The longest flights in the world

Claiming to have the world’s longest flight may give an airline some bragging rights, but from a passenger standpoint nothing sounds worse than having to sit in the air for more than a dozen hours. The top five longest flights in the world take more than 16 hours to complete, giving jet lag a whole new scale.

But it’s more than just a game of one-upmanship among airlines. Ultra-long-haul routes are possible thanks to lower fuel prices and more powerful and fuel-efficient planes that can fly nonstop – nearly around the world – without making a pit stop (point-to-point versus the hub-and-spoke model). For an airline, it opens up new or underserved markets. And with more fuel-efficient aircrafts being developed, airlines can make a profit serving secondary faraway destinations that weren’t economically feasible in the past. Case in point: United’s Houston to Sydney, Australia route, or its San Francisco to Chengdu, China flight, both on the Boeing 787-9. And for passengers, a direct, nonstop route removes the need to spend more time on connections.

Connections are awful, but spending 15 hours or more in a confined space, with hundreds of other people, takes its own toll on the mind and body. Fortunately, most ultra-long-haul services offer hours of in-flight entertainment (IFE) to help you whittle away the travel time with a few movies – when you’re not attempting to sleep, that is (we have gear to recommend for that). Many flights now include Wi-Fi, allowing you to stay connected to those on the ground or keep up with work. And there are airlines that go beyond the status quo by providing more comfortable seating (or as comfortable as coach seats get), better meal options, and tech amenities like power outlets or smartphone app-based activities. These amenities are no consolation for the agony you’ll experience, but you can at least catch up on the summer blockbusters you missed.

Here are currently the five longest flights (by distance) you can fly, and what’s offered onboard to help you make the most of the loss time.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR — Doha (DOH) to Auckland (AKL)

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR Business Class

Launched in February 2017, the current world’s longest flight, between New Zealand and Qatar, covers 9,025 miles. You could be in the air for more than 18 hours, although, on average, Qatar Airways completes the flight between 16 and 17 hours. The airline flies a Boeing 777-200LR on the route, which can fly the longest range among all modern jets currently in operation.

Like its Middle Eastern rivals Emirates and Etihad, Qatar touts its luxurious amenities — from private suites in first class to amenity kits in every cabin. Each seat has a power plug to keep your devices charged on the long flight, which its Oryx One in-flight entertainment (IFE) system is loaded with movies, games, and music to keep you occupied. The plane is an older variant, so it lacks some of the newer features. But word is that Qatar plans to upgrade to the Airbus A350, which has a bar area in business class and Wi-Fi throughout the plane.

As with most records, they will be broken. Singapore Airlines announced it is relaunching its Singapore-New York (Newark) route (10,315 miles), using the new Airbus A350-900ULR (for ultra-long range). The approximately 19-hour flight would reclaim the “world’s longest” crown. In the near future, Qantas plans to launch a direct, 20-hour flight between London and Sydney — if Airbus or Boeing can provide a plane that’s capable.

Emirates Airbus A380 — Dubai (DXB) to Auckland (AKL)

Emirates_Boeing_777-200LR_-_Auckland_(AKL)_to_Dubai_(DXB)

Previously the world’s longest flight, Emirates’ route between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates is just 200 miles shy of Qatar Airways’ nearby Auckland-to-Doha flight. Based on recent flight times, the flight lasts between 15 to 16 hours, although sometimes it can be nearly 17 hours. Unlike Qatar, however, Emirates upgraded the plane from a Boeing 777-200LR to an Airbus A380, which can not only fly long distances but also carry more passengers and is souped up with amenities.

So, how do you pass the time? If you’re in the luxurious first or business cabins, you’ll experience some of the best service and amenities in the industry that few airlines can rival. But coach passengers aren’t neglected. Each customer gets an amenity kit that includes socks, toothbrush, earplugs, and eye shade (we still use ours from a trip taken years ago). There’s in-seat power to recharge your laptop, phone, or tablet; and an IFE system with more content that there’s time to consume (we love the cameras that let you see outside the plane). Best of all, Emirates is one of the few airlines to offer free Wi-Fi (up to 20MB). With that many activities to choose from, as well as multiple meals, flying 17 hours in coach doesn’t sound as bad. But Dubai tends to be a transit point for many of Emirates’ customers, which means they’re most likely connecting to another flight for another long onward journey, say, London, New York, or Bangkok. Still, the level of service is enticing.

United Boeing 787-9 — Los Angeles (LAX) to Singapore (SIN)

United_Dreamliner_787-9_-_San_Francisco_(SFO)_to_Singapore_(SIN)_

With the addition of the fuel-efficient, high-tech Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in its fleet, United has added new ultra-long-haul routes that weren’t possible or profitable before. Launched in October 2017, United’s 8,770-mile Los Angeles-Singapore 18-hour route replaces the need for passengers to connect via Tokyo or Hong Kong. United doesn’t get the same praise for its service that international operators do, but the 787 is a new plane that offers power outlets and USB ports in all seats, and Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to access content on their devices when they’ve exhausted the in-seat entertainment options during the flight. United is in the process of rolling out its refreshed premium cabin, Polaris, throughout its fleet (although the 787-9 won’t be updated until after 2018), and it recently announced a new premium economy cabin, which will bring its service levels closer to those of international carriers.

The LAX-SIN route joins United’s San Francisco-Singapore route launched in 2016 (also on a Boeing 787-9), which is also another long flight (around 17.5 hours). This route is tied with the one from Singapore Airlines, which flies the Airbus A350-900.

United Boeing 787-9 — Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD)

United Airlines Business Class

Ever since United added the Boeing 787 to its fleet, several of those routes have joined the long-distance club. The airline’s newest entry connects Australia’s largest city to United’s second-largest hub, where passengers are able to connect to the many flights throughout the U.S. The route just slightly edges out Qantas’ Sydney-Dallas flight (below) by just 20 miles, but Qantas uses a larger plane and, arguably, offers a higher service level. As for the plane and amenities, it’s the same as the Los Angeles-Singapore and San Francisco-Singapore flights mentioned above.

Qantas A380-800 — Sydney (SYD) to Dallas (DFW)

Qantas_A380-800_-_Dallas_(DFW)_to_Sydney_(SYD)_

At 8,574 miles and 15-16 hours of flight duration, Qantas’ Sydney-to-Dallas service is the fifth-longest flight (it was previously a top record holder, when it launched in September 2014). Qantas, however, flies the jumbo, double-decker Airbus A380-800, a plane that can seat up to 484 passengers, with four classes of service. First and business class passengers would get the full treatment, naturally, with lie-flat beds and gourmet dining. The 371 coach passengers get smaller seats, but they feature soft cushioning and lumbar support for the long flight. If you’re flying from Australia, you can also choose your meals prior to departure, via Qantas’ website.

Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.
Cars

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.
Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Deals

The best accounting software for your small business

Small business owners looking for accounting software have a variety of options at their disposal. And this guide will help them find the best solutions, from Quickbooks Online and Freshbooks to AccountEdge and Zoho Books.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.
Mobile

Goodbye, Essential? Android creator’s startup cuts nearly a third of its staff

Essential has cut as much as 30 percent of its workforce, suggesting that it may be in more trouble than previously thought. The news comes a few months after the company reportedly canceled a follow-up to the Essential Phone.
Computing

Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

If you're buying a MacBook in 2020, be on the lookout for a new "ARM Inside" banner. Apple is reportedly working on transitioning away from Intel processors for its MacOS lineup in favor of new custom A-series ARM-based silicon.
Movies & TV

MoviePass saga: Parent company investigated for allegedly misleading investors

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Social Media

Some major Facebook investors want to oust Zuckerberg after scandals

After multiple scandals, Facebook investors are proposing founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg leave his position as chairman. The group says that making the position independent would remove Zuckerberg's "unchecked corporate power."
Deals

Here are the 5 best Salesforce alternatives and competitors

Salesforce has taken the customer relationship management, or CRM, world by storm. But these five alternatives, including Freshsales, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Zoho CRM, are solid options if you're looking beyond Salesforce.
Mobile

Google may charge up to $40 per Android device for app suite following EU ruling

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement is part of an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Smart Home

Angee’s security service switches from sales to subscriptions

Angee, a successful startup that raised nearly half a million dollars for its home security hub, has pivoted its business model to offer its home security platform as a subscription rather than a smart home product.
Computing

Apple CEO demands Bloomberg retract its Chinese surveillance story

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling on Bloomberg to retract a story alleging that Apple had purchased compromised servers that allowed the Chinese government to spy on Apple. Apple's investigation found no truth to the story.