17 hours in the air? World’s longest airline routes

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2016.

Story highlights

Qantas announced it will launch a London-to-Perth flight in 2018

Air India's Delhi to San Francisco is the longest flight in terms of distance, but not time

Gulf carriers have just begun 17-hour flights from the Arabian Gulf to Auckland

CNN  — 

If you’re already finding long-haul flights to be at the limits of human endurance, then assume the brace position – some of the world’s longest flying legs are about to get even longer.

With aircraft design becoming more fuel-efficient – and time-starved passengers more demanding – the race is on to create commercial long-haul flights that span ever greater distances.

Qantas has confirmed that it will be launching a London-to-Perth leg when it receives its first Boeing 787 – also known as the Dreamliner. The 14,498-kilometer (9,008 miles) service, due to begin in March 2018, will be the first regular passenger flight to directly link Australia with Europe.

“When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a statement. “Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth nonstop.”

In the meantime, other airlines are jostling for position to offer flights that cover the greatest distance in the shortest possible time. But even at full stretch, the world’s longest routes are already nudging 17 hours, making the world’s great “red-eye” flights even more fatiguing.

Following on from our feature on the world’s shortest airline routes, CNN is reaching for the melatonin, pulling down the eyeshades and dragging on the compression socks to bring you the world’s longest air routes.

READ: Flying from New York to London in 11 minutes

World’s longest air route

There is strong competition for this spot.

The Gulf carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways are locked in a struggle for their Dubai-Auckland and Doha-Auckland ultralong-haul flights.

In March, Emirates claimed the title of the world’s longest commercial flight, completing the 14,200 kilometers (8,824 miles) to the New Zealand city.

Qatar Airways announced plans to launch flights from Doha to Auckland later this year or early in 2017. This leg will just pip Emirates at 14,539 kilometers (9,034 miles).

READ: Emirates completes world’s longest nonstop flight

Longest regular nonstop route by time