Every year there are a handful of flights that completely skip Christmas. How? By the magic of time zones, of course!
A shift in time zone is something that happens nearly every time you switch continents. This can lead to some very interesting outcomes, my favorite being when you “time travel” backwards on a flight to the U.S. from Asia. This was especially fun to explain to my kids when we left Hong Kong at 1:00 AM on a Thursday and arrived back in San Francisco the evening of the previous day when we visited China last year.
In other cases, you can have the longest day ever. Consider catching an Emirates flight to San Francisco from Dubai, departing at 8:45 AM. Your “day” will last a whopping 36 hours, and the sun will still be up when you arrive back on the West Coast!
But it can also cause you to “lose” an entire day. Which is especially annoying when that day is a holiday!
Christmas…Somewhere Over The Pacific
Consider the typical evening departure to Sydney, Australia from Los Angeles. Delta flight 41 typically departs at 10:15 PM and arrives at 8:10 AM two days later. If you booked the flight departing on December 24, you’d arrive on the 26th! You’d have a chance to celebrate Christmas somewhere over the Pacific in the middle of your flight.
Sure, at some point, it’d actually be Christmas, whether you’re going by local time at origin, or destination, or somewhere in the middle. But who wants to celebrate Christmas on a plane? Unless you’re flying Qantas First. That’s a Christmas gift I could get behind.
Some airlines offer special meals, dessert or treats for flights on Christmas Day. This year Qantas plans to offer “Christmas music and decorations, ham, rum balls and a Christmas cocktail” in their lounges. British Airways typically offers mince pies, while Emirates is serving turkey.
It would be a bit sad to miss Christmas entirely thanks to time zone shenanigans. But people fly these routes every year. As long as family and friends are flexible with your holiday travel plans, flying over Christmas might actually be a fun and memorable option.