What Is the Fastest Route to Fly to Australia?

Aug 18, 2019

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Australia is a popular destination for British travellers. There are long, hot summers, thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, iconic landmarks like Sydney Harbour, a dedicated sporting culture and a laid-back lifestyle that will make you feel thousands of miles from home.

That’s because it is thousands of miles from the UK. There’s no way around it — Australia is a very long way to travel. For a round-trip, you’re looking at well over 20,000 miles in flying distance. Apart from Qantas’ unique London (LHR) to Perth (PER) flight, there are no nonstop flights between the two countries. So, if you are travelling to anywhere outside of Perth you will have to (at least briefly) stop at least once and possibly change planes or airlines.

As an Australian living in London, I’ve made the long journey many times myself on plenty of different airlines and with plenty of different connection points. I prefer to break up the long journey with at least eight hours of a stopover, which allows a decent sleep in a proper bed or a brief wander around a foreign city, have a meal and recharge before continuing the journey. But if you are keen to ensure the journey doesn’t last any longer than absolutely necessary and you hit the beach as soon as possible, what are the quickest routing options, and do they make sense?

The ‘Kangaroo Route’ as it is known between London and Sydney has dozens of airlines with just as many connection points. The absolute fastest options are less than 24 hours (including connection times) with a lightning quick change of planes in either the Middle East or Asia.

These are the fastest because geographically, going via these cities is almost a straight line, so you’re not spending any extra time in the air by flying an indirect direction and you can make it in (just less than) 24 hours.

While the prospect of making the journey in barely 22 hours may seem like the smartest way to go, remember that for the fastest Emirates options especially, it will involve a lightning quick transfer along the way. Depending on the size of the airport, distance between gates and amount of other passengers, this could mean physically running from one plane to the next — especially if there is any kind of delay.

Even if I wanted to get there as quickly as possible, I would look for a two-hour minimum connection time. This allows you to stretch your legs, have a shower if you have lounge access, maybe some duty free shopping and then board your next flight leisurely (although maybe not completely rested). The last thing I would want after a 12+ hour flight is to have to sprint right onto the next one.

On the other end of the scale, you can easily spend more than 30 hours making the journey depending on your connection point. There’s even one-stop options via the West Coast USA, which will take much longer because this is far less direct geographically.

Remember there’s no international to international airside transfers allowed in the US, so you’ll have to enter the country and then exit again for your next flight — hence the longer ‘transit’ times.

For this length of time, you could also have a proper stop in Asia or the Middle East to allow some proper rest to break up the long journey.

Image courtesy of Keith Zhu / Unsplash

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