We’re in a whole new world of inflight entertainment thanks to lie-flat beds, wi-fi and onboard bars (for the privileged anyway), but is it enough to convince travellers to skip the stopover in favour of super long haul direct services?

You may shudder at the thought of spending almost an entire day in the sky, but current travel trends suggest that’s exactly how long flight times will be in the near future.

Prior to 2001, the world’s longest flight was operated by Israeli carrier El Al and lasted a total of 13 hours and 41 minutes as it travelled from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. Jump forward a decade and airlines are practically at each other’s cockpits competing for the world’s longest flight title, which went from Qantas’ 16-hour Sydney and Dallas service to Emirates’ 17-hour Dubai to Panama City flights and then to Qatar Airways’ 18-hour Auckland to Doha operations.

Qatar Airways feature 2

Now, Qantas is looking to meet and exceed the world’s longest flight time with a direct Sydney to New York City service, that could see travellers spending up to 20 hours and 20 minutes in the sky.

That’s four hours shy of an entire day and according to the Flying Kangaroo, there’s enough demand for it.

A Qantas Spokesperson told KarryOn that the carrier has had a strong response to its super long haul plans, including its forthcoming non-stop Perth to London flights.


“We’re seeing strong bookings for our Perth-London services, particularly for our historic inaugural flights,” the Qantas Spokesperson said.

“This reflects a unique level of interest in the new direct service as the first flights are still some time away and most people usually start to plan their trips about six months ahead.”

Qantas Spokesperson

Research conducted by the carrier found that the airport experience is one of the most stressful parts of the journey for travellers, particularly when it’s involves a connecting flight. Respondents said they found direct services reduced interruptions and allowed them to get to their desired destination sooner.

And it seems as though KarryOn readers agree.

When Qantas’ direct Perth-London flights went on sale earlier this year, our Facebook page was inundated with positive comments on the non-stop link.

Jess said it was a great decision…

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While Joel was looking at how to adjust current travel plans to utilise the new route…

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There was Lysha and Bonnie who were ready to “pop” on over to London…

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Ebony and Helen who couldn’t wait for the new service…

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And Karl who’s looking to make the most out of his Platinum membership on those Sydney to New York City flights

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Of course, not everyone is keen on boarding a super long haul flight, like Paul who likes his stopover showers too much to give them up…

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Jayne, who appreciates the non-stop idea but not the flight time…

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And Chloe who couldn’t think of anything worse than spending over 18 hours on a plane…

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How long are you willing to stay on a plane in order to avoid stopovers?