United’s New Flight From Houston To Sydney Is One Of The World’s Longest

Sit back, relax and … enjoy (?) a 17.5 hour flight from Houston to Sydney.

United Airlines debuted its new non-stop, 8,596-mile flight Houston to Sydney on Jan. 18, which makes it one of the longest flights in the world. It’s 18 miles longer than Qantas’ flight from Dallas-Forth Worth to Sydney.

United Airlines flight 101 departed Houston at 8 p.m. and will arrive in Australia’s largest city at 6:30 a.m. two days later, once you factor in the time change and crossing the International Date Line. The return flight is a brief 15 hours and 40 minutes!

Still, that’s a lot of time to fill! At least passengers on the new United flight will have something to talk about: There will likely be a disproportionate number of people named Sydney on the flight.

As part of a promotion leading up to the flight, United held a contest that allowed people with the first or last name “Sydney” to enter for a chance to visit the city with their same name. United picked five winners and guests to be on the inaugural flight. In addition to the round-trip flight, each winner and their guest received a hotel accommodations for five nights at The Westin Sydney and $500 prepaid cards to customize their trips.

darling harbour photo
Getty Images | Cameron Spencer

That’s not all: On the Sydney-to-Houston return flight on Jan. 20, five Australians bearing the first or last name Houston will also be traveling.

Longest Flights In The World

United’s new route from Houston to Sydney is now among the longest flights in the world, and the second longest flights in the United States, according to Forbes.

The longest flight in the world is operated by Qatar Airways. It stretches between Doha, Qatar, and Auckland, New Zealand, and crosses through 10 time zones. It spans 9,032 miles, but time-wise it’s about as long as Houston-Sydney route at 17 hours and 30 minutes.

In the United States, the longest route is operated by United Airlines and travels 8,770 miles from Los Angeles to Singapore in 17 hours and 55 minutes.

So, would you be able to sit on an airplane for that long, without any layovers? It sounds rough, but we will admit we’re envious of the mileage accounts these travelers are racking up on the long-haul flights!

[H/t: Travel & Leisure]