Ben Murtzabaugh reported in USA Today that Qatar Airways has earned itself the title for the world’s longest, regularly scheduled flight. On Sunday the airline rolled out the 9,032-mile route which takes passengers from its Doha hub to Auckland, New Zealand. While the outgoing flight from Doha is 50 minutes shy of the 17 hour mark, strong headwinds on the return make the flight a grueling 17 hours and 30 minutes.
Qatar Airway’s new service captures the title by a mere 10 minutes—not much longer than competitor, the Middle Eastern Emirates, whose 8,819-mile route from Dubai to Auckland is 17 hours, 20 minutes on the return and 16 hours, 5 minutes on the outbound flight.
Qatar Airways can now claim the world’s longest flight both by time and by distance, according to air travel intelligence company OAG. However, this title comes with a footnote.
Air India was also a contender after having shifted the route of its Delhi-San Francisco flight last fall. The route was shifted to take advantage of fuel-saving tailwinds and is an impressive 9,400 miles. However, without the voluntary longer route change, the distance of the flight would be only 7.700 miles, which wouldn’t even place it in the top 25 longest flights.