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Long-Haul Flights

Read all about long-haul flights. Find out the definition of a long-haul and ultra-long-haul flight and buy long-haul flights with a choice of over 600 airlines at Alternative Airlines.

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What is a Long-Haul Flight?

Each airline has a different definition of what a long-haul flight is. However, a long-haul flight is generally any direct or non-stop flight that has a journey time of between 6–12 hours.

Due to their long flight times, long-haul flights typically fly only 1 or 2 times a day and are usually operated by aircraft such as the Airbus A380Boeing 787 or other widebody aircraft. These aircraft can carry more passengers than narrow body planes and have a greater choice of cabin classes. 

Although the majority of long-haul flights are either transcontinental or intercontinental, some larger countries, such as Russia and the US, actually have long-haul domestic flights.

Long-haul flights have traditionally always been carried out by legacy carriers that offer a more full-service suited to longer flights. However, in recent years, with the rise of hybrid airlines, the airline industry is seeing more and more airline's operating flights on a low-cost model. 

Ultra Long-Haul Flights

An ultra long-haul flight is any flight that flies non-stop for over 12 hours. These flights are almost always operated by widebody aircraft and tend to be flown by major airlines rather than smaller ones. 

The flight routes tend to be between destinations within the US and Oceania, the Middle East and Oceania or the US and the Middle East, the US and Central Asia and the US and South Africa. Although, ultra long-haul flights can be operated between other parts of the world too.

The longest ultra long-haul flight is currently a service from Auckland to Dubai, which is operated by Emirates and takes approximately 17 hours and 30 minutes.

Long-Haul Flight Delay Compensation

If your flight is delayed, you might be entitled to compensation. However, this will depend on where you're flying between and how long your flight has been delayed for.

For example, if your flight is departing from the EU and is delayed for more than three hours, you'll be entitled to some compensation from the airline. However, if your flight is departing from outside of the EU, the same rules may not apply, even if you're travelling to inside the EU.

If you've bought your flight with Alternative Airlines and want help with applying for compensation or are unsure if you qualify for compensation, we can liaise with the airline and advise you on whether you're likely to receive compensation from the airline. Check our contact us page to find out how you can get in touch.

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Long-Haul Flight FAQs

Are long-haul flights safe?

Long-haul flights are extremely safe. Long-haul flights are often operated by big worldwide commercial airlines that undergo security and safety protocols to the highest standard. Pilots and cabin crew are expertly trained to carry out long-haul services and — if you're flying long-haul overnight — are put on shift patterns to ensure they're alert during the overnight hours. Also, it's required by law that long-haul flights are carried out by two different teams of cabin staff. 

Long-haul flights are also normally operated by widebody aircraft, which are generally better at flying through turbulence than narrowbody planes.

What are long-haul flights like? 

Long-haul flights are generally more comfortable than short-haul flights. Planes are larger and although they carry more passengers, you receive more legroom and space on a long-haul flight. Additionally, most long-haul flights will have some kind of in-flight entertainment, meal service and other amenities to keep you satisfied for the duration of the flight. 

How many long-haul flights per day?

There are 1,000s of long-haul flights per day! Although, typically, an individual airline will only fly the same long-haul route once or twice a day, depending on the total length of the journey.

Can I fly long-haul if I'm pregnant?

Yes, passengers can fly long-haul if they're pregnant. Some airlines won't allow you to fly pregnant past the second trimester, regardless of whether it's a long-haul, short-haul or medium-haul flight. However, it does differ from airline to airline. Take a look at our flying while the pregnant page to see the rules for each airline on long-haul flights.

Are babies allowed on long-haul flights?

Yes, babies are allowed on long-haul flights or any flight as long as the airline allows for it. Most airlines will allow babies on long-haul flights from as young as 2 days old. However, this will change from airline to airline.

You also might want to consider whether you'd want to take a baby on a long-haul flight. If you feel confident about taking your baby on a long-haul flight, read our flying with children and babies page to see other rules, regulations and travel advice.

What are the best airlines for long-haul flights?

Some of the best airlines to fly long-haul with include Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and ANA. Take a look at our guide on the best airlines for long-haul flights for more information.