The new coronavirus travel restrictions had an unexpected byproduct, leading to a new record for the world’s longest flight in terms of distance traveled.
According to CNN and The Points Guy, Air Tahiti Nui, a small long-haul carrier based in the French Polynesia, is the newest titled holder thanks to a one-off nonstop flight from Papeete to Paris on Sunday. The flight stretched 9,775 miles.
The outlets report the Air Tahiti Nui flight usually stops in Los Angeles in both directions to refuel and pick up passengers, but opted to skip the stop due to the United States’ recently announced travel restrictions.
“This flight was operated on an exceptional basis and within the constraints imposed by the American authorities in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic,” the airline stated to CNN.
USA TODAY has reached out to Air Tahiti Nui for comment.
Flight TN64 took off Sunday at 2:56 a.m. local time from Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti and landed in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport at 5:48 a.m. the following day, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. The total travel time was 15 hours and 52 minutes.
The previous title holder was Singapore Airlines, when it relaunched its nonstop service between Singapore and Newark Liberty International Airport near New York City in October 2018.
At the time, the aircraft and its 161 passengers completed the 9,535-mile route about an hour quicker than its 18-hour, 30-minute scheduled time. So although that route still takes longer in terms of hours, it travels a shorter distance in miles.
Singapore’s Singapore-Newark route previously displaced Qatar Airways’ Doha, Qatar-Auckland, New Zealand, route as the longest in the world as measured by distance.
Due to the coronavirus, all foreign nationals from China, Iran and certain European countries have been barred from entering the United States.
The European countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
President Donald Trump later added the United Kingdom and Ireland to this list.
U.S. citizens are allowed to return home but must fly into 13 designated airports and undergo “enhanced entry screening.”
Contributing: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Nicquel Terry Ellis
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus travel ban sets new record for longest flight in distance
The coronavirus has resulted in the world’s longest flight in distance: Air Tahiti Nui’s one-off nonstop flight from Papeete to Paris on Sunday.