These Are the Longest (and Shortest) Delta Flights

Aug 15, 2018

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Extremes are fun, aren’t they? Being able to say you’ve flown on one of the world’s longest (or shortest) flights is a token of pride for any AvGeek, and for loyal Delta flyers, we want to provide a glimpse into the extremes of the network of the world’s second-biggest airline by passengers carried. We’ve sorted the list by mileage flown rather than booked time, which can vary depending on airspace closures, winds, and anticipated congestion. (For a laugh related to that last one, check out the booked time for the 94-mile hop to Philly from New York-JFK.)

Delta could add a new king next year when it launches nonstop flights between the US and Mumbai, India (BOM), but it has yet to disclose where the origination point for that flight will be. The current list omits the 7,600-mile Atlanta (ATL) to Dubai (DXB) nonstop, which Delta axed in 2016 citing “subsidized Gulf carrier competition,” as well as the 7,857-mile nonstop flight between Detroit (DTW) and Hong Kong (HKG). I had the privilege of flying both of those routes in Economy prior to their demise, and had a similar reaction to TPG News Editor Emily McNutt after she flew in coach from Doha to Auckland: “It was… well, long.”

On the shorter end of the stick, longtime Delta flyers may want to pour one out over the 2014 loss of Detroit (DTW) to Flint (FNT), a 56-mile joyride that was actually possible to blink and miss. While we’re on the topic, one has to wonder if we’ll ever see regularly scheduled Delta service between Miami (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Cincinnati (CVG) and Dayton (DAY), or Cincinnati (CVG) and Lexington (LEX) ever again. For Michiganders, you should know that SkyWest Airlines operates a 69-mile flight between Alpena, MI (APN) and Pellston, MI (PLN) under the Delta Connection brand, but Delta informed us that “SkyWest is flying that of their own volition and assumes all business risk-and-reward for the flight.” Due to that asterisk, we didn’t include it in the final list below.

The Longest Delta Flights

The most coveted Global Upgrade in the Delta system: Atlanta to Johannesburg (Photo courtesy of Darren Murph / TPG)
The most coveted Global Upgrade in the Delta system: Atlanta to Johannesburg (Photo courtesy of Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

While three of Delta’s five longest flights are flown on the non-retrofitted Boeing 777-200LR, two of them — Atlanta to Seoul and Detroit to Shanghai — are flown using Airbus’ A350-900. If that aircraft rings a bell, it’s because those are outfitted with Delta’s swanky new Delta One Suites up front. If you’ve been jonesing to try out the product that TPG himself dubbed “chic, fresh, and private,” while also ticking the box of being on one of Delta’s longest flights, look no further.

Delta Flights 200/201, Atlanta (ATL) to Johannesburg (JNB)

  • Distance — 8,433 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 32 minutes (ATL-JNB); 15 hours, 51 minutes (JNB-ATL)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 777-200LR (non-refurbished)
  • Schedule — Daily

Delta Flights 185/186, Atlanta (ATL) to Shanghai (PVG)

  • Distance — 7,659 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 51 minutes (ATL-PVG); 15 hours, 20 minutes (PVG-ATL)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 777-200LR (non-refurbished)
  • Schedule — Daily

Delta Flights 41/40, Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD)

  • Distance — 7,487 miles
  • Approximate Time — 15 hours, 10 minutes (LAX-SYD); 13 hours, 45 minutes (SYD-LAX)
  • Aircraft — Boeing 777-200LR (non-refurbished)
  • Schedule — Daily

Delta Flights 27/26, Atlanta (ATL) to Seoul-Incheon (ICN)

  • Distance — 7,139 miles
  • Approximate Time — 14 hours, 41 minutes (ATL-ICN); 13 hours, 58 minutes (ICN-ATL)
  • Aircraft — Airbus A350-900 with Delta One Suites
  • Schedule — Daily

Delta Flights 583/582, Detroit (DTW) to Shanghai (PVG)

  • Distance — 7,137 miles
  • Approximate Time — 14 hours, 15 minutes (DTW-PVG); 13 hours, 50 minutes (PVG-DTW)
  • Aircraft — Airbus A350-900 with Delta One Suites
  • Schedule — Daily

The Shortest Delta Flights

Delta Connection Bombardier CRJ200 Aircraft at EWN Airport (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Delta’s use of tiny, regional jets is on the decline. While it once operated over 200 aircraft with 50 seats or fewer flown by regional carriers under the Delta brand, that has dwindled in recent years. Comair closed in 2012, ExpressJet (formerly known as Atlantic Southeast Airlines or ASA) won’t fly for Delta in 2019, and Endeavor Air has reduced its operations, with over 80 Bombardier CRJ200s now removed.

As you’ll see below, the majority of Delta’s shortest routes are flown using the CRJ200. If these planes are phased out, one has to wonder if the routes will remain with different aircraft and timing, or, for instance, if people in Lansing will be forced to drive to Detroit. For what it’s worth, Delta did add a single row of Comfort+ to CRJ200 aircraft in 2017, but given that the Comfort+ row is also the bulkhead, I personally prefer the roomier exit row.

Detroit, MI (DTW) to Lansing, MI (LAN)

  • Distance — 74 miles
  • Approximate Time — 48 minutes (DTW-LAN); 46 minutes (LAN-DTW)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (MSP) to Rochester, MN (RST)

  • Distance — 76 miles
  • Approximate Time — 48 minutes (MSP-RST); 52 minutes (RST-MSP)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200, CRJ700, and CRJ900
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Columbus, GA (CSG)

  • Distance — 83 miles
  • Approximate Time — 49 minutes (ATL-CSG); 52 minutes (CSG-ATL)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK) to Philadelphia, PA (PHL)

  • Distance — 94 miles
  • Approximate Time — 1 hour, 33 minutes (JFK-PHL); 1 hour, 5 minutes (PHL-JFK)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ200
  • Schedule — Daily

Cleveland-Hopkins, OH (CLE) to Detroit, MI (DTW)

  • Distance — 95 miles
  • Approximate Time — 51 minutes (CLE-DTW); 56 minutes (DTW-CLE)
  • Aircraft — Bombardier CRJ700/CRJ900, and Boeing 717-200
  • Schedule — Multiple daily flights

Featured image of a Delta Boeing 777-200LR at Atlanta airport by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy

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