The longest flight in the world. This phrase is enough to strike fear into the average airline passenger. Anecdotally, people have a very different interpretation of what is a long flight. Irish people consider the 7 or 8 hours to the USA to be a quite a long flight while Australian people find this to be relatively short. Aussies consider 13 hour flights to places such as Los Angeles to be a long flight.

What about 17 hours? The thought of this flight in Economy Class is enough to strike terror into the hardiest of people. Even frequent flyers begin to quiver with fear. Let’s have a look at the five longest flights in the world.

Emirates – Auckland to Dubai

It is probably no surprise that global juggernaut Emirates are currently the record holder for longest flight in the world. It is also operated by the largest aircraft in the world, the double deck Airbus 380 and clocks in at 17 hours and 15 minutes. Not bad for 14,203 kilometres.


The story goes that Qatar Airways CEO mentioned Auckland was a possible future route for them. Emirates, upon hearing this, immediately announced they were going to fly non-stop to Auckland and commenced the route within about 5 weeks. Now that’s competition!

Qantas – Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney

Australian carrier Qantas holds the number two place with their ultra long haul flight between Dallas and Sydney. 16 hours and 55 minutes would be okay in First Class or Business Class as Qantas have a particularly well regarded premium product. At 13,804 kilometres mainly over the Pacific Ocean it’s not for the faint hearted.


The route connects the Qantas hub of Sydney to it’s oneworld partner American Airlines hub in Dallas. A lot of connecting passengers use this service to explore other cities in the respective countries.

Singapore Airlines – San Francisco to Singapore
United Airlines – San Francisco to Singapore

This 13,593 kilometre odyssey is made a lot easier by the fact that each airline offers the most modern aircraft in the world. Singapore Airlines offer the Airbus 350 while United offer the Boeing 787-9.


Over 16 hours on board a 787 or an A350 would be almost pleasant. Both aircraft offer a lower cabin altitude and higher humidity than older aircraft which results in a more comfortable flight.

Delta Air Lines – Johannesburg to Atlanta

US major Delta connect the United States and South Africa from their hub in Atlanta. At 13,582 kilometres, it is only a few kilometres short of the previous flight.


A flight in Delta One would be quite comfortable but those who are unable to afford that will have to settle for Economy Class. Delta plan to introduce Premium Economy but this will be in the future. The route is successful for Delta, having been in operation since 2009.

Etihad Airways – Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi

One of the Middle East three, Etihad Airways operate the 13,502 kilometre flight between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.


Rounding out the top 5 and still over 16 hours, this flight would be much more fun if it was operated by an Etihad Airbus 380. These feature a private apartment which would be a perfect place to spend this much time – if you could afford it!

February 2017 – New Longest Flight In The World

The list will change in February 2017 when Qatar Airways finally open their Auckland to Doha route. At 14,529 kilometres and scheduled for 17 hours and 45 minutes it promises to test the endurance of crew and passengers alike.


Qatar Airways are considered to have one of the best Business Class products in the sky which will ease the burden of this long haul flight. I will be on board this flight in April and once I return I will be writing all about it so stay tuned.

Overall Thoughts

The longest flight in the world is something some frequent flyers aspire to try. For others, it is the fastest way between two cities. Have you flown on one of the longest flights in the world? If you have, please share your experience in the comments below as I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading!