Reply To: Turkish non-stop flights to Sydney

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canucklad – 12/06/2013 15:15 GMT : I couldn’t imagine myself cooped up for 18 hours in an aircraft…

I can, I’ve done it.

HKG-LHR, two days with my girls. So far, so good. LHR-SFO, jetlag, starts to kick in, two days in the basement of the hotel I was staying in (for an offsite) – literally two days without seeing the sun. Then a night out on the town with a friend, culminating in a dash back to the hotel to pack and the red-eye to JFK (brutal at the best of times) where I spent a total of seven hours, part of it in a cab and the rest in meetings, then back to JFK for the CX flight to HKG. This normally takes about 16 hours. Only there was a typhoon in Hong Kong. So we circled, for an hour and a half, before being diverted to Manila. I can’t imagine how little fuel we had left at this point, but we had been in the air for about 18.5 hours. Add to that the time on board before take-off, and the fact that they didn’t let us off the plane for some considerable time while they tried to find a new crew to take us back to HK, and I reckon I was in that seat for 22 hours or more. Thank **** I was in their fabby new business class, I can’t imagine how miserable it must have been at the back. Would I voluntarily sit on a plane for 18 hours? Well, honestly – yes, if it meant a better journey than having to break it and spend longer overall. But if I were doing UK-Oz, and all other things being equal, I think I would try to break the journey nearer the half-way point. Mind you, a proper stop-over in Istanbul sounds quite good…

The denouement to my journey described above, incidentally, was that they were unable to rustle up a crew so we were deplaned, kept at the gate for a short while, and eventually told we would be put up in a hotel. This took a while to organise, and it was only as we were about to head off that they told us they weren’t offloading our baggage (we didn’t pass through immigration either – we never officially landed in the Philippines!). Which meant I was facing the prospect of being in the same clothes for far too long (all day in SFO, red-eye to JFK + 7 hours there, about 24 hours in Cathay’s tender care, a night in Manila but then a wait and a journey back to HK). My desire for fresh underwear at this point was becoming quite obsessive. Now, I make sure I have the necessary in my hand luggage, just in case!

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