pretty hard reading this. Fartherst, not furthest. Sometimes they are interchangeable but when you’re clearly talking about physical distance what you want is farthest.

  3. Why farthest? Why not longest?

    Farthest in my mind from the same reference point which is not true in this case.

  4. Should have extended the list to 13 to include a lesser-flown airline on MNL YYZ. Interesting to see such a small airline that high on the list.

    Long and thin flying is going to really create tons of fun routes but will also be a lot harder to manage for airlines participating in joint ventures with somewhat antiquated capacity rules.

  5. @swy19, when speaking about distance, use farthest. When speaking about concepts, use furthest. In the case of Lucky’s article, farthest would be correct. Actually, though, I would assert that longest is actually better syntactically.

  6. I’m probably one of the exceptions, but I’d never take any of these flights. Not a fan of ultra longhaul! I did the nonstop flight from LAX – BNE in 2012, and it was horrible. I have a hard time sleeping on flights, and I’m a picky eater so I was surviving on peanut butter crackers and snacks from my bag. I kept walking to keep from going crazy. I’ve also (stupidly) taken the SEA-AMS and SEA-CDG flights a few times, which aren’t as bad at 10+ hours, but still a long time to be stuck in economy. 🙁 I’d rather have 4 layovers than fly 18 hours nonstop!

  7. @zow..correct!! Ben your right. No need to doubt yourself. To the topic, I personally do not like flights longer than 12 hours. It is not so healthy either. Ben, why not write a report about which airport or city is a great transit point to linger a day or two…giving us some infid which airport hotels are the best to try..

  8. last time that I flew LAX-DOH in economy I almost cried when the flight landed. And I still remember the horror of getting a middle seat between a pair of arguing couple who refused to swap seats on LAX-BNE. Oh what traumatic memory!

  9. @ Utkarsh — Not sure where you’re getting that number. DEL-SFO covers a direct air distance of 7,707 miles.

  10. I’ve flown only the LAX-DOH flight on this list. Had a great experience in J with the 2-2-2 seating. My wife really enjoyed this flight.

  11. I love flying as much as the other AVgeek.
    However I could not wait to breath fresh air after 18 hours on the SQ 21/22 EWR-SIN back in 2011 or 2012 (all biz).

  12. I would very much like any ATL-India. DEL is 7996 miles, BOM is 8510, HYD 8754, CCU 8531, BLR 9003. I’m not holding out much hope, though.

  13. I frequently fly LHR-EZE, currently BA’s longest route, and after 13 or 14 hours I’m a bit fed up. And I always fly J.

    On the 12 hour flights LHR-NRT/HND, generally I break them in Doha rather than do the direct flight.

    Breaking the flight isn’t a realist option on LHR-EZE, alas.

    And breaking doesn’t always work: I did back-to-back flights MIA-LHR-AUH-TPE a couple of years ago, which nearly killed me. Longer stopovers are sometimes the answer.

    I’m in two minds about ULH flights.

  14. Am I right in thinking the farthest and the longest are not the same is Perth to london now the longestest time whereas Auckland to Doha farther.

    I’ve flown J a few times from Melbourne to Doha and at that length I really enjoy the bar on the Qatar a380. I think being on any other flight plane for so long is struggle.

  15. My how times have changed. A few years ago, I was looking at the list (very few Middle East carriers on it) and I had flown about half of the top-ten, like YYZ-HKG and I think ORD-HKG was on there also. Now only one flight that was on my own personal list is still on your list (ATL-JNB).

  16. from my research it seems the A350-900 (not ULR) has a greater range than the 787-9, but Singapore Airlines don’t want to launch SIN-LAX with this type, even though United is flying it with a 787-9. Can someone please explain to me what is going on here?

  17. @The Nice Paul: I recently did LHR-ICN-SYD in one shot in J; felt like death by the time I got to ICN. I think you are right; longer stopovers like 2 days (which I did the year before on LHR-SIN-BNE) are better.

  18. How is Jeddah-LAX longer than DOH-LAX, but shorter than AUH-LAX or DUB-LAX? Jeddah is on the west coast of the Arabian peninsula; Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai are all on the east. Depending on whether the flight goes west across Europe or east across Asia, the Jeddah flight ought to be the longest, or the shortest, of these four; it cannot be in the middle.

  19. The SQ SIN-NYC was a great flight, made better by the fact it was to EWR rather than JFK. The timing was great ( mid-morning departure for a same day later afternoon arrival , nothwithstanding it was 16 or 17 hours flying) and it felt like a much shorter ‘normal’ day flight. I just never had any lag issues the 6 or 7 times I took it ( and going via LAX would put me in a fog for a couple of days).
    I’m no longer constrained by time urgency and pretty happy to take a softer ,albeit more circuitous route these days…but if they bring that flight back I would more than likely take it, even at crazy fares.

  20. I just don’t know how someone with a small kid can survive a 16-18 hours non stop in econ. Even as an adult alone in a middle seat has to be brutal.

  21. @Mr. Know-It-All
    Jeddah is substantially south (by about 4 degrees of latitude relative to Doha) of the other 4 cities. The extra distance this creates in the great circle makes it a longer flight than Doha to LAX, but it is enough further west (I believe all 4 flights head west from the Middle East) than Dubai and Abu Dhabi (which are both further east and a bit further south than Doha) to make up for the latitude difference on those two flights.

  22. Maybe a good mention would be when Air India flies DEL-SFO over the Pacific ocean. Of course, it does not count as it is not the direct shortest route, but could a good mention.

    Also what I found interesting is that five of the twelve flights connected to Los Angeles.

  23. Still remember the 340-500 days
    SIN-EWR was great, but flight time is way too boring. But hey no WiFi back then made it worse.

    The Y on TG BKK-JFK was also among the best ever.

    Still hope to fly on SST one day.

  24. @lucky

    Do you think SQ will give up their FRA-JFK 5th freedom route once they launch the direct flight?

  25. Hey lucky. I was the one who mentioned DEL-SFO. It was my mistake, I got the distance from Flight Aware, however I realized later that the it was listed as just miles and not nautical miles. Thank you for replying though!

  26. Hey lucky. It was my mistake, I got the distance from Flight Aware, however I realized later that the it was listed as just miles and not nautical miles. Thank you for replying though!

  27. Those ultra long haul flights are a$$ kickers and I won’t take them even in J. I need ground intervals to decompress.

  28. Air India 173 del-sfo flew a distance of 9537 miles on 30 Mar 2018, according to flight aware..though I guess direct air distance would be less. You can include it in special mention section. 🙂

  29. These things have changed so fast. I did Vancouver to Auckland back in 2013(returned in the awesome premium economy on Air New Zealand) and that was then one of the farthest flights now it’s not even in the top ten .

  30. Always get suckered into thinking JFK-JNB is longer than ATL-JNB because of the way maps appear. Globe projections are a funny thing.

  31. My two longest flights were DEL-ORD (AA Business) and SFO-SYD (UA First), both a little under 7500 miles. I would not be interested in doing any of these ultra long flights of over 8000 miles and would much prefer to break such a trip up with layovers. I’m an athletic 6’5″ and these longer flights detract from the destinations after trashing my body.

  32. “It’s exciting to see the number of new ultra longhaul flights that are being added by airlines, thanks to new aircraft, like the 787 and A350.”

    Is this really a true statement, when only 1 of the top 12 flights is operated by the A350, and 8 of them are actually operated by neither the A350 or 787? According the the above logic, because of the introduction of the A350 and 787, airlines have decided to fly other aircraft longer than ever before?

  33. @David, I don’t think they will, given the fact that their A350-900ULRs don’t come with Y. And I’m pretty sure not everyone who flies between Singapore and New York will want to spend their money (or miles) on J or W.

  34. @ José Antonio

    Thanks for the correction – quite right, LHR-SCL is currently BA’s longest flight. Dunno what happened to my memory: probably affected by all those hours spent on LHR-EZE.

    About 3 years ago, I spent more than an entire working month just sitting on the plane travelling between the two cities. Ghastly time.

  35. I flew DXB to DFW on Emirates when they first started flying there a few years back now…..on the 777 and was 16.5 hours, so why all the world breaking headlines now as this has been going on since then?

  36. “only five of the above 12 hours have been operating prior to 2016,”
    Think you meant only five of the above 12 flights…

  37. Traveling in premium cabin vs economy will likely determine whether one prefers ULH vs stopover. Also the comfort of seats will impact the experience.

    I have done the LAX and SIN-SFO on United 787 in J, and I am fine with it. It has a fairly average product and services, but the seats are comfortable and all I need is comfort to my body to give a good night of sleep and sitting position to do work. Unfortunately Y in 787 and UA’s 77W are just horrible to endure.

    As much as I love flying SQ and love it’s amenty and services, I don’t think my body will take its current seats in the A350 and even the new J seat on its A380 well on ULH flights. Too hard and the angle of the seat makes hard to have a good sleep and the sitting and lounge position are not exactly designed for ultra long flights. These seats are good to look at and nice in PR photos, but not exactly kind to the bodies. I have done multiple LHR-SIN-OZ flights, and I love everything about SQ except for the seats.

  38. I want to fly all of these but I want to start with the longest so that the rest will seem easier and easier, will that work?

    What would be the farthest possible flight?
    Between what two cities?

  39. I am hours away from flying my longest flight yet –> JFK-TPE… 7,808 mi in EVA business class. I think it will be quite nice.

    I agree with Lucky, in premium longer is better, god forbid I end up in economy again and I would want some stops.

  40. And today United emailed “special” 5xfares bonus miles for trips from SFO-SIN. (must register)
    But get this, it has to be in economy on UA.

    I’d sooner pull my nails out.

  41. I definitely want to see EWR-AKL flight on Air NZ someday. New Zealand is one of my favorite countries and I live in NYC so that nonstop would be a huge plus for me.
    Personally, I think ultra longhaul flights should all have some sort of onboard bar or lounge where passengers can relax and simply chat and connect with each other. I’ve never gotten bored on any of my ultra longhaul EK or VS flights for that reason. Whenever I fly Cathay Pacific JFK-HKG, for example, I’ve always gotten bored at some point (even in F or J!)

  42. MIA is definitely underserved for Asia/Australia. While MIA-NRT would be the most likely connection, a MIA-HKG route would be up there at just under 9000 miles.

  43. “Would Delta’s flight from ATL-BOM be on the list?”

    Yes. At 8510 miles it would be #9. That’s right at the top of the range of the A359.

    I’m flying my first “top 10” route this time next week on United’s SFO-SIN, up front.

  44. Just returned today from DOH-LAX in J, and it was not that bad of a flight, and will only get better with Q Suites. On my departure flight I took LAX-ICN-SIN, and to me the layovers were much more brutal. I’ll take any of the flights to eliminate a layover, as long as I’m flying in Business/First.

  45. The comments from your March post seem to have appeared under this post. Which is odd, and also made me realise how poorly-worded my earlier comment was …

    Of those, I’ve only done no.3, LHR-PER, in J. It was fine.

    Like all my ticket decisions (I mostly fly for work), it’s a combination of what works “best” from timings, route, non-stop v. transfer (and where that is, and at what time), airline/product (a Qsuites option on a reasonable schedule will usually win out over another airline’s non-stop), and cost.

    For a transfer flight, if I have a choice of a flight with 1 very long haul plus 1 regional, or 2 long hauls, I normally choose the latter – narrow bodies are so much less comfortable. So the US3 hub-and-spoke system means I almost never fly them.

    It’s great to have options.

  46. As a regular on the BNE MAN route unfortunately mostly in economy I can tell you that one stop or many through all the different routes it’s still a bloody long way. Lol.

  47. Perth – Paris or Perth – Frankfurt would be good and don’t forget these flights are great for families who don’t want to drag their tired hungry young and small kids through a foreign airport in the middle of the night also apparently QF 9/10 has been doing really well in all classes and is receiving something like 90% plus capacity that is why VS rumored to launch LHR – PER

  48. Is there a difference in American and British English here? In discussing “further” and “farther”, Oxford states, “Both words share the same roots: in the sentences given above, where the sense is ‘at, to, or by a greater distance’, there is no difference in meaning, and both are equally correct.” It notes that “further” is “in addition used in various abstract and metaphorical contexts”, but that it is still more common when applied to actual distances too.

    See the discussion part-way down this page: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/further

  49. Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines cannot finalize those new routes because they don’t have authority from the FAA to commence those flights. The FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Program has determined that Thailand and Vietnam’s civil aviation authorities do not adhere to international aviation standards. Consequently, airlines regulated by those entities are not permitted to initiate new services to the United States and are restricted to current levels.

  50. The flight IST – SYD is rumored for June 2019 by Turkish Airlines.
    It would be the second longest flight with 9297.69 miles!

  51. These types of flights can be done in economy. I’ve done JFK-DXB, which was a little shy of 16 hours. Did I have the time of my life? Did I smell fresh when I landed? No and no. But with the right mindset and proper tools it is possible.

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