The “Kangaroo Route” – connecting London with Australia – is one of the most famed, and longest air routes in the world. To get from my isolated corner of the globe to the bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis that is London involves flying over 17,000km, and requires being cooped up in a plane for a good 24 hours (at least).
So the first step in planning my Grand Tour? Dedicating every spare cent I could gather and save into paying for a business class ticket – in order to make it out with my sanity intact!
However the next question was: how to get there? There are several ways to reach Europe – the Qantas/Emirates alliance through Dubai, British Airways & Singapore Airlines via Singapore, the cheaper Chinese carriers through Mainland China, Philippine Airlines had great deals via Manila, and Finnair and Cathay Pacific fly through Hong Kong.
While the Chinese carriers are excellent on price, I have heard stories of the service not being that great, and more importantly: transiting through mainland airports is not at all seamless.
Qantas is always rather expensive, as is SQ – and my previous experience flying British Airways to London was just so rant-worthy that I will never do that again. (And yes, I will rant about it at some point later on…)
In the end, I settled on one of two routes. Qatar was offering a great deal via Doha. It’s part of the Oneworld alliance, so I can earn Qantas points! The second route was via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. Cathay is my favourite airline to fly, I love visiting Hong Kong, the price was similar to Qatar, and it’s also part of Oneworld. (However with Cathay, I use my Asia Miles account rather than Qantas: better earn rate, and I do fly Cathay often). Both routes are also almost equal in flying time and distance,
So my decision came down to this: Qatar offered the chance to try a new airline, and also check out a new city and country! However Cathay offered a stop in Hong Kong, with its excellent food, plus hanging out with my friends and family that reside in the +852… A difficult choice to make indeed!
In the end: the dumplings won out! I would take the Northern route via Hong Kong, and enjoy the dumplings and famed service of Cathay to carry me on my Grand Tour!
And just to top it all off, a few weeks after I had booked my ticket, the Arab boycott of Qatar began: Qatar Airlines was barred from flying through airspace above the Arabian peninsula. This made the journey longer, and also added in a touch of uncertainty. Oh well. *shrug*. My tickets were booked, and the Tour was on.
Leave a Reply