At 7,706 miles, Air India’s flight between Delhi and San Francisco is an ultra longhaul flight, though not quite the world’s longest flight (which is on Emirates between Dubai and Auckland, covering a distance of 8,824 miles).
I took Air India’s flight between Delhi and San Francisco earlier this year, and it sure was a longhaul, with a scheduled flight time of 16hr5min.
However, Air India is doing something in order to substantially decrease their flight time for the US-bound sector. Previously the flight from Delhi to San Francisco operated a polar route, meaning it flew near the North Pole.
However, as I mentioned in a post last week, the airline recently got approval to begin operating this flight via the Pacific on the US-bound sector. This represents a significant increase in terms of the distance flown, though a significant decrease in the flight time. That’s because the flight will have a strong tailwind for most of the flight, given that it’s operating east the whole way.
Well, as of this week Air India’s Delhi to San Francisco flight is operating via the Pacific, and it’s fascinating to see how the flight time has changed:
- The October 14 flight (via a Polar route) took 16hr42min, and flew a distance of 8,264 miles
- The October 16 flight (via the Pacific) took 14hr30min, and flew a distance of 9,389 miles
So they shaved off over two hours of flying while adding 1,000 miles of distance. In case you’re wondering what that looks like on a map, here’s Air India’s Polar route from several days ago (which never looks great on a map):
Meanwhile here’s the new transpacific routing:
Interestingly this means that Air India’s Delhi to San Francisco flight now flies more miles than any other flight in the world. Again, this isn’t the world’s longest flight in terms of direct air distance, but in terms of flown distance it is.
As a point of comparison, Emirates’ flight between Dubai and Auckland (the world’s longest) covers a distance of ~8,900 miles with its routing, which is very close to the direct air distance, given that there’s not much reason to make the routing any longer.
I realize this is random, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.
While Air India’s new routing is certainly faster, something tells me it’s also significantly bumpier, as an eastbound transpacific flight is typically going to be significantly choppier than a Polar route.