Longest flights: Airbus A320 family
The A320 is the longest-range single aisle aircraft in the world, and many airlines use it on flights that are 5 hours and over. Since I am very fond of the A320 series and find the aircraft great to fly in, I decided to see how well it has progressed and the limits of it's flying capacity. The Airbus A320 family is comprised of four planes, the Airbus A318, A319, A320 and A321, all of which have gone to attract many airlines and pile up massive orders. Since the first flight of the A320 in 1987, the single-aisle family has gone on to receive ~14,300 orders, including the neo (new engine option) family. So here are the longest flights in the A320 family: A318- London City (LCY) to New York (JFK)
The A318 is the shortest variant of the A320 family, and is capable of flying transatlantic routes between small airports. British Airways really takes advantage of this as they operate the longest A318 flight in the world, from London City to New York John F. Kennedy Airport. The flight clocks in at 3,017 nautical miles. On the outbound flight, the plane has a refueling stopover at Shannon, Ireland where passengers can clear US customs beforehand to avoid the long queues at JFK, which I feel is quite innovative and convenient, adding to the fact that it is possibly the first airport to do so. Since the flight is 7 hours 20 minutes long, British Airways puts 32 lie-flat business class seats in place of what would be a 2 class, 107-seat plane. Talk about crossing the Atlantic in style!
A319- Montevideo (MVD) to Bogota (BOG)
This nifty little plane has a mammoth job to do, carrying 120 passengers on a 6 hour 47 minute marathon of journey from Uruguay's Montevideo to Colombia's Bogota. And these two places are on the other sides of South America so it is one long hop for this plane bearing the red, orange and white scheme of Avianca, the Colombian branch. The distance covers 2,576 nautical miles so while the flight is long for the A319 it is still shorter than the A318's flight in distance and duration but not in passenger capacity and plane size! Even if it is long, it's not like the passengers will get bored because Avianca has personal entertainment screens for all classes! I know this because I was on a flight with them on their Ecuadorian branch between Galapagos and Quito, and I managed to watch a movie and a half!
A320 - Bahrain (BAH) to London (LHR)
Gulf Air is a carrier from Bahrain and while it does have some short and a few medium-haul routes on it's A320s, it stands out for having the longest Airbus A320 flight in the world, from Bahrain's Manama to England's London Heathrow Airport. The flight can either take between 6 hours 35 mins or 7 hours 35 mins depending on the winds and other factors. The flight covers a distance of 2,748 nautical miles. They do not even have lie flat seats for this type of flight in business class, let alone the whole plane! This is a strange decision in my opinion. While they may want to fit more passengers, let's not forget that this is the longest A320 flight in the world and that some level of comfort is required.
A320neo - Moscow (DME) to Tenerife South (TFS)
Ah, let me introduce you to the neo, everyone! The differences include the engine choices (on the neo you have a choice of Pratt and Whittney's PW1100s or the CFM International Leap-1A), new sharklets on the wings, and greater fuel efficiency. Novosibirsk-based S7 Airlines operate the 158-seater A320neo on a 7 hour 15 minute, 2,837 nautical mile journey from Russia's capital city to the largest of Spain's Canary Islands. They have the Pratt and Whittney engines on their jets, which I personally like because they are much more smoother and quieter than the CFMs.
A321 - Reykjavik Keflavik (KEF) to Boston Logan (BOS)
The A321 is the longest version of the A320 family and WOW Air has 200 all-economy seats on their A321s. Typical low-cost service! But passengers, don't fear as WOW air have XXL seats: emergency exit row seats with extra legroom. These XXL seats ensures comfort on the A321's longest flight, which takes six hours and covers 2,097 nautical miles. The A321 may be long in length but it has the shortest flight on this list!
A321neo - Sydney (SYD) to Manila (MNL)
The A321neo is the final aircraft on this list and it also has the longest flight of the whole A320 family. That's funny because the A321 had the shortest flight in this list and now the neo version has the longest! This flight's duration is 8 hours and twenty minutes, and the distance covered is 3,380 nautical miles. This marathon is operated by Philippine Airlines. The plane features 199 seats in a "3" class configuration with Business, "Premium" Economy and Economy. I have to say, I myself was shocked that a single-aisle jetliner could fly for that long! I would really want to try this flight out!
So here you have it, the longest flights of the Airbus A320 family! These planes have incredible capabilities and will continue to push boundaries as they evolve in the future which is certainly exciting for single-aisle air travel!