Put simply: I'd like to fly more, I'd like to be more in the air than on the ground.

I have asked similar questions before, and yes, they sound weird, but please hear me out.

Ref: Flight search for 3+/4+ stops

I know that actual distance flown differs from flight to flight depending on weather(winds,rain,snow), airline (fuel/cost decisions) and aircraft,

Is there a flight search engine that displays tentative/approximate total distance flown? Also, i'm looking such a search engine that allows filtering by distance such as total > 10000 miles. Obviously, i expect such a system to allow sorting too.

On the other hand, this can be seen as a person trying to reduce distance flown or Co2 emission etc.

I really hope one such thing exists, please help me find it. For example, Tokyo to Mumbai: Direct Flight : NH829, 4200 miles or 6700 km via Hong Kong Flight : 2800 km + 4300 km = 7100 km via Singapore Flight : 5300 km + 3900 km = 9200 km via Bangkok Flight : 4600 km + 3000 km = 7600 km


3 Answers 3


ITA Matrix can help with this (note that it is strictly a flight search tool and not a booking engine; it cannot book any flights). Choose "advanced controls" and add the MINMILES code to the "extension code" field. For example "MINMILES 5000" will filter the results to only show routings of 5000+ miles. (The number of miles may not match the frequent flyer miles earned, due to differences in how this is calculated.) You can transfer the results to a multi-city search on a flight booking site or give them to a travel agent to book.

That said, flight search engines use a lot of heuristics to determine what routings to show, so you may not receive a lot of results if you ask for something weird. For example, a search for flights from San Francisco to New York with MINMILES 4000 will return a handful of results, but it won't give you absurdly illogical ones like going via Frankfurt or an out/back to Hawaii (as a practical matter, any such weird routings will be almost certainly be rather expensive as well). That's not something most anybody wants, so flight search engines use rules like (hypothetically) "don't consider any flights to Europe when routing US domestic flights" out to narrow down the options.

To get more results, you'll need to run a multi-city search where you choose some destinations in the middle. Knowledge of airline route networks and hub cities can help here. At that point, you're into "how do I plan a mileage run?" territory, and there are a number of resources online that can provide tips for that.


Computing this is for freaks ;) Already flight searches are a very expensive problem computation wise and if you want to make a trip as long as possible I am afraid you will need to rely on your creativity because the search space becomes too big. For example, I tried to put SIN as a layover between EWR and LHR in ITA Matrix and it let me do so and Flightnetwork via Bookwithmatrix priced it out so it's probably bookable. I couldn't get USA domestic flights to do this, though. It's 16299 miles instead of 3465...


There is a hack that gets you most of the way: since there is a linear relationship between travel time and distance (roughly 500mi per hour), if you simply sort by duration, you'll get a close approximation of sorting by distance flown.

The obvious complication here is layovers, which are typically included in total duration for multi-leg flights. However, you can typically "pop open" the search result to see how much time you're spending in the air and how much on the ground waiting.

There are also some routes (eg. long distance over the Pacific) where predictable winds can speed up/slow down travel noticeably. This is only really an issue if the route you have so long that you can reasonably fly eastwards or westwards around the globe; if so, flights eastward tend to be an hour or so faster.

  • I don't think this work. Duration are often dominated by long layovers, especially on multi-stop flights
    – Hilmar
    Jun 7, 2019 at 15:07
  • @Hilmar Try it -- on most reasonably competitive routes, layovers are fairly short because airlines explicitly schedule them that way. Remember, we're not looking at price here, just distance flown. Jun 7, 2019 at 16:50

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