Auckland to Heathrow
Now that's a gruelling flight, followed by passing through the worlds worst airport.
The Airbus A380 has a range of 15,200km, but the longest scheduled commercial flight using the aircraft is the 13,804km Dallas (USA) to Sydney (Australia) jaunt flown by Australia's Qantas. Heading from Oz to the USA, the trip takes just 15 hours and 35 minutes, which at only about an hour longer than a Sydney-Los Angeles …
Perhaps you should get out and about a bit more.
There are plenty of Airports on this planet worse than LHR/EGLL (excluding the Old T1 and now T3 which are shite).
Pretty well any US airport for incoming International travellers is shit. It might have changed now but in Minneapolis in the 1990's, the International flights stopped on the far side of the Airport where you went through immigration in a converted hangar that in winter is close to freezing. Then you take the bus to the main terminal building and get back on the plane you arrived on for the next leg of your journey.
At least at LHR and most airports outside of the USA you can connect with another flight without having to go through local customs and immigration.
Written sitting waiting for a flight in the Duty Free Megaopolis that is DXB
(excluding the Old T1 and now T3 which are shite).
You'll be glad to know that T1 has just closed, prior to demolition and reincarnation as a T2 extension. Why BA moved their T1 flights to T3, and not T5, though, is beyond me. T5 isn't bad, and if your connection all happens within T5 it can be pretty fast, but once you add the T3/T5 standing-room-only bus journey it goes downhill rapidly.
Still, at least it's better than CDG, with the added benefit of not having to flying Air Chance.
Er.... Not all the T1 BA flights went to T3.
I flew out of T1 a week before it closed to AMM (lovely new Terminal, but there again I helped build it)
I'm flyong back on Tuesday from AMM on an ex BMI A321 into T5. BA should rename BSA because their refurb of these planes has resulted in the Economy seats being rock hard. BSA=Bloody Sore Arse and not Birmingham Small Arms.
My worst aitport has to be CDG in Paris especially on Sunday evenings when after around 18:30 there seems no hope of your bags making the connection even if it is 5hrs before your departure flight.
The staff even had the nerve to say 'Why didn't you just check your bags to Paris? Then check in again for your onward flight?'
and I was flying with Air France (to Reunion) which makes even EasyJet (with all their rules and surcharges) look like a world beater of an airline.
Posting AC because I have to make the Reunion trip again in a couple of weeks.
"Pretty well any US airport for incoming International travellers is shit. It might have changed now but in Minneapolis in the 1990's, "
I remember pre-911 getting off a plane in the US with an onward connection and being told I had to pick up my bag from one conveyor and put it on another under the watchful eye of some minimum pay guard. So 30 minutes farting around doing that. Then another hour queuing for customs and immigration. Then a really long walk in the blazing heat to another terminal and all the way through checkin and security again.
I discovered *why* the US was so crap when I finally took my connecting flight - their domestic system simply wasn't secure in the slightest sense. Anybody could walk through the security including beggars, thieves (and terrorists) and the baggage collection hall connected right onto the main exit. It was a criminal's paradise. So all the international security and customs had to be done separately.
Post 9/11 the experience is just as miserable. All the bullshit of ESTA, photo terminals, fingerprint scanners and you're still queuing for hours to get in. I notice that the UK has gone down this route except the UK system doesn't even cope with family groups which meant a 90 minute queue coming back from Florida recently.
> their domestic system simply wasn't secure in the slightest sense.
Why do people these days insist on assuming that airports, being airports, must somehow be repressive environments where everyone is assumed to be a criminal and treated as such?
Honestly, most people¹ turn up at airports with catching a plane or picking someone up in mind, not to cause any sort of trouble.
There is no objective reason whatsoever that airports must have any more security that a regular train station or seaport--take that from a former airline pilot. Another thing you may not be aware of is that if flying non-commercial and for not a lot of money (comparatively speaking) you can just pay for "VIP treatment" which means you never get to see a single security, customs, or immigration person ever.
¹ Speaking in terms of statistical significance: all of us.
The Ageds always use Gatwick or Stansted these days (Dad can make Clarkson look like a Zen Buddhist monk at airports - slight hyperbole, but not by much). Their most frequent trip is London to Jo'burg, which they make every at least other year. Dad refuses to use Heathrow, even though it's the most convenient.
I'd like to travel, but passports are silly money (especially for someone on DLA) and I don't trust Big Sister, as she shall henceforth be known, not to introduce some kind of inter-passport tracking, just in case I might harbour ideas about joining ISIS.
This government has made me paranoid - okay, MORE paranoid.
Right lunch had, kip time! I'M FAR TOO YOUNG TO FEEL THIS OLD!
"Pretty well any US airport for incoming International travellers is shit"
Las Vegas isn't bad, IMO, just don't try it at the weekend. A Saturday flight I was on was held on the aircraft for about 45 mins as they were queueing out of the doors of the arrival hall. The next time was a Thursday, I think I was on the way to the hire car in about an hour.
The only other one I've been to in the US is Boston, that was a bit dingy to be fair.
Dublin does immigration for the New York flights in the transfer lounge, so you skip the immigration queues at the far end. Unfortunately, I was going to Boston...
The economy seats, and overall service, are far nicer than BA or AA. After Air New Zealand kindly dropped its direct flights from LAX to the Pacific Islands, this was the only way I could carry on earning miles in my preferred programme (BMI - remember them?) and avoid Fiji's Air Pacific. On those occasions where I could afford the time, I had a recovery night in LA, on the way out, and a holiday in Santa Monica, on my way home.
Now, on the legacy carriers the A380 has been a huge disappointment to me. It's just an exercise in cynicism; they gave nothing back to the paying customer in terms of comfort. Fly economy on the Emirates A389, OTOH, and you get a larger, wider, more comfortable seat, with plenty of good entertainment options, reasonably priced WiFi, and not so reasonably priced mobile roaming.
First, regular sized guys (6'2.5" ~189.4cm) don't fit in economy seats. (even economy plus seats)
(No shoulder room.) Add in a messed up back and 4+ hours in a coach seat can be painful.
Take enough drugs, you can sleep through anything, except that when you land, get folded out like an accordion, you're not going to be able to function. That's why I will pay for the upgrade if necessary.
I still may be too long/tall to fit in those first class/upper class/ fold flats, but at least the seat is more comfortable. ;-)
Of course YMMV. Its when you fly an American carrier who use the same planes for continental and intercontinental that really mess you up.
I do agree, bring vids or e-books on an ipad so you can catch up on your reading. Depending on the topic, some may have you drooling asleep within minutes and are more effective than drugs. ;-)
I'm 2.5" shorter than you but I have long legs and wide shoulders too, so I hear you. My problem last long haul (Auckland-Dubai-Glasgow) was that my well exercised gluteals have little to no fat on them and I was feeling the hard underpinnings of my economy seat and experiencing bruised buttocks. So, I took the little pillow they give you for your head and sat on it. In future I shall be doing that at the start of every long haul flight.
Tokyo Narita gets my vote for the confusion alone. Its still the only airport I ever had a problem making a connection in with 2+ hours (granted was a for a local Japanese destination not flown much by tourists but still). Back in my international flying days I was also a smoker so Frankfurt got my vote as one of the best because you could smoke before you went through customs (funny how silly criteria for happiness can be lol) and you could get a non stop flight from Denver. Of course that was a decade ago so probably things are different today (non stop long gone I think).
Edit: Nope non stop went away for awhile I think in the dark days but is back. Also looking online it looks like Narita has really gotten its stuff together in the last decade. Just grateful to not have to put up with the post 9/11 torture posing as flying anymore for a living.
Right after 9/11, travel was a pain.
You had local national guard troops on edge. Get to the airport 2 hours earlier than expected because you never knew what to expect....
Now with TSA Pre, the only trouble you have is with the long lines on Monday Mornings, and people who get granted TSA Pre, but don't normally use it. (You don't have to empty your bags folks!) Trust me, as a traveling IT Professional... taking your kit out of the bag can be a real pain. (2+ laptops and an ipad, external hard drives... etc ...) [Note: yes security has had issues with some external hard drives along with wi-fi hotspots too.]
The real issue today in terms of US domestic flights is that every flight is now over sold, and people don't know when to check luggage and what constitutes a carry on.
I'm over 6ft 5 in the old money and I still manage to get to sleep on economy seats.
After a lifetime of travelling in school buses, army beds, doing a 1500km trip in a BMW 3 series with the back of my head against the ceiling and other evils of a world designed for gnomes, economy seating isn't too bad.
If I get an isle seat I just leave my feet in the isles and get shinned a few times by the service staff with their trolleys. Otherwise I push my feet under the seat until they sort of "click".
That said, the newer style seating they have on Air NZ economy these days is just bloody luxury. Lots of space under the seat in front to stretch out.
It's a bit like a microwave being sold as a time saving device, time is only being saved if you do something useful with the extra.
A jacket potato take 1.5 hours in an oven or 6 minutes in a microwave, if you use the oven based route you put the spud in and go away and do something (paint the ceiling), if you use the microwave the time 'saved' is not long enough to do anything with so you just stand around waiting and now there is only 1 hour and 24 minutes left to paint the ceiling.
3 weeks on a sail boat and you could learn a new language, annotate the sketches of the wildlife you saw on the last pacific island you just left, anything really, the time is yours.
What did you do with your 17hrs, slept a bit and watched a bit of telly, great - you could have done that at home and used video conferencing and still have time to play a game of footie with the kids.
A jacket potato take 1.5 hours in an oven or 6 minutes in a microwave
Microwaved jacket spuds lack crispness for my taste so I use this method:
1. Turn oven on and let it heat up
2. While oven is heating put the spud in microwave for 10 minutes.
3. Remove spud from microwave and place in over for another 15 minutes.
Doesn't take long compared to a full oven job but the results are similar.
The first time we took a polar route from Toronto to Hong Kong, our flight veered left and we missed the North Pole by nearly 400 miles. Damn!
The next time, our flight veered just slightly to the right, and we were well inside 200 miles. Therefore within direct Line of Sight to the North Pole!! Yay!!
Conclusion: There's no giant 'North Pole' pole sticking up through the clouds. I've confirmed this personally.
PNGuinn demanded "Photos or I don't believe you."
You're in luck. Of course I captured the moment as the North Pole was situated about 45° off the Port bow and within direct Line of Sight (under the clouds). A few minutes after this picture, we reached a peak latitude of about 87.6° North, but the wing blocked the view (LOL) at that point.
Worth mentioning, the flight plan with all the planned way-points ("stations") is available on the 'net before you board, so you can anticipate your flight path. Ours included '8700N 02000W' which gave me hope that we'd get close.
Miami. Followed the blue dots which abruptly stopped in the middle of nowhere. Found a bag drop, checked with the guy throwing bags, and I do mean throwing, down a black hole. Xconfirmed this was the bag drop for LHR
Added my bag to the bagpile at least ten feet high, seriously. Never saw my bag again.
Only 1500 flights? Given the number of planes in the air at any one time doing the trans-Pacific route then that seems rather a small sample size. A couple of months maybe, half-year at the most? Not to mention Qantas will have their own customer and usage data ...
It's a brilliant example of engineering - materials science, tech, physics, etc. Not to mention human endurance (poor the Stewardesses). But I'm calling shenanigans on the cloud-computing thing. 1500 flights can be analysed quickly on a spreadsheet. Doesn't need Big Iron ...
Is not any better for getting off the plane for 90 minutes. About 20 hours total. Even with food, alcohol, and Benedryl I just can't sleep for that long. For my own sanity I schedule a one or two day layover in Blighty and go see a corner I haven't seen before.
The reverse trip – Boston to Bangalore – is longer, but with an eight-plus hour layover. I leave the airport and hop on the tube into the city for a coffee in The Strand and then a quick spin through the British Museum before heading back to the airport. Breaks up the long trip very nicely. Unfortunately though, my Indian colleagues are usually stuck in the airport for lack of a visa when they fly home.
I disagree, I have broken up several 16 hour flights with a 1-2 hour stop over and it makes it a lot more manageable.
I started doing this after my one and only (10 minutes short of) 16 hour flight.
The first 8 hours were OK; 9 &10 dragged a bit, but by 12 I was getting very restless and by 15 I was ready to open the damn doors and jump!!
Every hour after the 12th hour seemed to last at least 4 hours.
I was flying Air France, so of course, when I got off of the plane my luggage was missing.
ICON?? Thats how I felt when I landed (at 3:30am local time).
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I hear you and agree, every hour over 12 is interminable. Like lots of others I did the Sydney via the Middle East to Europe route a couple of years ago, 14 hours plus for the first leg - it's absolute torture. On departure form Dubai we were stuck on the tarmac for an hour with the doors open; it's the desert, you know? It got rather warm. On the second leg of the flight back there was an unfortunate woman who had been bumped off ALL FOUR Legs of her flights over and back. She was days late and beyond fury. Not doing that again, go via Singapore instead. The long leg is first on the way back and you can stop off in Singapore which we did and i recommend if you have the time. The time diffence between Sydney and Singapore is small so you're already helping your body to deal with the jetlag.
As a kiddie, I once flew Brize Norton (Oxfordshire) to RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus. That took a while in the back of a Hercules - 11 hours maybe. Rather more than the usual four courtesy of a VC10 (backwards facing seats!) or the BA or Cyprus Air commercial jobbies from Luton.
It's cold, but you got a blanket and a set of ear defenders - those four whirry things on the wings make quite a din. Oh and you sit sideways on a canvas seat. The toilet facilities do not include pissing out the back, which is a shame.
At least the staff (RAF crew) were lovely.
I hear you. I worked on C-130s and I have taken tons of international flights on commercial planes.... Ill take the commercial plane any day. Loud, either ice cold or burning hot and your best hope is a litter to lay on along the way either that or its jump seats.
I flew to Japan from the US east coast and back on a c-130. WV>edmonton>anchorage>sheyma (middle of bearing strait)>japan. I wanted to kill myself and thank god for benadryl or I probably would have. Then on the way back japan>marshall islands> hawaii> vegas>wv... the way back was much more tolerable :).
I have taken many to the middle east too..bad but not too bad.
Never been able to and yet I sleep quite well in a bed.
I once even had a nice 9 hour flight set for after a night shift, LGW to Vancouver. 'Great' I thought 'I'll finally get to sleep on a plane'. No....I stayed awake for too many hours and was a zombie for most of the week I was there.
I have since vowed that anything over 3 hours we go business or at least upper class or similar - so we hardly ever fly....
I'm 49 (thanks for asking) and have never been able to sleep on planes, in fact I'm not very good at sleeping in a chair and they don't allow you to lie down in the aisle for some reason.
My FIL 'learnt' how to grab naps anywhere while he did his national service in the RAF - I've never been much of a napper - drives my wife mad - but then she is a light sleeper at night.
I used to sleep "like a baby" on flights, from infancy right through my teens. Sadly that ability, along with several others, steadily deserted me over the subsequent decades.
Yes, and no doubt the people who share a dwelling with you rest easy knowing they won't be woken up by someone crying for milk at some ungodly hour of the morning.
I myself used to sleep like a log, kept waking up with my head in a fireplace.
"At least at LHR and most airports outside of the USA you can connect with another flight without having to go through local customs and immigration.
Written sitting waiting for a flight in the Duty Free Megaopolis that is DXB"
DXB is one of those where you have to go through customs to get to your connecting flight. The security people there are very sharp. I had accidently left a "swisscard" in my wallet, it contains a small blade and a pair of scissors. The guys at DXB spotted it, asked me what it was, after I showed it to them they let me through. I had been carrying that swisscard in my wallet for a good number of years and have been on more than a dozen flights with it but no other airport's security peeps have complained about it (or maybe they thought it was less a threat than my bottle of water).
When I lived in the Aus bush and regularly flew back to the UK the journey was a nightmare. 24 hours on a bus got me to Brisbane. 24 hours and I wasn't even in another state, let alone another country. The bus arrived there a couple of hours after any planes left for the UK so that meant a night in Brisbane. 24ish hours in the air (with a couple of hours on the tarmac at Bangkok) and I was in Heathrow. Then it was a mere 20 minutes on a bus to the nearest relative where I could doss down.
The return flight was even worse. It didn't go Bangkok/Brisbane. It went via Bangkok, Melbourne, Sydney before landing at Brisbane which adds another eight hours to the flight.
Worst thing was that the plane would fly over my final destination in Aus on the way to Melbourne but it would be close to another two days before I'd get there.
I have done one worse flight.
During my time in the same remote town I decided to visit my bother-in-law who was running a biz on a Thai island. On the map it was a relatively short trip. I called my trusty travel agent and asked for the cheapest ticket. The agent found me a ticket with Royal Brunei. It's a dry airline but Darwin/Brunei/Bangkok was pretty much a straight line so it looked good on paper. It didn't, however, look so good when the tickets arrived and I looked at the times and dates.
To cut a long story short, it was 22 hours on the bus to Darwin, overnight in Darwin, three hours on the flight to Brunei, overnight in Brunei, five hours to Bangkok, overnight in Bangkok, day four was a shortish local flight to my destination.
Saving a few quid on tickets rarely pays off.
London to Aus is 22 hours in the air with only a 2 hour break after 14 hours.
But back to the "cloud" bit of the story: it looks rather similar to what we use to call the bureau model. The difference appears to be that because the Vendor runs lots of small systems, you have a complicated job division and results reassembly requirement. It's just a batch job.
I can nver understand why big companies don't spend cash on hardware for jobs they don't care much for. Ditch the redundancy, just get around to fixing it when you can. Hardware is cheap and if it's just for ad hoc jobs which are not time critical, you don't need expensive DC facilities such as separate power suppliers, anti-tank traps etc. if the aircon breaks, you just hit the off button until it's fixed.
I've never had so much broken luggage as on the CDG - Luton trips. I was renewing my case on average once a month thanks to the airport's insurers. It looked as if there was a conspiracy to provide frequent travellers with new kit. I'd like to understand who was benefiting apart from myself.
Heh. Once arrived at CDG expecting my luggage - an 8' by 6' television reflective backdrop which twisted into a 3 foot circle a few inches thick - to appear on the conveyor.
And waited. And waited. And waited. And eventually got bored and started chasing it. Turns out the bozos had decided to open the package, the backdrop had immediately sprung out to its full size, and they couldn't get it back in the bag...
I've been on the Longest. Flight. Ever. and yours wasn't it.
It was in a single engine, open cockpit, two seater, "Crop Duster" BiPlane.
White knuckles, braced knees, ankles locked, feet shoved into the (literal!) firewall, eyes wide open behind protective goggles (Mustn't Blink, might miss my death!), respirator face mask (to keep you from eating a bird, but also to hold the non-noise-canceling mic & single headphone used to talk to the pilot), trying not to scream in terror, "Oh Please Lord let this fool not plow us into a tree!", sphincter squeazed shut, bowels not moving, stomach roiling, lunch vomited over the side, "Duck! It's a DUCK!", flight from hell.
Actual flight time: about thirty minutes.
Subjective flight time: I'll let you know when the nightmares stop.
*Comical thumbs in ears raspberry*
Agree with all the BA are shite comments here, I refuse to fly with them these days, even if it does save me a couple of hundred quid, never had major problems with AF or CDG airport though, always been OK, I fly out to Taiwan usually a couple of times a year, and usually go with KLM or Emirates, never had any problems with either of them either, I could rant for hours about how shit BA are though.