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With a new world’s longest flight now just a few weeks from launch, the concept of flying halfway around the world without a stop is an especially hot topic.

Singapore Airlines will once again claim that top honor, when it relaunches nonstop service from Newark Airport (EWR) to Singapore Changi (SIN) on October 12, but the carrier’s US-based Star Alliance partner claims some long-range legends on its own.

Following Darren Murph’s look at Delta’s longest and shortest flights, I wanted to explore United’s route map to see where the airline’s flights fall relative to its SkyTeam counterpart. The longest flights certainly aren’t a shocker — Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD) leads the pack, expectedly — but I was surprised to learn about the carrier’s shortest hops, all of which barely take longer in a car.

The 5 Longest United Flights

United operates a 787-9 Dreamliner with 3-3-3 economy seats on its longest international flights. Photo by Zach Honig.
United operates a 787-9 Dreamliner with 3-3-3 economy seats on its longest international flights. Photo by Zach Honig.

A frequent subject of AvGeek excitement, ultra-long-haul flights aren’t always as much fun for passengers onboard — especially those seated in the back. In United’s case, you could end up spending more than 17 hours in a seat with barely any recline, when you factor in the time it takes to board and deplane.

Still, these flights can be quite popular with business travelers, and leisure flyers who prefer to avoid a connection. The airline’s longest flights are operated by the 787-9 Dreamliner, with 2-2-2 seating in business class — it’s comfortable, especially when you’re traveling with a companion, but it’s not the carrier’s latest Polaris product. Still, passengers are willing to compromise comfort for convenience. In some cases, you’ll save hours en-route.

Flights 100/101, Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD)

  • Distance — 8,587 miles
  • Approximate Time — 17 hours, 20 minutes (IAH-SYD); 15 hours, 50 minutes (SYD-IAH)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Schedule — Daily flights

Flights 1/2, San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN)

  • Distance — 8,440 miles
  • Approximate Time — 16 hours, 20 minutes (SFO-SIN); 15 hours, 25 minutes (SIN-SFO)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Schedule — Daily flights

Flights 179/180, Newark (EWR) to Hong Kong (HKG)

  • Distance — 8,060 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 55 minutes (EWR-HKG); 15 hours, 40 minutes (HKG-EWR)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 777-200ER
  • Schedule — Daily flights

Flights 98/99, Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL)

  • Distance — 7,920 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 50 minutes (LAX-MEL); 14 hours, 10 minutes (MEL-LAX)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Schedule — Daily flights

Flights 48/49, Newark (EWR) to Mumbai (BOM)

  • Distance — 7,806 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 5 minutes (EWR-BOM); 15 hours, 35 minutes minutes (BOM-EWR)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 777-200ER
  • Schedule — Daily flights

The 5 Shortest United Flights

A United Express ERJ-145 regional jet. Photo by United Airlines.
A United Express ERJ-145 regional jet. Photo by United Airlines.

What sense does it make to hop a 66-mile flight, rather than drive your own car (or even take a taxi or Uber) on that trip, instead? Of course there’s more to the story here — though all of these flights can be booked on their own, passengers are almost always connecting.

If there’s a small regional airport just around the corner from home, it can make more sense to originate there. You’ll avoid the risk of getting stuck in traffic, may score cheap or free parking and, in some cases, you can even save money by booking a trip that begins at a smaller regional airport, even if you’re taking the same flight as travelers originating at a hub.

All of the flights below are operated by much smaller regional jets, flown by a handful of United’s partners or subsidiaries under the United Express brand. They’re considered to be “feeder flights” — bringing travelers to major hubs to catch a longer domestic or international leg.

San Francisco (SFO) to Santa Rosa, CA (STS)

  • Distance — 66 miles
  • Approximate Time — 53 minutes (SFO-STS); 52 minutes (STS-SFO)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Chicago (ORD) to Milwaukee (MKE)

  • Distance — 67 miles
  • Approximate Time — 50 minutes (ORD-MKE); 52 minutes (MKE-ORD)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200 and Embraer RJ-175
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Denver (DEN) to Colorado Springs (COS)

  • Distance — 72 miles
  • Approximate Time — 43 minutes (DEN-COS); 47 minutes (COS-DEN)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200 and Embraer RJ-175
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Houston (IAH) to College Station, TX (CLL)

  • Distance — 74 miles
  • Approximate Time — 46 minutes (IAH-CLL); 45 minutes (CLL-IAH)
  • Aircraft — Embraer ERJ-145
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

San Francisco (SFO) to Monterey (MRY)

  • Distance — 77 miles
  • Approximate Time — 58 minutes (SFO-MRY); 53 minutes (MRY-SFO)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200 and Embraer RJ-175
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Have you experienced any of these ultra-long or ultra-short flights?

Know before you go.

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