United Claims World's Longest Non-Stop Scheduled Passenger Flight
United Airlines planned to launch yesterday what it says is the world's longest non-stop scheduled passenger flight, linking New York and Hong Kong in just under 16 hours via a polar route, a spokesman for the airline announced.
United Airlines' Flight 821 was to leave New York's John F Kennedy airport at 10:50 am (1450 GMT) yesterday, and arrive in Hong Kong at 2:30 pm (0630 GMT) today in a flight lasting 15 hours 40 minutes and covering 13,580 kilometres, the spokesman said.
That will be a few kilometres longer than a competing flight by Continental Airlines, which launched its own direct flight between Newark Airport, near New York, and Hong Kong on March 1.
The return flight departs Hong Kong at 5:05 pm arriving in New York the same evening at 8:35 pm local time (0035 GMT tomorrow).
Pilots fly the aircraft manually in the vicinity of the pole to avoid magnetic interference with flight instruments.
United uses a Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which has 14 seats in first class, 84 in business class and 270 in economy.
Four pilots work on the flight, which takes some 216,000 litres of fuel per trip, in addition to 18 cabin crew members