September 30, 2022
Umit Sabanci Breaks Circumnavigation World Record
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Umit Sabanci Breaks Circumnavigation World Record

DALLAS – Frequent flyer Umit Sabanci has broken the Guinness World Record for the fastest circumnavigation by scheduled flights, arriving last night at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after 46 h, 23 min, and 11 sec.

Over the years, Sabanci, who has already broken the mark for the most countries traveled in 24 hours via public transportation, has been motivated to push the envelope once more thanks to his love of travel. He avidly monitors travel, hotel, and airline news across the globe to come up with fresh ideas.

Guinness World Records offers a variety of categories and appeals to people with a range of aptitudes, competencies, and traits. Sabanci saw that this particular record was established back in 1980 and got to thinking.

The Old Record


Umit took note that, after 42 years, nobody had beaten the aforementioned record journey, which took eight legs and 44 hours to complete. As he ran the numbers, Umit began to doubt the accuracy of the record because he was unable to calculate a different route plan. No calculation he made correlated with the 44-hour-long record from four decades earlier.

Umit wrote to Guinness and explained that he had been working on a different route for a long time and that, given the justifications and information he had provided, he had reservations about the veracity of the record that was posted online.

Guinness responded and informed him that after reviewing it with specialists, the record title was now 50 hours with no prior record holder.

With new aircraft, updated flight paths, and travel periods, Sabanci was certain that he could complete the circumnavigation more quickly, clocking the journey time at 46 hours and 30 minutes.

And so, Sabanci, who is a managing director for an international consulting firm, began on Tuesday his trip around the world by scheduled airlines in the shortest time recorded to break the world record.

The Record-breaking Journey


Sabanci took off from LAX and, after traveling to Doha and Brisbane, will be back in Los Angeles, having done 37000 km in 46 hours and flying three flights and two connections with Qatar Airways (QR) and Qantas (QF).

A journey such as this is not easy to calculate as it must be realistic with its connection times. As for the record, there are strict rules that must be followed.

  • For the purposes of 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. The flight must be part of a regular public service, and charter flights are not permitted.
  • Time starts when the first flight leaves the runway at LAX and ends as soon as the final flight lands on the runway at the same airport. This means that the start and finish points must be in the exact same spot.
  • Finally, the journey must be in one direction, i.e., East to West or West to East, and the attempt must cover a minimum distance of 36,787 km. The trip must be continuous, with each leg beginning at the point where the last leg ended.
Umit’s circumnavigation route map created with freemaptools.com

The Route Plan


After considering the challenge, Sabanci found the solution to the conundrum and calculated the route plan, in the process breaking the record to a degree by coming up with an alternative plan to make the record better. The route plan was as follows:

  • The first leg is from LAX to Hamad International Airport (DOH) by QR740 at 18.30 PDT (9.30 EST) today. The scheduled arrival time is 20.00 AST on August 10, 2022.
  • The second leg is from DOH to Brisbane Airport (BNE) by QR898 at 21.15 AST on August 10, 2022. The scheduled arrival time is 18.15 AEST on August 11, 2022.
  • The third and last leg of this journey is from BNE to LAX by QF15 at 20.30 AEST on August 11, 2022. The scheduled arrival time is 17.00 PDT on August 11, 2022.

The Last Leg


Umit sent us a message regarding his status 11:41 PM EST. He was on QR898 and had about three hours to reach BNE. It had been 26 hours and 55 minutes so far

“I have lost my time management, so it could be a stupid hour to message you. I apologize,” Umit wrote. “All ok so far; best care ever by Qatar Airways. They took care of me throughout the journey, and I had VIP treatment on my arrival at Doha Airport. I was escorted to my next flight, and it appears that both Qatar Airways crew have been briefed about the importance of these flights and were asked to be on time.”

In the photo above, we see Media Relations Manager of QR Ahmad Al-Abdulla, who was waiting for Umit when he arrived at DOH. Al-Abdulla took care of him, making his connection to the next flight very smooth.

“He upgraded me to Businesses class on both flights to make the journey easier for me,” said Umit, who finally arrived at LAX after 46 h and 26 minutes. Talk about time for jetlag rest.

Photo: Umit Sabanci

Flight Sponsor, Fundraising


The record-breaking circumnavigation has been sponsored by Bahcesehir University and to make the flight more meaningful, there is a fundraising page, justgiving.com/umitsabanci, where anyone can donate to Guy’s Cancer Charity.

The world record for the fastest circumnavigation by scheduled flights has been broken. You can follow Umit on Instagram.

Umit arriving at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Video: Umit Sabanci

Featured image: Umit Sabanci

Chief Online Editor
Chief Online Editor at Airways Magazine, AVSEC interpreter and visual artist; grammar geek, an avid fan of aviation, motorcycles, sci-fi literature, and film.

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