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Now that’s a long flight.
The coronavirus pandemic inadvertently caused a new record to be set for the world's longest commercial flight — by distance — after an Air Tahiti Nui plane was forced to fly from French Polynesia to France in an epic, nonstop, 16-hour trip across 9,765-miles.
On March 14, Air Tahiti Nui flight TN064 journeyed from Tahiti to Paris in what would become the longest-ever scheduled passenger flight by distance, The Independent reports. It departed Papeete at 3 a.m., local time, on Saturday and touched down at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris at 6:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to the New York Post.
Though the flight typically stops in Los Angeles to pick up passengers and refuel, the new travel ban, which prohibited foreign nationals who have been in Europe to enter the U.S., had forbidden that possibility. Instead, Air Tahiti Nui officials decided to capitalize on the "favorable winds and light passenger loads" by flying straight to the City of Lights, per The Points Guy.
From start to finish, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner reportedly spent about 15 hours and 45 minutes in the skies.
Though the Saturday flight was necessitated by the current travel ban, it smashed Singapore Airlines’ distance record for a 9,534-mile passenger flight between Singapore and Newark, N.J., the New York Post reports.
Even still, the Air Tahiti Nui flight clocked in under Singapore Airlines’ record for longest passenger flight by time, as the Singapore-Newark route still holds the record at 18 hours and 45 minutes
Australian carrier Qantas previously tested a nonstop flight between London, England and Sydney, Australia, in a trek that clocked a whopping 19 hours and 19 minutes, traversing 11,060 miles. However, the trip did not factor into any aviation records because there were no fare-paying passengers on board.