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After a heated internal discussion about whether it was possible to go around the world within a day (24 hours), I thought I'd ask this question.

Using regularly scheduled flights, it is possible to go around the world. For example, you could use Air New Zealand to get from AKL to LAX, to LON, to HKG, to AKL.

What's the fastest way to use regularly scheduled flights to circumnavigate the world? And yes, I realise it's shorter at lower or higher latitudes, so I'll stipulate you also need to cross at least one of: Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Tropic of Capricorn.

(Transport permitted includes passenger aircraft (not spacecraft, and anything ground/sea-based that takes passengers)

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Some specify that a trip around the world should include two antipode points. –  mouviciel Feb 29 '12 at 12:05
    
Phileas Fogg did it in 80 days, but it was back in the times when travelers were not flying :) –  mithy Feb 29 '12 at 12:07
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@mithy: Except in hot air balloons. –  hippietrail Feb 29 '12 at 13:00
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Not the fastest route but I think it's cool: gcmap.com/mapui?P=JFK-JNB-SYD-LAX-JFK. About 44hours on scheduled flights. –  Karlson Mar 2 '12 at 19:38
    
What do you have against space tourism?!? –  Andrew Grimm Mar 5 '12 at 11:54
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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Per your specifications, the fastest route "around the world" is Hong Kong-New York-Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, scheduled at 32 hours round-trip. Approximate routing:

enter image description here

The flight is non-stop, so London/LHR and Narita/NRT are there only as (rough) route markers. While you'd think the route is a straight line (since it's just the "same flight" there and back), due to prevailing wind patterns etc it flies around the North Pole as shown above. And yes, it crosses the Tropic of Cancer, which is at 23°26′, while Hong Kong is just south of it at 22°16′.

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Anyone who lives in New Jersey will tell you that EWR is not New York... :) –  Flimzy Dec 10 '13 at 15:41
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