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On The Fly: The Priciest Flights On The Market

Most Expensive
On The Fly: The Priciest Flights On The Market

When Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully built the world’s first aircraft 110 years ago, little did they realize the impact their creation will ultimately have on the world. Fast forward a century later, air transportation has revolutionized the way we travel, work and even fight. They’ve shaved hours, days and weeks of travelling time between cities across the globe.

In 2012 alone, the airline industry recorded a revenue of $638 billion, as it ferried a total of 19,122,238,967 passengers (domestic and international) in 200,479,989 flights from 43,794 airports around the world. To put the numbers in perspective, the industry transported almost three times the number of humans on the planet in a single year.

Of course, when we talk about airlines, the price of the tickets immediately comes to mind. Despite the aggressive expansion of low-cost carriers over the last two decades, airfares are still relatively prohibitive to a large majority of the demographic. Notwithstanding the fluctuating fuel, insurance and maintenance costs, aircrafts are incredibly expensive machineries. Boeing’s top of the line 787 Dreamliners, for instance, costs a tidy $289,000,000 each, minus accessories. In addition, top airlines offer a wide range of luxury extras for their premium passengers, ranging from lounges, bars, Michelin rated dishes, and even showers.

So despite the fact that all airliners operate on long-term business models, ticket prices will continue to remain at a premium. Nevertheless, even after taking all these variables into consideration, we are still sometimes left a little surprised by some of the ticket prices. In fact, the costs for a select few destinations can literally make you go weak in the knees. Join us as we take a look at the ten most expensive plane tickets today.

10. Chicago to California, American Airlines: $11,374


From                     : Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago

To                          : Los Angeles International Airport, California

Carrier                  : American Airlines

Aircraft                 : Boeing 777-300ER

Flight Duration    : 13hr 15m

Stopover               : None

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 6,299 miles

Ticket Price         : $11,374

Cost Per Mile       : $1.81

American Airlines kicks off the countdown of our top ten list with their direct Chicago to Tokyo daily flights. The large number of Japanese Americans in Chicago (18,000 as of 2000) has played a large role in attracting Japanese businesses to the city since the 1980’s. Today, there are more than 350 major Japanese firms operating in 950 locations in the city, including household names like Ricoh, Toshiba and Toyota, guaranteeing a regular source of traffic for airlines plying the route.

9. London to Los Angeles, British Airways: $15,058


From                     : London Heathrow Airport, London

To                          : Narita International Airport, Tokyo

Carrier                  : British Airways

Aircraft                 : Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 737-800

Flight Duration    : 15hr 5m

Stopover               : Dallas

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 5,440 miles

Ticket Price          : $15,058

Cost Per Mile       : $2.77

This is one of the most competitive routes in the industry, with over 100 daily flights available. Hardly surprising, considering that both cities are among the most attractive tourist and business locations in the world. With an annual passenger demand of 784,979 for the London-L.A. route, British Airways offers the most luxurious solution for the top end of the market.

8. Sydney to Dallas, Qantas: $15,361


From                     : Sydney Airport, Sydney

To                          : Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas

Carrier                  : Qantas

Aircraft                 : Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 737-800

Flight Duration    : 19hr 25m

Stopover               : Los Angeles

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 8,578 miles

Ticket Price          : $15,361

Cost Per Mile       : $1.79

Following Singapore Airline’s decision to end its Changi to Newark route on November 23, 2013, the Qantas’ Sydney to Dallas service is currently the world’s longest flight route. Qantas uses this flight to transfer their Asia-Pacific clients into southern U.S., where shorter flights subsequently distribute their passengers to multiple destinations on the West and East coasts.

7. New York to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific: $16,175


From                     : John F Kennedy International Airport, New York

To                          : Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

Carrier                  : Cathay Pacific

Aircraft                 : Boeing 777-300ER

Flight Duration    : 15hr 50m

Stopover               : None

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 8,072 miles

Ticket Price          : $16,175

Cost Per Mile        : $2.0

On July 6 1998, this route achieved the distinction of being the first transpolar flight in history, shaving almost four hours from the usual New York to Hong Kong route. Cathay Pacific, the world’s largest international cargo carrier, operates several daily flights between these two financial centers. In addition, both locations serve as the airline’s regional hub.

6. Los Angeles to Sydney, United Airlines: $16,673


From                     : Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles

To                          : Sydney Airport, Sydney

Carrier                  : United Airlines

Aircraft                 : Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental

Flight Duration    : 14hr 40m

Stopover               : None

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 7,487 miles

Ticket Price          : $16,673

Cost Per Mile       : $2.23

With the warm weather, sunshine and golden beaches at either ends, you might not even notice the continent switch here – except for the almost 15 hour journey, of course. Served by the world’s longest passenger aircraft, first class travelers are seated on the luxurious and spacious upper deck, designed to simulate “room-like” interiors, offering a greater degree of comfort.

5. Doha to Houston, Qatar Airways: $16,980


From                     : Doha International Airport, Doha

To                          : George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston

Carrier                  : Qatar Airways

Aircraft                 : Boeing 777-200

Flight Duration    : 14hr 40m

Stopover              : None

Travel Class        : Business Class

Distance               : 8,047 miles

Ticket Price        : $16,980

Cost Per Mile     : $2.11

For high rolling Persian Gulf and Texan oilmen, nothing but the best will do. Qatar Airways comfortably fulfill the demands of the 14 hour journey with plush seats that convert into flat beds, a spacious cabin, excellent wine list, and more. If that isn’t enough, then perhaps the specially prepared signature dishes, Wi-Fi enabled workstations and luxury Italian linens will convince you.

4. Dallas to Brisbane, Qantas: $17,334


From                     : Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas

To                          : Brisbane Airport, Queensland

Carrier                  : Qantas

Aircraft                 : Boeing 757-200, Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 737-800

Flight Duration    : 23hr 30m

Stopover               : Los Angeles and Sydney

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 8,303 miles

Ticket Price          : $17,334

Cost Per Mile       : $2.09

Running four times a week, the route funnels Qantas’ Asia Pacific traffic from North America down to Brisbane, instead of the busier Sydney. The circuitous, almost 24 hour route is not a heavy seller, but it does attract the higher end crowd for precisely that reason. Of course, the inflight spa, library, and private and spacious work and sleeping areas might have something to do with it as well.

3. Miami to Tokyo, Lufthansa: $23,302


From                     : Miami International Airport, Florida

To                          : Narita International Airport, Tokyo

Carrier                  : Lufthansa

Aircraft                 : Airbus A330-300, Avro RJ100 Avroliner and Airbus A340-600

Flight Duration    : 25hr 45m

Stopover               : Zurich and Munich

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 7,456 miles

Ticket Price          : $23,302

Cost Per Mile       : $3.12

The German carrier’s strong dominance of the Miami-Tokyo route may appear surprising to some, especially with the very formidable price tag and two stops in Europe. However, long standing antitrust concerns involving the American and Japanese governments opened the door for Lufthansa’s entry into the market. In addition, the overhaul of the carrier’s premium cabins has reinvigorated demands for its first class tickets.

2. Fairbanks to Auckland, Emirates: $32,383


From                     : Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska

To                          : Auckland Airport, Auckland

Carrier                  : Emirates

Aircraft                 : Boeing 737-700, Boeing 777-200LR and Airbus A380-800

Flight Duration    : 36hr 35m

Stopover               : Seattle and Dubai

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 7,282 miles

Ticket Price          : $32,383

Cost Per Mile       : $4.44

The market for this route is small, but with a high percentage of top end travelers. With only a few top airlines competing for market share, Emirates has established an ultra-premium dominance here. At 32 grand, travelers can expect industry-pioneering extras like a full shower (limited to 5 minutes per passenger), flat panel TVs, and marble toilet finishing.

1. Mojave to Low Earth Orbit, Virgin Galactic: $250,000


From                     : Mojave Air and Space Port, California

To                          : Low Earth Orbit

Carrier                  : Virgin Galactic

Aircraft                 : White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo

Flight Duration    : 4hr

Stopover               : None

Travel Class         : First Class

Distance                : 99 miles

Ticket Price          : $250,000

Cost Per Mile       : $2,525

Okay, this is how it works. For $250,000, you will receive:

• Weightlessness training in a centrifuge facility

• An invite to view the ongoing construction of Virgin Galactic’s spaceships

• An invite to spend a weekend with Virgin chairman, Sir Richard Branson, in his private island in the Caribbean.

Also in 2015, you will board the White Knight Two from the Mojave Air and Space Port, and be launched into the low earth orbit aboard the Spaceship Two. You will then spend about five minutes in space, before gliding back down to earth.

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