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The Longest Flight in the World

Sometimes a simple domestic business trip can seem like it is “the longest flight in the world,” but the actual holder of that title (until recently) was Singapore Airlines’ flights 21 and 22, which operated between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey–a flight that takes about 19 hours and covers 9,525 miles.

Singapore to Newark is no longer the longest flight in the world.
Singapore to Newark is no longer the longest flight in the world.

Sometimes a simple domestic business trip can seem like it is “the longest flight in the world,” but the actual holder of that title (until recently) was Singapore Airlines’ flights 21 and 22, which operated between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey–a flight that takes about 19 hours and covers 9,525 miles. The aircraft used for those flights was the four-engine, gas-guzzling, Airbus A340-500, but due to changes in aircraft and fuel costs, Singapore Airlines has since cancelled those flights.

The newer, super-long-haul aircraft, such as the Boeing 777, 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus A350 are more fuel-efficient, 2-engine options. However, currently, America’s Federal Aviation Administration has a longstanding rule that requires two-engine planes to stay within a certain distance of runways where they can land in case of trouble. (Four-engine planes are not subject to this rule.) This ruling would need to change in order to have a 19-hour flight back in service.

The super-long-haul update caught my interest because I took my family to the UAE for Thanksgiving last year and our flight from Los Angeles to Dubai was more than 16 hours. I was concerned about how everyone would handle it. The good news is that the aircraft, in-flight services, and seating are better equipped for accommodating passengers on these long journeys. In fact, the Singapore Airlines flights 21 and 22 had 100 seats, all business class.

But the cancellation of the Singapore Airlines flights still doesn’t give you the ability to call your next business trip “the longest flight in the world.” That is, unless you are traveling on the new record holder, Qantas, which operates the 8,576-mile service between Sydney and Dallas, Texas.

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