GOOD is part of GOOD Worldwide Inc.
publishing family.

# There's a scientific reason why the world's longest flight travels in a curved not straight route

Sometimes what appears to be a long route may be the shortest route that a pilot takes to fly the plane.

Like passengers in a flight, who are eager to get to their destination, the pilot seated in his cockpit, too, wants to get there as fast as possible. It is usually assumed that pilots take the shortest route available between the two flight points. However, this may not always be true. Sometimes, they have to grapple with things like wind currents and volcanic ash in the atmosphere, which could cause them to take longer routes. Take the example of the “world’s longest flight.” A TikToker, Travel with DJ (@6699quotes), brought attention to this in a video, showing that the flight travels in a curve not a straight line. This fact left a lot of people confused.

The video demonstrated the route map of the world's longest non-stop commercial flight that flies from New York City, US to Singapore, covering more than 9,500 miles. It takes about 19 hours and 29 minutes to fly from Singapore (SIN) to New York (NYC), according to Trip.com Singapore. The viral video displayed that the flight went from North Greenland and flew across the North Pole, then South over Russia and China. Such a long-stretched route would test the endurance of passengers onboard the flight, but what’s even more perplexing is the thought on people's minds, “Why not just fly straight?” But as it turns out, there are some very simple explanations for this.

Firstly, according to CNN, the flight takes a curved route because the shortest route is not a straight line. It’s a curved line as the Earth is round. It's all about the planet’s curvature. Forbes also elaborated on the same point, explaining that this is simple mathematics and physics. The spherical shape of the Earth influences the pilots to fly around the smaller circumference of the Earth, which is called the “Great Circle Route.”

A TikToker, @vibinozzy, gave another explanation for this bizarre flight route. He commented, “The reason is ‘Jetstreams,’ which are wind channels from west to east, located in the north and south of the globe.” Jet streams are “bands of strong wind that generally blow from west to east all across the globe.” They are formed when warm air masses meet cold air masses in the atmosphere. They impact weather and air travel among many other things in the planet’s atmosphere, per NOAA SciJinks.

According to Forbes, jetstreams indeed are major factors in why a pilot may not take what appears to be a straight route. Airplanes usually fly in the mid to upper troposphere. So, if an airplane flies in a powerful jet stream and they are traveling in the same direction, the airplane can get a boost.

You can follow Travel with DJ on TikTok for more videos related to travel routes.

More Stories on Good