Fly to Europe : Avoiding Night Flights

If there is one thing I truly hate with travel, its night-time flights. I can never get a decent sleep on them. They seem almost unavoidable at some point when travelling out of, or into Australia. Flying business class or above where you have a lie flat bed they are not so much of an issue, although still noisy. My goal on the next trip to Europe is to avoid them completely. I’ve been researching how to do this, and here are a few tips.

  1. Avoid the middle east, fly through Asia.
  2. Have a one night stop over in Asia on the way to Europe
  3. Have two nights in Asia on the way back to Australia

I’m fine with 12 hour day flights, but through the middle east is really pushing that. Flying through Asia, the first leg is a more comfortable 9-12 hour leg depending on what city you choose to stop in, and there are no shortage of cities to choose from. Singapore and Hong Kong are the obvious ones, however don’t discount Bangkok or Tokyo. The added advantage of a trip through Asia is that its almost in the same time zone as Sydney, only 2-3 hours different. That makes a day flight a true day flight.

If your goal is to maximise your holiday time in Europe, or get the cheapest flight possible, this guide is not for you. The day flights are more expensive generally, and this will cost you 2 days of time that you could have had in Europe.

Assuming these are the parameters :-

Outward Journey 

  1. Leave Sydney before lunch
  2. Leave Asia the next morning after breakfast (get a decent sleep)
  3. Arrive in Europe in the afternoon / evening (to avoid/minimise jet lag)

Homeward Journey

  1. Leave Europe in the Morning
  2. Have one night in Asia
  3. Leave Asia after breakfast, arrive in Sydney in the evening.

Here are the examples I’ve found using my current favourite flight aggregation site (hipmunk), either flying via Singapore or via Hong Kong. You will have to play with the dates a little to get these specific flights at a reasonable cost.

The flight numbers are :

Via Singapore : SQ232, SQ308, SQ305, SQ211

Via HongKong : CX110, CX257, CX252, CX139

To make this work, you will need to book a hotel for two night in Singapore or Hong Kong close to (or in) the airport. There are a few options available, in Singapore you could choose the AreoHotel,  Ambassador Transit Hotel within Changi Airport or the Crowne Plaza which is connected directly to the airport.

Qantas seem to have come to their senses and realised that the Sydney to London QF1 service was better via Singapore and will be switching back to using Singapore as of March 2018. When I last went to London in 2017, I wanted to split the flight into more equal halves to get a bit of a break, so went though Hong Kong. Didn’t even consider Qantas as an option due to the Dubai stopover/night flights.

Qantas are also going to offer a Perth to London direct flight in March 2018. Would I consider this as an option with a domestic flight to Perth first ? Perth to London will be 17 hours. If I was flying business or first, absolutely I’d try it. In economy it would be my vision of hell. If I’m flying economy, flights via Asia are my preference.