The longest-ranged commercial flights are long - really long. Many people complain about "long" flights, like flying across America (about 5 hours), only to have people from New Zealand or Australia scoff as those travelers are often used to non-stop flights of 10 or 15 or even more hours. For them, the 5-hour connecting flight is just the "little" flight at the other end.
Today flying is something everyone can afford to do, but in the past flying was much more expensive and something only the elite could afford to do. Flying can be complicated, but all seasoned flyers become familiar with flying hacks to make flying more comfortable and cheaper.
Longest Ranged Aircraft Today
Firstly the long haul aircraft is an industry dominated by the two giants Airbus and Boeing.
Airbus's longest ranged jetliner si the Airbus A3509900ULR - it is capable of flying an impressive 18,000 kilometers or 11,000 miles. The largest passenger aircraft in service today is the A380 and is able to hop distances of 15,200 or 9,400 miles at a go (with 544 passengers in its giant belly). Airbus' standard A350-900 is able of 15,000 kilometers or 9,300 miles with 325 passengers.
- Longest Ranged Airbus: 18,000 Kilometers or 11,000 Miles By The Airbus A3509900ULR
The farthest a Boeing can get is 17,025 kilometers or 9,290 miles with their Boeing 777-200LR (with 314 passengers). The superadvanced Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner) can get 14,140 kilometers with 290 passengers.
- Longest Ranged Boeing: 17,025 kilometers or 9,290 Miles By The Boeing 777-200LR
Those ranges are impressive - especially considering that the world is only 40,075 kilometers or 24,901 miles in circumference at the equator. Theoretically, some aircraft would almost be able to get to the opposite side of the planet on one tank of fuel (if only electric cars could do that on a single charge!).
- Earth Circumference: 40,075 km or 24,901 miles
In the past, it was just uneconomical to run the ultra-long-haul nonstop routes. But the introduction but much more advanced and efficient aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A330neo has significantly changed the equations and they have become more and more popular.
Caveats and Disclaimers In Measuring The Longest Flight
What are the longest flights in the world?
There are some caveats on how to measure the longest flight. Most commonly it is the great circle distance from the origin to the destination that is used. But this generally differs from the real world of flying where aircraft may circumvent worn-torn airspace, avoid headwinds, make use of tailwinds, and other considerations resulting in the actual distance flown being longer.
- Straight Line: Passenger Aircraft Often Do Not Fly In A Straight Line
- Shifts In The Route: The Exact Route Can Shift Depending on the Current Circumstances
Some may fly a longer distance to fly into the jet stream to reduce the total time traveled.
Also if time in the air is the measurement of the "longest flight", then it can be different depending on the direction flown. The jetstream blows from Japan to the United States, but going from the United States to Japan will need to go against the current.
Longest Flight - Singapore To NYC
Since November 8, 2020, the longest flight when measured by ground distance traveled has been Singapore Airlines' flights SQ23 and SQ24 from Singapore to JFK Airport in New York.
- Longest Flight: Singapore SQ23 JFK to Singapore
If they were to fly the most direct route then the distance would be around 15,350 kilometers or 9,540 miles. But they are normally actually flown a longer route to make use of the jet streams and so cover around 17,240 kilometers or 10,720 miles.
But the routes sometimes change and going back to Singapore they sometimes fly a different route covering 16,500 kilometers or 10,300 miles. It all depends on the jet stream winds so that they can save time and fuel.
The Top Five Longest Flights By Ground Distance
These are the longest flights by ground distance flown - note that the actual distance flown can be considerably longer depending on various factors. Also, the actual duration of the flight can also change.
Singapore Airlines SQ 23:
- Route: New York JKK To Singapore
- Distance: 15,349 Kilometers or 9,537 Miles
- Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours 50 Minutes
- Aircraft: A350-000ULR
- First Flown: November 9, 2020
Qatar Airways QR 921:
- Route: Auckland, New Zealand To Doha, Qatar
- Distance: 14,535 Kilometers or 9,032 Miles
- Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours, 5 Minutes
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR
- First Flown: February 5, 2017
Emirate EK 449:
- Route: Auckland, New Zealand to Dubai, UAE
- Distance: 14,200 Kilometers or 8,823 Miles
- Scheduled Duration: 17 Hours 10 Minutes
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR And A380-800
- First Flown: March 2, 2016
Singapore Airlines SQ 37 & SQ 35:
- Route: Los Angels to Singapore
- Distance: 14,114 Kilometers or 8,770 Miles
- Scheduled Duration: 17 Hours, 50 Minutes
- Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
- First Flown: November 2, 2018
Air India AI 176:
- Route: San Franciso To Bengaluru
- Distance: 14,004 Kilometers or 8,702 Miles
- Scheduled Duration: 17 Hours, 45 Minutes
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR
- First Flown: January 9, 2021