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The World's Longest Domestic Flight: 21 Hours on an Airbus A350

The World's Longest Domestic Flight: 21 Hours on an Airbus A350

BY DANIEL REN Published on April 04, 2024 5 COMMENTS

Although it does not operate as a nonstop flight, Air France’s direct Paris to Papeete service clocks in at around 21 to 22 hours, with a stop in Los Angeles. It is one of the many airlines that operates the second leg of the journey from Los Angeles to Papeete.Other airlines include Delta Air Lines’ seasonal service on its Boeing 767-300ER and Air Tahiti Nui’s Boeing 787-9.



While it has many competitors on the Paris to Los Angeles leg, Air France has operated flights to Tahiti for over 50 years. 


Photo: Tighe Donovan | AeroXplorer


The Flight


The flight is operated on Air France’s Airbus A350-900. The Paris to Los Angeles leg is scheduled for over 11 hours, while the Los Angeles to Papeete leg crosses in at about eight hours. Papeete is located in French Polynesia, a French overseas territory with over 100 islands within the South Pacific Ocean. France’s ownership and control over French Polynesia makes the Paris to Papeete flight technically count as a domestic flight despite flying overseas.




Since the flight stops for a little over two hours in Los Angeles and can sell tickets just for the Los Angeles to Papeete flight, Air France’s flight between the two cities is considered a fifth freedom flight. A fifth freedom flight allows airlines to carry revenue passengers between foreign countries if the flight terminates in the carrier’s origin country. Other examples of fifth freedom flights include Singapore Airlines’s service from Frankfurt to New York City and Emirates’s service from Milan to New York City, as both flights terminate in each airline’s origin country of Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. 


Photo: Adam Jackson | AeroXplorer


Transit in Los Angeles


Now begs the question, can passengers fly directly between Paris and Papeete without a passport? The answer is a resounding “no.” Since the flight stops in Los Angeles (LAX), customers must clear immigration and customs despite only using the airport as a quick stop-over. To be safe, passengers should also bring other supporting documents, such as an ESTA or Visa, to allow for a smooth transit through Los Angeles. Air France mentions, “Your Paris to Papeete Tahiti trip includes a stop in Los Angeles, United States. Please check the entry requirements for this country.”


Photo: Raul Sepulveda | AeroXplorer


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As Paris to Papeete clocks in at 9,766 miles (15,717 kilometers), there have not been any nonstop flights between the two destinations after Air Tahiti Nui terminated nonstop service between them. Instead, when choosing to fly between the two destinations, passengers have a few direct options to choose from, such as the following:


  • Air France: Paris-CDG to Los Angeles to Papeete
  • Air Tahiti Nui: Paris-CDG to Seattle to Papeete, Paris to Los Angeles to Papeete
  • French Bee: Paris-Orly to San Francisco to Papeete



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Comments (5)

50d ago • Reply
Aryaan Longest international flight In the world from MID 2026 Qantas Project Sunrise A350-1000 for 21 hours between Australia and USA!
52d ago • Reply
49d ago • Reply
PAF On a related note, I believe that the longest, non-stop domestic flight in the world is Paris to St. Denis (Réunion).
48d ago • Reply
45d ago • Reply

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ROUTES Air France France Routes Travel Tourism Airbus A350-900 Paris Papeete Tahiti South Pacific Long-Haul Flights


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