Next Generation Airplanes Make 17-Hour Nonstop Flights a Reality

New flights to Australia from United Airlines and Qantas are setting new world records. The longest nonstop flight is now 17.5 hours long, and that’s just the beginning.

United Airlines recently debuted a nonstop flight from Houston to Sydney utilizing the advanced Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner’s lightweight and streamlined design makes a direct flight from the United States to Australia more economical, even if passengers are stuck inside the cabin for over seventeen hours. The record-shattering journey is 8,596 miles long and crosses seven time zones.

Not to be left behind, Qantas has just announced a new flight from Perth to London (also aboard the Dreamliner) that lasts 17 hours and 20 minutes and beats out United in sheer mileage: 9,010 miles each way. It’s the longest nonstop flight in the world.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Executives have also speculated that even longer flights to other European or U.S. destinations could crack 20 hours in the future. While there are distinct advantages to nonstop flights, we’re a little worried about going crazy if we’re stuck next to children or obnoxious seatmates for 20 hours. Airlines have promised that the new long-haul flights offer more seat room. Boeing also claims that the Dreamliner has jet lag-fighting features. These include larger windows, softer lighting, and better pressurization and humidity calibrated to 6,000 feet instead of 8,000 feet. This should ensure a more comfortable flight and an easier adjustment to ground conditions on arrival.

The world’s longest nonstop flight is a heady achievement for airlines and aeronautical engineers. As for passengers, well, we can only hope that the Dreamliner lives up to its name and that these mythical “larger seats” stick around.