What Are The Longest Commercial Flights

The amazing advances we’ve made in air travel over the past century have led to travel times that are astonishing for their comparative speed as well as the length of time modern airlines can stay in the air.

This is even true with commercial flights, despite additional concerns related to passenger comfort. While there have been gimmick time-based records where planes have stayed in the air for literal months via ground-to-air refueling, none of those flights had any real practical usefulness. Some of the most impressive non-stop flight distance records have been set by commercial airliners.

The longest distance non-stop flight with a commercial aircraft was nearly 23 hours and covered 21,601 km from Hong Kong to London in 2005. The Boeing 777 carried 27 passengers and eight pilots on board. As will all long-haul or longer flights, there must be multiple shifts of pilots to ensure no one is operating the aircraft fatigued.

Before that, some exceptionally long commercial aircraft flights included:

  • 1993 with almost 22 hours from Paris to Auckland with a five-hour layover in between
  • 1989 with 20 hours non-stop from London and Sydney
  • 1976 with nearly 17.5 hours nonstop from Paine Field near Seattle to Cape Town

What Are the Longest Commercial Routes?

Some of the longest commercial routes currently running include:

  • 19 Hours: New York City, US to Singapore (with JFK airport having a slightly longer distance than Newark airport)
  • 18 Hours: Perth (Australia) to London, Melbourne to Dallas, Auckland to Dallas, Dubai to Auckland, Singapore to Los Angeles, San Francisco to Bangalore
  • 17 Hours: Manila to San Francisco, Auckland to New York
  • 16 Hours: Dubai to Los Angeles, Mumbai to Los Angeles, Bangalore to San Francisco

The Challenge of Long Flights

Non-stop travel is a great convenience for those needing to travel long distances, but sitting in a tight seat in a confined aircraft for hours on end can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially when many ultra-long-haul international flights are over 15 hours long. A mere six-hour medium-haul flight can already feel long, making 16 to potentially 19 hours sound unbearably tedious to many flyers. The average person is awake for 16 to 18 hours a day, meaning you’re spending more than an entire day in the air – and that’s not accounting for boarding time and potential delays.

The biggest problem of long flights is figuring out how to make the time go by. Even the fastest and heaviest sleeper can’t sleep for a full 19 hours. Planning how to spend the time and optimizing your comfort is crucial for surviving today’s ultra-long-haul flights.

Tips for Surviving Long Flights

Eat before the flight: Eating before you board is typically your best chance of sleeping as soon as you sit down. Long flights typically offer multiple meals, and even then the first meal can sometimes take an hour or two to be served – meaning that waiting for that first meal can keep you up unnecessarily.

Bring sleepwear: While airlines provide pillows and blankets for long-haul flights, they’re not always high-quality. Bringing a travel pillow, blanket and even eye masks can increase your chances of getting a better quality sleep than you might otherwise get.

Brush your teeth: Experienced flight attendants can attest that brushing your teeth after waking up can help you feel rejuvenated and fresher even while mid-flight. Make sure to keep your toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste in your carry-on.

Take off your shoes: If you’re on a long flight, taking off your shoes is less of a social faux pas – for many, it’s even a necessity. That said, take care to wash your feet and wear clean socks or stockings before boarding to reduce the risk of bothering other passengers.

Use your in-flight entertainment: While many flyers bring their own entertainment with tablets and headphones, you don’t have to worry about battery life or limited storage with airline-provided in-flight entertainment technology.

How In-Cabin Technology Can Help

The best way to make a 19-hour flight bearable is with robust in-cabin technology. State-of-the-art in-flight entertainment offers passengers thousands of movies, TV shows and games as well as a robust collection of music to keep them occupied and help the time go by as quickly as possible.

At Rosen Aviation, we develop and sell the highest quality IFE displays to give passengers non-stop, immersive in-flight experiences that help make every trip comfortable for your passengers.

Lauded In-Flight Entertainment Technology 40 Years in the Making

The Rosen Aviation team designs custom cabin technology so every flight is optimized to provide optimal safety and comfort. Learn more about how our experts can maximize your aircraft’s in-flight technology capabilities by calling 1-888-668-4955 or sending us a message today.