17 hours is a long time. You could watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back, plus Gone with the Wind for good measure. Or, no less epic of a journey: fly from New Zealand to New York.
Air New Zealand has just announced it is launching the first nonstop service between Auckland and JFK Airport from 17 September. Clocking up 8,828 miles (14,207 km) it will become the fourth longest flight path in the world.
US visitors will be able to make the most of the direct service with New Zealand set to reopen to tourists from 2 May.
This will be the airline’s new flagship route, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said earlier this week.
“We've worked incredibly hard over the past few years to make this ultra-long-haul service a reality - it's one of the longest routes in the world, at just over 16 hours northbound and 17-and-a-half hours southbound."
The airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be equipped with 275 seats, plus 13 ‘Skycouches’ - rows of three seats that convert into a little sofa after take-off.
It’s a long-standing debate between seasoned travellers: would you rather get your journey over with in one fell swoop, or is 17 hours of sitting and cabin-pacing far too long? London to Darwin might get you most of the way to Sydney, but there’s a lot to be said for stretching your legs in Singapore's beautiful Changi Airport too.
As you mull over the pros and cons, here’s a list of the current longest plane journeys in the world.
9. Auckland to Doha - Qatar Airways
Time: 16 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 9,032 miles
8. Perth to London - Qantas
Time: 16 hours 45 minutes
Distance: 9,009 miles
7. London to Darwin - Qantas
Time: 16 hours 55 minutes
Distance: 8,620 miles
6. San Francisco to Singapore - United/Singapore
Time: 17 hours 5 minutes
Distance: 8,446 miles
5. Auckland to Dubai - Emirates
Time: 17 hours 12 minutes
Distance: 8,824 miles
4. Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney - Qantas
Time: 17 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 8,578 miles
3. Houston to Sydney - United Airlines
Time: 17 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 8,596 miles
2. Los Angeles to Singapore - Singapore Airlines
Time: 17 hours 50 minutes
Distance: 8,770 miles
1. Singapore to New York - Singapore Airlines
Time: 18 hours 7 minutes
Distance: 9,540 miles
You might note that some of these longer flight times are for journeys with fewer air miles. That’s because pilots have climatic conditions to contend with too; like strong headwinds en route from LA to Singapore. This means some routes can take longer to navigate.
Geopolitics can extend flight paths too. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent airspace closures, is now adding hours onto journey times. Finnair planes from Finland to Bangkok and Phuket, for example, are particularly affected by the huge detour needed to fly around Russia, with ramifications for fuel costs and airline staff too.