The Longest Flight in the World Just Landed in New Zealand

Feb 5, 2017

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Qatar Airways flight #920 officially became the new world’s longest regularly scheduled commercial flight when it touched down just a short while ago at 7:15am local time in Auckland (AKL), New Zealand, which is equivalent to 1:15pm Eastern here in the United States.

The eastbound flight from Doha (DOH), Qatar, is normally scheduled to take 16 hours and 20 minutes, with the westbound journey clocking in at just over an hour longer. Today’s inaugural journey landed in Auckland around 15 minutes early, even after departing from Doha 15 minutes late. The 9,032 miles traversed between the two cities beats the previous titleholder — the Dubai (DXB) to Auckland flight served by Emirates since March 2016 — by roughly 208 miles.

The overnight flight landed at 7:15am New Zealand time. Image courtesy of flightradar24.com.

While Qatar will undoubtedly be proud of its accomplishment, some might argue that it’s already been beaten by Air India, which reversed the direction of their Delhi (DEL) to San Francisco (SFO) flight this past October. That decision added over 1,800 miles to the actual distance flown on that route, while saving two hours and 13 tons of fuel thanks to more favorable winds in the eastbound direction. So today’s Qatar flight is the world’s longest by time and by point-to-point distance, but Air India travels more actual miles.

Regardless, neither airline may get to spend too long at the top of the mountain. Singapore Airlines has announced that, starting in March 2018, it will resume service between Singapore (SIN) and both Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (NYC), with the latter route covering roughly 9,500 miles. That distance would beat either Qatar’s or Air India’s claim to the world’s longest flight. Singapore previously flew Newark (EWR) to Singapore with an all-business class Airbus A340-500, but discontinued it after retiring the planes. However, once the airline’s new Airbus A350-900ULR’s are delivered, it will be able to resume the ultra-long distance route.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in trying out the current world’s longest flight, Qatar is using a Boeing 777-200LR on this route, with 42 flat-bed seats in business and 217 standard seats in economy — award space is available in both cabins as early as this month and as far out as December. You can find award space using the British Airways Avios search tool at ba.com and book using miles from any Oneworld partner, including American AAdvantage miles at 42,500 miles in economy or 80,000 in business each way.

Featured image courtesy of Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons. 

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