choosing flights from US

Old Aug 15th, 2004, 03:17 PM
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choosing flights from US

We are planning a trip in October and need to book overseas flights soon. Unless I change my mind again, my husband and I plan to spend 8-10 days in South Island of NZ, 3-4 days in Sydney and then a week in Melbourne visiting our daughter.
Can anyone advise me whether we should opt for a 1pm flight (out of Los Angeles)which arrives the next day in the evening or a 11pm flight which arrives in early morning 2 days later?
I assume the former is preferable.

Our 2 options are
1. Qantas - LA to Sydney
Virgin Blue - Sydney to Christchurch
Virgin Blue -Christchurch to Melbourne
Qantas - Melbourne to LA
2. Qantas - LA to Christchurch via Aukland
Virgin Blue - Christchurch to Sydney
Virgin Blue - Sydney to Melbourne
Qantas - Melbourne to LA

2nd option is a little cheaper, but only nighttime flights out of LA are available. From what I read on this board, with so little time in NZ, we should spend all of it on SI. Any advice is appreciated.
susan4 is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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i will offer you 2 pieces of advice:
on virgin blue: bring lots of local currency! this airline will not even give you a cup of water if you are parched, you will need to purchase it from them for $2 a small bottle. i was not aware of this prior, nor were other non-oz passengers aboard.
even if you spring for your water, those around you may not. as the 5 hour flight wore on, people coughed more and sneezed more, and given my very limited medical knowledge, i am quite confident those dry conditions with germs flying contributed to the sore throat and cough i developed 2 days later.

i've flown in quite a few undeveloped countries on some terrible airlines but not providing drinking water to passengers was a new low for me.

i would also opt for the overnight (late) flight as your day starts fresh the moment you land, and you will get some sleep if you board the plane at 11pm, when you will be naturally tired. as for losing a day, if you land late at night, your vacation still starts two days later when you wake up. that's just a fact of geography, not of the flights!
kerikeri is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2004, 08:30 PM
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I vote for the 2nd option as well. Since you are leaving the US late in the evening, you might be more inclined to catch a few zzz's and hit the ground running. My parents just recently arrived from the US (their 4th (??) trip over here) and prefer to arrive in the a.m. They have a full day, and get to bed early and seem to recover from jet lag very quickly.
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Old Aug 15th, 2004, 10:53 PM
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I think I'd take option 2 if for no other reason than you aren't backtracking from NZ to Aus again. Cheaper is even better.
Clifton is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Susan4, Virgin Blue airlines is a good airline. Of course you are getting cheaper tickets, therefore, you don't get "FREE WATER AND MEALS", just take a bottle of water on board or sandwiches, etc, they don't mind. OR alternatively, you can purchase for a small price, sandwiches, hot meals, drinks, alchol, etc.
Even some of the shorter Qantas flights, now only serve up little meals in cardboard boxes. It seems all the airlines are going that way now.
Most of our flights in Australia, are short enough, that you don't need a meal enroute, unless you are starving, then take food with you.
tropo is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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We took the 11:30 p.m. Air New Zealand flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, and it worked really well for us. We got into Auckland about 6:30 a.m., picked up our rental car, and stayed up until around 9:00 p.m. with no problems. We did find a park on the way to our destination and napped for about 45 minutes, since we didn't sleep much on the plane.

Lee Ann
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Old Aug 16th, 2004, 04:57 PM
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The good old days when Qantas and Ansett served up a full hot meal on the Sydney-Canberra flight are long gone. For the record, that flight lasts 35 minutes, 22 of them airborne! Fastest cabin crew I've ever seen.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2004, 06:40 PM
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Thanks to all who responded. You have been very helpful. Think we will fly to Christchurch first to save backtracking. One more question.
Can Christchurch - Sydney and Sydney - Melbourne tickets be purchased at last moment or do we need to purchase before we leave? It would be nice to be flexible, based on weather, etc. Thanks again,
susan4 is offline  
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