Qatar Airways holds the new current record for the world’s longest commercial flight with flight number QR920, having operated the first Doha-Auckland flight yesterday.
Doha – Auckland took the Boeing 777-200LR 17 hours and 45 minutes over a distance of 9,032 miles which must have been an exhaustive journey for both passengers and crew.
There have been a number of ultra-longhaul flights over the years including the Singapore Airlines NY/LA-Singapore nonstops and Qantas from Dallas to Sydney. Both of these had slightly better seating options in Business Class though than the B777 that Qatar operates on this route.
The Guardian (access here) also has a short article about it today.
The world’s longest commercial flight has landed in New Zealand after a 9,032-mile (14,535km) flight from Doha.
“We’ve officially landed in Auckland,” Qatar Airways tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 7.25am (1825 GMT on Sunday), five minutes ahead of schedule after 16 hours and 23 minutes in the air.
The long-range Boeing 777-200LR crossed 10 time zones on its marathon flight. There were four pilots on board, as well as 15 cabin crew who served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals during the flight.
In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.
New Zealand’s trade minister, Todd McClay, said the estimated economic impact of the new service would be well in excess of NZ$50m (£29.3m) with the increased freight capacity provided.
Last March, Emirates airline launched what was then thought to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, with a service from Dubai to Auckland, spanning 14,200km.
Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight claims the world’s longest by flying distance, but when measured on the surface of the Earth Doha and Auckland are further apart.
I’ve taken the Singapore Airlines flights a few times in Business Class and they were ok if flying in comfort. Then however I got stuck in Economy (Main Cabin Extra) on the Dallas to Hong Kong American Airlines flight (8,116 miles) once when my upgrade didn’t clear and I can just tell you, this flight was hell.
To get an impression of what awaits you on this flights when sitting in the back, it’s a lovely 3-3-3 configuration in Economy Class:
In Business Class there is the traditional 2-2-2 configuration so the single seats are not available on this flight.
I’m aware that Auckland isn’t the easiest destination to be reached, and when I visited there in March of last year, I flew via Singapore and onward with Air New Zealand in Business Class which was already long enough.
If I had a choice, I’d definitely opt to fly Emirates instead which operates the Dubai-Auckland flight by Airbus A380 which offers much more comfort especially in Business Class. Economy will be just as much of a torture though but at least the A380 is more quiet and overall more comfortable to fly on. Qatar operates their flight in a two class configuration only while Emirates offers First Class on the A380 for those willing to invest a bit more money/mileage for the added comfort.