Flying to Australia

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Flying to Australia is a long arduous experience. We know as we have flown from Europe to Australia and from the United States to Australia many times. The journey from Los Angeles to Sydney is a nonstop flight and typically takes around 14 to 15 hours. Apart from the length of the flight, you will cross the International Date Line which further messes up your body clock. This means that you can board a flight in Los Angeles on a Monday night and arrive in Sydney on Wednesday morning. The best advice is to sleep! Wait as long as you can and then try to sleep long enough so that you wake up a couple of hours before landing in Sydney. So if the flight is 14 hours in duration, wait approximately 4 hours and then try to sleep. Some people prefer to take over-the-counter or prescription medicines to help them sleep but you should always consult your physician first. Drinking alcohol certainly does not help your cause but it is awfully tempting as it is usually free on these international flights.

If you are flying First Class or Business Class, great! This is very expensive though. Business Class tickets from the U.S. can be over $7,000 (U.S.). First Class can be over $12,000 (U.S.). The service is much better and you will be much more comfortable than in Coach. The key to flying in Business or First Class is to use your frequent flier miles if you fly a lot for work. Even then, the Business Class ticket on American Airlines and Qantas will cost you around 115,000 miles. Book early if you are using your miles. There are very few seats allocated for these international flights.

It is advisable that you book 6 months in advance or more. The problem that you face is that the airlines will tell you that there are no seats available for frequent flier miles on the flight that you want. Business Class and First Class may be half empty but there are no seats allocated for your type of "free" ticket is what they are saying. If you find yourself in this situation you may need to be a little flexible. Ask about flights that are not nonstop. Can you get on a flight that stops in Auckland, New Zealand and then fly on to Sydney or Melbourne? Can you fly through Hong Kong? Qantas has a flight that leaves New York, stops in Los Angeles and then flies nonstop to Sydney. You may not be able to get on the Los Angeles to Sydney flight but you can get on the New York to Sydney flight even though it is the same plane. I know it's nuts but that's how it is. We are speaking from personal experience. If you are still having issues you can sometimes wait until the last week or two before the flight is due to leave. Some times the airline will open their inventory as their flight is not full and they are happy to take your frequent flier miles. You need to call every couple of days as no one will call you when the inventory opens up.

One tip to make life easier if you are flying Coach is to get to the airport very early. It is much better to have a 4 hour layover in Los Angeles and have an exit row for 14 hours than to have a 2 hour layover in Los Angeles and a middle seat at the back of the plane for 14 hours. Many airlines will not assign the exit rows until the day of the flight. If you are lucky enough to get an exit row, make sure that you don't get the window seat. Many of the Boeing 747's have large bulky emergency exit doors that protrude into your leg space. I am not sure what's in the door but it is most likely the inflatable slide that is used in the event of an emergency. This is just speculation!

Which companies fly to Australia? If you are departing the United States you have several choices. Qantas, Air New Zealand and United all fly from California to Sydney and Melbourne. An option may be to stop over in Asia, in Hong Kong for example. Cathay Pacific flies from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. You may want to consider breaking up the journey and stopping in the South Pacific region. Air Pacific Airlines flies from California to Fiji for example. Flying from Europe offers up a whole other set of choices.

The internet provides a wonderful opportunity to explore and research your flight opportunities. Two sites that we have used are Expedia. and .Both are powerful travel search engines and are a great place to start researching your options. There are many others however and much of it is personal preference.

Traveling within Australia has also become a lot more competitive more recently and may be worth a little research. The airlines that operate within Australia are Qantas,Virgin Blue,  Skywest, and Kendell Airlines. There may be others by now but we don't know about them.

The bottom line is that you will get there. Even if you are stuck in a middle seat at the back of the plane, Australia is worth it. Well worth it. There is no other country like it. Enjoy it.

Australian Airport Information
Distance to City (Miles/Km)
Time to City (minutes)
4.5 miles / 7 km
Alice Springs
10.5 miles/ 17 km
8 miles / 13 km
3.7 miles / 6 km
4.5 miles / 7 km
7.5 miles / 12 km
13.6 miles / 22 km
12.4 miles / 20 km
12.4 miles / 20 km
6 miles / 10 km

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