Flying is nice; you get from place A to place B, which sometimes happen to be on different continents, in a matter of hours, but what happens when the flight is taking longer than that — well if you’re a traveler in the U.S. looking to visit Asia or the Middle East for business or pleasure, you’ll have to get used to these ultra long-haul non-stop flights.
Image by mbshane
The good news is that prices come cheap, while luxury reigns supreme. Airlines figure that if you’re flying from the U.S. to Asia, you must be a) a high-powered executive type who can’t afford to go eighteen hours without cell service or wifi, b) used to the extra, luxurious touch and c) rich enough to hire a lawyer if anything goes wrong. So they make it cheap (comparatively) to appease the already well-off. Very strange how that happens.
Several cheap flights to Dubai, out of Emirates Airline from various locations in the U.S including Los Angeles (flight EK 215, ETA 16.5 hours), Houston (flight EK 211, ETA 16 hours), and San Francisco (flight EK 225, ETA 16 hours) crowd the title for the World’s Longest Non-stop Passenger Flight.
Image by ati977
The longest, however, if not the cheapest flight, happens to be between Newark and Singapore (Singapore Airlines Flight 21 ETA 18.5 hours). This flight takes you from New Jersey up through Canada and over the North Pole, through Russia, Mongolia and China — guaranteed to be a lovely ride.
Image by muhectorprasetyo
Seating on the legendary Flight 21 consists of 100 business class lounge-esque chairs, each 30 inches wide. They serve gin cocktails and salmon florentine. You can watch over 400 movies, play over sixty computer games, listen to every song ever made, and chat up your well-heeled neighbors.
(Images by juandazeng / 1 + 2)
It travels along what is known as a “Great Circle” in order, among other reasons, to avoid the difficulties that come with “chasing the sunset” across the time zones. Instead, when you look out the window as the plane is on top of the world, you can really get a sense for the spatial, three-dimensional position of the sun as the earth revolves around it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a definite mind-trip.
If you’re looking for sun, summer surf, and airplane luxury, try out the trip from L.A. to Melbourne, on legendarily laid-back Qantas (Flight QF 094). They’ve won awards for their wine. Numerous awards. The flight takes 15.5 hours, but they’re guaranteed to be some of the most easygoing, relaxed hours you’ve spent on a plane.
(Images by joits / 1 + 2)
One of the few airlines to offer in-flight Internet connectivity, Qantas has already convinced me to look up prices. Internet only consists of cached pages, but still, that’s better than we’re used to. Mobile phone service? You can text on Qantas, but not make voice calls. So all your friends can receive texts like, “on the plane” “still on the plane” “omg im still on the plane this ride is lonngggg.”
Other routes in the running for the World’s Longest Non-Stop Passenger Flight include Delta Flight 201 from Atlanta to Johannesberg, South Africa. If you take that flight in about a week, you might be able to meet some World Cup fans. Hopefully they don’t bring their vuvuzelas.
Image by smartjunco
The Middle Eastern cities of Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi are also popular destinations for long non-stop flights. As centers of modern business and architectural gems, these cities enjoy patronage from Atlanta (Delta Flight DL 7 to Dubai, ETA 15.75 hours), Sydney (Etihad Flight EY 451 to Abu Dhabi, ETA 15 hours), and Houston (Qatar Airways Flight QR 77 to Doha, ETA 15.5 hours) among others.
Generally, non-stop passenger flights will last fifteen to eighteen hours. However, most of these planes are decked out with entertainment luxuries, so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting bored.
The atmosphere is generally jovial, simply because it’s such a strange thing to travel around the world in less than a day. I don’t think our caveman minds have quite caught up to what a remarkable achievement it is. So people are kind of out of it on long-distance airplane rides, which can make for some interesting conversations.
And isn’t travel all about the people you meet, the experiences you have?
Have you ever been on any of these flights? What’s it like folks?
Note: Below are the top 15 non-stop passenger flights by distance (via Wiki)
|Distance km (mi)||Scheduled
|1||Newark||Singapore||Singapore Airlines||SQ 21||15,345 (9,535)||18hr 50min/18hr 40min|
|2||Los Angeles||Singapore||Singapore Airlines||SQ 37||14,114 (8,770)||17hr 20min/18hr 05min|
|3||Johannesburg||Atlanta||Delta Air Lines||DL 201||13,582 (8,439)||16hr 40min|
|4||Dubai||Los Angeles||Emirates||EK 215||13,420 (8,339)||16hr 35min|
|5||Los Angeles||Bangkok||Thai Airways International||TG 795||13,309 (8,270)||17hr 30min|
|6||Dubai||Houston||Emirates||EK 211||13,144 (8,168)||16hr 20min|
|7||Dubai||San Francisco||Emirates||EK 225||13,041 (8,103)||16hr 00min|
|8||New York||Hong Kong||Cathay Pacific||CX 831
|12,990 (8,072)||16hr 00min|
|9||Newark||Hong Kong||Continental Airlines||CO 99||12,980 (8,065)||15hr 50min|
|10||Doha||Houston||Qatar Airways||QR 77||12,951 (8,047)||16hr 20min|
|11||New York||Johannesburg||South African Airways||SA 204||12,845 (7,982)||15hr 10min|
|12||Los Angeles||Melbourne||Qantas||QF 094||12,748 (7,921)||15hr 25min|
|12||Los Angeles||Melbourne||V Australia||VA 12||12,748 (7,921)||15hr 45min|
|14||Detroit||Hong Kong||Delta Air Lines||DL 27||12,645 (7,857)||15hr 45min|
|15||Toronto||Hong Kong||Cathay Pacific||CX 827
|12,569 (7,810)||15hr 25min|