What Is The Longest Nonstop Flight In The World?

Friday, November 2, 2012

What is the longest nonstop flight in the world?

One of the first questions people asked me ahead of my past trip from New York to Africa was how long the flight was going to be, to which I would answer, “I don’t know, a few hours.” Well, it was actually 14 hours, 55 minutes, by far the longest flight I had ever taken until that time. And it got me thinking: What is the longest nonstop flight in the world? Well, the answer is not exactly exact, given that you’re looking at different flight lengths due to fluctuations in jet streams, weather conditions and the daily whims of the airlines based on fuel prices (flying slower saves expensive jet fuel).

But the current record holder for the longest scheduled nonstop commercial flight in the world is Singapore Airlines Flight 21, clocking in at a whopping 18 1/2 hours (scheduled length). This 9,539-mile (15,351 kilometers) flight on an Airbus A340-500 from Newark to Singapore is about 15 minutes faster than the return flight from Singapore to Newark as a result of the jet stream. As you can see on this live map of the flight, the plane actually takes a slightly longer route over Europe due to various safety issues (the fastest route would be north over the North Pole and over Siberia).


However, Singapore Airlines recently announced that it would be discontinuing this flight and therefore giving up its title as the airliner with the longest nonstop flight in the world in 2013, and handing that distinction over to Quantas, whose Sydney to Dallas nonstop flight on a Boeing 747-400 will be the reigning champion, and whose flight will cover a scheduled 8,589 miles (13,822 kilometers), and will last 15 hours and 33 minutes.

As reported by News.com.au, “The airline found the only way to make the routes profitable was by configuring the plane with 98 business class seats that sell for about $8,000 roundtrip. Other airlines operate the same plane with about 250 seats in first, business and economy classes.”


The record for the longest flight by a commercial airplane ever (though this was a test flight with no real passengers) was a Boeing 777-200LR’s 11,664-nautical mile trek from London to Hong Kong, which lasted 22 hours and 42 minutes and saw two sunrises.

The 777-200LR left Hong Kong International Airport at 10:30 p.m. on November 9, 2005, and landed at London Heathrow Airport at approximately 1:30 p.m. GMT November 10, 2005. To travel that distance (rather than take a shorter, Polar route), the plane traveled eastbound towards London, flying over the North Pacific Ocean, across North America, and then over the mid-north Atlantic Ocean. That flight shattered the previous record holder which was a 747 Boeing London to Sydney flight that traveled 9,200 miles.

By Matt Stabile



Matt Stabile Bio PictureMatt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com. (@TheExpeditioner)

  • great expirence thanks

  • Rude Hellerman

    Does it matter you bunch of half-wits?

  • Kristoffer Haugstad

    There are planes that run on solar pannels and nuclear power military airplanes that never stop flying

  • Sohaib Ahmed

    The longest flight in my knowledge is Etihad’s flight from Abu Dhabi to LAX.. which flies continuous for more than 17 hours!

  • Ruben Pacarat

    Actually, I am interested on this topic since I also asks about what is the longest non-stop flight ever made by any passenger jets. My question though, does the route that Hong Kong to London is really the real route? If you will check the geographic location from Hong Kong to London is just located in one span of land with 5983 miles / 9628.71 km / 5199.08 nautical miles.

  • Jose Aponte

    Hello Matt, what the distance covered (in kilometres) by the longest non-stop scheduled flight (as of November 2013)?

  • Jose Aponte

    Hello Matt, what the distance covered (in kilometres) by the longest non-stop scheduled flight (as of November 2013)?

  • I love a long flight, train ride, car journey – i like the time to think and read skymall and sleep and daydream. I think my longest was about 12 hours.

  • Pinoyako

    Toronto to Manila Philippines at 21 hours plus direct flight. Is it safe?

    • ivyleaguer

      why wouldn’t it be safe?

  • Chinook

    I just retuned to Sydney Aus Direct from Buenos Aries with Aerolineas 15 1/2 hours
    Worst flight ever as this airline is very dated no personal in flight entertainment and they only played 2 movied 80’s syle on fuzzy projection screen

  • guest

    To set the record straight, (no pun intended), the record duration for a commercial passenger airline flight which has never been broken, is the inaugural TWA London to San Francisco flight of October 1-2, 1957 by a Lockheed Constellation. The aircraft was airborne for 23 hours and 19 minutes. Top that, 747!

    • Someone

      The plane of a Lockheed Constellation can go from LHR to SFO in almost 1 day because it is very slow it only goes 600kmh while now they use A380s or B787s because some goes up to 1000kmh!

  • Oz

    The new Sydney (AUS) to Dallas Fort Worth (USA) flight pushes the 747 to its limit. To USA is 15h 10m, but return is 19h 15m – that +4 hours for the jet stream. However the flight to Oz has not made it back several times, having to divert to either NZ or Brisbane. Oh and remember that flight is over water almost all the way, with just a few small island that don’t really cater for a long range 747, so best to check out emergency video on that flight.

    • Anonymous

      That’s hilarious, I’m not sure I like the idea of having to chance diverting on the return flight.

      • ivyleaguer

        you guys are afraid of long flights, why? find them very relaxing. American Airlines from Abu Dhabi to Miami directly over water most of the flight.

  • 3333

    It’s funny that your question is ‘longest flight in the world’ and for some reason the ones you list bar the last all originate or end in north America! As several other people have commented, it’s australia to Britain. Planes And airports exist outside the USA!!!

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the question was what the longest nonstop flight in the world. There have been rumors that Virgin would offer a nonstop flight from the UK to AU, but that hasn’t happened yet: http://bit.ly/vty2NE

  • Matty Weathers

    21 hours from Aussie to Britain

    • Anonymous

      I was examining nonstop flights.

  • Nathan

    Aussie to Britain

    • Anonymous

      I was examining nonstop flights.

  • This is very interesting post. I wish I could experience the same flight. I always like to travel through flights and some how it is one of the reason for my vacations..

  • Ovidiu_au

    25 hours single pilot in a Cessna 172 across the Pacific between Hilo and Pago Pago

    • Anonymous

      I was just looking at commercial flights. I’m sure there have been plenty of longer flights in the world involving private planes and military jets.

      • panos-san

        has anyone flied around the earth?

  • Revrnjim

    delta 200   atlanta to johannesburg     15:15  8449sm

  • Rahul

    A flight from Chicago to New Delhi is also about 15 hours – one of the longest flight I ever took *sigh*



    • Rojer_batsub

      You left out my flight from Norway to England once with the RAF which was nearly 5 days including delays!!

      • Anonymous

        I was just looking at commercial flights.

    • Anonymous

      I was looking at nonstop flights.

  • Thanks for the information.. I was not aware of it.. I am glad I visited here and come to know about it.. Longest non stop flights are very helpful as it saves time some how..

  • Jamie

    OMFG a 22 hour non-stop flight??

    The longest flight I've ever been on was 10 hours, and that was from Vancouver, Canada to Beijing, China.
    I nearly died; it was so uncomfortable and brutal. If I can barely live through a 10-hour flight, then there's no hope for me for a 22-hour one… x_x

  • Blake

    Also, regarding the 22 hour flight between London and Hong Kong mentioned in the original article, that couldn't be more wrong of a statement. Either the Guinness Book is completely off, or the writer put the wrong information down. The flight is only 11.5-12 hours long in a 777, and covers a little over 6000 miles (not 13,400). Plus going that direction would give the aircraft a tailwind, and increase its ground speed. I would recommend deleting that comment because its outrageous.

    • TheExpeditioner

      It was a test flight, not the normal route.

    • The flight path were : Hong Kong -> Pacific ocean -> north America -> Atlantic ocean then England .

      It was a test flight.

  • Blake

    I took the LA-Singapore flight the 3rd day it was in service in 2004, and I flew coach. The coach on that airplane actually wasn't bad – it was an improved version of normal coach, with bigger reclines, more legroom, small legrests that popped up. I wasn't that uncomfortable. Still I like how that converted the planes to all-business.

  • ja!

    Just took the flight from Newark to Singapore yesterday (or maybe the day before as i lost the 31st). One good thing they've done is make it business class only. Sitting for that long in economy would be excruciatingly painful. Good flight though, Singapore airlines has great service.

  • Will

    Dont forget the longest flight TIME set by a Cessna 172 in 1958 at 64 DAYS 22 hrs 19min 5 sec. They refueled inflight by flying down a road with a speeding fuel truck fueling them up.

  • I Really dont know What’s The Longest Nonstop Flight In The World!!!!

  • Joy

    I would take the long non stop with 3 sleeping pills, you wake up just in time for breakfast.

  • I'm not sure if I'd rather have one super long flight (like the 18 hour one) or three different flights where I have to deal with stopovers. Being on one plane for a long time makes me very restless, but then again running through airport terminals in an attempt to not miss my connecting flight induces a LOT more anxiety.

  • Vince

    And I thought my 8 1/2 hour flight from Paris to Chicago was bad… lol

  • Well, I can say a pretty short trip is NHT's from Rio Grande to Pelotas, that are two neighboor cities, in southern Brazil, and lasts 10 min.

  • tomcon

    the shortest is actually LoganAir 'island hopper' service between Westray and Papa Westray in Scotland. Air New Zealand fly DIRECT from LHR (London Heathrow) to AKL (Auckland) but I think it refuels in LAX (Los Angeles) so that might not count :)

    • Emile Roux1

      Washington DC to Johannesburg. 17 1/2 hours…….

  • tomcon

    the shortest is actually LoganAir 'island hopper' service between Westray and Papa Westray in Scotland. Air New Zealand fly DIRECT from LHR (London Heathrow) to AKL (Auckland) but I think it refuels in LAX (Los Angeles) so that might not count :)

  • LK

    Wow; I'm going to Uganda in January and my trip there will consist of 3 flights; 3 hours, 12 hours, and 13 hours, plus 5 hours total in layovers between the last two. I hope your trip went well!

  • Lindsey

    bring a few books and some good music to sleep too :) have an amazing trip! can't wait to hear all about it.

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