Travelers love to complain about flying. I can’t blame them but most travel involves flights under three hours and though it can be a painful experience, it’s usually over fast. Like going to the doctor. Some flights however are more like a short prison sentence. I find it fascinating that the ten longest passenger flights in the world are all over 8,000 miles, all within 486 miles of overall distance and are constantly changing. Emirates, in what is clearly a … measuring contest have added a new service from Dubai to Panama City, surpassing the current longest flight in the world by 11 miles. Really guys? Eleven miles? I suppose bragging rights are priceless. Even flying first class, by the 10th hour I think that any airplane ride feels like a bit like a prison sentence. In prisons however, you get room to exercise, your skin and breathing aren’t being affected by dry pressurized air and your feet can touch the ground beneath you. I suppose the difference is that at the end of a seventeen hour flight you are transported to a new wanderlust inspiring world and in prison, you simply stay. Still, for a flight of that magnitude it better be worth it and the seat, whatever the cabin, better not suck! The list of longest flights in the world is a’changing and upgrades are more important than ever. Could you guess the top ten?

a group of men in orange uniforms

1. Dubai to Panama City: Emirates Airlines: 8,589 miles

2. Dallas to Sydney: Qantas Airways: 8,578 miles. (Former Champ)

3. Atlanta to Johannesburg: Delta Airlines: 8,439 miles.

4.Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles: Etihad Airways: 8,390 miles. 

5. Dubai to Los Angeles: Emirate Airlines: 8,339 miles. 

6. Jeddah to Los Angeles: Saudia Airlines: 8,332 miles.

7. Dubai to Houston: Emirates Airlines: 8,168 miles. 

8. Abu Dhabi to San Francisco: Etihad Airways: 8,158 miles. 

9. Dallas to Hong Kong: American Airlines: 8,123 miles. 

10. Dubai to San Francisco: Emirates Airlines: 8,103 miles.

11. New York to Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific: 8,072 miles. (Bumped from Top  Ten)

a large white airplane on a runway

It’s with sadness that I report that my flight on Cathay Pacific’s direct New York to Hong Kong route will no longer effectively be a top ten longest flight starting in February, the same month of my travels. Now to stock up Emirates points…One interesting observation is that all of these routes are serviced by the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 777 and Emirates new pole sitter is no exception, featuring the 777-200LR. The Boeing 777 came into service first in 1995 and the Airbus A380 began service in 2007 meaning virtually all of these routes were simply impossible to fly non stop prior to 1995. Will the competitive trend to keep passengers cooped up continue to bubble? 

an airplane with a small table and chairs

If there was ever a time to use miles for an upgrade, it would be on one of these flights. My best advice is always to use points and miles to experience things that make travel a joy. You can do without the perks on a few short flights but anything of this magnitude…. well lets hope you’ve been saving. It’s a long way and seats aren’t getting any bigger. On the topic, you may enjoy these posts on the World Best Economy Seats, World’s Worst Economy Seats, World’s Best Premium EconomyWorld’d Best Business Class and the Most Luxurious Ways to Spend Your Miles. Don’t let distance hamper your interest in exploring the world. 

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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