Sure, life is a journey, not a destination, but living on an island on the other side of the world means that we often just want to get to where we are going the quickest that we can, especially when flying at the back of the plane.
Three of the top five destinations that travellers from Australia visited in 2016 are already well-served by direct flights from Australia – they are New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand – but the other two – the US and the UK – take a lot longer to get to, so how can you get there in the least amount of time?
Currently, there are no nonstop flights between Australia and Europe (although that will be changing soon) and it is well-known that you can fly direct between the East Coast of Australia and West Coast of the US.
Given that, I’ve chosen four cities that require at least one stop to get to and analysed which airports and airline will get you to New York, Miami, London and Paris with the least time spent waiting at the boarding gate for your onward flight.
To the US
If you are wanting to jet as quickly as you can to the Big Apple or the tropical sun in Miami, then jumping on one of Qantas’ services to Los Angeles or Dallas/Fort Worth will whisk you onto your connecting flight, usually on American Airlines.
However, Qantas also runs its own aircraft from Los Angeles to New York and, with good reason, times that departure to fit nicely with its arriving services from the East Coast of Australia.
Even though it looks like the long way around, travellers from Western Australia can often get to the East Coast of the US more quickly by transiting through Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific (they also fly to Boston and Chicago).
To New York
|Sydney||20h 30m||Dallas/Fort Worth||Qantas & American Airlines|
|Melbourne||21h 25m||Los Angeles||Qantas|
|Brisbane||20h 20m||Los Angeles||Qantas|
|Perth||25h 15m||Hong Kong||Cathay Pacific|
|Adelaide||24h 10m||Sydney & Los Angeles||Qantas & American Airlines|
One of these Qantas A380s or 747s will get you onto a connecting American Airlines partner flight for a one-stop journey to the East Coast of the US
|Sydney||22h 40m||Dallas/Fort Worth||Qantas & American Airlines|
|Melbourne||22h 05m||Los Angeles||Qantas & American Airlines|
|Brisbane||19h 50m||Los Angeles||Qantas & American Airlines|
|Perth||25h 00m||Sydney & Dallas/Fort Worth||Qantas & American Airlines|
|Adelaide||23h 40m||Sydney & Dallas/Fort Worth||Qantas & American Airlines|
Travellers from the East Coast of Australia can get to London the quickest by transiting through Singapore with Singapore Airlines, often with layovers of just 50 or 55 minutes. The shared British colonial history of Singapore and Australia could explain the high frequency of flights on this version of the Kangaroo Route.
If you are travelling from Western or South Australia, then flying through Doha with Qatar Airways is your quickest bet, but that will be superseded by Qantas’ direct Perth to London flight launching in March 2018, which will shave more than two hours off the total transit time.
Transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport is the quickest way to get to London from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane (or Canberra for that matter)
With a lower number of frequencies to Paris, Europe’s second largest airport system, it usually takes about an hour more to get there compared to London because of longer layovers. The trio of the big Gulf carriers wins on many Australia to Continental Europe routes.
|Sydney||23h 30m||Abu Dhabi||Etihad|
Fly Emirates First Class all the way to Europe
How to calculate the duration of a flight
If you go to Google Flights and input your origin and destination, the search engine’s first instinct is to give you the itinerary with the lowest price, not the quickest transit time.
Under Choose a flight, click Sort by duration and the results will be calculated from quickest to longest transit time.
If you are flying to Europe, then the quickest way is usually through Singapore or one of the Gulf hubs.
If you want to go to the US, then transiting through Los Angeles or Dallas/Fort Worth will generally save you the most time, and LAX has made a real effort to make their immigration and customs procedures more efficient in recent years, reducing the risk of missing your connection.
Having said that, the delivery of more long-range Boeing 787 Dreamliners over the next few years will mean that Qantas will continue to reduce travel time with an increase in nonstop flights from Perth to Europe and the East Coast of Australia to the US.
There are two downsides to a quicker layover: no time for lounge visit, and an increased risk of missing your connecting flight because of delays.