Please don't burn me at the stake! I'm not incredibly knowledgeable about such things.
In September 2004 I flew from JFK-ANC-TPE on a CI A340-313x. It was a lovely couple of flights and all was well. On the way home I got on the plane expecting a TPE-ANC-JFK flight but was amazed when I looked at the flight map and saw I was in for a 16.5 hour non-stop to JFK! I've been thinking about this for a long time and finally looked up some stats.
According to the Great Circle Mapper the flight is 12,566kms direct. As far as I know flights are never exactly direct. According to Wikipedia the range of the A340-300 is 13,700kms fully loaded, and my flight was pretty much loaded. I don't know how much tailwinds increase the range but it still seems really close.
Do airlines often push their range that close to the limit? Assuming there was some variance in the flight path, we must have been running on fumes by the time we landed!
I hope someone with some technical knowledge can put my mind at ease and tell me I wasn't as close to dying as I felt I was :p