On October 12th, 2018, Singapore Airlines flight SQ22 became the longest flight in the world, with nonstop service from Singapore Changi Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport, completing the trip in just over 17 hours. Here are some surprising facts about the longest flight in the world.
1. Breaking the Record
Prior to the journey by Singapore Airlines, the longest flight in the world had been flown by Qatar Airways between Doha, Qatar, and Auckland, New Zealand. The first flight on this path was February 7th, 2017, completing the 9,032-mile journey in around 16 and a half hours. The flight was on a Boeing 777 and crossed 10 different time zones during the 16 hours in the air. This Singapore Airways flight beat Qatar out by over 1,000 miles and one hour of flight time.
2. Top Longest Flights in the World
These two flight paths aren’t the only 16+ hour journeys being taken around the world. The top longest flights around the world also include Qantas Airways flight Perth to London, at 9,000 miles and nearly 17 and a half hours, Emirates flight Auckland to Dubai, at 8,800 miles and 17 hours, United Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Singapore, and San Francisco to Singapore, at 8,700 miles and nearly 18 hours and 8,400 miles and 17 hours respectively, and United Airlines flight Houston to Sydney, at 8,500 miles and 17 and a half hours.
3. The Plane
The flight from Singapore to New York City was flown on an Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra long range). The new plane by Airbus is the first of the A350 series, meant to compete against the Boeing 777 and 787 planes. The A350 can hold up to 325 passengers, and in general, has a greater takeoff weight and range. The plane will eventually replace the Airbus A340-300 and A340-500 series.
4. The Passenger Count
On its inaugural flight, the Singapore SQ22 flight only carried a mere 161 passengers, almost all staying in business class and premium economy class. The reason the flight was nearly half empty is because of the long distance, making it a less sought after flight path, as well as the money involved in the large new plane.
5. The Real Longest Flight
While the Singapore Airlines new path to New York may have broken a record for being the longest flight, the Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Flight actually belongs to a different aircraft. The world record flight by Boeing was an attempt in 2005 to show just how powerful the Boeing 777-200LR is. The 22-hour journey began in Hong Kong, flew over the Pacific Ocean, stopped over in Los Angeles, then continued on across the US and the Atlantic Ocean before landing in London Heathrow International Airport.
6. Captain Teams
Ever wondered what happens to the captains and flight crews on such a long haul flight? On the Singapore Airlines flight, the flight crew works in shifts. The two teams, each complete with their own captains, with one handling take off, then the other flying the plane, then switching on and off. While one team flies, the other gets some well-deserved rest.