The story below is contributed by Umit Sabanci; who currently holds the record title of the fastest circumnavigation by scheduled airlines.

Guinness World Records includes various categories and appeals to people of varying abilities, skills, and characteristics. I noticed the above record title in Guinness World Records was dated 1980. It was done in 44 hours by eight planes. 

I was almost sure I could accomplish the feat faster after 42 years, considering the ever-developing aircraft technology, flight routes, and flight times that have come into play recently. I decided to challenge the record and started making calculations. 

I set myself the goal of 44 hours and started working on an itinerary that I could complete in less than that. As you can appreciate, we did not have so many airlines 42 years ago, and the scheduled flights were not as frequent as now. Furthermore, the possibility of a fast connection at that time was slim.

Interestingly, the record had not been broken by anyone else in 42 years. As I ran the numbers, I could not come close to a 44-hour world tour plan no matter how hard I tried. Not being able to calculate an alternative route plan made me question the previous record's validity.

I wrote to Guinness and stated that I had been working on an alternative route for a long time and that I had doubts about the accuracy of the record published on their website in light of the reasons and data I presented. 

After reviewing it with experts, they kindly responded and told me that the record title was now 50 hours with no previous record holder. 

I would later send the 46-hour flight route I planned to Guinness for approval.

Guinness World Record Definition and Rules

First, the route had to comply with Guinness World Records rules and maintain a journey time less than the existing record or the target completion time. Secondly, the route plan had to be realistic with its connection times. 

Guinness World Records' definition and rules are as follows:

  • This record is for the shortest elapsed time taken for a world circumnavigation on scheduled airline flights only.
  • This record is to be attempted by an individual.
  • For this record, a "scheduled flight" is defined as one aboard an aircraft of a registered airline with a published timetable, for which a public member may purchase a ticket in advance.
  • This flight must be part of a regular public service. Charter flights are not permissible.
  • Time starts when the first flight leaves the runway and ends as soon as the final flight lands on the runway at the same airport.
  • The journey must be in one direction, i.e., from East to West or West to East.
  • The attempt must cover a minimum distance of 36,787 km.
  • Start and finish points must be in the exact location.
  • The journey must be continuous, with each leg beginning at the point where the last leg ended.


Preparing a route plan is like solving a complex puzzle, so you need to be patient and understand that it will not happen overnight.

Technically speaking, this specific world record is like figuring out a four-digit pin code for a padlock by putting numbers from one to nine in each possible combination to determine which sequence would open the lock.

However, once you have calculated the route plan, you have broken the record to a degree as you have an alternative plan to make the record better. At that point, a solution or, in this case, a route plan, becomes almost an intellectual property.

The difficulty is in analyzing complex data and statistics. When I say data, I refer to all flights that take off worldwide but not necessarily regularly, daily, or at fixed departure times. 

You need to consider the starting airport, the season, the departure time, the direction, the destination, the daily and weekly frequency, and finally the distance. I can make this even more complicated by adding closed airspace and COVID-19 restrictions. 

As a result, the route may work, for example, on a specific day of the week starting from one particular airport, but it could end up being impossible to connect all flights the following day.

If all flights are successfully connected, they add up to more than 37,000 km. The journey time in total must be less than 50 hours. 

Do real-time departure and arrival time statistics look as reliable as scheduled times? Are they not matching? Back to square one again.

In my case, I had to make this trip on Tuesday from Los Angeles before the end of September to achieve 46 hours and 30 minutes and travel more than 37,000 km.

The Route Plan

a map of the world

1st flight: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) by Qatar Airways QR740 at 18.30 (PDT) on August 9, 2022.

The scheduled arrival time was 20.00 (AST) on August 10, 2022. The flight distance was 13,367 km, and the average flight time was 14:55.

2nd flight: Doha (DOH) to Brisbane Airport (BNE) by Qatar Airways QR898 at 21.15 (AST) on August 10, 2022.

The scheduled arrival time was 18.15 (AEST) on August 11, 2022. The flight distance was 12,365 km, and the average flight time was 13:30.

3rd flight: Brisbane (BNE) to Los Angeles (LAX) by Qantas QF15 at 20.30 (AEST) on August 11, 2022.

The scheduled arrival time was 17.00 (PDT) on August 11, 2022. The flight distance was 11,525 km, and the average flight time was 13:04.

The scheduled journey time in total was 46 hours and 30 minutes. The flight distance was 37,257 km.


It is essential to have a calculated and accepted route plan on a piece of paper, but when it comes actually to making the trip, the second challenge is to calculate the cost of it and fund the trip.

Bahcesehir University (BAU) is one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, with many campuses worldwide. It is also known for its extensive initiatives and support for students and the community. 

I contacted Mr. Enver Yucel and Professor Ismet Dindar and asked if they would be interested in funding this record attempt and sharing the challenging experience with students and staff. They kindly accepted my request.


I wanted to do fundraising as it made this journey more enjoyable, purposeful, and meaningful, making it something we can all enjoy and get something good out of it. 

I would be delighted if I could inspire someone to take up challenges and raise funds for a charity that would make a difference in someone's life as part of this attempt. 

I decided to fundraise for Guy's Cancer Charity here.

Trip Details


August 9, 2022. Flight Number: QR740, Airline: Qatar Airways, Registration: A7-ANR, Aircraft: A350-1041, Actual departure time: 18:45, Actual arrival time: 19:40.


August 10, 2022. Flight Number: QR898, Airline: Qatar Airways, Registration: A7-BET, Aircraft: Boeing 777-3DZ, Actual departure time: 21:42, Actual arrival time: 18:30.


August 11, 2022. Flight Number: QF15, Airline: Qantas, Registration: VH-EBM, Aircraft: Airbus A330-202, Actual departure time: 21:06, Actual arrival time: 17:09.

The actual journey time from takeoff from LAX on August 9, 2022, to touching down at LAX on August 11, 2022, was 46 hours and 23 minutes.

Experience and Challenges

My flight literary and my final destination (LAX) were confusing for the check-in desk in Los Angeles. They were unsure which countries' VISA/COVID regulations would apply to my trip. 

a man standing on a road with palm trees and a bridge

Qatar Airways check-in desk staff have been accommodating and checked me in for a trip to the USA, and they made sure I complied with US entry requirements for my arrival.

a group of people standing in front of a screen

Qatar Airways has shown me great courtesy by upgrading me to their QSuite on both flights, which, of course, not only was a treat but also made the journeys so easy for me.

Both Qatar Airways flights were on time. 

a group of people in uniform standing in a room with a paper

On my arrival at Brisbane Airport, I was greeted by the BNE's Media Manager, Mr. Peter Doherty, and an Airport Operations Manager who helped me connect my flight without any problems. I also received Brisbane Airport souvenirs as a gift. 

Qantas departed 36 minutes later than the scheduled time and arrived 9 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time, which was not in my favor and could be considered a minor effect on my record-breaking time. 

All flights were night flights from the departure location, and all passengers were keen to have their meal, watch a movie, and sleep for the rest of the flight, which I could not do. 

Window blinds were closed on all flights for almost the entire flight. I traveled for two days with inside cabin lights.

The actual journey time from takeoff from LAX on August 9, 2022, to touching down at LAX on August 11, 2022, was 46 hours and 23 minutes.

a man taking a selfie in front of a large sign

I tried to keep my body time the same as Los Angeles to reduce the impact of time zone changes, but it is rather challenging to keep track of time when changing time zones.

It has been a fantastic experience. I can't wait to start planning my next Guinness World Record attempt in China. I will be working on a route plan to travel more than 5200km by trains in 24 hours.

a man standing with his hands in his pockets

The story above is contributed by Umit Sabanci; who currently holds the record title of the fastest circumnavigation by scheduled airlines.