In this big, increasingly interconnected world, there are a lot of different ways to get where you’re going. When flying, many travelers are put off by long layovers and connections. They prefer direct flights. Depending on where you’re going, though, that can mean spending a lot of time in the air. Fortunately, today’s airlines offer a range of amenities to help make the experience easy and enjoyable. Today, I’m looking at eight of the longest nonstop flights in the world.
As a travel blogger, I get a lot of questions from people about the best ways to travel. One of the most common things I’m asked is whether direct flights are better than flights with one or more connections. The answer depends entirely on where you’re going and what kind of experience you’re seeking. If seamless travel is critical to you, then even the longest flights in the world might be worth it simply for the convenience.
Most airlines offer direct flights, from the cheapest international airlines to the best airlines in the world. Very few offer nonstop flights as long as the ones on this list, however. If you’re thinking about taking any of these routes, you might want to look into making the most of your trip by flying first class or business class. Whatever you choose to do, though, you’re sure to be for a memorable experience.
Without further ado, here are the longest direct flights in the world.
Quick tip on how to find cheap nonstop flights
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What makes these non-stop flights so long?
Long-haul flights are a marvel of engineering, logistics, and human endurance. But what exactly makes these flights so extensive? Several factors play a role in the extended duration of these journeys.
Firstly, the sheer distance covered requires meticulous planning. It also requires state-of-the-art aircraft capable of carrying enough fuel for non-stop flights over such vast stretches. Tailwinds and headwinds can affect the flight time, requiring skilled navigation and weather anticipation.
Secondly, international aviation regulations and airspace restrictions can contribute to the lengthening of a flight path. Pilots and flight planners must weave through a complex web of guidelines that govern the skies. Ensuring that passengers on the longest nonstop commercial flights in the world get to their destinations safely requires time. Better safe than sorry.
What is the longest nonstop flight in the world: The 8 longest nonstop airline routes
Without further ado let’s explore the longest nonstop flights in the world. These flights range from 16 to nearly 20 hours, covering distances upwards of 8,000 miles.
1. Sydney to London – Qantas Airways
Ranking high among the longest nonstop commercial flights in the world is the Qantas Airways direct flight from Sydney to London. This astounding journey clocks in at approximately 20 hours. Furthermore, it covers over 10,500 miles, making it a true symbol of aviation prowess.
Departing from Sydney Airport (SYD) and landing at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), this flight ensures passengers are well-fed with three main meals. Available options include vegetarian, gluten-free, and Australian and British cuisine, complemented by wines. An extensive array of movies, music, games, and WiFi keeps passengers engaged throughout the journey.
From economy to first-class, each seat is designed for comfort. Economy offers adjustable headrests. Business class features lie-flat beds. Last but not least, first-class passengers enjoy private suites. For this long haul, passengers are advised to pack a small toiletry kit, comfortable clothing, and entertainment devices. The nonstop flight stands as the fastest way to travel between Australia and Europe. This makes it ideal for business travelers or tourists seeking to maximize their time.
2. Auckland to Dubai – Emirates
Emirates Airlines‘ nonstop flight from Auckland to Dubai is one of the longest flights in the world. Its duration is 17.5 hours and it covers nearly 8,900 miles. Departing from Auckland Airport (AKL) and arriving at Dubai International Airport (DXB), this flight is renowned for its gourmet meals inspired by Middle Eastern and international cuisines, including vegan, halal, and child-friendly options, paired with fine wines and beverages.
Emirates’ award-winning entertainment system offers thousands of channels, live TV, and in-flight Wi-Fi to keep passengers entertained. Various seating options cater to different needs, with economy providing extra legroom, business class featuring fully reclining seats, and first-class including private suites with shower facilities.
Essentials such as a neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones, and skin care products are recommended for this extended journey. As a top choice for travelers seeking luxury and efficiency, this flight offers world-renowned service and convenience for those traveling between New Zealand and the Middle East or Europe.
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3. Los Angeles to Singapore – Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines‘ direct flight from Los Angeles to Singapore stands as one of the longest nonstop flights in the world. Spanning over 8,700 miles, the travel time is close to 17 hours. Beginning at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and concluding at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), passengers are treated to three sumptuous meals. The menu includes Asian, Western, and vegetarian choices, plus signature cocktails and beverages.
In-flight entertainment includes a wide variety of movies, TV shows, music, and games through Singapore Airlines’ KrisWorld system. Seat options range from economy, which offers additional comfort features, to business class with flat-bed seats, and first-class suites that redefine luxury.
A carry-on bag with personal hygiene items, sleep aids, and digital devices is recommended for this journey. Whether for business needs or exploring the vibrant culture of Singapore, this flight offers a very comfortable travel experience.
4. Doha to Auckland – Qatar Airways
One of the longest nonstop airline routes in the world, Qatar Airways‘ direct service from Doha to Auckland covers a distance of 9,032 miles in roughly 16.5 hours. Passengers depart from Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha and arrive at Auckland Airport (AKL). Notably, this flight is celebrated for its culinary excellence, offering three meals with Arabic, Western, and dietary-specific options, complemented by a selection of award-winning wines.
Qatar’s Oryx One entertainment system ensures a variety of entertainment options, including the latest blockbuster movies and interactive games. Passengers can choose from economy seats with extra space, business class with fully lie-flat beds, or the indulgent Qsuite for unmatched privacy.
I advise packing comfortable clothing, reading material, and personal care items for this journey. Catering to both the business traveler and the adventurer, this flight provides unparalleled service and convenience for travel between the Middle East and New Zealand.
5. San Francisco to Bangalore – Air India
Connecting the tech hubs of San Francisco and Bangalore, Air India‘s non-stop flight is one of the longest flights in the world, with a duration of about 16.5 hours, covering over 8,400 miles. The journey starts at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and ends at Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) in Bangalore.
The in-flight meals feature a blend of Indian and international cuisines, offering vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and special dietary options, along with traditional Indian beverages. In-flight entertainment includes a rich collection of Bollywood and Hollywood movies, music, and games. From economy class with enhanced legroom to business and first-class with spacious recliners and personalized service, there are seating options to suit various preferences. I recommend bringing noise-canceling headphones, electronic devices, and/or comfort wear in your carry-on.
Designed to cater to the global tech community and leisure travelers alike, this flight offers a direct connection between two vibrant cities, known for their technological innovation and rich cultural heritage.
6. Johannesburg to New York City – South African Airways
South African Airways‘ non-stop flight from Johannesburg to New York City is one of the longest flights in the world, spanning approximately 16 hours and covering a distance of over 8,000 miles. This flight commences at O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and concludes at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City.
Three meticulously prepared meals featuring South African and American favorites, along with vegetarian and special dietary options, are served, accompanied by renowned South African wines. In-flight entertainment on this journey consists of a vast selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games, reflecting both local and international tastes. Seat options include economy class with ergonomic design, business class with fully reclining seats, and first-class suites that offer unparalleled privacy and luxury.
It is advisable to pack items like a travel pillow, skincare products, and reading material in the carry-on bag. Offering a seamless connection between the African continent and the bustling city of New York, this flight is perfect for business professionals, tourists, and those seeking to explore the diverse culture and opportunities in both regions.
7. Manila to New York City – Philippine Airlines
The non-stop flight operated by Philippine Airlines from Manila to New York City ranks among the longest flights in the world, lasting around 16 hours and covering nearly 8,500 miles. Taking off from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila and landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), this flight provides an exquisite culinary experience with three meals that showcase Filipino and Western cuisines, complemented by a range of beverages.
The in-flight entertainment system offers a mix of Hollywood, Asian cinema, and popular TV series to cater to diverse tastes. Seating choices vary from affordable economy class with increased comfort to business class with lie-flat beds, and exclusive first-class cabins. It’s a good idea to pack comfort items such as slippers, eye masks, and entertainment gadgets in your carry-on.
Whether exploring business opportunities or enjoying the unique cultural blend of the Philippines and the United States, this flight offers comfort and efficiency, bridging two dynamic capitals of the world.
8. Houston to Sydney – United Airlines
United Airlines‘ non-stop flight from Houston to Sydney is one of the longest flights in the world, covering close to 8,600 miles in about 16 hours. Departing from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston and arriving at Sydney Airport (SYD), passengers are treated to three delightful meals that reflect American and Australian flavors, including vegan, kosher, and gluten-free options, paired with premium wines and beverages.
A plethora of movies, TV shows, live channels, and games are available through the airline’s advanced entertainment system. Seat options cater to a variety of needs, from economy with extra legroom to Polaris business class with full-flat beds, and lavish first-class suites. Bringing along such items noise-canceling headphones, a comfort kit, and personal care products is a must.
This flight provides an essential link for business travelers in the energy sector, tourists exploring the natural wonders of Australia, or those seeking to enjoy the unique blend of Texan and Australian hospitality and culture. It represents a testament to human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of making the world a smaller place through non-stop flights.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the longest nonstop flights in the world
Want to be fully prepared before embarking on a long flight? If so, check out my answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the longest nonstop flights in the world.
What is the longest non stop flight in the world?
The longest non-stop commercial flight in the world can depend based on wind conditions and other factors. Also, it’s important to note that when ranking the longest direct flights, you can either focus on the total flight time or the distance covered.
One of the longest non-stop flights is operated by Singapore Airlines between Singapore (Changi Airport) and Newark, New Jersey (Newark Liberty International Airport). This flight covers a distance of approximately 9,537 miles (15,343 km) and can take up to 18.5 hours. However, flight routes and durations can change, and new routes might be introduced, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest information from airlines and the aviation industry.
Do pilots sleep on the longest nonstop commercial flights in the world?
Yes, pilots do sleep on long flights. However, it is a highly regulated and controlled process to ensure the safety and smooth operation of the flight. Long-haul flights, especially those lasting over 8 hours, often have multiple pilots aboard, including a captain, first officer, and sometimes relief pilots. This allows for a rotation system where some pilots rest while others are in control of the aircraft.
The designated area for pilot rest varies depending on the aircraft. It can range from specially designed crew rest compartments equipped with bunk beds to separated first or business class seats blocked off for crew use. These rest areas are designed to be comfortable and private, allowing pilots to genuinely rest during their break.
Regulations governing pilot rest are strict and adhere to guidelines set by aviation authorities such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. or the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe. These regulations take into account factors like the total flight duration, time zones crossed, and overall workload to determine the number of pilots required for a flight and the amount of rest each pilot must receive.
The practice of allowing pilots to rest during flights is not only essential for their well-being. It’s also critical for passenger safety. Fatigue can significantly impair a pilot’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to handle complex situations. By ensuring that pilots receive adequate rest, airlines are actively promoting a culture of safety and responsibility.
Pilot rest on long-haul flights is a well-coordinated effort that involves careful scheduling, clear communication among crew members, adherence to regulatory guidelines, and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of safety and professionalism.
What is flight flu?
Flight flu, also known as airplane flu or travel flu, is a term used to describe the symptoms of a cold or flu that travelers might experience after a flight. It’s not a specific illness but rather a colloquial expression for the common occurrence of respiratory symptoms following air travel.
Several factors contribute to the phenomenon of flight flu. The recirculated air in the cabin, low humidity levels, close proximity to other passengers, and potential exposure to germs and viruses can create an environment conducive to the spread of illnesses. Modern aircraft have advanced filtration systems to capture most airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria. However, the risk of exposure still exists.
Preventing flight flu involves common-sense measures. These include practicing good hand hygiene, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching the face, and staying hydrated during the flight. Some passengers opt to wear face masks, especially during flu seasons or pandemics, as an extra precaution. Staying rested and keeping the immune system strong through proper nutrition can also help ward off potential infections.
Flight flu is more about the confluence of circumstances that might lead to illness rather than a specific ailment tied to flying. Awareness and proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of falling ill after a flight.
How do you get the best sleep during the longest nonstop airline routes in the world?
Getting quality sleep on a plane can be challenging due to factors like noise, limited space, and interruptions. However, some strategies can enhance your ability to rest during a flight.
Choose the right seat: Opting for a window seat or one in a quieter section of the plane can minimize disturbances. If possible, upgrade to a class with reclining seats or more legroom.
Dress comfortably: Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing. Also, consider bringing a light blanket or shawl to adjust to the cabin temperature.
Bring essential accessories: Noise-canceling headphones, eye masks, neck pillows, or even a personal comfort kit can contribute to creating a sleep-conducive environment.
Avoid stimulants: Limit the intake of caffeine or alcohol before and during the flight. This can help your body prepare for rest.
Follow a sleep routine: If you have a regular bedtime routine, replicate it as much as possible on the plane. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, or reading a calming book can signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Adjust to the new time zone: If traveling across time zones, gradually adjusting your sleep schedule before the flight and setting your watch to the destination time can help your body acclimatize.
Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water and avoiding dehydration can support overall well-being and help you feel more rested.
Communicate your intent: If traveling with someone, letting them know your intention to sleep and asking for cooperation in minimizing interruptions can be helpful.
Move before you sleep: Doing some light stretching or walking around the cabin before settling down can aid relaxation.
Do planes fly higher during the longest nonstop flights in the world?
Yes, long-haul commercial flights often fly at higher altitudes, typically around 35,000 to 40,000 feet, for several reasons. Flying at these levels is more fuel-efficient due to the thinner air. Thinner air reduces drag and allows the aircraft to burn less fuel. This is particularly critical for long flights that cover great distances. Higher altitudes may also provide more flexibility in choosing flight paths. There’s typically less congestion, allowing for more direct routing and further enhancing fuel efficiency.
Additionally, flying higher can help aircraft avoid turbulent weather systems that exist at lower altitudes, resulting in a smoother flight. Modern long-haul aircraft are even designed to operate efficiently at these high levels. They come equipped with engines that perform well in these conditions.
Regulatory factors and air traffic control regulations might also lead to long-haul flights being assigned higher altitudes. This is to help coordinate with other traffic on shorter routes. However, the optimal cruising altitude for a specific flight depends on various factors. These include the aircraft’s weight, weather conditions, air traffic, and the specific regulations of the airspaces being traversed. While long-haul flights often fly higher, it’s not a strict rule. The actual flight altitude will always be determined by a complex set of factors to ensure safety, efficiency, and comfort.
Can a plane fly for 24 hours?
Yes, a plane can fly for 24 hours or even longer, but there are a few things to consider:
- Fuel Capacity: The most obvious limitation is the plane’s fuel capacity. Commercial airplanes currently in operation do not typically have the fuel capacity to sustain 24 hours of continuous flight. However, specially modified planes or certain military aircraft can remain in the air for extended periods, either through in-flight refueling or because they were designed with longer missions in mind.
- Aircraft Maintenance: Continuous operation for extended periods can lead to wear and tear on the aircraft. Regular maintenance checks are essential for safety.
- Crew Limitations: Human factors are also crucial. Pilots can only work for a limited amount of time before they need rest to maintain alertness and ensure safety. There are regulations in place to ensure pilots (and other crew members) get the necessary rest between shifts. For extremely long flights, airlines might have multiple crews onboard, rotating to ensure everyone gets the required rest.
- Passenger Comfort: For commercial flights, passenger comfort is a significant concern. Being on a plane for an extended period without the opportunity to stretch, move around, or get a change of environment can be quite taxing.
What do pilots see when flying the longest nonstop commercial flights in the world?
Pilots see a unique combination of natural landscapes, weather phenomena, and sophisticated instrument panels when flying. From the cockpit, pilots have an unparalleled view of the world. Whether it’s sweeping landscapes, towering clouds, or the glittering lights of a city at night, they see it all. During clear weather, they may witness stunning sunrises, sunsets, and even celestial events like the Northern or Southern Lights.
However, a pilot’s primary focus is on the aircraft’s instrument panel, which provides essential information about the flight. They closely monitor gauges, screens, and indicators that show altitude, speed, direction, fuel levels, engine performance, and other critical flight data. In challenging weather conditions, such as fog or storms, pilots may rely heavily on these instruments to navigate safely.
Additionally, pilots communicate with air traffic control (ATC) and follow specific flight paths. This ensures that they maintain safe distances from other aircraft. Interaction with ATC, coordination with the co-pilot and crew, and adherence to flight procedures form a substantial part of what pilots “see” and engage with during a flight.
In essence, what pilots see when flying is a blend of the natural beauty of the world from a unique perspective and a complex, ever-changing set of data and interactions that guide their actions throughout the journey.
What is the longest non stop domestic flight in the world?
The longest non-stop domestic flight is in Russia, due to its vast expanse from west to east. The flight between Moscow (in the western part of Russia) and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (in the eastern part on the Kamchatka Peninsula) is one of the longest domestic flights. Operated by Aeroflot, this flight covers a distance of about 6,800 kilometers (about 4,225 miles). It takes approximately 8-9 hours, depending on the direction and specific conditions.