We’re quickly closing in on the departure date for the initial leg of our Round The World Trip. While getting everything booked and set, we quickly found that, in this case, traveling from Point A to Point B is not even remotely close to a straight line.
The very first leg of our travel is going to be the longest by far. Probably not the most difficult (the two long-haul flights are in the soothing luxury of business class) or the most tiring since we’ll be very fresh and eager. But this segment certainly qualifies as the longest.
As you may have read, the first county we’re visiting is New Zealand. Far side of the World. God’s Own Country. Home of The Shire and Mordor. Getting to New Zealand is a bit of a haul from America even when flying direct. But since we booked our flights exclusively using a Reward RTW Trip Ticket paid for almost completely with SkyMiles, we’ve been booked on quite the circuitous route: Dayton, OH to Minneapolis, MN to Los Angeles, CA to Guangzhou, China to Auckland, NZ.
To be fair, we’ve been referring to the Dayton to LAX leg as “Flight Zero.” This first flight was not covered as part of our Round the World ticket due to some ticketing restrictions. We could only begin the flight in Los Angeles and end months later, in Cincinnati. So, we booked a one way ticket from the Mid-West to the West-Coast via Minneapolis. We used some Delta “we’re so sorry” travel vouchers received from a bad flight experience a few months earlier so these flights only cost us $75 a person. Not bad.
Los Angeles is where the real fun begins. Late in the evening, we board China Southern flight CZ 328 (a Boeing 777-200 for those who care about such things) for at 15 hour flight from LAX to Guangzhou, China. A major city (formerly known as Canton) that we knew nothing about in advance of planning this trip. Why in great green grasses do we land in Guangzhou? Because China Southern has no direct flights between LAX and New Zealand, it is their main hub (and China’s third largest airport) and this was the only airline available to take us to New Zealand.
Flying west and overnight, we lose a calendar day while in the air because we’re crossing the International Date Line. This International Date Line thing has been explained to me a half-dozen times but I still don’t completely understand the finer points of the implications of crossing the line and losing a day. But I don’t fully comprehend how electricity works either, so I’m not going to sweat it.
Once we get to Guangzhou, we board another long-distance China Southern flight to backtrack our way south to Auckland, NZ (CZ 305 – Airbus A330-200). This jaunt is about 11 and a half hours. Again, all in business class, so we’re not complaining. And then there is the 18 hour layover in the Guangzhou airport between the two flights. Land early morning and our flight doesn’t leave till after midnight. Not to mention the jet lag.We’re hoping – nay, praying- that we’ll have access to the International Business Lounge on our ticket. And that there will be showers. And snacks. And drinks. So many drinks. With any luck, we can venture into China for part of that time as well.
All in all, it is a lot of time in the air. But we’re in no hurry and this flight is costing us very little. Good thing Brooke has packed Costco sized quantities of Dramamine and I have a lot of inflight movies to catch up on.
Total time in the air: 33 Hours
Total miles traveled: Over 14,500. For some perspective, the circumference of the earth is only about 25,000 miles.