dark runway at yyc

“Our flight time is an estimated 14 hours and 54 minutes,” our captain cheerfully announced as I settled in to 37A on flight AC33.

I weeped inside. I had already been up for 19+ hours this Friday, and had been dreading being pinned in the window seat for a long flight to Australia.

Australia has never been more accessible to Canadians. Air Canada just launched non-stop service to Brisbane. Toss in AC’s daily service to Sydney, along with the other airlines that can get you across the Pacific and you have no excuse to get Down Under.

Flights to Australia from Canada leave Vancouver around midnight. So before you even get on the plane, you’ve put in a full day. Then the flight is 15 hours (a little shorter to Brisbane). You land around 8 in the morning at your destination and have another full day ahead. That’s more than 2 and a half days of being awake – unless you can crash on the plane (or at the gate between flights)

charlie sleeping

Here’s what happens on a flight to Australia:

First things first, I set my watch to local time the moment we went on board. It was no longer midnight, it was now 5 in the afternoon.

As soon as the flight gets to cruising altitude, they serve you a hot meal. This may seem crazy to your 1a or later body, but it’s dinner time Down Under, so get used to it. Force yourself to stay awake, and eat the meal.

Then go to bed for as long as you can. It’s evening in Australia, so have a snooze.

About 8 hours into the flight, they come by with a snack. If you managed to crash, you’ve already had 5+ hours. Have something to eat, and then try to sleep again.

Just before you land, they come by with breakfast. Of course, it’s 630am local time in Sydney. Hopefully you’ve managed to catch another good nap after the snack and now, you’re arriving Down Under fully rested and ready to tackle your first day of exploring.

That’s if everything goes textbook.

I was stressed about traveling with two kids and a wife who can’t sleep on planes. She was doing the math on the number of shows I loaded on to her iPad, making sure there were at least 16 hours of entertainment for the trip.

She didn’t flip it on. Neither did I. We slept as hard as we could, and when we were awake, the selection of movies on the flight satisfied both of us.

air canada flights

How To Entertain Yourself On A Long Flight To Australia

In flight entertainment on Air Canada has come a long way. The navigation gives you views from above, the cockpit, and windows. Zacharie had fun pretending he was an X-Wing pilot looking at the heads up display. There’s also a selection of games that you can play against other people on the plane. It could be your travel partner, or you could invite 24F in to play revseri, chess, trivia, a Letter Scramble, and more.

All in all, sleep when you can, eat when they serve it, and don’t worry about the iPad being loaded up, the seat back in front of you has tons for you to do.

The only issue with the early am arrival in Sydney is your hotel room won’t be ready. So drop the bags with concierge and be prepared to get a full morning of activity in. Or, if you booked an Airbnb, like we did, sit on a bench by the beach for 5 hours waiting for the cleaners to get finished so you can get in.

All in all, a 14 hour flight to Australia sounds a lot worse than it is, mate.

Here’s how it looked on Snapchat. You can follow me here!

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